Minimizing Chaos

During our routine week, our family lives in some shape or form mainly consist of work, school and home and everything in between, like going to the gym, math tutoring, fire dance practice, and doctor appointments, just to name a few. We find ourselves burnt out quickly, desperate for some peaceful solitude in our day!

Many times I would start my week with morning chaos…waking up, hoping I have enough time to squeeze in a workout, search for a work uniform shirt, jump into the shower, wake up sleepy head kids from their very zombie-like slumber, make breakfast while trying not to burn it, serve breakfast,  pack school lunches, figure out what’s for dinner, potty train a new pup, bus kids to school, fight traffic, work a full 8 hour shift, rush home, let the dog out for a potty break, cook dinner, pick up kids from school, fight more traffic, come back home, serve dinner, clean the kitchen, wash dishes, help with homework and without noticing time flew by and its 11:30 pm… having only 5 hours to myself to rest before doing it all over again =:( I can keep going, but many can nod their heads and agree, we all experience some level degree of daily chaos!

Overtime, I became physically and emotionally burnt-out. I found myself getting sick with random fevers very often. Unfortunately, I did not have enough accumulated paid vacation time or sick leave from my job to take time off. Due to the nature of my job, turning off my cell phone, was not an option, although I did enjoy the idea of shutting it off, I giggled at voice recordings I came up with. My favorite was “ I’m out my mind, and currently out looking for it, I will eventually call you back. Please leave a message! Boooohhhpppp!”  It was obvious, my daily routine needed a massive DIY makeover that involved much needed structure and efficiency! These are things I implemented:

Prepare for the next week as much as you can

Pick a day out of the week that works best for you to prepare for the next 5 work/school days. On that day:

  • Wake up early, give yourself an early start before the kids and dog get up!!
  • Work out or ….chil-lax with a coffee or an energy drink!
  • Make a hearty meal in your slow cooker… Once its cooked, cool it down and then fill as many food containers as you can. Eat it throughout the week or pack it for lunch!
  • Bake once a week. Keep it simple, like a cake, chocolate cookies, maybe a tray of brownies!
  • Do laundry. Wash everything everyone will need for the next week. I don’t like to iron or make creases!  As soon as work or sunday clothes are fresh and hot from the dryer, I will hang each item on hangers to prevent wrinkles!
  • Involve the kids when doing their laundry, after all it is their laundry! When my kids were younger, I gave them 5 t-shirts, 5 pants, 5 pairs of socks and 5 boxers for the next week. They mix and matched their clothes however they liked. In a hanging closet organizer , they placed one complete set of clothing for each school day.

On-line Grocery shopping once a week

Most large grocery stores offer curbside or home delivery service… use either service provided, it makes your life easier. No, you are not a lazy mom, your practicing the art of efficiency! Grab a pen and paper, take inventory of everything in your kitchen. Can you create meals with what you already have? On that same sheet of paper, create next week’s grocery list, shop online for groceries, check-out, choose a delivery service you want, either curbside or home delivery and book an appointment time to pick up your groceries. If you find it weird to shop for groceries using a computer, that is absolutely understandable. It was unnatural for me at first, but now I am online grocery shopping super fan! This convenience does help with a cranky teething baby in the backseat!

Shop with efficiency at your local grocery store

If I am not using grocery curbside or home delivery service, my choice of grocery store to shop is Aldi, its small enough to navigate and get everything you need reasonably priced. Create a grocery list that flows with Aldi store aisles. Items on your list should coincide with each aisle you walk thru. Depending on your local store layout, the first items on your list should start in first store aisle as you enter the store, and so on. My local Aldi store layout is much like this one, see below. At the beginning of my shopping trip, my grocery list starts with Aldi’s first aisle, so that means, the first items on my list is Knoppers, Keks sandwich cookies, Choceur, coffee, coffee filters and bread, still in aisle one, my list will have vegetables and fruit, moving my cart forward a few walking steps, as I review my list, it is cheese, cold cuts, pizza, and so on. Your list should act as a navigation map to get you through the store. Before you know it, you are done, having everything you need for next week! WWOOHHHHOOOO!


aldi store layout

Every night, have your family pitch in where you need them

  • If you pack kiddie lunches everyday, while you are in your kitchen in the evening making dinner, have the kids lay out their lunch boxes, clean them out, then fill them up with items that do not require refrigeration such as boxed drinks, water, snack bags with chips or cookies, etc, then in the morning, everyday, make fresh sandwiches.
  • After dinner is done, delegate chores. Divide chores equally, such as cleaning up dining table and countertops, loading dishwasher and help put food away.
  • Designate a special place by your morning exit door for school bags, laptop work bags, instruments, lava-lavas’, fire dance sticks, ID badges, ballerina shoes, fairy wands, and keys. Before everyone goes to sleep these items must be in this spot!
  • Encourage everyone to keep the house clean throughout the week, cleaning up after themselves, put toys away, wash dishes, throw trash away, etc.

Keep weekly distractions to a minimum

  • Especially on week days, refrain from turning on the television, this a detrimental time waster. Maybe a radio would be a better option, if you need some morning motivation!
  • Do not start any big chores, if a chore can wait, put it off until you get home.
  • All school documents that require parental review and signatures will definitely hold you up in the morning. Dinner time is the best time to ask the kids if they brought home any surveys or field trip slips for you to review!
  • Have the kids shower in the evening time before going to bed

DESIGNATE a “Me-Time” break every evening, even if it is for 15 minutes…DO IT… your head will less likely explode!

  • Go for an evening walk with the dog
  • Do some yoga
  • Take a long shower
  • Read a book
  • Do a word puzzle
  • Listen to a 15 minute podcast

Just say No

Your week is busy with work and personal obligations, don’t feel obligated to take on other responsibilities that you can’t fully commit to. Learn how to set boundaries and say “No”. You may feel guilty saying “No” to overtime hours at work, or volunteering at social events. Always remember, you are only human, you can only handle what is realistically possible!

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