Where Does The Time Go?

Baby Grady is now 17 months old ...

Matt has been gone for over 13 weeks ...

The kids have been in school for exactly 6 weeks ...

We are gearing up for the kids 1st Halloween in the States ...

... And I am beginning to think that every day is Groundhog Day.

As a single mom of three kids, and a furry dog, I have made amends that there are clearly not enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished.

I no longer have a maid to clean the house. Or watch the kids. Or dare I say ... cook.

I no longer have a driver to run my errands. Or schlep me or the kids anywhere we need to go.

I don't have a responsive home owner who takes care of her house. Or fixes things that are in desperate need of repair.

So how am I supposed to keep the house tidy, go grocery shopping, do the laundry, schlep the girls to and from school, schlep Grady to and from his preschool, schedule play dates, cook dinner, do the dishes, do homework, read with the kids, play with the kids, walk the dog, take care of the dog, AND have a moment to myself?

No seriously, I'm actually asking the question. How do I do it?

Because right now it's just not happening. Scratch that. It IS happening, it's just not happening well...

I HAVE to vacuum the floor at least every three days because of the excessive amounts of dog hair. I NEED to make three meals a day. I ENJOY working in Sheridan's class every Monday, though I lose one of the three "free" mornings I have with Grady in preschool.

Last week I asked a question on Facebook as to whether or not I should purchase a crock pot or a Le Creuset dutch oven... completely aware that the two are not the same thing. An overwhelming number of people said that the Le Creuset completely changed their lives. So, Friday afternoon, I marched in to Williams Sonoma with all three kids in tow, and purchased a 5.5 quart round dutch oven.

Which hasn't exactly changed my life yet, but has certainly taken up space on my counter.

Just like the brand new Viking sewing machine, sitting on my sewing table in the room out back, that I haven't managed to take out of the box.

Or the oodles of emails that have piled up in my inbox.

And the messages that have tripled on my answering machine.

I don't reach out often. I rarely ask for advice. Que sera sera has usually been my motto. But this one time. I'm willing to see if there's a better way to do things. What time saving tips do you have for me? What stores do I need to check out? What new recipes do you have that are both quick AND tasty. What do YOU do to get through the day, without compromising on YOUR necessities, or blinking at 6 pm wondering where the time went?

More importantly, who do I bribe to get a 27 hour day?


Unknown said...

I feel your pain! Best advice I have is SIMPLIFY! Especially meals. There is nothing wrong with raw veggies and fruit for dinner with deli meats. When I cook I will make rice or pasta or soups (especially when cutting up veggies) in bulk and freeze in smaller containers for easy use later. If I make a meal I make double and freeze the other portions for another meal sometime the following week or two. Cutting up and preparing veggies all at once keeps daily clean up of counters and dishes low. Any meal parts that can rollover into a new meal the next night are great too! I think Rachel Ray has some of these meal plans.
And don't stress about doing it all in one day, everyday. I look at what I have to get done schedule wise and then schedule in the house chores where they can fit. Remember, a happier stress free mom makes a happier home for the kids. Best news of all, you will get a routine that works for you after some trial and tweeking and settle into a healthy rhythm. And enjoy your new Dutch oven! Let it work for you!

Unknown said...

Give yourself some time....after my first home post after 7 yrs. I pretty much had the same overwhelming situation. Okay, hubby came home every night after 14 hours at the office in a SAFE place (hooray) and was home Sundays (hooray II) Me time was my Sunday nap, but thanks the good heavens they sent a true friend my way just then who had the same scenario with two kids under two. Someone to share with!!! All the difference. Practically speaking: the only places I kept spic´n span were the living room and bath. to calm self imposed guilt I used "30 seconds" a lot: if it can be taken care of in 30 secs., do it now. Allow yourself to do all the 30 secs you spot in a room, but stick to it. No more. The kitchen wasn´t a huge headache since I used a lot of prepared foods (chicken/meats ready roasted from the butcher, frozen sides) and reduced my "cooking" to fresh veggies and fruits. Comes with a price tag, but does bring sanity.
With more "practice" in the kitchen and doing the other 1 million things all myself again, I slowly picked up on more "home made" stuff again.
Managed that just in time for baby girl to arrive and went back to square 1, LOL. Good thing to know was: the chaos was going to be temporary indeed, just as it had been before... hang in there, give yourself time and credit.

