By: Jennifer Lonergan
When you’re in the workforce it’s a phrase that makes you smile. It’s the end of the work day and it’s the beginning of your own time.
When you are a stay at home parent, this does not exist.
There is always something to be done. A load of laundry to fold, dishes to be cleaned, emails to be checked, a checkbook to be balanced, a doctors appointment to make and on and on and on…
When I was a stay at home parent with 4 children under the age of 6 feeling overwhelmed was a given. Organized chaos was the only way to describe it.
It was in the middle of one of these chaotic days that my mom called. I don’t remember the reason at the beginning of the call but I remember the end. After a typical conversation of children interrupting while cooking dinner, my mom magically suggested I “clock out”.
“What? No.” This is what I said. She replied, “why not?” It will all be waiting for you in the morning when you wake up.”
Now, this is something I think everyone has heard, parent or not, “It will be waiting for you in the morning.” But we all have our limits as to what we would want to wake up to.
MAKE A LIST
To this, my mom suggested I make a list of what I COULD wake up to.
Here is that list, from almost 10 years ago:
- Dishes in sink only
- Unvacuumed floors
Things I could NOT wake up to:
- Dirty dishes all over counter and stovetop
- Breakfast not being prepped
- Toys all over the floor
PICK A TIME
This was only the first part of the process. Next was picking the time to clock out.
This was easier than the list. 7:30pm.
That was the time of the day that the kids would have had baths, teeth brushed, stories read and in bed. So many nights after they went to bed, I would take advantage of that time to finish up any tasks I could not complete during the day. I’d just keep going and going until I’d just go to bed myself.
At this point in the article, some of you may be wondering where my husband may be in this. He’d be there with me, albeit tired from his day job too. Plus, there are always chores and tasks only the stay at home parent knows about and of course wants to do “their way.”
Making that list and setting a time to clock out was life changing.
Waking up every morning with a full day was easier to take knowing there was a stop time, a light at the end of the tunnel. I felt more in control of my day.
When 7:30 hit, my husband and I would tuck our kids to bed, I would put on my pajamas, come down to tea made by my husband and I’d clock out.