****Updated May 2020*****
Transitioning into being a stay at home mom can be overwhelming for sure. Not only do you have the responsibility to train up your child or children (a full time job in itself!), but you’re also responsible for managing the systems of your home. And if you’re like most modern mamas, you may not have walked into this position prepared!
That was the situation I was in when I stayed home with my first child. I was good at a few things, but by no means was I prepared to run a home. I knew how to clean, could cook a few things, and was good at keeping things organized. But nothing too much beyond that.
Now, 7+ years down the road, I’m not a pro at it, but there are definitely things I’ve learned. Some things I learned by experience, others in prayer, and still others through studying.
If you’d like a really good resource for home management, Kathy Peel’s The Family Manager Takes Charge and The Family Manager Saves the Day are two very (very) thorough works. She covers, in detail, every single aspect of home managing and provides hundreds of practical examples. You won’t be disappointed!
Ok on to the tips. 🙂 Here are my top five home management tips for new stay at home mom (or any mom who needs some guidance!).
Know your responsibilities and make a system
One of the biggest realizations I had when I started staying home was that home was no longer just a place I came to when I wanted to rest. It was no longer just somewhere I looked forward to when I got off work. The home become my daily place of work, and the responsibilities of the home were substance of my work.
Before you had kids, you probably didn’t have to be as strict with yourself about the affairs of the home and when they needed to get done. Sure, you had to pay bills on time and keep the laundry clean, but other than that, you may not have had to think too much about a system. But all that changes when you’re a stay at home mom, and especially if you have multiple children!
In any job, you need to know what your responsibilities are so you can do them well. Home managing is no different. You’re responsible for:
- Keeping the home clean and organized
- Tending to the business matters of the home (appointments, paying bills, phone calls, etc)
- Meal planning, shopping, and prep
- Making sure everyone in the home is prepared for their events (school, tests, events, etc)
- Making sure material needs are kept up with (clothes, shoes, appliances, supplies, etc)
- Tending to the atmosphere of the home (keeping it inviting, loving, and peaceful!)
Definitely a lot of things to keep up with! I’m currently putting together a more defined and solid system for my own home that will keeps things simple and consistent. I’ll make it available for purchase once I’m done, so stay tuned!
I recommend using routines to keep things as consistent as possible. If you need some help, check out this post I wrote on using routines to make your days run smoothly.
Tip: As a home manager, you definitely can’t do everything on your own. I recommend you delegate what you can to your kids, your husband, or others who may live with you. Delegating will become your best friend-it’ll relieve you from doing too much and make everyone around you more responsible!
Tidy after yourself immediately
I know this probably sounds silly, because picking up after ourselves is something our parents taught us to do. But let me tell you…it’s VERY easy to develop the habit of leaving things out and messy when you’re raising little ones!
I’ll never forget when I first realized how out of control this could get. I’d been home from the hospital for about a week with my first daughter and I woke up one morning to dirty dishes, used napkins, and juice left out on the living room coffee table. And that was after cleaning the coffee table like, three times.
Now don’t get me wrong; you won’t be able to tidy up after yourself immediately all the time. That’s just not possible. But I do recommend building the habit of doing so. Taking one minute, for example, to wash a pan you just cooked in can save you several minutes of scrubbing it later (and those minutes really add up!). So if you cultivate the habit of picking up after yourself, you can really save yourself hours of extra work.
Tip: Spend the next few weeks focusing on this habit to help keep things tidier!
Train your kids to tidy their stuff
When your kids get old enough, it’s a good idea to teach them from a young age to pick up after themselves. It teaches them to be responsible for their things and helps keep the home from getting (too) out of hand!
When they’re little, the easiest way to do this is to make a song and sing to it. My toddler loves to sing the “clean up” song when she’s picking toys up. When your kids are a little older, you just have to consistently train them to be tidy.
This is honestly something I’m still working with my older girls on. I didn’t train them to do this well when they were younger (which I partially blame on pregnancy), so their room ends up looking like a pigsty every few days. We’re getting there, with some consistency and no small degree of determination on my part. 🙂
I’ve always been a minimalist at heart, but having to live in a very small house with four kids has pretty much forced my whole family to embrace it too. I have absolutely no problem getting rid of things. I’m not very sentimental when it comes to material things, so it’s pretty easy for me to let stuff go.
Here’s the bottom line: It’s a lot easier to manage your things when there’s less things to manage. When there are too many things, you can constantly feel like things are out of control when all you need to do is just get rid of some stuff.
I normally give things in my home the one-year rule. If I haven’t used it in a year, chances are I won’t use it (with very few exceptions). I really, really, really can’t stand having too much stuff, so I’m pretty lenient with what I get rid of. I constantly have a “give away” pile running in our home. We donate all of our stuff to the local mission outreach in our city, and I would say we make a trip out there every month.
If you have trouble keeping things, you may want to hire a professional organizing company to help you weed some things out. You can also talk to them about some advice on how to keep from accumulating too much in the future. It will be money well spent! 🙂
Read: A Simple Method for Organizing Any Space
Love is the greatest thing
There are some times that life just happens. Like take this past week, for instance. I was down all week with the flu and there was nothing I could do but rest and let it run its course. Meals didn’t get planned, laundry piles were all over the house, the bathroom was nasty, and I still had to nurse my son in the midst of it all. My husband was doing what he could to be both mom and dad, but my home was not the model home for home management.
And that’s just life!
If I’ve learned anything about real life, it’s that it’s a lot more unpredictable than predictable. A lot more things happen at random than things that are planned (especially if you’re raising kids). The most important thing to remember in these times is that at the end of the day, love is what matters most. Love refers to how we treat one another, and it’s the most important ingredient to home management.
I remember a few years ago when my eyes were opened to this for the first time. I can honestly say I was a pretty irritable mommy at the time, constantly frustrated at the continual inconveniences of raising children. Over time, I could see how my negative attitude was affecting the atmosphere of the home. And I thought, why would it matter if the home is clean and well-run if I’m making it an unenjoyable place?
I decided that I needed God’s help to make my home a very welcoming place and somewhere my kids and husband loved to come. So I made this a matter of prayer and yielded my heart, mind, and actions to Him. And He’s been faithful to transform me and help me walk in the ways of love.
So there you have it! Those are my top home management tips. Do you have any you’d like to share? Comment below-I want to hear them!
3 Tips for a Clean Home and Peace of Mind
The Busy Mom’s Simple Guide to Home Management
A Simple Method for Meal Planning
How to Make a Schedule that Works