As the matriarch of your own little kingdom, you're responsible for the most basic of human needs: feeding, clothing and sheltering your family. Add a hectic work schedule into the mix and you may wonder how you'll ever manage to have an organized, clean home which you wouldn't be embarrassed to show off to your friends. While tackling chores as a working mom can be tough, it's not impossible -- especially if you get the help you deserve.
First and foremost, your family is supposed to be a source of support and love, not of endless work and burden. To make it feel more of the former and less of the latter, don't take everything on yourself. Encourage your kids and spouse to see chores as a family affair and something that everyone helps with. Even little children are capable of clearing their own dishes and picking up toys. If you're the organized type, create a family chore list and assign one chore for each person each day. If you're into positive reinforcement, give stickers, TV privileges or other rewards when your kids do their chores as asked. On top of that, your kids can have regular duties that they'll eventually do without thinking twice, such as making their beds or clearing their own plates.
The business of eating three meals a day -- and then cleaning up -- is a big task. Even if you don't eat all of your meals at home, it might feel like there's always an endless pile of dishes and food cleanup to do. A dishwasher can be your best friend, but if you don't have one, let go of the need to wash up after every meal. Do dishes once in the evening, getting older kids involved with washing, drying and putting away. Make meals easier by cooking and freezing large amounts or double batches of things like casseroles or chili, or use your slow cooker to reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen. Speaking of food, don't skip breakfast, no matter how busy you are in the morning. Working moms typically spend about three hours on chores before the work day begins -- so you need those calories to get through the day, according to an article published in "The Telegraph."
Even small spaces can get cluttered and messy fast when kids are involved. Your kids' daily chore list should help you keep on top of some of the cleaning, but you may also choose to organize your own cleaning one of two ways: either assign yourself one room or one duty to do each night, such as cleaning the bathroom on Monday and organizing the closets on Tuesday. The other option: do all of the cleaning and organizing in one shot. While it could cut into your weekend happy hour time, some moms choose to do all of their cleaning on a Thursday or Friday evening, leaving the weekends for relaxing. Another option: hire a housekeeper, or trade services with another mom. She cleans your house once a week, you do her taxes at tax time, for example.
By the age of about 8 or so, your kids should be more than capable of sorting white clothing from colored clothing, putting a cup of detergent in the machine and turning it on. Your little ones can also help fold clothes and put them away -- and your spouse can do his own laundry all together. Your laundry schedule can follow a similar one to your cleaning schedule: either do it all in one day, or break it up and do a load or two in the evening. To cut down on clutter, get large, durable baskets or containers for your family's dirty laundry and stash them where your family gets undressed -- even if that means having more baskets than you thought you'd need.