Sunday, June 3, 2007

How a Mom gets it all Done -- Part 2

Few days ago Archana an energetic mom of two adorable twins had this post. She asked “How do Moms Get It All Done” Very very valid question and as always a lot of our members were very prompt and helpful with ideas and tips. These suggestions were so good that I decided to compile them with some of my own tips thrown in.
A Mom has a hectic life I agree. She zips around doing trillion things, stuff she wouldn’t have imagined doing for herself. All her work is done with a single goal to do the best for her kids. If she wants home cooked food it’s because she doesn’t want her kids to eat unhealthy junk.
If she simply HAS to do the 3 loads of laundry each week its because she can’t bear to see the kids go around in soiled clothes.
So in addition to the daily stuff she does for the kids, the feeding, bathing, playing, entertaining she has to get the household chores done too and that can get overwhelming at times.

Heres some pointers on how to make the load a little lighter and the journey more entertaining


Cooking


This is a major part I agree, especially in an Indian household where you are cooking and serving Indian food. I love to cook but doing it every day is difficult and on weekdays it takes up a considerable amount of time.

What can You Do ?

Cooking in bulk. On a Saturday or Sunday I cook enough to last me till mid week. Then on Wednesday I cook something again but the mid week cooking is lighter, quicker stuff.

For my daughter I make a stew with different kind of veggies and refrigerate. Then I add either chicken or fish to it during the week. So I will fry a fish filet and add it to the stew say on Monday and then say add some cooked chicken to the stew on Tuesday. Chicken does not taste good if kept cooked for long so at the most a day or two should be ok.

Saheli said “I make tuvar dal a lot(plain dal/sambar etc.,) so, on weekends I boil it in bulk and store in different containers in the freezer and use them as needed during weekdays.”

SJ said “Daals, chole, rajma, chicken dishes, matar paneer, etc all are very freezer friendly. Just keep in mind, once it comes out of the freezer it should be finished the same day. Palak paneer, cook a lot of the palak base, divide into 3 parts and freeze 2. Next time take out one part, add some fresh seasonings, throw in fresh paneer and you are good to go.”

Chopping Veggies: I usually chop veggies on a day when I am not cooking. So say if I am watching a movie on Friday night, I utilize that time to chop up some of the veggies that I would cook during the weekend. For stuff like Spinach I always get a Bag of washed Baby Spincah which I use in Dal. That way I don’t have to chop the spinach.
On weekends I make onion paste and sometimes ginger and garlic paste and refrigerate. That way mid week cooking gets easy.

Saheli said “I also keep frozen vegs available like beans, karela, broccoli and guvar for days when I don't have time to chop. I also keep the 'instant" items ready like idli mix, dosa mix, dokhla mix.”

Also get your hubby to help with cooking, chopping, doing the dishes etc.. Relax about having home cooked meal every day, have a Sandwich or a salad on a day you are very tired or order out once in a while.


Laundry


Laundry is ok… you just sort and dump and then the washer does the rest. The biggest chore for both me and D is folding them. Oh how I hate folding laundry !!! I just hope someone would come up with a gadget that folds.
Usually I do 3 loads of laundry and I start from Friday. The folding is another story….

What can You Do ?

Get your kids involved. Sometimes me and my daughter we sit and chat and I fold while she pretends to.

Reena said “ put clothes for washing and drying and let your husband fold it at night.”. Try, might work out and then you are one happy Momma
Sogno said “I used to fold the clothes at night after E fell asleep and while watching TV”
Dee said” Engage your kids in the laundry room and fold the dried clothes when you watch tv or listen to music after the little ones sleep”

If everything fails do what I do. I sometimes dump the dried up laundry in the spare room, shut the door, forget that the room ever existed and then on a day when I am less tired I go and fold. Ok that day has to be sometime during the same week of course, I cannot postpone to next year or something


HouseCleaning


With small kids around it becomes a bit stressful to do the house cleaning like vaccum etc.

What can You Do ?

Hire help for cleaning. You can get someone weekly, twice a week or monthly. My help comes in once every three weeks. In between we vaccum a bit and clean the bathrooms but NO Deep cleaning for us. So that leaves the weekends less stressed.

The kitchen is cleaned soon after I cook and hubby helps in that, I think kitchen is the most frequently cleaned room actually. Keep boxes of the "Clorox" Wet Kitchen wipes. A quick wiping of the counter tops with those help a lot. Also keep a box of Swiffer dry wipes handy. They are very useful to quickly wipe the floor.

Also restrict the kids to certain areas of the house to make a mess of. That way it’s ok if you only clean those areas each week and leave the rest for major cleaning days.

Teach kids to clean up toys etc. by having a large easily accessible toy chest where they can at least dump their toys and as long as junk is “out of sight” I consider it clean.

Serve meals for kids sitting them on their high chair and in the kitchen or dining area. Don’t let them run around the house with food. That might get messy


Grocery

Running around grocery stores might be taking up a lot of your time. You loose out on your time with family you think.

What can You Do ?

Make grocery a fun family outing. Doing grocery helps me de-stress too. There are usually 2-3 grocery/farmers market to run around. Some days I just go on my own say on a Thursday evening while hubby takes care of the little one. Roaming around the aisles and looking at the produce gives me real pleasure.

Some weeks on Fridays we all go “to do grocery” . Getting the grocery done before Saturday helps me plan meals and start cooking from Saturday. When we all go together its like a family outing kind. Might not sound hep like going to a “Theme Park” but it IS a family bonding thing. If the family is not interested try to reduce the family trips to “once” a month and rest of the days go on your own to get some me time.

Shweta says “We always our grocery shopping -american/indian/ everything on thursday !!! I usually come back by 4.30 and the entire family goes on the trip..!! we pick up pizza on the go as a snack..!!SO even if we do run out of something unless it is very essential we just put it on list for thursdays !!”
Saheli says "Also, I always go with a list for grocery shopping and never ever go empty stomach"

Socializing

Socializing is a part of a Moms life. Be it her friends or her kids friends. There are parties or get together to arrange or some that you need to attend to. This takes up some amount of the family time and though fun might make the days more hectic.

This I want suggestions about. I love my friends and spending time with them have always been fun. Being away from family its they who are more like family for us and my daughter too. But some weekends there is a bevy of socializing which upsets my plans. So maybe I am attending a party or cooking for one which leaves the weekends more hectic than relaxed. Does this happen to anyone ? How do you handle such situations ? What if this happens almost every other weekend ?


However we handle it, to keep us sane the mantra should be -- Take it easy and let go. You don’t have to be perfect. It’s fine if your kid eats chicken nuggets for dinner once in a while instead of the home cooked meal. Share work with hubby. He might not like you dictating which I tend to do often but let him take up a task he likes and he will excel. To get more quality time with family involve everyone while you are cooking or doing laundry. So let your hubby play with the kids some where nearby while you cook, so that you can join in too.

Do not look at motherhood as a chore, its not, to get the fun out of it do whatever suits you best.

Got ideas -- chip in please

6 comments:

Archana said...

Hi Sandeepa!
Thank you for compiling and sharing your tips too.

On the socializing front, since our kids are only 13 months and have a pretty tight sleep schedule of going to bed around 6;30-7:00, we end up meeting friends and family during the day time and we have learned that its saner for everyone involved if we limit it to one or at the most two events per weekend.

I think for us this has helped keep us from going too insane and needing Monday to relax. So my tip is keeping one event per day rule if possible and rest of the time is my own family time.

Poppins said...

That is such a great list ! Regarding socializing, we are also in the same boat. Here in India, we have family too, so meeting both is hard. The way we do it is to avoid meeting for lunches/dinners unless absolutely necessary. Instead it is tea/snacks which are easier to make..

Asha said...

That is indeed a great list.I just cooked,did 2 loads of laundry and fortunately,I have older kids to make them fold and even iron them sometimes!:)
Arvind doesn't do any of these,he takes care of the yard which I don't do except my veggie patch.Life gets little easier when you have kids helping you.
Socializing is always with other Doctors,I don't care much about that.I am happy to be left alone!

SJ said...

Sandeepa, thanks for summarizing this so well. This is probably one of the most useful posts for all moms with toddlers (looks like it gets better as the kids get older, right Asha?).
I am feeling so good about the comment of dumping all the laundry in the spare room and forgetting about it. I do that quite often since and used to feel VERY guilty about it :-)

shilpa said...

Sandeepa, I am not a mom, but I try to save some time these days for my classes, so to make cooking easier,
- I wash, dry & cut the veggies soon after buying them. I store all of them in ziploc bags and then refrigerate them.
- I use a big cooker with 3 cooker vessels. So at a time, I keep more than one thing in the cooker and it saves a lot of time.

I am a regular reader of this blog and its of great help to anyone. Thanks for starting such a nice blog.

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