Category: Organizing

Virtual Activities to Keep Your Kids Feeling Social

I know moms miss having the kids in school right now, for obvious reasons. There’s no time to work and teach and there is no time to work and teach and cook a million times a day.

Not being in school is incredibly hard on the kids too. Especially the kids who really love going to school each day to see their friends. My kids are social creatures and look forward to conversations with their bus drivers, their teachers, school staff and friends every day in school. There just aren’t as many people to talk to at home. So, we have to get a little creative with how we participate in our friendships from home.

Thank goodness for technology! We use Zoom and Google Meets to keep in touch with teachers and classmates and to have individual virtual play dates. My kids are young so they still like to play on play dates. Here is what they’ve loved so far:

Bake Some Treats – pick a recipe you both have ingredients for (we chose chocolate chip cookies). Follow the steps together and show off your progress. Kids can keep the conversation going while they are waiting for the cookies to finish baking. Once the cookies are cool enough to eat, it’s time for both friends on either side of the screen to grab some milk and get to dunking. There is something so comforting in sharing fresh warm cookies and chatting with a friend.

Play games – There is a whiteboard feature on the Zoom screen. Kids can use this to play tic tac toe, hangman, Pictionary or share the screen to take turns completing a drawing project. This one is so much fun because both kids can participate and no one needs to rummage for the same game pieces.

Watch funny videos together – Zoom and Google Meets allows you to share the screen so you can load up some funny pet videos from the Internet, or share a movie experience together. Everyone can grab their own snacks before they sign on and pick a video or movie to watch together.

Build things – If your kid loves to build with Legos, Blocks or magnetic tiles, or scraps of recycled materials, they will love building something along side a buddy to show off when complete. Kids absolutely love show and tell and sharing their creations.

Get artsy – my kids love to paint or draw or make their own books. Grab all the supplies you need, log on and let the kids brainstorm their own themes and get to work. This is a great way for kids to share in the creative process together while socializing.

Read together – it can be hard to encourage kids to read outside of classwork and school time. But if they have a reading buddy it makes it more fun and feels less like work. Have your child grab a favorite book to read to their friend (and their friend’s pet if they have one). They can chat together in the end about the books, or just about life and connect.

Host a virtual sleep over – we haven’t tried this one yet, but it is on our list! No need to leave your kid logged in all night (mine would never go to bed!). Just hop into some comfy pajamas and get ready to eat some snacks and play some games! You can throw in homemade facials, or chit chat while painting nails. Maybe watch some videos together or make your own silly videos to capture the memory of this really unique slumber party.

Even with the use of technology, it can be hard not seeing people up close and personal. So, we’ve had a few creative socially distant get togethers too. One morning we called our friends and told them meet us outside. We drove to our their houses with music blasting and had a dance party in our car while they were in their yard. We’ve dropped off surprise gifts and we’ve had friends do walk-bys and stand at the end of driveway to offer hellos and air hugs. Just parking 6 feet apart with our cars side by side so the kids can talk across the divide does wonders for their social emotional health.

Now that spring is here and we can be outside, it doesn’t mean we are ready to rush getting together. We still need to keep our socially safe distance apart to keep everyone healthy. We can’t participate in our friendships and socialize the same way as before, but with a little bit of creativity, we can find some new ways to stay together even while we are apart.

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Spring Cleaning During a Pandemic? Leave it to the Professionals!

This post contains sponsored content.

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed by the thought of yard work and exterior home clean up? Between crisis schooling the kids, cooking every meal, sanitizing protocols and working from home I am so exhausted. I am ready for a nap by 2:30 p.m. every day! By Saturday, the last thing I want to do is spend hours on yard clean up and power washing the deck. I feel like as a family we work hard during the week on school assignments, cleaning and chores that I feel guilty doing more work on the weekends.   

As my husband and I made our list of springtime chores, we realize at our current pace and weather patterns, we are so behind. Even when we include our kids in the work, it takes us triple the time to get it done. So, now we are working through the week and on the weekends checking off our springtime cleaning tasks. I am a firm believer that professional help is worth every penny especially when it saves my sanity! So, I want to share with you a family run business out of Clifton Park, NY that I recently discovered, E&J Cleaning and Floors.

