Managing My Household
By Jennifer Tarzian
As a work-at-home mom of one very active toddler, I recently acknowledged
that my household was quickly spinning out of control. The housework was piling
up higher each day and I NEVER felt like I was even catching up, let alone
getting ahead. So, it was time for a makeover – an organizational makeover, that
When I was in the workforce, the only way I knew to get things done by their
deadlines was to make a list and keep working on that list until I checked
everything off. This was my first step in re-organizing my household. I know
there are a lot of great scheduling software programs, but I find a paper day
planner works the best for me. I write down absolutely EVERYTHING in this
planner. I even schedule my shower! Why? I need to see a complete layout of my
day and how long each item is going to take. If I’ve got an extra-packed day, I
need to schedule that wake-up call a little earlier.
The other benefit of writing everything down is that at the end of the day,
I have visible proof of all I’ve accomplished. One of the hardest things for me
to deal with on a daily basis is the overwhelming sense that I haven’t
accomplished anything. The house most often looks just as messy at 7:00 pm as it
did at 7:00 am that same day. So if I can look at that list and see “laundry”,
“dishes”, “clean bathroom” and “run to the bank” all crossed off, I will be
rewarded with the reality of all the hard work I did in addition to the other
daily essentials of diapers, meal preparations, etc.
Once I established my list, I did my best to prioritize the items on it.
There are the obvious things that HAVE to be done. Then there are those “would
really like to get them done but the world won’t come to an end if I don’t”
tasks. This gave me a good starting point to work from.
Please learn from my biggest organizational mistake: Have REASONABLE
expectations. When the weekend comes and I know I’ve got my husband around for
the full 48 hours, my mind runs wild with all the million and one projects we
can tackle. Then I’m hit with terrible disappointment on Sunday night when I
realize we only finished 1 of those many items. The truth of the matter is I
should be happy we got the one project finished – that’s one more than was
completed 2 days before, right?
Another very important piece to this organizational puzzle is the
contributing help from other family members. No one person should have to carry
the entire weight of maintaining a home and family by him/herself. My husband is
great at chipping in whenever he can. When my son is older, I will expect him to
contribute as well. For more on this topic, I highly recommend you read “Family
Management tip #1: Getting Your Family to Pitch In” by Saro Saravanan.
Most importantly, don’t forget to schedule the fun! I try to take a few
hours each week and treat myself to time spent only on me. It usually consists
of an hour to myself a few nights a week reading a good book. It gives me a
break, but at the same time I don’t feel guilty for neglecting my other