I’ve gotten a lot of flack for my passionate piece protesting ungrateful SAHMs. Most often, the attacks are unrelated to the post, but something that has come up in the comments multiple times is the question of how I get it all done and maintain my sanity. Here’s a secret: I don’t. That post wasn’t about being perfect; it was about being grateful for the ability to stay at home with your children. And, yeah, here’s a reality check: while you’re home 24/7, you should also be able to get some stuff done. No matter how crazy my day has been, I manage to make and plan all the meals at home. It’s a rare occasion that takeout or frozen pizza is an option. So, when do I find time to cook and eat healthy with a hyperactive toddler and one on the way? I take advantage of nap time.
I’ll admit that my toddler’s naps are inconsistent and unreliable. Some days, he refuses to nap. Other days, he’ll sleep the afternoon away for 3-5 hours. I don’t stress the days that he insists on staying awake. I enjoy those days. I sit on the floor and play with him. I let him make a mess. I cherish it. But on those days where nap time is abundant, I make the most of it. Here’s how:
1. I invested in a bomb dot com crockpot.
When I went to purchase a crockpot at Bed Bath and Beyond, I did not pinch pennies. I bought a top of the line Calphalon crockpot with an abundance of heat and timer settings. When my toddler naps, I put together something fabulous, set my crockpot, and go about my day. It takes about 10 minutes to put everything together for a crockpot meal, then I let the crockpot do the work. There are tons of crockpot recipes on Pinterest, ranging from Paleo/vegan/health-nut status to down home comfort food. There’s really no excuse to not have dinner ready at least most of the time.
2. I maintain a dish washing routine.
Although from the outside looking in it might seem like chaos, I run my dishwasher once a day, specifically before bed. In the morning, I have clean dishes to put away, or I can wait until nap time, or I’ll do it before I load the dish washer again. I don’t give myself an imaginary deadline for dish duty, because believe it or not my husband doesn’t look forward to inspecting the state of the dishes when he comes home. No matter what, the dishes are done every day, and that’s good enough.
3. Limit your space.
I have the unique advantage of living in a smaller apartment, but even if you have a huge home, you should organize and allocate a certain area for playtime/activities. Don’t let your kids take over the house and you won’t have 4000+ square feet to clean on a daily basis. And, yeah, it’s really that easy. Set up a playroom or play area that’s convenient for you to get whatever you need to accomplish in the house done while still keeping an eye on the kids.
4. Prep, prep, prep.
Instead of complaining that you “have no time”, use nap time or bed time for prep time. If your toddler(s) or children need special prep for meals, such as dicing cheese and slicing apples for snacks or even dividing dry snacks into portions, do it during nap time or after bed. The small amount of distraction free time it takes to do this will save you a huge headache the next day when you don’t have to assemble AND supervise.
5. Take advantage of technology.
Whether you need a relaxing break or just truly need more time in a day, use technology to your advantage. There are so many services that are budget friendly and reduce the amount of errands you need to run. Diapers.com, Soap.com, and VineMarket.com are all owned by the same company and will deliver your child-related and household goods to your door – with FREE SHIPPING. That means you don’t need to stress about running out and taking everyone with you. You just need to sit down during nap time with a cup of coffee and pick out what you need. Use code CASS1062 and get 20% off your entire first order.
The moral of the story is: be fair to yourself. Use your time wisely. And if you hate your life, change it. Don’t be a martyr. Be a mom.