Call / Text For Your Free Estimate Today 518-419-4683

Hiring professionals during this COVID crisis can feel uneasy. We want to make sure they are following safety protocols and social distancing practices. Thankfully, E&J Cleaning and Floors has adapted to create a no contact service call to help knock those big cleaning tasks off your list and free up your time. They offer power washing for your siding, deck, fences, driveways, patios, etc., and window washing. All these services can take place at a distance on the exterior of your home, and can be arranged via email, phone or text. Estimates are free and payment handled over the phone before work is completed. That means no face to face, no hand shaking and no pen sharing. This is perfect for families overwhelmed by working, educating and isolating at home, or older homeowners who need the extra help. And, getting these chores taken care of safely will be a huge relief.

Photo credit: E&J Cleaning and Floors

You can visit their website for details and to see before and after photos of all their individual cleaning projects on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Speaking of the details, I notice they also clean home interiors and are providing a unique sanitizing system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help businesses and homes safeguard against the COVID-19 virus, they are using a special Electrostatic Disinfection technique. The technique includes using a designated applicator that administers a negative charge to the EPA approved cleaning solution as it applies an even coating of the solution onto surfaces and into hard to reach places. The E&J Cleaning crew is already using the system inside campers and offices and adapting for residential use. Staff will arrive wearing masks and gloves and keeping a distance from anyone in the house. This service sounds ideal for homes of essential workers who may be worried about exposing their families to the COVID-19 virus, doctors’ offices, families who may be more vulnerable to contracting the virus, etc. I did some quick research and find that it is most effective after a deep clean of your home. E&J Cleaning and Floors also offers in-home deep cleaning and sanitizing those high-touch surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs and handrails.

As a local, small business E&J Cleaning and Floors is ready to serve the greater Capital District area of NY with dedicated and individualized service that includes keeping your health and safety in mind. You can also grab a gift certificate for a cleaning to use when this stay at home life is over. If your house is anything like mine, after four humans living here 24/7 for two months it is probably screaming DEEP CLEAN right about now. (Ahem, Mother’s Day is in 11 days! And nothing says thank you like giving mom the day off from any chore!).

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Here’s Why I am Such a Terrible Blogger

Probably not the title you want to see from someone trying to become “profesh.” But most days I feel completely terrible at my job as a blogger. It isn’t for a lack of trying, or working hard, in fact I write stuff all the time. I am usually writing it all in my head while I’m driving the kids to gymnastics or to the grocery store. I am always taking snap shots of the craziness that happens in my day, but then forget to upload them later. If only I didn’t have to mom all day I’d be a much better blogger, I say to myself every night as I turn out the light and pull the covers up to my chin.

I attempted to work outside the house for about 9 months and it totally threw off my blogging flow. I thought I’d get back into it during the summer and that was harder than I thought. I barely had enough time for my morning coffee before the kids and I were off an running. It was an amazing summer, but not much proof of it in the way of blogs and photos.

The truth is I love blogging and I love writing. But the kid noise and household demands always come first. Call me crazy, but I do enjoy having fresh undies and a clean glass to drink my wine from. #priorities I am often choosing between writing and holding it all together. It feels unfair at times because this is my creative outlet AND chance to make an income for my family. It isn’t that I don’t make it priority, it’s just that there aren’t enough hours in the day. I don’t know how my favorite bloggy moms do it!

On top of all the mom guilt I have, I can now add blogger guilt. The guilt of letting time pass without sharing. The guilt of not connecting enough. Then there is the anxiety (and reason I don’t sleep) that everyone has moved on because I’ve been too busy to stay on top of things. My blogging mission has always been to share the “realness” of my my messy life as a mom. I think I am the same as any other mom just trying to keep up with life and squeezing in a little self-care.

Maybe you can relate to this feeling even if you aren’t a blogger. Do you ever feel like you fall behind in some part of your life? How do you handle it? I wanna hear from you in the comments below! Leave me your best tips and ideas for getting back on track with your creative pursuits, self-care and general flow of life.

