It's been almost 15 years since I gave my notice that I wouldn't be working any longer. I was pregnant with my first baby and it had always been the plan for me to quit working and be a stay-at-home mom. For us, the benefits far outweighed continuing to work. So, in July of 2005, I punched a time clock for the last time. Our oldest baby, Hannah was born on August 20th and so did my journey of my new career. For those of you who know my story, you know that I got bored. Not bored with being a mom, but bored with not having a creative outlet. Digital photography was a very new thing at the time. Jeremy had a digital point and shoot that he used for work and through my boredom, I picked it up one day and started taking pictures of Hannah. When she was 6 months old, I opened my photography business and it has been an enormous blessing for me and our family ever since.
My role as stay-at-home mom quickly turned into work-at-home mom and I had to figure some things out. Over the past 14 years, I've learned what works and what doesn't. I'm hoping that maybe I can help you find some normal in the next 5 weeks as most of our normal has become disrupted!
• Figure out a schedule.
This will tremendously help with your sanity. Your kids are used to a schedule and it will keep them from asking what they need to do next. Obviously, you'll still need to work, so setting boundaries and timelines from the beginning will help you to get your work done. I found early on that I worked best at night, after the kids went to bed. If that works for your job, it's definitely easier to work with no distractions! I'm working on our schedule this weekend and will post it soon! Feel free to use it or modify it to help you.
This may be more important than ever right now! I use Sunday to meal plan for the week. I try to plan meals at the beginning of the week that can be eaten as left-overs for lunch for the next few days. I am a stickler for eating together as a family and eating at home as much as possible. During the next 30 days especially, this will be essential.
•Give the kids some chores.
Although my kids always have a list of chores they do weekly, I'll be using the next few weeks to bring Home Ec back!! I'm really looking forward to teaching them new things that we don't normally have time for. All 3 of my kids (ages 5-14) have chores they do on a daily basis. Do they like it? No, but it's teaching them responsibility.
•Shower and get dressed every day.
I know that it is really tempting to stay in your jammies all day and there are some days that I do. I've found though that those days are the days I don't feel good. I feel unmotivated and blah all day. There's something about showering and getting dressed that sets my mood for the day.
•Figure out what brings you contentment.
I like to wake up to a clean kitchen. I like my bed being made. I like sunshine. Because I know what makes me feel content, I can be proactive about those things to help my day start off good. I spend extra time at night making sure my kitchen is clean. I make my bed every day. Those are little things that make such a huge difference in my day. If I wake up and walk in the kitchen and it's a mess, I'm a mess. Mama being a mess from the start isn't a good thing!
•Have a to-do list every day.
There is something about checking things off that make my heart happy! I've been known to add a completed task to my list, JUST so I can mark it off! :) Taking a few minutes every night or morning to figure out what needs to be done every day, will help keep you on task throughout the day.
•Find your blessings.
These next few weeks are going to by trying. Although part of me is looking forward to the forced slow-down, another part of me is terrified. Our family thrives on busy; it's all we know. But for a period of time, God has given us a gift of TIME. How we use it is up to us, but I urge you to stay positive and speak your blessings.
Mama's...our mood and our perspective sets the tone for our family. I have so many mixed-emotions about our upcoming weeks and possibly months, but I keep coming back to all of the times I've asked for time to slow down; "give me more time with my kids," "I wish we had a free night to do..." "why are we always on the go?" "I'm so tired of always being in the car." So for now, I'm going to thank God for more time.