Friday, July 22, 2011

A Brand New Plan

I have been trying to come up with a way to structure my work/home/family life in a way that is more workable than the running around like a chicken without a head like I have been recently. I have been trying different approaches but nothing so far as been working for me. I have found a lot of ideas online, along with some free printable lists, schedules, menus, etc to help one organize and run their lives. However, nothing that I have found was a totally “me” way of doing things and I wanted to customize a plan that would fit into my life.

As you know, if you have been reading my blog a while, I am working part time for the company that I have worked for since 2001 (6-10am), then I work several days a way for my sister caring for her little girl (10:30am-5pm). I also handle the house cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying, diaper washing, etc. I don’t handle the garage or the outside, Smug-Hub takes care of the yard work, the landscaping, the little garden, mowing and shoveling snow, etc.

It has always been my position that since I am not bringing in as much money or working as long of hours as Smug-Hub then the responsibility of the other areas of our life should fall to me. Having said that, Smug-Hub does a lot around the house too, part of his responsibilities include picking up the slack and doing the things that I am not able to get done in a day/week. He is always willing to help if I ask him (he does tend to whine about it for a while, but he does do it).

So, my goal has been to find a way to run the household and get all the chores done during the week, so that we have the majority of the weekend to be together as a family and do fun things. I don’t want to spend the whole weekend cleaning, shopping, doing laundry or cooking. I want to take my family to the pool, go to church, get together with friends, etc.

It boils down to finding a balance between the things we have do to bring in the money, the things we have to do to run the house and the things we have to do to stay connected as a family.

Enter a new development…

Smug-BIL just got a promotion which is going to change his schedule from a rotation to Monday-Friday with an occasional Saturday. So, instead of waiting until Thursday or Friday to find out what days in the coming week, if any, I am going to not be working for Smug-Sister, I will have a more set schedule.

This is how we are going to move forward on a trial basis, Smug-Sister is going to watch her baby herself on Friday’s, so I can plan on being off that day each week. Then I am going to work for her the other four days of the week. The plan is that I will come to her place right after I leave the office at 10am. I will nurse, change diapers and whatnot for a bit and then put the girls in the car and let them have a nap. When they wake up we will be at my house and I will let them play while I attempt to accomplish something around my own house.

To this end I have developed a schedule that I think will be doable given the short amount of time and the huge amounts of distractions I will face from the girls while there:

Monday – laundry (this includes the normal loads, plus a monthly rotation of curtains, blankets, rugs, etc.)
Tuesday – grocery shopping (this includes trips to Kroger, CVS, and Wal-Mart) and collect trash and recycling.
Wednesday – this is project day (more on that later) and washing diapers
Thursday – clean both the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms
Friday – the dusting, vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. Also, since I will be free after 10am, this is the day to complete anything that I may not have gotten to during the week.

That leaves Saturday and Sunday both free to spend together as a family, with the exception of running another load of diapers through the wash on Saturday.

Now about project day (Wednesday) – I want to maintain a really clean house but I normally end up doing a surface cleaning of things (dusting the coffee table without cleaning inside the drawers, or sweeping and mopping the entry way without washing the grubby fingerprints off the banister, etc.) because I am warn out and have a limited window of time. So, I concocted a 3 month rotation of deep cleaning that, once I get it done once, should be totally doable within the few hours that I have on Wednesdays to maintain.

There are 12 areas in my home (dining room, living room, hall, bathrooms, master bedroom, Smug-Baby’s bedroom, kitchen, entryway, laundry room, office, & garage). If I concentrate on one area each Wednesday, each room will have a deep cleaning every 3 months!

I have created a checklist with the tasks that need to be done within each room to complete the deep cleaning. I figure that I will be able to follow that list, marking off each one as I complete it throughout each project day. This way, if the girls’ need me or I am otherwise interrupted I will know quickly where I need to pick back up to complete the day’s task.

This plan also allows me to spend the evenings during the week focused on spending quality time with the family making dinner, having bath time and story time without pressure to clean something. My daily plan will include things like making sure the kitchen in clean and the house is picked up before I head to bed.

I know that life will sometimes get in the way and I won’t always be able to stick to my schedule, but if I can I really think that it is doable and will balance all the areas of my life without weighing me down and wearing me out!

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