I hope you have a great week!

Love,

The World’s Okayist Blogger

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Tips on Installing Your Car Seat

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I am excited to announce that I am officially a great aunt! It’s crazy that I am going to be a parent at the same time as my niece and nephew. I watched them grow up and feel like they are my first babies. Now they are having babies of their own. A lot has changed in the parenting world since they were little and learning to navigate life as a modern parent can be confusing. In the beginning nothing feels more confusing than trying to figure out those car seats!

So here are some tips on installing your car seat:

BEFORE YOU INSTALL

  • Read the manual as soon as you take it out of the box. Be sure you are familiar with the directions on how to properly install the make and model car seat you are using.
  • Save the receipt! Just in case the car seat does not work with your make of vehicle.
  • Register your car seat with the manufacturer so you can get alerts about any recalls.
  • Find out if there are car seat check events available in your area. Learn more about the importance of car seat checks at Cars.com.
  • Research the car seat safety laws in your state. Familiarize yourself with ages for rear and forward facing travel.

AFTER YOU INSTALL

  • Keep an eye on the expiration date of your car seat. It is not safe to use it passed that point.
  • If you are ever in an accident be sure to replace the car seat in your car.
  • If you can, limit the number of times you remove the car seats and swap between vehicles. This will ensure effective use each time your kid gets in the car.
  • Review the weight and height requirements for your car seat often and compare to your child. Kids grow out of things so fast and you don’t want to be caught off guard with an ineffective car seat.

Every parent wants the best for their baby from the very beginning. If you are unsure at any time about your car seat safety ask for help, or look for a scheduled car seat check in your area.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

 

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6 Simple Tips to Finishing Your Holiday Cards Early

Contains Affiliate links for your shopping convenience, I will receive a small commission if you use the links in this post to shop for your holiday cards.

I know Halloween isn’t even here yet and I’m about to talk to you about Christmas cards. That’s only because I am a little ahead of the game this year. Which is completely unusual believe me! We had our family photos taken about two weeks ago. Our amazing photographer is going to give us all our images on a CD so we can do whatever we want with them- like making Christmas cards!

Gone are the days I try to get our perfect cards in the mail to arrive in a timely fashion. But if I start early enough I might just get our cards to arrive some time before the New Year (or shortly after). Today I am going to share with you my tips for getting through the chore of sending Christmas cards.

The Whatever Mom tips for creating easy breezy Christmas cards:

  

Start with a design. There is no rule that you have to use professional photos. Getting everyone to match and stand still can be an extra chore. Instead, make a collage style card using favorite family photos taken throughout the year. Or, just select one favorite family photo from a really fun vacation. The best cards don’t show off a perfect family, but a family having fun!

Look for a discount. Watch your favorite photo sites for discounts on Holiday cards. Minted is currently offering 15% off and free shipping through 10/30. When you get a good deal you can afford to include relatives you excluded to keep costs low.

No signature required. Instead of hand writing a signature for each card, simply have family names printed on the cards. Then you can pop the cards directly into the envelopes and spend zero time writing on individual cards.

Limit your mailing list. You don’t need to send a card to every one you’ve ever known in your lifetime. Keep it simple and send only to those friends and family you keep in touch with the most. Trust me your kids bus driver does not want a personalized family photo card to carry around.

Skip the hand cramp. Minted allows you to save time and energy by uploading your mailing addresses to have printed on your matching envelopes for free! When your cards arrive you literally have to stuff the envelope and add a stamp.

Don’t forget the postage. You can order stamps with your card order. How is that for convenience? Or order online to have them delivered from your post office to your mailbox!

Boom! Finished! Well, that is if you don’t forget the cards on the counter for 3 weeks before remembering you were supposed to send them out.  Whatever, it’s the thought that counts right? Don’t forget to order now and save 15%!

Do you still send out Holiday cards?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

 

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Moms to Kids Everywhere: Make Your Own Damned Sammiches!

