Posted in Parenting

Finding Family Time

We live in a hectic world.  I’m lucky this year as I’m off work for maternity leave, but when I work we find ourselves with a family of two full-time working parents, one of which is also studying to gain another degree.

My days are pretty hectic.  Wake up, nurse Elliot, fix breakfast for the kids and myself, remind the kids a gazillion times that they have to brush their teeth and yada yada yada,  get all three kiddos in the van (this is especially fun during winter), drop off the kids at daycare and come back home (1 h round trip).  Usually, I’m back home around 10am and I spend the day caring for Elliot and the house (and myself when I get a nice nap out of him!).  By 4pm I’m back in the minivan to go pick up the kids.  Once home, I get supper running, my husband generally arrives once I’ve gotten everything going.  After that it’s bedtime preparations (which sometimes, sometimes not include a bath).  By 7:30pm, the kids are generally in bed.  Whew!  Then, there are weekends: groceries, laundry, gymnastics for Charles and swimming for Amélie.  It just.  Doesn’t. Stop.

I’m sure this is pretty indicative of the average family’s day.  Sometimes, I feel like a temporary parent.  I see my kids for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening.  It’s hard to balance family life, personal life and marital life.  Yet, it’s important to try to find a way.

So, in an effort to maximize our together time (beyond just meal times), we decided to try out the movie night concept.  On the last Saturday of every month, we’re going to have our supper downstairs and watch a movie of the kids’ choosing together.  We tried this last Saturday and, though I wasn’t too sure what to expect, it was great!

We made some nachos, spread a tablecloth on the floor in front of the tv and the five of us (yup, Elliot hung out with us too!) had a “picnic” whilst watching Kung Fu Panda.  I put Elliot to bed at around 7pm, the my husband, Charles, Amélie and I cuddled on the couch to watch the remainder of the movie.  The kids had a blast and it was fun to spend some real quality time all of us together.  We are definitely going to do this again next month.

It’s so easy to get caught up in life to neglect family time.  Between work, fatigue, the need for personal time and those darned screens (y’know, tablets and smartphones and all the jazz), it’s easy for everyone to be physically together in a room (or in the house), but not make the most of that time.

How do you spend family time?

Posted in Parenting

What’s Your Cleaning Routine?

Ask my mom how tidy my room was when I was growing up and she’d probably either give you an eyeroll or break out in some form of maniacal laughter.  (Actually, she’d probably tactfully say that it wasn’t one of my strengths but that I had plenty of other strengths) #gottaloveyourmama.

Ask my mom how tidy my house is now that I’m 31 with two and a half kids and she’d probably tactfully say that I’m a great mom and that it’s a good thing that I’m able to let go of the little things.

The truth is, I suck.  Like seriously suck.

I know how to clean, I know how to tidy up, I know it’s important.  I know the tricks.  But darn, I just can’t get my act together.

Problem #1: I am a serious procrastinator.

Last year, when I was still on maternity leave, I figured out a method that actually worked for me.  I started by decluttering (I used the 31 day decluttering guide I found on the Living Well Spending Less website).  Then, I scoured the Web and found a whole bunch of example cleaning schedules.  I mashed a few together, put them on paper and voilà, I had myself a cleaning schedule that worked for me.

Since I couldn’t just do everything in one day as I used to in my pre-kid life, I found that there were two general methods to go about keeping a house clean and tidy.  The first was to go at it room by room (as in, each day, you would tackle a different room).  The second was to go at it task by task.  I opted for the latter as I found it more logical to take care of all the laundry (or window/mirror cleaning, or mopping/vacuuming, or dusting) on the same day.

And it worked!  I was able to keep a clean and tidy house and not go totally nuts with the seemingly monumental-feeling task.

But then, life caught up to me.  I had to go back to work.

Problem #2: I work full-time and often have to bring work home.

Suddenly, I ended up going back to work full-time, juggling two toddlers and becoming pregnant.  (That’s when the procrastinator in me kicked in and determined that the kids, my sanity, some quality time with my partner and my sleep were more important than the tidiness of my house).

But boy oh boy.  Besides the fact that my house regularly looks like it was hit by a tornado, I find myself with horrors like this when I dare look under the couch in the living room.

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This is the most recent stash that I found hiding under the couch.  Notice the can of baby corn to the right which is indicative of my daughter’s newfound passion for emptying the pantry.

Of course, I also find myself picking up toddler boxers all the time because, you know, why play with toys or the food in the pantry when you can just empty out your brother’s boxers and adorn yourself with them (yet another of my daughter’s passions).

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Problem #3: I have an 18 month old and a 3 year old.

Luckily, I do have help.  My partner and brother and the ones responsible for doing the dishes.  We also pretty much split supper duty and my partner’s pretty good at sweeping the floors.

Honestly, I am able to live amongst clutter.  I am fine with seeing dust accumulate on my bookshelves.  I can relax on my couch and see toys littering the floor.  But I would like to become better at housekeeping.  I want to find a balance between being a good teacher, being a good mom and being a good housekeeper without going nuts or burning myself out because…

Problem #4: I’m a perfectionist.

And so, dear readers, I turn to you.

Do you have any suggestions?  What does your cleaning routine look like?  How do you juggle your different responsibilities?