Christy said...

I like the simplify advice too! I have a few recipes that are delicious and EASY - will email you the links in the morning.

I am a huge fan of online shopping through amazon.com/mom - I get free one or two day shipping AND 30% off (yes, you read that right!) everything I order there. A pack of about 150 diapers for something like $15. I buy all my cleaning supplies and other large items there too - I'll send you the link where you sign up. I also find menu planning a huge time saver. The crock pot will become your friend - I like the "Not Your Mother's Crockpot" cookbook.

We (I feel guilty saying we when I know it's just you!) plan out five or six nights meals a week, and definitely incorporate leftovers. One day we order in or go out.

I second the idea to keep food in the freezer - ready to just be reheated. And do you have a Von's grocery nearby? They deliver. I'm sure other stores do too - I'm all for having as many things delivered to us as possible - saves time schlepping those kids around!

And finally, give yourself a break. Can you adjust your budget a little so you could get someone in to do a big cleaning once or twice a month? Can you pay a local college student to do some of your kid pickups/drop offs? My friend does this - she did background, DMV, etc checks on them and totally trusts them. And maybe you could volunteer at the school with Grady? Impossible?

I feel for you Jill! I hope you find a new routine that works for you guys - and soon! Hang in there - and make sure you somehow schedule in some YOU down time!!!

Shannon said...

OK I am about to get very familiar and bossy for someone you have only ever met in cyberspace. I have been a stay at home mom for a decade now and except for 2 years wonderful years in Jakarta I haven't had help. I am pretty good at this crap.

1. Repeat after me I'm Not Perfect! There is no way in hell your house is going to look the way it did when you had staff. Give it up! You don't have a maid but you do have kids and a dog. kids+dog=mess. Give yourself a break, being a Mom is hard work.

2. I like the simplify advice. Take everything that is in your way that you aren't using and put it in a storage unit or in that guest house out back. Get it our of your way. Less stuff= less stuff to pick up, dust and put away. Remember how easy the house was to clean when you were living out of a welcome kit before all your crap showed up? Less is more sometimes.

3. This is the most important and probably should have been first. ORGANIZE! Que sera sera works great when you have a maid to make sure the house doesn't fall apart but it will make you crazy if you are the only person doing all the work. You are the boss! treat the housework like a job. Your maid did.

3a. Make a menu! It is a must. It makes shopping easier and cooking easier. Don't try to cook fancy crap right now. Pick easy food. Take advantage of all those connivence foods out there in the states. Jarred suace +pasta+ bagged salad+frozen garlic bread=dinner! Similarly Boneless skinless chicken breast+frozen mixed veg+ brown and serve rolls = dinner Also grab a couple of frozen dinners for those days when everything turns to crap. Then you can just toss a pizza at the oven and give up and know tomorrow will be a new day and you didn't have to try and get everyone into car and to a fast food joint while you are pissed off. Throw some fresh fruit on the table next to pizza and pretend it is a healthy meal.

3b Get cleaning supplies where they need to be. Example put clorox wipes and windex wipes in the bathroom. When the kids are finished brushing teeth in the morning have them put away their toothbrushes and put the lid back on the tube. Give one kid a wipe and have her wipe the sink have the other do the mirror with a windex , while you grab the toiletbrush give the toilet a quick (25 second!) scrub and wipe the seat and the floor around it. Done! Bathroom is now clean enough! Total cleaning time 1 minute.

3c. Delegate! Are the girls old enough to dress themselves? Then they are old enough to help around the house. Have them vacuum and dust twice a week. It won't be maid perfect but it will be good enough and they will take pride in the way house looks (eventually but they will probably complain a lot first)

3d Do a load of laundry every day. Just one. Put it away, don't leave it in the dryer.

3e Make a schedule (then be flexible) Example:

Clean bathroom when kids are brushing teeth.

Have every one make bed while getting dressed.

Toss load of laundry at washer before driving the kids to school.

Return home give yourself a 15 minute break and enjoy that Starbucks you picked up on the way home.

Empty dishwasher and wipe down counters. Then the rest of the day load dirty dishes as they happen.

Put laundry in dryer. If it is kids clothes or towels have them fold it when they get home otherwise fold it and put it away when the buzzer goes off.

Now go play with that baby!

Later in the day cook dinner.

At the end of the day have kids pick up bedroom before going to bed (Just for 5 minutes not trying to be perfect remember) and you do a quick 15 minute once over of the house after they are in bed before you sit down so that it starts mostly clean in the morning.

Shannon said...

I wasn't done but the computer said it was too big to be a comment so I had to break it up. Sigh! Even the computer says I talk to much!

4. Be nice to yourself. Buy fresh flowers at the grocery, Starbucks is a big thing with me YUMMMM! pedicure, whatever makes you feel like a princess take time to do for yourself. You deserve it. Big time!

5. Buy a timer When the big messes happen and they do (kids+dog=mess remember?) give yourself 15 minutes to tackle it. Just 15 minutes. Then walk away. You can do another 15 minutes later, like tomorrow! You would be amazed at how much you can get done in 15 minutes. Everything and anything you do around the house is a blessing for your family.

6. Baby steps! take baby steps. A little bit each day. Don't expect to be able to manage everything all at once. It will come. Remember that those women who have been cleaning your house and making it look easy all these years were professionals (mostly anyway or you fired them!) They had routines and systems that made it work. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You might try one of those "meal prep" shops. They are about the same cost as buying all the ingredients separately. You can go in for a few hours and make enough meals for a couple of weeks (that you freeze and then thaw to do the actual "cooking" part, but all the ingredients are measured, cut, etc.), or you can have them do everything for you. Some even deliver. It's my go to gift certificate for new mom's, and would probably be a nice respite for someone new to being the All-American Mom.

In my experience, they tend to have mostly organic everything, a variety of kinds of foods and everything tastes really wonderful. I had tequila lime steak, chicken enchiladas, sweet and sour stirfry, cacciatore, mediterranean pasta salad.....

Scary Mommy said...

Oh, Jill... Seriously, I don't know how you do it. I'm solo with three kids and a dog 2-3 days a week and it sucks. Everyday? You deserve a medal.

OK, tips:

Get groceries delivered. They bring them right into your kitchen-- you shop on-line and there's no unpacking, waiting in line etc. Totally worth the $5 fee.

If you can, hire a cleaning lady. She will save your sanity.

I've never used those meal assembly places, but I have friends who love them.

Hire a sitter as often as you can-- just go get coffee, read a book, whatever. You need ME time.


Christy said...

Oh yeah - I love those meal assembly places. I cried when our Let's Dish closed. It was a couple of hours on a weekend and we had delicious dinners for days and days afterward!!!

Mom24 said...

Ugh. I feel your pain. I could have written this post regarding needing the help and having no idea how to do things and I have Mark here, which, theoretically, should be helpful.

I think maybe some standards have to ease. Vacuuming three times a day? Seriously? Try three times a week. I know it will be an adjustment, but you'll get to the point you can do it.

I make dinner in the morning often. Find whatever time of day you have that's at least a little less crazy and do it then when you can. Your Le Creuset will be wonderful for that. Prep a stew in the morning then you just have to let it cook in the afternoon.

Laundry around here goes much better when I force myself to do one load a morning. It's a pain, but so is having to spend a day and a half to catch up.

Cleaning? Sorry. No great advice. For me it's catch as catch can which is as much a product of I really hate to clean as it is time.

Grocery shopping? Use a morning when it's just you and Grady. Make a meal plan, do a list. Meal plans can be a PITA, but at least when it's 4:00 and you're trying to figure out what's for dinner, you can know exactly what you've planned for.

I completely agree with scary mommy's tips. Groceries delivered? When we used to be able to get it, it was wonderful for times when life was crazy. (You know, like yours is now.)

