Straight answer… We don’t but we sure as heck try! I think it is hard wired into all us mums to keep pushing through, like the little engine that could. Yes, I know, I have a slight obsession with this little guy, that and “Teamwork makes the dream work”. We have to manage the housework, the kids, the husband and, for most of us, employment. Mum’s are ALWAYS on the run. So how do mums cope with EVERYTHING? Let me give you some tips on how I manage my busy, chaotic life with my boys.
Early to Rise
Silence is a Virtue
For parents, the day always begins the second you swing your legs out from under those covers. Most often than not, the second you stir, the kids stir too so, how do mums cope with tackling those chaotic mornings.
My advice would be getting up before they do. Aim to rise before the children and, take it from me, be mega, mega quiet. I swear, in my house, the second I make ANY sort of noise, they turn into super spies with super hearing. DING! The boys are up so, keep it low key, move like a ninja and for god sakes don’t sneeze or fart. They can sense any kind of bodily function before it even occurs.
I can cope with everything that the day throws my way if only I get a cup of tea or coffee in peace, if not that then at least a shower. Showering on your own is bliss. You don’t appreciate a shower until you have children. Honestly! If you do happen to find that they sleep through your early morning rise, take advantage. Do as much as you can during that time, you will feel better for it later.
If I am unable to grab a cuppa or time alone before they wake, my plan is always the same. Get them ready, get me ready and get breakfast ready. While they are eating that is when you can have a cup of tea or coffee. More often than not, when they are shovelling fruit and cereal into their gaping maws they are, at least, quiet. Make the most of those quiet moments.
You’ll probably get bored of hearing me say this time and time again but, the most important part of being a housewife and mother is establishing a good routine. If you want to stay on top of most things or, at least keep your head on straight, you need one of these bad boys.
Every aspect of life involves some form of a routine. Whether you are a stay at home mum like me, in full time employment or even if you have nothing tying you down, you will have a routine. You may not know it but you will have established your own way of doing things; something that works for you. Finding that structure in your life is what helps you to cope.
My routine is not set in stone. It is flexible based on week day, activities, school and their dad. When he is home I have a partner in crime. He literally is the laundry king. I can’t stand clothes hanging everywhere, like it really winds me up to the point that this ginger might go nuts. However, when he is back he can batter through it in a way that I cannot so I must turn a blind eye and drink my Prosecco quietly because, we all know, teamwork makes the dream work.
“Teamwork makes the Dream Work”
I know I know, this is cheesy AF but I totally swear it is so relevant when encouraging our kids to help. One thing I have learnt when trying to keep on top of it all is to get the kids involved. After all, how do mums cope with everything without accepting help, even from small hands?
We all know that encouraging children to help with chores builds responsibility, independence and a feeling of self worth. It also goes some way to helping us mums cope with the sheer volume of extra house work their existence brings.
Chore charts are a good way of introducing this and teaching children about what it takes to run a home. How do you know what is a suitable task for your child though? I decided to hit google to find out and discovered this chore chart on a blog post from 2 Florida mums, Sunshine & Hurricanes. It provides a rough guide as to what is appropriate depending on the age of the child.
What we teach them, as parents, will stand them in better stead for when that time comes for them to spread their wings and branch out on their own. Oh, I don’t really want to discuss that yet. Mine are just too little.
Tink loves lending a helping hand. He really responds so much better to me when we have our own phrases and secrets that are just between us. Unfortunately Pup is not quite at that level. He is a law unto himself but he will help with small tasks, such as cleaning door handles and picking up dirty clothes. That’s another aspect. How do mums cope with the huge quantities of laundry having kids brings?
Every Day is Laundry Day
The Never-ending Basket of Doom
My main piece of advice when it comes to the never-ending basket of doom is to tackle it daily. Try and do one load each day. As much as we fear that laundry basket, it needs to get done. If you are lucky enough to get a dry, sunny day then do it all, forget everything else. Though saying that, even when you put the final load on, how is it that the second you look back in the basket it is full again?
