With all the changes and challenges COVID-19 has brought to 2020, probably the most notable change is what’s happened to parents all across the nation: everyone, to some degree, has dabbled with homeschooling.
Moms with careers who counted on the care and education provided by their children’s schools have had to somehow figure out how to work from home while simultaneously juggling Zoom class meetings, projects, and trying to make sure everyone eats more than goldfish crackers and pizza.
It’s honestly been a great challenge for everyone to adjust, even for an already-homeschooling family like ourselves!
I was used to our weekly trips to our downtown library, which boasts a massive children’s section with *tons* of sensory play activities for my toddler/preschool combo. But when this was taken away, along with all of our playgrounds and parks…oh man oh man.
I feel that we moms, more than ever, are feeling the need to be on top of everything. We want to be able to have things under control, as much as possible. And we want things to be easy and simple and not overwhelming.
But is this possible?
Well, to a degree, yes, and to a degree, no. We control what we can control and let go of what we can’t (#facts).
Home management is one area that we moms can create systems for in order to keep under control. That’s why today I want to share five home managing tips that have worked to help keep our home running well during this time. I’m not saying I have everything nailed down, but there are some things I’ve figured out over the years that work and I’ve applied them time and time again.
If there’s ever been a time where we homeschooling moms need good home systems and an easy, adjustable plan for how to handle all things related to the home, it’s now. Here are my personal top five home management tips for homeschooling moms:
Identify the areas of home management
There are a lot of things to keep track of as a home manager, so I’ve found it easier to keep track of them if they’re categorized. In The Busy Mom’s Simple Guide to Home Management, I go into detail about these categories. You have:
- meal planning/shopping
- family calendar
- deep cleaning
- personal admin (checking all your inboxes, including voicemails, emails, and all other messages)
- master to do list
As you can see, I’ve kind of thrown everything in here (including budgeting). Since the home is not a person and neither is a budget, both can be managed well using good systems and habits.
Once you identify the areas of the home, then you can work on creating systems and processes and building habits.
Create systems and processes
For each of the above areas, with the exception of tidying, you can develop a system that will allow you to get this area of the home running smoothly and consistently.
For instance, the current process I have for laundry and deep cleaning is that every morning as part of my personal morning routine, I put a load in the wash.
I assign my older girls (8 and 9 years old) each an area to clean. They get to earn $1 a day doing this, and this way I can simultaneously teach them about how to manage their money properly while simultaneously equipping them with deep cleaning skills.
This could be scrubbing the baseboards in a particular room, wiping down doors, cleaning air vents, dusting, cleaning cabinets and kitchen appliances, washing windows, etc. I don’t make it extensive, and it doesn’t take a whole lottta time, but it helps keep the home deep cleaned.
While tidying is on the list, tidying is actually not a system but a habit. You can build the habit of tidiness as a family, a little bit every day. By practicing putting things back after you use them and teaching your kids to do the same, you’re training them not only to keep your home clean, but to build a habit that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Be realistic and don’t try to do everything yourself
Being a home manager doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. What it does mean is that you bless your family by seeing to it that these things get done by someone, even if it’s someone outside of your home.
When I was a new young mom, I assumed that everything to do with the home was mainly my responsibility, so I tried to do everything. But I hadn’t mentally separated home management responsibilities into categories, I had no systems, and no rhyme or reason to what I was doing. Every day was just mindless cleaning and some cooking, and combined with the every day neediness and unpredictability of raising kids, I was all around frustrated and overwhelmed.
I managed this way for a few years, but after my fourth child, I came to a place where this approach just no longer worked.
I also realized that there was no way I’d be able to be the one to single-handedly keep the home and all its functions running. I had a baby I was nursing, a toddler I was trying to potty train, and two other kids I was homeschooling.
So once I realized I could easily categorize all the areas of the home, it was very clear that there was no way for me to actually be the one who put the manual labor into everything, especially as a homeschooling mom.
So I delegated the yard and the car to my husband and made these completely his responsibility to oversee. Every once in a while, I’ll hire a cleaning company to just give our home a good deep clean as well. I’ve also come close to considering a meal service, but just couldn’t bring myself to justify the cost!
So again, you don’t have to do everything yourself. I recommend implementing and focusing on one thing at a time, starting with what’s most important to you right now in this season.
Keep a products list
Along with categorizing things and being realistic, it’s also helpful to keep on hand a list of products you consistently use on a daily basis.
This not only helps keep your home regularly stocked (because it stinks when your kids are starting their schoolwork and there are no decent pencils in sight) but it helps when you shop!
Make home management part of your “curriculum”
As a homeschooling, home managing mama, you have the opportunity to teach your kids responsibility by bringing them into the management of the home.
I do not believe that we mamas need to be making life a big entertainment party for our kids. I believe that to strengthen and develop the nuclear family, our kids need to see themselves as a vital part of the keeping of the home.
My kids understand that it’s not my responsibility to look after the home and the children. My older girls help look after the littles and they all help with cleaning up.
Seeing home management this way helps ensure that you’re not carrying the entire load of the home, and also that you’re teaching your kids that everybody works together in a family.
What are some of your favorite home management tips for homeschool moms? Comment below and share!