The cleaning lady? I think you deserve it. If you can swing it, do it.

Ditto the sitter. You wouldn't hesitate to hire one so you and Matt can go out, hire someone so you can get away.

Most of all, try to relax your standards and be good to yourself. I truly think you're amazing and just getting everyone through the day clean, fed, where they're supposed to be is a major accomplishment. It is really hard when it's Ground Hog day everyday.

Mom24 said...

Can I hire Shannon to come organize my life?

Donna said...

You got some seriously good advice from these folks! And I've with Mom24 - we need to hire Shannon, because she has some good tips for all of us.

Can't add much (unless "take out pizza" counts as a tip). When my fourth baby was born, I asked another mom of many how she handled it. Her advice: Lower Your Standards. And you know what? It really works.

Hang in there. Be kind to yourself.

A Daring Adventure said...

Oh Jill... no help from here. Just empathy. :(

I like both Shannon's and Donna's advice. :)

Just US said...

While Chris was gone, I bribed the kids into helping me with the housework. We divided it up and it took longer the first few weeks as they learned each job but in the long run, it was such a lifesaver! We would have a treat when everyone was done. It was amazing how much faster things went once there were more than 2 hands working. I also simplified meals - dinner especially. If I couldn't prep, make, and serve it in less than 30 minutes - we didn't eat it. I also learned that beans are faster to cook than meat (when they come out of the can) so I switched to more beans and less meat. The other thing that worked for me - I took one day where I didn't do housework or the usual chores. We spent it as a family doing something fun and/or I spent it catching up on things I wanted to do - picture taking, e-mail writing, blogging, etc. It made the next day a bit hard but I entered into it refreshed and ready to tackle yet another week. Hopefully you find your groove soon!

Daniela Swider said...

Not much advice but a lot of empathy from me too.

I am home with one kid in first grade and another on the way and seem to have less time now than when I was working full-time. I don't understand how that happened but that's the case and I am trying to figure out how I will keep my sanity when the baby comes, though I do volunteer at my daughter's school often and I don't plan on doing that as much after the baby comes.

In any case, I do like the simplify, relax your standards and get the girls to help suggestions. My daughter is interested in helping. Most of the time she does a sloppy job (and I have to clean up after her, which makes the task take twice as long) but I think the more she does it, the better she will get and she does beam with pride when she accomplishes a task I have given her.

Best of luck in coming up with a routine that works for you (and remember it has to work for you and your family, so don't worry so much about what others may think). And do not skimp on time for you to do the things you like, so you can decompress and recharge.

Emily said...

You can bribe me to get you 27 hours a day, but I can't promise anything...

Bfiles said...

these are great ideas- I'll have to copy this, especially Shannon's!

My husband works long hours and I have approximately 10 min to get dinner on the table. There is not much cooking during the week. You asked for specifics, so here you go:

- veggie burgers w/ sides and frozen pizza/salad or cut vegetables are served once a week
- cook a box of noodles over the weekend and eat them all week
- frozen vegetables are often more nutritious than fresh because they are frozen immediately. So don't be afraid of them.
- Like others have said, cook a few dishes on the weekend or during the day when you're alone and serve at night
- cous cous and those chicken/apple sausages that are already cooked is one of my quickest meals that actually involves cooking
- breakfast for dinner, of course!
- My personal philosophy with the crockpot is to avoid any recipes that involve me browning meat or any other cooking prep. I want to throw things in there and say goodbye.

And finally, give yourself a break!! You are doing great!

Jenn said...

I lurk often here, and enjoy your stories of mommihood across the globe, but today I'm coming out of hiding to offer my one sage piece of advice:

Get a Roomba. We have an old, used, crappy one and a very hairy dog. The beauty of it is you can turn it on in a room and go cook dinner while it vacuums for you. It's like having a maid that doesn't steal the silver (but it may snatch a stray earring or bobby pin here and there). You have to clean the dog hair out of it (if you dog has long hair like ours) after every two runs, but that's still less time than it would take to vacuum the whole house.

Anonymous said...

