Thursday, October 2, 2008

Just 15 minutes

I think today must be "Moms Feel (especially) Overwhelmed Day". I noticed several of my friends have set their facebook status to something along the lines of "needing a vacation", and many of the moms whose blogs I follow have been discussing how tired or overwhelmed they are - Brenda at The Family Revised described it well in her post earlier today. Being a mother involves quite the juggling act.

I know that while I was growing up, my mother was definitely the glue that held the family together (for that matter, she still is). When someone commented on that to her, it made her feel happy and appreciated -- and rightly so. I wish I had told her that more often. The problem with being glue, however, is that sometimes you get pulled and stretched in too many directions! And as Brenda mentioned in her post, while it's important to spend time doing things other than housework there are things that simply have to get done.

During the week, I leave the house at 7:45am (if we're not running about 10% of the time) and don't get home until 6:15 or so in the evening. Even those who are mathematically challenged can see that there's not much time left in the day to manage my home (especially after you factor in the time I spend expressing milk). Just the everyday maintenance -- laundry, dishes, vacuuming, picking up -- can be overwhelming! But something strange happens when you finally realize and accept that you can't get everything done. There's freedom in understanding that you just do what you can at the moment and then forget about the rest.

So here's how I approach housework: I have a magnetic dry erase board with a slot for each day of the week except Sunday. I made a magnet for each room in the house, plus a few miscellaneous house chores (like "meal prep"). At the beginning of each week, I write major events on the board, set up my meal schedule (I cook once every other night and have leftovers the next night), and then place the magnets on the days that have the most open space left. After dinner, dishes and laundry are done for the evening (often with my husband's invaluable help), I have to spend 15 minutes in each room listed on the schedule before I can relax. If for some reason I'm not done by 8:30pm, the magnet gets moved to the next open slot.

Oh, and Sundays are left off the board for a reason! All you can do is all you can do...and you can't give everything you have every day of the week. Sunday is for rest.


  1. OOOH I really like this system! This could work for me too! How did you make the magnets?

  2. You can buy business card-shaped magnets with adhesive on them from an office supply store (you know, for business cards :-). I had some left over from a previous project and cut them into strips using kitchen shears. Then I grabbed some construction paper (also leftover) and cut pieces to match the magnets. Label and you're done! I think the project took me, ironically, about 15 minutes.