Working while being a stay at home mom is not for the faint of heart. Heaven knows you don’t have time for complicated strategies and techniques and formulas...just, no.
But you do have problems you trip over again and again (think: laundry piles in the hall that never seem to end), and you do need to find better ways to solve them so you can focus on what really matters.
These 3 questions cut through the fluff to get to the heart of the matter.
(BONUS: this brilliant acronym: MOD. Because, #the60s)
I know lots of you like *worksheets*; you can click here to download your copy.
In fact, why don't you go ahead and print yours, grab a pen, and work through a problem with me. Ready? Here's what the blank one looks like:
First of all, you need to be specific about your problem. For example, “fix my life” is not specific enough, but “my biggest stress is right now is dinner,” is great.
Bonus points if you include how it makes you feel (stressed, behind, frustrated) and how you WANT to feel (calm, in charge, organized).
We've included tons of example illustrations throughout this post.
1. MINIMIZE is your first quick question.
Can you minimize or simplify this thing?
Sometimes it helps to draw or write out your current process. Think in terms of steps: can you skip steps?
For example, having pizza delivered is minimizing the dinner problem, because it skips a whoooole bunch of steps in the cooking dinner process (including clean up!). Maybe you can order pizza every Friday, and order takeout every Thursday and grab it on your way home from soccer practice? BAM. Two days taken care of.
Here's another idea. Walmart and Target freezer sections both have frozen family meals that are pretty healthy, delicious, and--easy.
You can minimize the total number of steps--but you can also minimize all the steps that need to happen during crunch time.
Another example of minimizing or simplifying a step is hiring a meal service, like Prep Dish or Grounded Nutrition, or using a service like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, so somebody does the meal prep for you!
Maybe you can do batch cooking/freezer cooking or use more crock pot recipes. Maybe you can block time in the morning to prep dinner, so you’re not realizing at 6pm every day that you forgot to thaw meat for dinner.
2. OUTSOURCE is your next quick question
Can somebody else do this?
As women, we tend to take on the "I am responsible for meeting all the needs of everyone in the whole world!" Not true, sister. Yes, you have some basic responsibilities, but you can't meet all your kids' needs or your spouse's needs or your friends' needs...it's time to be creative about delegating. ie, inviting people into your life to share the load and grow closer to!
People who might help (without being paid):
Kids old enough to cook
Friends (dinner club?)
Spouse (if you don’t have a spouse who takes happily to chores, it often helps to explain it in terms of dollars lost and gained--I lose two hours every night making dinner. We’re losing $X because I’m making dinner instead of working. If you make dinner and I work, we’ll have an extra $X every week.)
Inlaws (could your dear mother in law or mom bring you dinner once a week? If you begged sweetly?)
Personal chefs (yep, totally a thing)
Friends who need the extra income
3. DROP is your final question.
Can I drop this?
How bad would it be if this didn’t happen?
OK, it would be pretty bad if dinner totally didn’t happen. Obviously, your people need to eat.
But maybe they don’t need three-course, nutritionally balanced meals every night...amen?
You've chosen to work from home, and you've probably done that in part so you could spend more time/be more available to them. Which means something else in your life has to give, and if it’s perfect dinners every night, that’s ok, because that end result fits with your most important value--time spent with your kids. NOT time spent cooking.
A quick search on Pinterest reveals these easy ideas for no-cook dinners: sandwiches, microwave mac n cheese, leftovers, cereal, cans of soup, premade salads, etc.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like my dinner problem is SOLVED! We have so many great ideas now!
BUT WE CAN'T STOP THERE. The final (really, really, really) important step is making a super simple plan of attack. I want you to pick your solution(s), and state what you’re going to do IMMEDIATELY to put things into action.
BAM. We just managed to cut my cooking down to one night a week. WE ARE BRILLIANT!