So here we are, school is out, the lazy days of summer are upon us and my kids think they have scored it big: they have a personal chef, a maid and a chauffeur. It’s summer time and the living is easy with no homework, no remembering which letter day it is and expecting ice cream for lunch every day. We are only 3 days into summer vacation and I’m already exhausted by the volume of sandwich making! Actually, I’m more exhausted by the volume (watch for the pun) of the whining for sandwiches.

I have been beyond lucky to spend every summer with my kids since they were born. I get what a luxury that is. But I feel like I spend most of my day in the kitchen making snacks and meals, and then cleaning up after all the snacks and the meals. I’ve let the kids help me before and it takes twice as long and actually elicits more whining, “Like, peanut butter and jelly is just so harrrrrd!” I don’t mind feeding my kids. It’s just I can do without all the whining about how I make their food. And if you’re playing along at home right now, feel free to take a shot of whatever you have within reach each time I mention the words “whining” or “sandwich.”

It’s only day 3 and I am ready to break from all the whining! {Shot!} Until I had the spectacular idea that everyone is going to make their own damned sandwiches for dinner. It’s a classic sandwich bar concept most commonly found at social gatherings, parties and picnics. Why not make it feel like a party on a Monday night?

I mean just look at this amazing selection of ham and cheese!

There’s even lettuce to give the illusion of vegetables!

If you’re gonna go full sandwich bar you’ve gotta include the chips! (Potatoes are vegetables too).

Unfortunately, dad ate all the pickles the day before so that left the party feeling a little flat. But that’s OK we’ll be sure to include even more pickles next time!

Also, I served our sandwiches on real plates to show I put a little effort into dinner.

I was so delighted to throw it all on the table and proclaim, “Tonight dear family, you can make your own damned sammiches! Mom is taking a break!” After they accepted this offering, I had a moment of sheer brilliance. I realize I could make an entire week of DIY dinners!! But wait. . . Could I actually get away with filling our entire summer with DIY demands?

Want a drink of water? Do It Yourself!

Want a snack? Do It Yourself!

Want a Popsicle? Do It Yourself!

Want a sandwich? Do It Yourself!! (Yes, you can! I just watched you make one!).

Want a band aid for that microscopic/non-existent scratch? Do It Yourself!

Overall, my kids are good kids. And like most kids they just need constant reminders that they can and they will do things for themselves (including serving themselves).  I’m sure your kids (and maybe your husband) are little like mine. So gather round moms and practice saying it with me, “Do It YOURSELF!!”

 

** BONUS PRINTABLE  Sample SummerDIYDinner Menu

Here are some of my kids favorite things you can get on Amazon:

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Friday Favorites – Koala-T-Time Subscription Box

With the busyness of modern life do you ever find yourself looking for a new way to connect with your kids? Sometimes I feel like we rush through dinner, and our night time routine, and before we know it we are closing the lid on our day when we close the last book at story time. It all goes by in such a flash before I even realize that we didn’t get to chat about any of life’s bigger lessons.

That’s why I am so grateful that Elianis Guevara, CEO of Koala-T-Time subscription boxes, reached out to me with the opportunity to review a Garden Box! My girls love everything about this little box, and I love sharing it with them! Each box comes with a theme, ours was a Garden Box. Inside the box is weekly activities packaged individually to include everything you need to play. From the instructions, to the tiny little game pieces, to questions to ask your kids.

Here’s what our box included:

Week 1 …. Earn & Spend. Live the life of a farmer on a mini board game and learn that working hard brings rewards.

Week 2 …. Save. Work, live, and play while hopping through different seasons. make sure to save for winter!

Week 3 …. Grow. think about the future and learn the benefit of saving for the long-term.

Week 4 …. Give. Be inspired to help those in need as you learn the true story of a 9 year old girls who decided to make a difference.

Special Koala-T-Time Activity– creating a garden in a glove!

The second my girls found this box on the front steps they were thrilled and wasted no time getting a look at what’s inside. We played the very first game of Earn & Spend which included tokens earned for work. This really ties in beautifully with lessons we are trying to teach them about earning. If you are a regular reader of my blog you know we are working on creating a money genius.

