Dec 5, 2011

Basic Survival Skills

A friend of mine commented that she doesn't know how I do what I do; work, have four children, read, blog, dance, keep house, keep everybody in clean underwear, etc. I started thinking about this decided it is high time we, women crack open the myth that we can do everything and still maintain a semblance of sanity and your next door neighbor, who you are comparing yourself to, isn't doing it all, either.

So I've compiled a list that sums up a few ideas of how to survive as a working mother. Actually, I think it applies to any mother, working outside the home or not. The bottom line is 1) Lower your expectations and 2) Simplify. I don't do all of these but they are wonderful thoughts and ideas. Here are a few:

  1. Use Costco. Orange chicken cooks up in under 15 minutes then add rice and a side of green beans. Truth? I cook up orange chicken and figure the orange is the fruit/vegetable and the breading is the grain. Dinner? Done. 
  2. Buy in bulk. If something is on sale, buy as much as you can. I have a couple of cases of cream of chicken soup and black beans in my cold storage. I have over 100 lbs. of bread flour. I will use all of it.  But I don't have to go to the store any time soon for those items. I also buy toilet paper at Costco, soap of all functions, and chocolate chips whenever it goes on sale. You know. The staples.
  3. Pre-lit Christmas tree. Besides the fact that I haven't said a swear word while putting the Christmas tree  up the past few Christmases is 'nuff said.
  4. Better yet, if you have room, don't de-decorate Christmas tree. Just store it then return it next year in its previous state.
  5. Give cash. Tacky, I know. But how many candles or body lotion can a girl collect before she regifts them? (Answer: I've been regifting them for years. Please. No more.).
  6. Neighbor gifts: Don't give. It spirals out of control. If you give to the Jones', you have to give to the Smiths and if you give to the Smiths, you have to give to the Taylors. We'll take the gift and regift it to someone else, anyway. I'm just sayin'.
  7. Co-worker gifts: Take a plate of cookies or fudge and place a placard close by announcing these treats ARE their gift. Enjoy.
  8. Accept a certain amount of chaos. I can't keep my house spotless with six people living in it. Not only that, right after school is homework time. Books, paper, etc. are strewn throughout the common areas. Not a good time to clean the house. I'm raising kids, not trying to be featured in a magazine.
  9. School lunches are a blessing. Judge me for wasting so much money on food saturated in fat and high calories, but have you seen my kids? They have no chance at obesity. Few countries offer school lunches. I consider myself very, very lucky. My kids consider themselves very, very lucky when they take a sandwich to school.
  10. Not everything needs to be made from scratch. My mother made everything from scratch. She ground her own wheat, made bread, canned food from her garden and trees, sewed all of our clothes, grew our own cows. My children beg me to make bread. My spaghetti sauce is unmatched. I've gone through stages of making my own soap, dipping candles, making homemade pasta and a number of other skills that are nice to know. But not necessary. We live in a different world than our parents and grandparents did. I don't hang my sheets out to dry or squeeze out the excess water with a hand wringer.
  11. Stop comparing yourself to your neighbor. We see a snapshot in time of their life and assume things. Wise man say, "ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME."
What do YOU do to make life easier?


Rachel said...

Love this! Permission not to be Mommy Does It All and instead Mommy Is Still Somewhat Sane, thankyouverymuch!

My poor kid... easy for me means he wears track pants to bed for pajamas so he loads straight into the car for school in the mornings :)

Sus said...

One of the first things I did when my life started to totally overwhelm me was give the bill paying to my husband. I tried to figure out what I could get other people to do for me to take some of the pressure off, and that was the first one.

The next one was a little more drastic . . . I hired someone to come and clean my house every other week for two hours. Yes, my kids still had their chores and didn't get off easy, but this way I KNEW that the deep cleaning got done properly when I wasn't there to supervise.

Best gift I ever gave myself.

mCat said...

Raising children, not being featured in a magazine.

Wise words.

I leared to live with a certain amount of clutter and chaos. As long as everyone was happy and getting along, the state of the house was an afterthought.

And somehow, I still can't bring myself to fix the dents in the walls. Especially the one with the WHOLE BODY outline (think like a cartoon). This was their HOME.

We also grabbed fast food between ball games or ate at the snack shack all summer long. All of us survived..... but the memories we have are going to be forever.

Great list

Kim said...

I think #10 is the most important from your list. Quit comparing yourself to your neighbors.

Also, when families did everything from scratch, and they had a lot of children, you can bet the children were doing a lot more work than ours do now. The kids were part of the staff, rather than the precious spoiled lumpkins we have today.

Magazine shots have room stylists and a crew to put the room in perfect order - unless you have those in your home, it ain't happenin'...unless you're the type of mom who sends their kids to the neighbors' houses while you spend all your time making your house a showplace - not a home.

Scott said...

We do have to live the law of selective neglect in our home in order to keep sane. We are not perfect. Still, Nancy is awesome.

Kaye said...

This is absolutely an inspired list. I mother the same way. . .
A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Tonia said...

I remember my mother cooking from scratch, I also remember her booting my brother and me out the door in the morning and telling us not to return until dinner time. Different time.
I grab a laundry basket before anyone comes over and shove everything on the floor in - then the basket goes in the closet.

Yolanda said...

I am one that wants/likes/has to have/enjoys and loves a spotless house. I just do and I have come to grips with it. I may want it but I don't always have it. I do make life a little easier by making a double batch of whatever is for dinner and serve it again the very next day. I LOVE LEFTOVERS. It is a magic word for me at 5 in the evening.

Jennifer said...

All I wanted to say here was this, If there were more women like you in my ward, I might not cry so much on sundays. It would be funny if I wasn't serious.

A Musing Mother said...


Send me your email address. We need to be friends.

Gina said...

You are wonderfully real. More posts like this please so I can replenish my sanity. Happy Christmas blogging friend.