You homeschool. You work. You cook, clean, do the dishes, buy the food, and manage the laundry. You have a dog. You have a husband. You have children. You have a body. You have a lot of plates in the air. They are spinning.
The first rule of thumb: You don’t get what you want, you get what you plan. If you don’t plan well, commit to learning how to do so. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Getting Things Done are both excellent resources for planning.
So, what are some tips for managing your life as a plate-spinning mama?
1. Get rid of stuff
Don’t save, store, or collect things. If you don’t plan to use it now or in the next six months get rid of it. This purging goes for clothes, furniture, knick-knacks, even the fruffy thingamabob from Great Aunt Jo. Clutter takes up space and brain power, and gets in the way of doing what needs to be done. There are many online groups that can help motivate and inspire you to knock out the clutter. Less stuff means more time.
2. Plan your food
- Shop once a week.
- Eat basically the same types of food.
- Use very simple, easily memorized recipes.
- For those of you who work outside the home or have younger kids, I recommend once a week (or month) batch cooking as well as investing in a crock pot and/or instant pot.
- Many stores offer pick-up and delivery service. Order and pay online, saving hours of time.
- As your kids get older, enlist their help with home management. Life skills training and shared responsibilities benefit everyone.
3. Create a laundry plan
- Create a system to sort, wash, switch, and fold. It could be that you assign kids to gather and switch around laundry, and then you fold once a week.
- Buy all the same brand and style of black and white socks so folding socks is quick and easy.
- Every month get rid of clothes that don’t fit or aren’t worn. Sorting clothing regularly keeps the job manageable and allows you to assess what you need to replace.
- Keep a list of clothes and shoe sizes in your planner so that you can take advantage of sales when you find them.
- Streamline and automate what you can. Your home is a job, and if you manage it with intentionality, it will run more smoothly.
I dream big in the summer, over-plan before we start each new school year, and then go with the flow during the year.
Plan for the core four (English, math, science, history) plus a few more (foreign language, computer science, electives etc.), as well as camps, co-ops, private lessons, online learning, etc., and map out the year for each student.
Plan a morning basket, and intentionally spend at least an hour or so on it with your kids every day. Typically, we do Bible study, memory work, and history together, and it is a rich, sweet time of fellowship.
Weekly, schedule a meeting with each child to plan academics, church, work, sports, music, etc., and create a system for getting work done. This teaches self-sufficiency and accountability and provides a regular opportunity to check in with your kids and ask how they are doing with everything.
Take full advantage of outsourcing and blended learning—homeschooling doesn’t mean you have to do it all!
What about You?
Schedule work, play, working out, and re-charge time. What gets planned, gets done! Take time to create a vision board for yourself so that you can remind yourself why you are doing what you do.
What about Mom Guilt?
For those of us who are working and homeschooling, the work never ends. So how do you manage “mom guilt”?
- Give yourself grace and let today’s worries go at the end of it.
- Get good sleep and drink plenty of water.
- Realize that life is seasonal and this season is not forever.
- Find like-minded friends.
- Find a place and space that allows you to connect with God and see the bigger picture.
- If you are blowing it, it’s time to re-evaluate. What can you let go? What do you need to add? What resources and help can you utilize?
- Make sure your goals are smart and set weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals.
What are the benefits of working while homeschooling? Your kids get a private, personalized education. Your kids will learn self-reliance, the ability to schedule, creativity, and perseverance. While we can’t have it all, with some creative planning and outsourcing, we can live the life we are called to!
It’s a crazy, plate-spinning life! What tools, tricks, and resources do you utilize to manage it all?