Oh the two ‘C’ words that I dread the most: cleaning and cooking. They are the two things in my house which take up a lot of time, drive me bonkers, and leave me feeling stressed when they don’t get done.
Over the years I have tried many things to get these two items done each day that just haven’t seemed to work. It’s hard to find the time and balance to get all the cleaning and cooking done in a day.
I want to share what is working for me ‘right now’ that has seemed to cut back on my anxiety for these chores. At the end of the day this has even made them easier to complete.
Cleaning– Seriously, the thing that is always on that silly list. Clean, clean, clean. I feel so guilty cleaning when my kids are awake. I feel like I should spend all that evening time after work devoted to them. For a while I was trying to just clean when they napped, or even worse when they were in bed. So I would be spending my free nights cleaning: yuck!
I have found a balance that works, for now. I have a cleaning list that goes day by day. So Mondays are cleaning the kitchen, Tuesdays the bedrooms, Wednesdays the playroom. Etc. I also make sure to do one load of laundry everyday.
Sometimes the laundry doesn’t make it out of the dryer, but hey that’s okay. I feel like breaking the cleaning schedule down day by day has helped so much. I also try and do this cleaning as soon as I get home from work.
I have my older kiddo do her homework while I clean and my younger child does his “homework” with her at the table. For him, I have him color, stamp, or do puzzles while I am busy. Sometimes it works better if he follows me around and helps, just depends on the day. If it is a no-homework day, I have both kids help me clean. They can either clean their playroom together or work with me in the room I’m trying to get done.
Let your children help clean! You know those baseboards that are super low to the ground? Those are perfect for children to reach and wipe down with a wet rag. Make it a fun game, turn on music and have ‘cleaning dance parties’, let them be apart of keeping their house nice and gain some of that responsibility.
Cooking– Oh! I know my list is full of the list that has the list of what to get for dinner. (Hahaha!) Some nights are not as busy and there is time to fully cook a meal and have it on the table by 5:30. On those nights, take the time and let your child help you!
Even the young kiddos can hold a spoon and stir, teach them about cooking and learning about different foods. Invest in this time to help them develop a love of cooking. Cooking with your children is such a wonderful time for conversation and connection!
Those other crazy nights when the schedule is full and it can feel like a marathon trying to keep everyone happy? I advise you to invest in a crockpot! The crockpot is a game changer. You get your ingredients and toss them in before work and dinner is done when you get home! So easy and simple.
There are a ton of recipes online for crockpot meals; a quick Google search will hit you the jackpot! But, if you are like me, I hate cooking ‘new’ things and I like a tried and true recipe that someone has recommended.
A fun and easy way to get those recipes is to have your co-workers, mom group, church people, etc. do a recipe swap. Have each person in your group print off enough copies of their favorite crockpot recipe for everyone and exchange! You make 20 copies of your favorite crockpot recipe and then you get 20 new recipes back! So easy and it’s a little fun to see what everyone brings!
Bottom line, don’t stress about the cleaning and cooking! Find ways to make it easier on you and your family. Find what works for YOU! Get the entire family involved in these chores so that you are working together, laughing, spending time with one another!
Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher