It was six o’clock in the evening when I sat down to write a hip, trendy blog post on family friendly movies. As I stared at my computer screen and struggled to get past a bad bout of writer’s block, I realized that I had two hundred papers to grade, two children to bath and feed, and only a handful of hours before I would be too tired to keep my eyes open anymore.
I quickly put down the computer and scrambled to get everything done (without having a nervous breakdown about deadlines), and of course my two year old managed to take all of my students’ papers and folders and spread them out all over the living room, successfully destroying all of the organization that I worked so hard to create and maintain. My color-coded system for students and class periods looked like a rainbow threw up all over the family room floor.
I struggled to remain calm, but I was already 24 hours late for my deadline, and my students had to have their papers back and graded by 8 AM the next morning.
That was when I realized that something had to give. I couldn’t handle it all; there was simply too much. So much goes into being a mom, whether you’re a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) or a working mom. I know because I get a little taste of both. During summer, I’m a SAHM, trying to keep the house in order and the kids alive and somewhat entertained, and during the school year, I’m a working mom trying to get all of my students’ papers graded while trying to fit in some quality time with my two littles.
I will be the first to tell you that both are ridiculously demanding, and neither category (SAHM’s or working moms) has an easy job. It’s easy to get overwhelmed because, let’s face it, whether it’s papers to grade or laundry to fold, when you’ve got two small children vying for your attention, it’s nearly impossible to get anything done!
So, in the spirit of motherhood and sanity, I’ve come up with a brief list of suggestions to help us all get stuff done. Whether you need to cook dinner, send out work emails, paint your fingernails, sweep the floor, feed the dog . . . I’ll stop the list there because we all know that our jobs are never-ending! Here are three ways to manage your responsibilities and your little ones without have a nervous breakdown:
The life-saving baby swing:
Put your infant in a swing! If your kiddos are anything like my baby, they want you to hold them ALL THE TIME. As much as I love him, sometimes I need to use my hands. His swing is the only thing that will keep him happy for ten minutes while I do really unnecessary tasks like using the bathroom and taking a shower.
Don’t judge! Sometimes my two year old gets to watch a couple hours of her favorite shows so that I can get some lesson plans made for the next week. Her favorites currently include Tro-tro and Word World. Hey, at least Word World is educational!
Pacifiers, markers, and coloring books:
The baby’s pacifier keeps him calm, and the two year old will color for hours. Find something that your kids LOVE to do and save those things for when you absolutely HAVE to get some stuff done around the house. That way, the activities are still interesting; if they get to color or play with Play Dough or paint all of the time, they won’t be interested in those activities when you need them to be! Save some of the fun stuff as a special treat, and you’ll get some much needed time while they play.
I love my kids, and I would like nothing more than to spend every minute of my day playing with them. However, just like all of you SAHM’s and working moms, there are other things that need to be done, and sometimes you have to keep them busy in order to stay sane and on top of your other responsibilities!