The list of conversation starters helps open a dialog about a particular life lesson outside the board game experience. Then parents are encouraged to make it real by sharing their own scenarios with their kids. We like to play board games before bed most nights so this is a great way share our own values and important lessons before sending the kids to bed.

Each game is designed to last around 15 minutes, or less (time is noted in each set of instructions) and give parents some extra time focusing on something that isn’t just homework and chores. After schleping kids to activities and racing to get dinner on the table how many of us have time to create a fully planned out, unique and fun activity inspired by a different theme every month? This little box shows up on your door step and does the work for you! That’s what I call winning!

Select a one time box to see how it works for you and your family, or prepay a 3 month or a 6 month subscription box (free shipping on the 3 and 6 month packages). It’s that easy! Trust me your kids will love getting fun mail just for them, and you will love getting to share extra Koala-T-Time with them! (See how that works?).

If you want to catch a glimpse of other fun boxes to share with your kiddos visit Koala-T-Time at their website, on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received a complimentary subscription box in exchange for my honest review. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. #Amazonaffiliate links contained above. These are safe to use and when you shop using the link I receive a very small commission. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Friday Favorites Mason JarJackets Review and Giveaway

Almost as a right of passage into parenthood, our house has become overrun with plastic toys, plastic dishes and plastic cups. Even our kid care products come wrapped in plastic packaging. It’s just too much! So, we’ve decided to downsize the amount of plastic we have in our house, and we are starting with our kids dishware. I feel like this is a perfect opportunity to get rid of the 1,000 plastic cups that spill out of the cupboard whenever my kids go in search of just the right one.

Glass is definitely the cleanest and healthiest option for drinking and eating. Not only is it sustainable and reusable, but glass is safe from leaching chemicals into our food and beverages. Making the switch to mason jars for drinking is eco-friendly and economical. Here’s why:

  • Mason Jars are composed of all-natural, sustainable raw materials and are 100% recyclable. They can be reused endlessly!
  • Because they are made of glass, mason jars won’t leach harmful chemicals like BPA/BPS and phthalates into contents.
  • Mason jars are dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe  and have endless uses in the kitchen, your home and beyond.
  • Mason jars cost approximately $1.00 per jar (when purchased by the case).

As much I love mason jars for just about everything, we found the two piece lids difficult for little hands to use and we can’t take them on the go. And once the jars get “sweaty” they become slippery. That is until we discovered JarJackets! Super mom and founder, Sacha Laustsen wasn’t thrilled by the plastic cup options for her daughter to drink out of, so she began using mason jars but made them safer by adding a silicone jar jacket to fit. The removable silicone sleeve provides enough shock absorption to withstand the rugged pace of a tiny human. After nearly two years of testing and and revising, Sacha introduced the JarJackets sippy to the world! The sippy lid is all one piece with proper air flow, and is designed to snugly fit the 12 oz mason “jelly” jar. Because mason jar mouths are universally sized, the sippy lids are interchangeable with any regular mouthed mason jar.

The JarJacket sippy is designed to help eliminate chemical exposure, reduce waste and declutter your cupboards! No need to store a bunch of tiny valve pieces and waste time matching the tops. Just store your clean jars with the food grade silicone tops already on. No clutter, and no toxins going into your child’s mouth. The most amazing feature is once your child transitions out of the sippy cup phase, they can continue to use the mason jar with the colorful sleeve on as a drinking glass. No plastic to toss when your child grows out of the sippy cup phase!

Even though my kids are older than the sippy cup crowd these bad boys really come in handy on the go! We enjoy taking our morning smoothie in the car with us. We simply add a straw through the top before leaving the house. The girls carry them back and forth with ease and I don’t worry about leaving the jars in the hot car while we run errands. We rinse them clean to reuse throughout the day for our water and iced tea. The lids come in handy while we are outside in the yard by keeping our drinks safe from insects. I am in love with the simplicity of the design, and how easy it is to take our mason jars with us wherever we go!

