Do you have working mom stress? Of course you do. Somehow in the back of your mind, in the very beginning of growing up, you had pictured things a little different than they are now. You are not alone.
Fact is, we all thought things would be different, and the ones that say their lives are perfect are either lying or delusional.
I was self-employed when my three kids are in the range of 7 – 13 years, and if I could go back in time, I would not do that again. Sure I could pick my own hours – to a degree. And sure my kids could come to work with me if they were sick. But the time I spent at home on work stuff, I can’t get that time back. Back then I thought I was just trying to get a business off the ground and things would slow a little – they never do.
But, trying to find daycare on evenings or weekends, forget it. I could have gotten a job at the local mill for millions of dollars an hour (not quite, but it would have been lots) but I could not get a sitter for the evening shifts, nor the early 6 am shifts. Back to poverty I go.
First and foremost, know that you are doing the best you can. You are doing more in one day than most people, including those dearly beloved husbands – if you have one.
So my advice is to realize that something has to give, and maybe you can make the choices before the choices make it for you. For instance, those dinners. Dinners and meals are really stressful, this is why television commercials make it look like the perfect family quality bonding time if you bring such-and-such home for dinner. Nice try.
My dinner advice is nachos! Seriously, think about it, all the ingredients can be chopped and grated in a few minutes. No pots and pans. Just plates and everyone makes their own favorite nacho dinner, then 1.5 minutes later in the microwave – Presto! Dinner! We lived off nachos for years.
Other meal thoughts are to realize that those food guide meals are maybe not the perfect diet. We don’t need cooked meat and veggies every night. We don’t need bacon and eggs for breakfast. We don’t need an every-food-group lunch.
At our house, it was like:
Breakfast: cereal, cinnamon toast, toast, and milk, juice. I didn’t eat breakfast, cause I was getting everyone and everything else ready, but I did take a little extra lunch and eat that at first break.
Lunch: always sandwiches, a snack and a drink – nothing fancy but nothing overly processed. And listen to what the kids want to eat, within reason, like not liking those hard granola bars. One parent found a backpack full of those, but the kid did say he didn’t like them.
Dinner: Nachos with toppings like anything you have, including any cheese, any meat (pepperoni slices sliced into ribbons, diced ham), tomatoes, peppers, onion, green onion, black olives, broccoli diced small, spinach into ribbons, pineapple, ground beef if you are energetic, sliced sausages, and of course the sour cream and salsa.
Another Dinner option: Scottish Macaroni – that’s 2 cups of noodles to be cooked, half a large package of cheese grated, one can of tomato soup. Mix cooked noodles with cheese and soup and bake for 30 mins on 350 degrees, and presto, no one will tell the difference that’s there is no cheese sauce.
Another option: Deli plates: that’s basically whatever you have, diced and sliced like appetizers for a party plus sausage patties and boiled potatoes. The whatever ingredients could be tomato slices, veggie sticks, buns, pickles. Oh, and boil twice as many potatoes for tomorrows potato salad or hash browns.
Whenever you cook, say spaghetti, make enough for 2 meals. this is a lifesaver, then the next night or the 2nd night, dinner is waiting. If you are one of these people that can’t eat the same food 2 days in a row, then you better start liking it. I used to make baked spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna, and shepherds pie in a roasting pan for a medium sized turkey.
And there is nothing wrong with bacon and eggs for dinner either.
Now to being organized. I would miss paperwork from school like notices, because there was no central dumping ground for these. It has to be easy to find, like a bin next to where the keys are, or your little office area in the kitchen. And remind the little darlings to put there stuff there every day for 2 weeks, they should remember after that. Also, figure out what sets you off in the morning and fix that one thing. For instance, for me it was finding a lid for my lunch container! Lids too big, too small, cracked or missing, I had to take a leisurely few minutes sitting on the kitchen floor one evening to sort it all, I put bottoms in one bin and tops in another bin. Way easier on my head.
We like to be helpful, but its time to stop. Don’t volunteer unless it is really easy for you to do so. For instance, it is easy to take chocolate fundraising orders for the school at your work, but it is almost impossible to attend any school PTA meetings in the evenings. Not at this time anyways.
Yes, get one of those daily planner booklets, I’ve had them 15 years now. Trying to remember everything is stressful. There are smaller planner versions that fit easily into your purse or large pocket. And keep them, they are nice reminders of your happy life, 5 years from now. And mine look just like the one in the image!
Pick out your clothes the night before. This is a quiet wind down time for me. I put the dirty clothes in the hamper, put on pajamas, then pick what I will wear the next day. In the morning, I stumble half asleep to the shower, after I am dressed and ready in minutes
I am not going to say to “take care of yourself”, because that drives my blood pressure up. The people that say that are the same people that want to feel like they are helping without doing any real work, like doing that laundry piled up.
And about that laundry, I installed four separate towel racks in my bathroom so each of us could have a towel rack each and hang up our towels after to dry, and use for another day or two or seven. This will save tons of laundry. And for goodness sake, make sure it is easy to do the hanging (hooks?) and that one kids towel doesn’t touch another kids towel!
I am not going to tell you to take a bath. Every mother on the planet knows that every kid has radar for when the bath tub fills.
I am not going to tell you to get a hobby, cause those cost and you might have to pay a babysitter to attend.
I am not going to tell you to meditate, if you have quiet time for such activities, you could actually be sleeping.
I’m not going to tell you to exercise, because you’ve been working all fricken day and you just want your muscles to not move for a change.
Find something funny to watch on TV. I’m one of those TV before bed people, and something funny lulls me to sleep, not anything stressful like a cop show or reality show. For instance, I watch “Psych” reruns, and OMG that has got to be one of the funniest shows in the universe.
This post has some of the same cheap and easy meals as above plus a couple more helpful hints.
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