Note: I first posted this blog in September of 2011 when my two older children were six and two while our youngest was 9 months old. When I transferred to WordPress in August of 2012, I reposted it in the new blog but didn’t make any effort to share it until now. Many moms have been asking me again lately how I am able to accomplish the things that I accomplish with three active little boys, a full time online job and no helper. So I’ve decided to re-share this – my (not-so) secrets to getting things done. It still works for me and I hope it works for you too! P.S. I added a couple more.
I’m a maid-less mom. I’ve been hands-on with no helper since 2010. I work full time from home, I home school my 2nd grader and my kindergartner and I’m still working on my youngest’s speech development. My husband leaves early for work and gets home before dinner time.
Here’s the thing– there are good days and there are bad days. Most often, good days happen because I’ve learned some practical things that help ease out some of the stress. Believe it or not, I do get some time out on these good days; long enough for me to welcome my husband home after work hours with a smile! So, from a maid-less WAHM to another, I assure you, there is hope!
TIP #1 SERVE YOUR KIDS HEAVY BREAKFASTS
When you don’t have a maid, chances are, time of meals will not be consistent. Giving your kids a heavy breakfast can help keep them full long enough till you finally get the next meal ready.
TIP #2 DEVELOP A ROUTINE
You won’t always be able to follow this but it’s good to have one. This helps keep order in your home and allows you to accomplish priorities like home schooling and the cooking! Routine also allows me to have some “ME” time. I get to read my books or watch my movies during a two-hour window that I manage to insert into my daily schedule.
TIP #3 PUT THEM ON AFTERNOON NAPS
This works two-way. Afternoon naps are healthy for kids and healthy for you, too. You make sure they all nap at the same time and you get your daily dose of peace and quietness – you need it to maintain your sanity!
TIP #4 KEEP YOUR HOUSE KID-FRIENDLY
Someone once told me that the way to go is to just leave the breakables be so the children will learn to be careful around them. It doesn’t work for me, not when I have to be on the computer and cannot oversee them playing in the yard or check on what they’re up to all the time.
So, I rid my house (yard included) of anything that can hurt my children. I keep the items small enough to be swallowed and anything sharp out of their reach. Trust me, you can accomplish much more and much quicker when there are lesser worries for your children to end up in the ER.
TIP #5 GET YOUR KIDS LARGE TOY BOXES OR TRUNKS
Most toys are trunk-ables! When they want to sort through their toys, all I do is open their boxes for them. It’s quicker and easier to pack away. The best part is that they can do the cleaning up themselves.
TIP #6 HOLD OFF TV UNTIL NECESSARY
“Necessary” to me means I have a deadline to beat, I need to prepare the food, do some detailed cleaning, make up the beds or take a bath. I need to get them stationed in one place much longer to get these things done. (I let them ransack the play room when my boss is on video chat).
Too much TV isn’t good for your kids, anyway. Kids are resourceful; they can find other things to do when the TV is off. They can play with their toys, scribble, build with blocks and do things that will challenge their imagination and creativity.
TIP #7 DO YOUR TASKS AND CHORES IN BULK
I do my work tasks and my chores in sequence and I complete my check lists before I relax. Because I’ve developed a system, I can now do them more efficiently and in a shorter amount of time.
I get to spend time with and enjoy my children so much more. Believe me, procrastinating a chore is much more stressful, you’ll eventually have to go back to it and then find that you’ll have lost some valuable time.
TIP #8 BED BY 10PM
Of course the earlier you tuck them in , the better, but you and I both know that could be quite a challenge. So let’s set it at 10pm. My husband and I get two hours of lone time, coffee talks & pillow talks when the kids are in bed by 10pm. That’s a lot in a household of 3 active little boys!
TIP #9 GET OFF FACEBOOK
This is harsh. It’s okay to be on Facebook but you need to set your alarm and log off once it sounds. Facebook can get so addictive, I’ve found myself wasting so much time on it when I could’ve spent it folding the clothes or reading a book to my kids.
TIP #10 LET YOUR HUSBAND HELP YOU
My husband takes some chores off my hands when he’s home. Chores like washing the dishes after dinner or home schooling the kids while I do the laundry. He won’t be able to do as much as you but it’s good enough to relieve you of some of your stress.
TIP #11 STICK TO YOUR PRIORITIES
Sometimes, this means turning down an invitation to a get-together or to an event so you can focus on your priorities. Since our jobs take a lot of our time, we make it a point to do things as a family even if it’s just playing a board game with the kids at home or running at the park. Oftentimes, we turn down side-projects.
Spending time with each other and our kids helps me and my husband be thankful for our jobs. You do this for your family, so you don’t want to put your family at the end of your list.
When we get to spend time and enjoy with the people we love, we are reminded of how blessed we are with what we have. Having a thankful stance adds joy to your responsibilities.
TIP #12 WAKE UP EARLY
There’s nothing like starting your day right with a prayer and a verse from the bible to ponder on and hold on to for the rest of the day. You gotta do it before the kids are up or you might not be able to do it at all.
My most triumphant of days were those that I have sought the grace of God as I practice kindness, understanding and compassion towards my kids.
By the end of the day, I would have accomplished the things that I need to do and still have time to do other things with my children after home school. And when my husband comes home, he still gets a whole lot of me (wink).
“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all’.” Proverbs 31:27-29.
Great tips, May. Thanks for sharing! I especially have to remember Tip #12. 🙂 Take care and God bless you!
Yes, tip #12 is the most important one of all. 🙂
You no longer have any small kids so most of these are no longer applicable to you. I’m sure that you have more tips to add. :)Thank you for reading Michelle. I appreciate it.
Wow, I salute you for being able to instill discipline to your family and most especially to yourself. I love Tip#2: Develop a Routine and Tip#11: Stick to your Priorities because I find it so hard to have a Me Time even if I’m already a WAHM, with 1 toddler and 2 maids. I hope to learn from you, thanks for sharing your tips! Great job Mommy May! Keep it up!
Thanks for reading, Sally! You can say I had to learn it the hard way given the circumstances I was thrown. Good and efficient helpers are still a blessing. We have learned to live without one because of a line of really awful helpers that came our way.
But between you and me, if a good one comes along, why not? 🙂
Great post! I was raised by mom without the help of a nanny. I am a step mom and I train my kid to be independent. I work tho so I need someone to watch over him…
yeah, this would work only if you work from home as I do. good that you found someone you can trust with your step-son. we haven’t been as lucky on that area. would be nice to have one whom we can trust not to hurt our children and be efficient, unfortunately, the maids we’ve had were the types that hit our babies, neglected their meals and/or caused problems with the neighbors. thanks for reading! 🙂
Wow! A super mommy! =) I really want to be a WAHM but it is not possible for me unless I quit my profession. Oh well.. I was struck by #12.. and you know what? I woke up at 5:30 this morning instead of the usual 7am. Sana everyday na. =)
That’s great Edel! There’ll be days that you might want to sleep in, the idea though is to make sure you have time to commune with God and prepare for the day ahead. 🙂
Maintaining a profession is not a bad thing, if that’s what you’re called to do, The LORD will sustain you as you continue to raise your children whatever it is that you do. 🙂 I have respect for lawyers, my dad and my brother are both lawyers by profession. Would love to know what your secrets are in parenting your children while maintaining a job, that would benefit a lot of moms like you. 🙂 Thanks for reading!
This is great! I work away from home, but most of your tips here are still applicable. Especially the one about getting off FB. 😀
haha, yah, that pretty much applies to everyone. 🙂
Excellent tips, May! Even for WAHMs who have a maid/yaya, these tips are also applicable. I am still working on setting up my own system and a routine that will work for my family. Good luck to me! But at least I already made progress with tip #9, haha. Wrote a blog about it, too 🙂
Wow! Indeed we are SUPER moms! I also don’t have a helper around so I’m really hands on when it comes to my son. It really helps when the hubby is supportive and hands on too! And I agree, you should try to avoid facebook as much as possible!(:
isn’t it such a time-waster?haha.thanks for visiting my blog.
Hi May! Helpful tips! Three boys, super challenge but super enjoy too! I definitely agree with TIP #12. That’s why I get to read your blog and interact with the super mommy bloggers, hehe. Good morning!!!!
Good morning to you too! 🙂 Thanks for dropping in.
We have a lot of maid-less WAHM in our company and this will be a good read fro them. Permission to share this in our Facebook page. 🙂
permission granted. 🙂
I should just allot a certain hour per morning for Facebook, waahhh!!! I don’t want to justify my FB daily usage but since we are based abroad, it is my sole communication tool to my relatives, friends and business partners in the Philippines.
It’s okay to have Facebook as long as you don’t spend too much hours on it and neglect other things. 🙂 Like your own rest and exercise.