I am a working mom, wife, woman..whatever you want to call it.
And for the time being, while I do dream of waking up to a to-do list that does not consist of preparing board papers, or going for boring meetings, I must learn to love being a working mom, wife, woman…whatever you call it.
After nearly four years being a working woman, two years being a working wife, and a year being a working mom, I can testify that I am really still learning the trade of being a decent homemaker. I am not saying a good, or even an excellent one – just decent. Or functioning at least.
I sure love wandering around looking for tips. I’ve tried FlyLady – only lasted for two days. I’ve tried meal planning, in the effort to cut food waste from the fridge, but it didn’t work. It becomes even worse now when my husband is often tied to work that we only reach home at about 8 pm since we are commuting together. Most often, by then I already run out of energy to do anything.
But I love and still want to come home to a cosy and neat place. Or clean, at least. And do more things other than sleeping, watching 30 minutes of TV (if there is something interesting, most of the times I skip this part). Perhaps do a bit of reading, sewing (have I told you that my mother-in-law generously gave me her old, but fully functioning sewing machine).
So irregardless of the level of energy I have by the time I reach home, I resolve to try and stick to these baby steps. A week, at least, maybe?
1. Have a precise plan for the day.(Source). With the fundamental understanding that I don’t need to do a lot a day (slow down, do less, don’t stress), I might only need to pick one task at a time. Vacuum the bedroom, clean the fridge, fold clothes, scrub the bathroom floor. Envisioning that I can work on the whole house in two hours is ridiculous. But that’s what I do normally. The ever ambitious me.
2. Set the clock ahead. (Source). I’ve the intention of doing this for quite sometimes now, waking up at 5 am, but most often didn’t work because 1) I was overly tired and oversleep; 2) Whenever I wanted to leave the bed Isa asked to be fed (he wakes up typically at 5-5.30am);3) I just think I deserve a bit more of beauty sleep; 4) I could not leave the bed because I just love being cosily stuck near my husband 5) I wake up but instead of doing other stuff, I play with my wide-awake son.
But I guess if I wanted more time for myself (other than sleeping), I need to seriously be consistent about it. Who knows morning could be a time for me to get some exercise, do a bit of gardening, or maybe do a bit more of reading, and most importantly improve my relationship with God by praying and reciting the Quran. Or maybe have the luxury of having breakfast in my OWN dining room. Not at my office desk or pantry.
3. Prepare the night before, or ahead in general. (Source). Early morning tasks for both of us includes: Prepare Isa’s clothes, bottle, food (if any), iron clothes, change Isa’s diaper, give him meds (oh my, he’s always sick this has become a routine), take shower, de-clutter the bedroom. Some of these morning bumps can be done the night before: Prepare clothes and bottle, iron clothes (at least mine. In the mornings it is my husband who irons his and my clothes isn’t he marvellous?), and MAYBE take shower just before bed. I could always prepare Isa’s meal the night before too.
4. 15-minute cleaning spree. (Source). I really need to get back to doing this. It is very effective especially if I can get my husband to also take part. It could not magically change my house into a super clean one, but little things count. These days, when I have some specific TV programme I’d like to watch, I’ll do the cleaning spree during commercials. Works wonder.
5. Do laundry everyday. (Source) In our house, I put the laundry in the machine, my husband will hang them on the line (we live in a tropical country who needs a dryer?). Though this could sound tedious for my husband, but having tried this for a week, I think we could learn to love it, or perhaps become enthusiastic about it. Empty laundry baskets on weekend is… simply put, fantastic. I mean it. This might not be the most energy-saving step (full load only every time), but it can keep me sane.
Let me try this again for a week or two, and see how I feel. I will update you on the outcome, God willing.
And we’ll see if I can be a better working mom, wife, woman…whatever you call it!