Growing up I watched my mother come in from work and begin the housework and dinner. I thought nothing of it as I marched my happy little butt outside to play and on Saturday I mumbled as I had to help with the housework. I'm rethinking my position now.
After 40 hours of work a week, I pick up our two children from daycare. Then comes the fun part. Dinner: cooking and cleaning, Grocery shopping: buying and putting them away, laundry: wash, dry, fold, (how did mom do it with a clothes line?) Gotta worry too about the kids, bath time, brushing teeth, potty, drinks, and stories all before tucking them neatly into bed. Of course I haven't mentioned I'm also doing on-line college courses. All this is done so that tommorrow, I can do it again without being overly swamped with what I didn't do the day before.
The thing is. I know I'm not alone. But I do have a few tips that have helped me a lot lately. Organization, Organization, Organization. My children 3 and 5 have learned. Lunch boxes go in a certain spot, both when at home and in the vehicle. This goes a long way when you're in a rush the next morning. When they come home they have a little while before dinner and sometimes we even go outside where they can play, but after dinner comes a routine, it's time to clean (yes they help), brush their teeth, get a bath, drink, potty, and then bed. Most of the time it goes in this order. Depends on what I'm having for dinner and how quickly it gets made.
I also try to limit my grocery shopping trips. Once a month trips to the big warehouse clubs have been lifesavers. They have also saved me money. I just take everything home and then sort it into smaller portions that are family size. The only bad part, they don't take coupons, but with the amount I save buying bulk it's worth it. So I save the coupons for sale days at the local stores on stuff that I can't buy at the big warehouse or won't buy in bulk.
Another trick I've learned is I give my 5 year old a check list in the morning of things to do and set her alarm clock. She gets up and gets her checklist. As she does each item she gets to mark it off. It makes her feel responsible. You have to be careful with this though, it might not work with all kids. I believe that the kid has to be independent and reward seeking.
Also, I've asked my husband to be supportive of my after dinner clean-up routine. I told him it would be easier if he'd be responsible of helping our 5 year old with her chores as I help our 3 year old. This gets him involved in the routine as well.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a perfect solution and there's nights when it's just completely blown out of the water and we order pizza and eat in the living room. (more nights than I'd like to admit), but those nights that we do this really helps.
Please feel free to offer some advice of your own. I'm looking for tips that will help make life easier, more fun, and give me more free time with my family.