One thing I find with having children is how often they stash dirty clothes in daft places; inside books, Lego boxes or inside pillow cases. Then we have odd socks. How is there always a sock found in some totally random location? Just this morning I found one under Tink’s mattress. Honestly boys! I have no idea how long it sat there for. This probably accounts for the strange smells emitting from his room. Another side effect of children, the older they get, the smellier they get. It has probably been there since the last time I stripped his bed.
Speaking of bedding, a good tip is to have an assigned day for bedding and towels. Mine is on a Friday. I have a secret agenda to this. Most of the time David’s home on a Friday night meaning, I have help. The laundry king is quite happy to take over this task, leaving me to tackle other household chores such as ironing.
I hate ironing with a passion. Like it is the one thing I put off and off and off, until it has become this unattainable pile resembling Mount Everest. My advice would be iron whenever you can but if you don’t get a chance, save it for the weekend or only iron what’s needed. Do what I do, iron in front of the TV with a bottle of wine. Wine makes everything better.
Keep Those Cupboards Stocked
Speaking of wine, make sure you don’t run out. 😀 Well maybe not necessarily of wine but certainly of those households staples such as fruit, veggies, bread and milk. How do mums cope if we do not have food to feed our hungry children? Be prepared. I do a weekly shop and then pick up any necessities as and when I need them. Homemade soup is my go to lunch just now. It’s a cheap and easy meal and can be kept in the fridge for a few days or, if need be, longer in the freezer.
Like most people, I try and save money where I can. However, this seems to be increasingly difficult in the current Covocalypse. If you are like me then you rely on click & collect or deliveries. My usual go to supermarket has always been Lidl or Aldi but they, unfortunately, don’t provide a delivery service. There are ways around this. Shop about and try to plan your orders a week in advance. This gives you time to make any changes if necessary and, takes the pressure off any stress if you wait until the last minute. As a busy mum I do everything I can to reduce my stress levels; our own sanity and well being are important too.
Look After Yourself
If you want to be able to cope with everything on your plate, you must take care of yourself, inside and out. After all, how do mums cope with conquering each day if they do not take care of themselves first? I feel a lot better about what is in store for the day when I do my hair and makeup. Even if it is just a touch of mascara and lippy, how you feel about yourself goes a long way towards how you cope with what is on the agenda.
If I’m happy in myself, I’m more approachable and productive than I would be if I felt like I could not be arsed. Thinking positive vibes is crucial to coping with the boys, the housework and my life, as is living a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you get enough physical exercise, even if it is just chasing after your kids all day and drink plenty of water.
One thing I am extremely guilty of is not drinking enough water. Yep, I certainly drink plenty of wine but, as much as we try to deny it, wine does not count. Ensuring you get enough, appropriate fluid is vital to feeling refreshed and revitalised. The same applies to our 5 a day.
It’s not only important for the kids, it is important for us too. Again, wine does NOT count. I’ve been in denial about wine and chocolate for years but it’s really time to face the facts. Just because wine comes from grapes and chocolate from beans does NOT mean that it is one of your 5 a day. This is another thing I am guilty off. I tend to get so busy that I sometimes forget to eat. This is when I tell myself to slow down and consider my own wants and needs. Even if it is just something as simple as pizza and salad. After all, happy mum, happy kids!
Rounding it Up
So how do mums cope with everything? Let’s summarise! Trying to get up early and make the most of those quiet moments to yourself will go a long way towards helping you to cope. Have a cup of tea or coffee before you look to the day ahead.
In order to tackle that day, establish a good, flexible routine. You probably already do this in some form or another. Have a plan, set personal goals, approach each day knowing what you need to do and start there.
Accept any and all help if available. Getting the kids involved will encourage them to build on their own skill set and become more independent. Even just small tasks, such as putting clean laundry away or picking up their dirty clothes, will help you to manage the workload.
As for laundry, tackle it in small loads each day. One wash a day will prevent that basket from overflowing. The last thing you want to see is your house disappearing under an ever-lasting river of dirty clothes.
Most importantly, first and foremost, look after yourself!