Of course, like any other job, it is an essential requirement to smarten myself up and work smart instead of working hard. In this line, working hard would kill us, more than help us because we require boundless energy and we really need to be apt in time management to help organize and prioritize better. Every day in the job, we need to be quick thinking in order to get things done quick and well. The job scope is pretty endless, but I have learnt my way around it instead of working myself to the bone. Believe me, keeping our minds healthy in this line is the most important thing, because a healthy mind is the only thing that will keep us going and our little employers growing.
I have myself a little SAHM cheat sheet that I am willing to share with you, only if you promise not to call the social workers on me. I promise you, these little employers are willing parties in my exploitation of working smart. :)
1. Get them involved in everyday chores
I have written once before about the importance of getting the children independent at a young age. This is a key aspect in getting my children involved in everyday chores, and it helps me cut down my work by a great amount. It does not have to be big chores but rather simple ones like:
- Cleaning up after themselves once they are done with play. This is very important because we all know that they play 3849585938595 times a day, and we cannot possibly clean up 859593838585 times a day either. So, the best it to let them clean up after themselves and make it as fun as you can each time. Simple things like "Let's see who can clean up the fastest" and singing a clean up song would help these little employers get into groove really quickly. They love challenges so spice things up by issuing a competition between siblings, and it will get the job done very quickly.
- My laundry of a household of four members can be a crazy mountain in just three days. I don't know how or why, and I am still searching for an explanation but my biggest task to date is figuring out how to do laundry without going bonkers. The washing, the sorting, the hanging and the folding, that alone could take up a whole day without me realizing sometimes. But again, I get my little employers to help out. Things like sorting, and pegging the clothes, they could do and they would do without much complains. Better still, pegging does involve refining their fine motor skills, and sorting does help them cognitively too. So I am technically helping them too!
- You know how children eat with crumbs everywhere? It happens a lot in my household because my kids are constantly snacking. Biscuits, cereal, crumbs crumbs everywhere. And again, I can't possibly vacuum or sweep a million times a day. Hence, I get them to do it each time they find their own crumbs on the floor. Did I mention, sweeping helps them with the eye and hand coordination too, and building those strong muscles for gross motor skills as well! I cannot emphasize how much I love these double-killing tricks!
2. Pretend toilet scrubbing is part of water play.
You cannot go wrong with water play and children. What I do is I have indoor water play in our bathroom every week. During this time, I get out a couple of brushes and scrubs instead of the usual water play toys and get the boys scrubbing like Cinderella. Yup they pretty much scrub the floors and the walls, and get extremely squeal-y when the whole bathroom is covered up in foam. This is an extremely dangerous activity given the fact that soap makes the bathroom extra slippery, so please be supervising them the whole time. Best part is, they really enjoy it and the bathroom gets cleaned without me actually having to scrub. You can't help but love having kids when they relief you of chores you hate!
3. Give them responsibilities and trust them.
I steal naps from time to time. Especially since my little employers never nap anymore, and I don't really have an explanation on how they can be awake at 7am, and still be running around with energy at 3pm. There are days where I cannot cope with being awake for such long hours, especially if I had been working on a school project or assignment the night before. Hence, I do steal naps. Stealing naps at work may get you into trouble, but in this line, I think my little employers find it as a time to express their freedom! I am very open with my boys, and it helps that my elder child takes instructions really well. So each time I need to take a nap on the couch, I tell the boys that "momma really needs to sleep because I am tired." They understand and will start planning our their free-time from me. I will give my elder son the responsibility to take care of his brother and inform me if he is up to no good. I do not nap anywhere else but close by to them and I don't actually fall into a deep sleep. It's like sleeping but my senses are still aware of the surroundings. I think it's a mother thing, to be able to do a thing like that and it requires tons of training! My elder son actually loves the responsibility and the way I trust him to take care of the house. Mind you, he's only four.
4. Make going out your babysitter.
Some days when I am really tired to do any chores or activities with the kids, I bring them out. WHY you ask me? Because I believe that public spaces may be the best babysitter yet. Bring them to the playground or the park. Find a spot to sit and rest, while they run about and get themselves tired. If you need quiet time, bring them to the library and plonk yourself in a nice couch, while they busy themselves with finding books and reading them. It is free, and it gives you the time to recharge and the children gets to use up their energy really fast too. Pssstttt, they will come home flat out for the night. That is how I get my deserved night rest. More places to venture around Singapore can be found at Gingerbreadmum and #FunForFree on IG!
5. Have a support system in the husband.
Before I got married and before I had children, I was very transparent with the husband and I told him I am not his robot nor his helper. Obviously he agreed and that's why we are married. (I would have been a runaway bride if he did not!) More so, we agreed on building a home together, and we both know that it takes more than one pair of hands to make it work. Hence, I am very thankful to have a husband who is my best support system. Not many know this, but I actually knock off work at 7pm. Once he comes home from work, I get to chill out, plonk my feet up the couch and rest. He takes care of the kids, feed them, wash them, play with them. Not that I entirely wash my hands off them, but I generally get rest while he becomes the hands-on dad. So I do really look forward to his return from work, where I get to rest and do other me-time things and then we will put the kids to bed together. And on Saturdays, he takes care of the kids wholesale while I am in class. It is good dad-child bonding, and I get a breather too. Sometimes the husband is ever too ready to help, and we just need to ask. I am thick skin enough to do so, and he loves me enough to do so either. He believes very strongly that by keeping me healthy and happy, I will be able to offer more to the household. Indeed, indeed.
With that, I have come to the end of my cheat sheet. I hope you have not decided to call social services on me and instead adopt some of them for your own household. Being a stay at home mom is no easy task. It is the most tiring and can be the most daunting job, but its rewards are amazing. So hang in there, you have all the support in me and 30 other moms who have poured their hearts and offered tips in helping you with the journey! Good luck!
The Playful Parents who runs a crazy domestic circus where taming wild beasts is easier than the chores of laundry, cooking and cleaning. The educator-turned-play activist believes that everything in life just tastes better with generous helpings of love and laughter. Especially when you begin to wonder if you made the right decision to stay home with your children...
This post is part of a blog train hosted by Gingerbreadmum where 31 stay-at-home moms share their survival tips. In the journey of motherhood, we all need support and encouragement from one another to know that though it's not an easy path but it's definitely worth while and we need not walk alone on our own. You may follow the entire SAHM survival tips series by clicking on this link and bookmarking it, the list of participating moms and their links can be found here: