Get organized for picture day. Professional Organizer Nonnahs Driskill has three tips for you and your kids for school pictures this year.
Is there such thing as life-work balance when you are a mom? Lots of people have been asking this question.
This being said, there are some tangible things we can do to be more organized with our limited mommy-time every day.
First of all, I’m going to assume you are taking care of yourself. Because it goes without saying that if you don’t get enough sleep, exercise most days, and eat fresh foods there is no way to find balance in your body, much less your whole life!
After that, I’ll tell you two things that have been monumental in helping keep my family schedule organized so I can be more productive than the average bear.
shared mobile calendar
The first is a shared mobile calendar. We Driskills use google calendar, but any online calendar will allow you to see what your partner or childcare provider is doing and vice-versa. This in turn will give you a chance to plan without having to discuss or argue about priorities at every turn.
School gets out early next Friday. No problem. It’s on the calendar. Both parents are aware.
You are both working late Monday night. The last one to book work, books the sitter.
You want to go out with the ladies. Check the calendar to see if there’s a night you wouldn’t have to hire a sitter at all because another adult will be home.
There is a bit of a learning curve as you all get used to relying on an app instead of your day planner or wall calendar to tell you when to go to the dentist. But the payoff in increased communication, and the practice of actually planning ahead, will seriously change your life and possibly save your marriage.
Can I get an Amen?!
hire some help
The second thing I recommend is hiring household help. I don’t mean a butler or a catering service to cook your meals. (However, if you can afford it and hate to cook, then I do mean exactly that!) I mean taking an honest look at some things you really prefer not to do and figuring out who could do them for you.
There are small jobs in every home that can be outsourced—maybe to your own children as chores (bingo!) Or consider help that is already in place. How happy was I when I discovered the dry cleaner down the street will iron a man’s shirt for $2? I thought for sure I was going to win the noble prize for marital harmony! Now, instead of spending over an hour ironing (and not very well), I spend $10 and pick those puppies up later. $10 is worth 85 minutes to me.
If money is tight, get creative about how to outsource. There are young students in every town who want to earn money. Find those and let go of the guilt because you may be saving money by doing it yourself, but you are still spending–spending your free time. You may also be building up some resentment. (Not that I know anything about that!)
There is no cookie-cutter model for achieving a work-family-self balance in your life. Finding balance is like parenting itself. Everyone feels like they could be better at both things. But the reality is, the majority of us are doing a pretty darn good job.
At our bookclub meeting last week my friend Monette got all giggly and excited to show me her kitchen cabinets. (This is the kind of social situation you find yourself in when you declare yourself a professional organizer. That, and everyone tells you about their neighbor/aunt/crazy grandfather who was “for sure a hoarder”.)
Seriously, though. This is a friend for whom I have done a little organizing. She supported my business in its infancy by hiring me to help with her home office and a closet. Evidently my tips for her during those sessions a couple of years ago made an impression!
She now gleefully promised me that I was the inspiration behind her decision to move her seldom used bake-ware to her top cabinets and bring down the heavy corning ware and pyrex to put in its place. Also, she moved lighter things like linens up high and put heavy things lower where they are easy to get out. And something as simple as that was now inspiring greatness in her kitchen!
But, Wait! That’s not all!
What items do you use often that are currently too far out of reach? Do a switch-er-oo for yourself and tell me all about it!
For reasons that don’t matter at all, I put a clothing rack in my living room a few days ago. I put it there temporarily and I put it in the least obtrusive place. At least I thought it was the least obtrusive. The rack is tall and partially obstructs a window.
Once it was in place the (very minimal) loss of natural light and the blocking of the window itself bothered me so much that I just stood there amazed at my annoyance. I talked myself down from the ledge remembering it was only going to be for 4-5 days. Geez! What an anal retentive basket case!
Now, its 4 days later and I don’t even notice the clothing rack.
How did this happen?
My house is pretty sparse, as you might imagine. So, for me to get used to a large object blocking the flow of light and energy and that once bugged the crap out of me in only 3-4 days is pretty amazing to me. Makes me wonder what other things I’ve gotten used to around the house. What else could be shifted to improve the feeling in each room? This is where it helps to bring in an objective eye.
An objective eye could be a photo lens. Sometime if you take a picture of your space and then look at that photo later you’ll be able to see the things in your house more critically.
An objective eye could be a good friend who has a gift for interior design. Ask them to give you come ideas. Or hire a pro.
Take a look around your house. What is blocking your light? What has been blocking a pathway for far, FAR longer than you intended it to? A suitcase that isn’t unpacked yet? A box from something that came in the mail last month? Something you mean to give to someone but you keep forgetting?
Handle it. Take this opportunity to handle it. Take the stupid item to the car for your friend so you’ll HAVE it when you see them next time. Unpack the suitcase.
Now how amazed are you at the space you just reclaimed for the health of your home?