Whoa-zas ...

these girls have given it all to you!

Don't get overwhelmed with what everyone has suggested. Put it all on little pieces of paper and pull one new one ... say every week. Try it out and see if the suggestion fits with your personality and lifestyle.

I WOULD however echo the menu planning and the treating yourself suggestions.

Menu planning seems ridiculous at first glance, but it is a beautiful thing. So are the places that prepare meals FOR you ...

Go buy yourself flowers tomorrow, ok? Promise? White lilies, or yellow daffodils. Then tell the girls that you bought them for yourself because you have been working HARD!!

Hugs friend!

(oh, and don't worry another minute about the emails that are piling up ... so be it, c'est la vie!)

Stephanie Smith said...

Okay Jill. I know you. I know you on many more levels than any of these cyber window peekers do because I’m an Alpha Iota, Sigma Kay that lived with you. So I feel I can speak here from somewhat of a good footing.

I have to just sound off and say right out the gate that I have many stay at home Mom friends and I get immensely irritated when I hear them complaining about not having enough time in the day. Irritates me beyond belief. It’s on my top 10 list of things that angers me, and it’s pretty near the top. If you are priviledged enough (and it is a privledge by the way) to be allowed to be a homemaker, then don’t complain about it! It makes my blood boil when I go out to lunch or dinner with my girlfriends and I have to sit there and hear about how they have housekeepers and nannies and they stay at home and can’t find enough time in the day. Makes me want to slap them. Am I the only reader of your blog that works full time and juggles a family/home life? At times it appears I am.

YOU however do not irritate me, because I know that Matt is gone and you have been an exemplary wife, willing to shuffle from country to country in order to be his confidant and side-kick, mother of his children extraordinaire. You also write a great blog, and read/sift through others blogs which takes time.

After reading thru the comments posted by the stay at home Mom’s (some of which were clearly not reading what you wrote very carefully – like the one that was upset because you vacuum 3x a DAY…ahem) I think maybe you need to approach your day like you have an office to get to like I do- not as most of them are suggesting. I get up early, which I hate by the way, but I have responsibilities at this stage of my life that have to be tended to. I sit by myself to wake up a bit with some caffeine while the house is still quiet and I check my emails. Then when I feel like I’m no longer squinting and my eyeballs are reasonably open, I get the kid up and start processing her. I process myself inbetween processing her, which is a juggling act, but I make her breakfast, do my makeup, hair etc all in the kitchen so I can go over any upcoming test materials we studied together the night before etc. etc. I do a quick pickup of the house (takes about 7 minutes) and then we are out the door. I drop her at school, I’m off to my job.

to be continued in next post below as I'm too wordy here...

Stephanie Smith said...


Because I am priviledged enough to work 7 minutes from my house, I go home about 50% of my week for my lunch break and I do any cleaning up I can while eating on the fly. This is not restful, it is not peaceful, not really a break. But I’m anal with my house (or at least I try to be) and clutter and messes drive me nuts just like I know it does you as well. So this is my quiet time when I can tackle it and not have people tugging on me. The other 50% of my lunch time during the week I go eat with my husband which is a treat. Then I go back to work, to be a diligent insurance worker bee.

Once I head home, the kid instantly wants to be fed so I cut up an apple or some other fruit and that keeps her tummy settled while I make dinner. And not an elaborate dinner, maybe 20-30 minutes tops. If I feel like cooking, I’ll do it on the weekend so we have leftovers throughout the week. I then help her with homework after the tummies are full and depending on how long that takes, I tackle any more household chore like things for 30 minutes tops and then I’m done. I’m done. I turn the clock off by 8pm. That’s my veg time. I watch my tivo shows, read, whatever. Everyone leaves me alone or comes and snuggles with me, but they know not to ask me to “do” anything for them, they are on their own. I’m usually asleep by 10:30 or 11.

continued again below...

Stephanie Smith said...

As far as laundry goes- I ran a housecleaning business for 4 years so I actually purchased a LOT of books on how to best tackle keeping a home ship shape. Among several pieces of advice, the one I gleaned and implemented the most was laundry day- needs to be ONE day a week to tackle it and get it over with completely and not have to have it strung out over your entire week, hanging over your head. Totally contrary to what the stay at home Mommies said in this comment section. It works for me, it’s either Saturday or Sunday and wham, bam, I change all the bedding, handle all the towels and clothes and it’s overwith. I don’t have to think “Did I leave a load in the washer and now it’s getting all smelly because I forgot to transfer it?” or “Oh shoot, hubby is out of socks and underwear.”

I do all this and I still manage to sail at least 1 weekend day a week. Or if the weather is bad, we have a “fun” day together or do nothing day together. I know other people have always considered me to be a high energy, even a manic, do it all, wonder-woman type, but I don’t see myself as that, I just see it as this is my LIFE. It doesn’t mean it will be this way forever. Once the kid graduates and goes off to college (hopefully) we plan on purchasing a very large boat and living on it. Then my responsibilities will lessen for sure, and my playtime and relaxation time will increase.

I don’t have 3 kids or a big furry black dog (although you know I did and miss him terribly) so I cannot relate to the multiple kid thing. I’m sure many people will disregard what I’ve said here for that fact alone. I know how much you wanted each beautiful munchkin, and the struggles you’ve gone thru to have them here on this planet. You’ve also been moving around a LOT, I mean a LOT, even though you get a break every year or so, switching between continents. This is no easy task- even a single person would have a hard time pulling it all off.

So the moral of the story is: think of your home and family life as you being a business owner. You are the boss, you are in charge. Make yourself a routine (which includes your downtime for yourself) and then stick to it. And stop being so hard on yourself. You are an exceptional woman that I am proud to call my friend. xoxo

Issa said...

I have let cleaning go down some. Not to where it's gross, but I've lowered my standards. Buy Clorox wipes. I use those to clean as often as possible. So much easier.

I own a Roomba. They are pricey. Like $200. But If I run it everyday, it cleans up all the dog hair. You just have to clean it often. But it is a robot vacuum.

Some nights? Cereal for dinner is okay. Promise. Cheese quesadillas. Pizza. Know that right now? Sometimes the easy is the best you can hope for. As long as they are happy and fed, it's okay.

You can't be superwoman friend. It's not possible. But know that you are doing it. And? Every now and again....take a break to visit some good friends. ;)

Can't wait to see you.

Sara said...

These responses are long, so I haven't read them, so I don't know if this has been suggested. Check out flylady. She's turned home organization (and cleaning) into an art. http://www.flylady.net/

Kat said...

Well, my hubby is home with us, so I have it much easier (although I still do everything anyway) but I think the biggest thing is to not take on too many extra things. Right now, just worry about the basics. And I mean basics. There is nothing wrong with having turkey sandwiches for dinner once in a while. Nothing wrong with making french toast or eggs or pancakes once in a while either. No harm done. Try not to stress about that too much.
Also, Grace isn't in daycare and Ben is only in preschool twice a week for a few hours, so I have those two all the time. I do my cleaning when they are awake and let them try and amuse themselves. I only do laundry once a week (usually three or four large loads) and I let Ben help me sort and stuff. I sweep everyday because we have a lot of tile and my kids are messy, but I do that while they are awake too. I try to get everything done while they are awake so that once they do get to bed I actually get a bit of done time.

I don't know. I don't think there is any trick to it. I think it is different for everyone. I think you just need to try different things and see what works for you. You are in a very difficult spot right now without your hubby around. It is HARD. You have to learn to let some things fall by the wayside sometimes so you don't go crazy. ;)

I think you are doing an amazing job! I don't think I would do as well as you do.
Hang in there!

OHmommy said...

Oh Jill - I'm constantly exhausted & my husband comes home at night. The laundry piles up - my entire to-do list keeps growing. I have panic attacks going over the things that need to be done.

So much to do and so little time to get it done.

If you find the solution call me. ;)

elmoisgr8 said...

