Confession: When the doorbell rings unexpectedly, I go into ninja mode. I freeze. I tiptoe. A cold sweat breaks out on my forehead. Like Pavlov’s pups, the ringing of the bell results in an automatic response from my kids–absolute silence.
This completely terrible reaction has nothing to do with our love of company but everything to do with the usual state of our home. I absolutely love having a clean house. I love it when there is a place for everything and everything is actually in its place. It brings me peace and joy.
But kids. I love them more than life but, my word, they come with all the things and all the things are always in all the places. Obviously never in the places actually meant for those things but such is life right now.
When the house is a wreck, I’m irritable and stressed and it’s completely overwhelming to my slightly Type A self. If total perfection can’t be achieved during naptime, I find myself throwing my hands in the air and declaring THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
So in an effort to make 2017 the year I get my groove back (and my children get a slightly less grouchy mama), I’ve rounded up five super helpful tools to hopefully bring out my inner domestic diva.
I discovered FlyLady in my early days of motherhood. My first baby was about 15 months old and I was still living under the delusion that I had the only toddler house that wasn’t company-ready (bless). FlyLady held my hand and asked, “Do you feel like you are drowning in CHAOS (can’t have anyone over syndrome)?” Yes, FlyLady! I do! She eased me into her system. A nightly routine, a morning routine, and her 31 Beginner Baby Steps were a gentle way to kick my rear into gear. She offers some great tips to get your mind right, as well. Things like going to bed with an empty sink or immediately dressing down to your shoes in the morning will set you up for success. Who knew? FlyLady did. You can find all sorts of good stuff on her website.
- The Confident Mom / Motivated Moms
My “Mom Brain” is in an advanced stage. I know what needs to be done daily but I have trouble remembering all the things that should be done monthly or quarterly. That’s why discovering The Confident Mom’s weekly household planner was a game changer for me. She lays out what you need to do in weekly increments. And she remembers all those once-in-a-while chores for you and incorporates them into the year’s worth of weekly lists. You can download it for free and even customize it for your family before printing it out a week or month at a time. I’m an old school pen-and-paper gal about lists and calendars but maybe tech is more convenient for you. Motivated Moms is basically the same system but they have an app to keep you on track. The app works with both Android and iOS and has lots of great features. You can check it out at Motivated Moms’ website.
- Chore Pad
This chore management app was highly recommended to me by a mom in the know. That smart mama knew that our chances of getting it all done are greatly increased when we delegate. It’s not child labor. It’s life skills. Plus, kids love tech so Chore Pad will hopefully seem like a fun game to them. The app is colorful and engaging with customizable themes. Kids can even earn trophies over time for chore completion and parents can hand out bonus stars for particularly well-done jobs. This app is currently available on iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. You can find more information here.
Menu planning. Sigh. Groan. Whine. 6:00 catches me by surprise every night and these people in my house want to eat dinner again. There are limited meals in my brain’s catalog. Unless we’re having tacos twice a week, I need help with kitchen creativity. eMeals to the rescue! Weekly meal plans delivered right to your inbox. There are tons of options (clean eating, budget friendly, kid friendly, etc) and they will send you a week’s worth of dinner recipes with coordinating shopping lists. A three-month subscription is $30 but those recipes are yours to keep and repeat as necessary. You can find more information and a 14-day free trial on the eMeals website.
- Paprika Recipe Manager
This is another one I can’t wait to try. Paprika is compatible across Android and iOS platforms and includes all kinds of cool features. It has a built-in browser so all those recipes you find on Facebook can be imported to the app. The cloud sync will allow you to manage your recipes on the computer and then bring your tablet or phone into the kitchen with you for cooking access. There is a monthly menu planner and also a smart grocery list that will pull needed ingredients from your planned recipes. I may have heard angels singing when I researched this one. You can find more information about Paprika here.
Bonus Tip: Great music and sassy cleaning attire make the chores easier. I can’t back that up with actual science but I promise it’s true. Grab a sassy apron and some cute rubber gloves. Crank up your favorite music and dance your way through the piles of dishes and mountains of laundry.