Hahaha!! Some of these comments/ideas are great! I think I remember you saying you take Synthroid right? I don't know if you experience this but for about a week or so out of every month I have NO motivation, none. My head wants to get things done but I just can't get my body to follow. It's like I just shut down. Maybe it's just me. So honestly, when I feel motivated and great I become a freaking mad woman and bust out everything I can before that time hits and when it does, I take naps. ~Laura

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Reading you is like reading a younger me! : )
I never did find the time to fit it all in. I did cook with my crockpot once this week and my Le Creuset dutch oven twice. Some weeks it ends up being a night of pizza. Once I had the car accident I was forced to just let stuff go ...

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Reading you is like reading a younger me! : )
I never did find the time to fit it all in. I did cook with my crockpot once this week and my Le Creuset dutch oven twice. Some weeks it ends up being a night of pizza. Once I had the car accident I was forced to just let stuff go ...

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Reading you is like reading a younger me! : )
I never did find the time to fit it all in. I did cook with my crockpot once this week and my Le Creuset dutch oven twice. Some weeks it ends up being a night of pizza. Once I had the car accident I was forced to just let stuff go ...

Lisa said...

I'll send you some crock pot meals. I'm not promising they're healthy, but their easy & kid-friendly. I don't know how you do it. Seriously, don't know. Josh is gone so much & there are nights that he walks in the door & I give him the look that says "Take the kids and give me 20 minutes of peace if you want to live". And you ARE doing yourself favors like dropping the religious ed, etc. More than anything they're getting love from you, which is what they need most :) Hugs!

Sunny said...

My heart goes out to you because I am at my end and I have one less child, and a husband with a cush schedule. I think there is something innate in being a woman that we are just hard on ourselves, when we don't need to be.

Don't beat yourself up if you don't get it done. That being said here are my secrets to mediocre success.

1. Crock pot with some sort of pre-marinated meat thrown in with some kind of chopped vegetable. I usually buy these meats at Trader Joe's
2. Pre-made pasta sauce at TJ's with Gnocchi or some other noodle.
3. Boneless chicken breasts with some other TJ sauce in crock pot

Can you see how I am becoming a product pusher for Trader Joe's here.

As for the cleaning stuff. I hire a maid to come once every two weeks. They clean stuff well and unlike your maid in India or wherever they seem to really know how to use American products, it is really refreshing (sorry if I just insulted your Indian maid, I am just basing this on my 7 tried and failed Filipino maids).

Good luck! You are a super fabulous chick and you are doing great things.

Sunny said...
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Sunny said...
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Kate Coveny Hood said...

I have been meaning to comment on this for a couple of days - but clearly, I have the same problem. I have never before let my blog go for weeks at a time (like I do now), but honestly, I can barely keep up with every day life. I have no advice for you. There really aren't enough hours in the day. I guess it all comes down to picking what to prioritize and what can slip. I've been prioritizing people (spending more time with my kids, husband and friends) and downgrading my online life and the laundry. The laundry needs some serious attention now. Maybe I'll get back to blogging after that?

When are you coming here??? I want lots of advance notice so I can prioritize you!

eve said...

I don't think I read anything above about the FURMINATOR, which has totally changed my life.
We have two big dogs and our house needs (or needed, rather) very frequent vacuuming. After the furminator, which I'm sure the girls will love doing, the hair factor has probably decreased by about 100X. It's amazing.
They sell them at PetSMart, etc or online I'm sure. I often wish I'd have done a before/after shot of the dogs and then turned it into a blog post, because it was fascinating.

Kristi said...

Screw the 27 hour day, the kids would find a way to fill those hours and rob you of sleep. I know it seems overwhelming right now and all the cheerleading is probably driving you nuts as much as it is encouraging you.... so here goes my two cents.

You have your priorities right. You know you do. Your kids have time with you, and you are concentrating on their mental, physical and spiritual well being. Do whatever you need to do to keep your head above water. Here is what worked for me.

1. Menu planning. It's been mentioned more than a few times here- not only does it help you organize and have a better idea what to make for meals, it saves money. This does not mean Monday=meatloaf. This means, you pick five easy simple meals that you love, put the recipes on the fridge and buy the food you need for those dinners. Lunch= sandwiches, pastas, or whatever else you guys love. Healthy prepackaged snacks are a bonus. I would be ashamed to tell you how many times we had breakfast for dinner while Todd was on his camouflage vacation, but eggs and toast are always a hit. If it works, if its easy, DO IT. Trader Joe's prepared meals are your friends.

2. Hire a sitter one day a week. For me, my folks came down every Wednesday night. Dad cooked dinner, Mom changed the sheets on all the beds, and I went out that night. By myself. All alone. My week held a LOT less pressure when I thought, "I'll just take care of that on Wednesday." and I put it on my list. The mental health break and the decrease in stress is worth every penny.

3. Join the gym. Sorry if I've told you this before, but the best piece of advice I got was, "Nobody checks if you work out." So I joined the gym with childcare. For 75 dollars a month, I could go any day for two hours (within childcare hours) and take a shower, do my bills, read a book in the sauna, wash my hair, shave my legs alone....the possibilites were endless. And occasionally, I took a yoga or pilates class. The kids played with other kids, socialized, and I stopped feeling like shoving a stick in my eye.

You've got my number, call anytime. Especially if you feel as though you're being nibbled to death by ducks. Been there.

Kristi said...

And for the meals:
Breakfasts Muffin making one afternoon a week. We like Fiber one Apple Cinnamon, but any mix will do if you want quick and easy. And silicone baking cups mean never having to scrub the muffin tins. Good for two breakfasts or a freezer freebie.
Oatmeal- we like to make it in the pan and throw in any fruit about to go off, but increasingly picky eaters like the instant Quaker.
Rudi's organic wheat english muffins, frozen precooked sausage patties and sliced cheddar= Mcmuffin without the egg hassle. The time it takes the english muffin to cook and you're done.
Frozen Waffles and Fruit. Both available in the freezer section. Grandma Costco loves you.
And Cereal. God Bless Cereal. If you don't Look at the nutritional content, you can convince yourself it's okay for breakfast.

I can't find my blog said...

Sorry I didn't see this earlier. I SO feel your pain. My tips:
1- plan, plan, plan. On Sunday, write out the schedule for the week: school, scouts, everything. Then you can:
2-Meal plan! Plan crock pot or dutch oven dinners for the busiest afternoons so you won't be scrambling. Or schedule time to eat out. Some days just require that and it's ok.
3-make a shopping list for the grocery.
4-plan errands for the morning that you don't have kids with. It's so much easier and faster if you don't have to buckle car seats.

Last? Don't hesitate to call in help from family and friends or hire a sitter as others have suggested. Most are happy to help when you're having your worst/busiest days. Leave the older girls with friends when you can.

Kristi said...


Sandwiches in mini pitas: canned chicken with Costco pesto and purple onion. Tuna fish, hummus. If you can stuff it in there, there's a good chance they'll eat it.
Good crackers, cheese and pepperoni. Let em build something.
Pancake sandwiches, leftover from breakfast, with pb&J or nutella.
Veggies that they like and dip they love. Hummus? Cukes?
Meatballs from Costco and a sweet and sour sauce. serve with leftover rice from last night.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Quesadillas with veg hidden inside.

Kristi said...

My favorite dinners:
Trader Joe's prepackaged meals
Breakfast for dinner. Don't know why but ever after a year it still blew their minds that we were having pancakes and eggs for dinner.
Roast chicken from wherever. pick off some meat, some broccoli and tomatoes with a loaf of bread- yum!
Make your own pizzas- Costo pocketless pitas, jar of sauce, mozz and some toppings. Don't even heat up the oven and use the toaster oven. White pizzas and pesto mozz are perfect!
Pasta, jar of alfredo sauce and some more of that roasted chicken.
Eyeballs and worms- the meatballs from Costco (5 pounds for 12 bucks is so worth it) some pepper and onions over rice or pasta.
My favorite crockpot recipe is 1 jar salsa, one can black beans NOT drained, one can corn drained, 1 package low sodium taco seasoning and 2-3 chicken breasts. Cook and serve over rice with lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc.

Hope these help!!

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