If you follow JarJackets on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube you’ll get access to some awesome recipes and mason jar lunch hacks. I am completely hooked on using our JarJackets for more than just sipping! Did you know you can bake a chicken pot pie in a mason jar? Seriously, go watch the video!

As always I am EXCITED to share my love of my favorite things with a giveaway!! Sacha has generously offered to send one lucky winner a 2 PACK of JarJackets + the lids in their choice of color! To enter just comment below and tell us what you put in your mason jars! Unlock extra chances to win by following all the options!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received complimentary JarJackets in exchange for my honest review. All opinions (and mason jar obsession) belong solely to The Whatever Mom. #Amazonaffiliate links contained above. These are safe to use and when you shop using the link I receive a very small commission. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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4 Reasons You Can and You Will Get a Cleaning Lady

Years ago a friend of mine, newly married and about to have her first child, said “I have to get a cleaning lady. Working 40 hours a week and having a kid AND cleaning my house- it can’t be done.” I remember judging her so hard. I admit before kids I was the judgey single girl who slept as long as she wanted and had no idea how much work (and house cleaning) goes into parenting. My immediate thought was, “do you know how many single moms are raising several children at once, working two jobs and still cleaning their own house? It CAN be done.”

Now that I am a mom, and I know other moms, you know what we want? A cleaning lady. I can’t count how many moms answer this question, “what would you do if you won a million dollars?” with “HIRE A CLEANING LADY!” Why? Because our families don’t stop with the messes! I spent an hour and a half cleaning the house the other day. I scrubbed two bathrooms, vacuumed AND mopped the floors and finished a couple loads of laundry. Just as I was patting myself on my back for a job well done I looked back to the kitchen table now filled with crumbles of the snacks I let the kids eat to keep them occupied, and then I tripped over the trail of toys they pulled from the four corners of the earth to play with while I CLEANED THE HOUSE! GAH!

When you tell people you are hiring a cleaning lady they are thinking one of two things:

  1. You must be rich.
  2. You are being lazy.

Turns out you don’t need to be rich to afford a little extra help, and it actually makes you smart not lazy. Here’s why you should hire a cleaning lady, even if you have to sell a pint of blood to pay for her. Kidding. But I’ll totally do it if I have to!

You save your time. It is actually very rare for moms to get time enough to clean everything that needs to be cleaned in a day without a child asking for a snack, or complaining about the atrocity their sibling just committed. You can’t focus on both things at once. But a cleaning lady is there to JUST clean your house. Her attention isn’t divided so the whole cleaning process goes smoother and faster. What might take you two hours may only take her an hour. That means one more hour of your time to spend it the way you want. Play outside with the kids; sip a beverage on the deck, read a book! Just don’t feel guilty you aren’t the one inside scrubbing out the toilet.

You save your energy. The big misconception of hiring a cleaning lady is that you need her to come to your house every week. Not true! I actually hire someone just to do the bigger cleaning. The summer months are the hardest for me to manage. I can just about keep up with the bare minimum, but having a pro come in twice a month to do the bigger clean is a huge help to my stress level. I feel more energized to do more with the kids like watch them run through the sprinkler while I sip my iced coffee on the deck.

You won’t have to break the bank. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on hiring cleaning help. Just pick out a few hot spots in the house that are difficult for you to keep up with and find someone willing to do those specific tasks. For me I can’t keep up with the bathrooms and the floors in the summer. The kids bring in so much water and dirt from playing outside, and bath time happens every night. It always looks like a show at Sea World after bathing two kids. Hiring someone to mop my floors and scrub down two bathrooms every two weeks costs less than having someone come every week. And so worth the extra time I get back! You can also hire someone to come do a deep cleaning once or twice a year. No harm in asking Santa for a little extra help during the Christmas season!

You can help another mom. Hiring a cleaning company is going to be more expensive than hiring an individual who cleans homes. I found another mom who started cleaning houses so she could have extra cash to be home with her child. She selected when she wanted to work and how much to charge. I was happy to help another local mom provide for her family, and I got shiny floors in return! Total win-win!

You can definitely make having a cleaning lady more affordable by limiting the amount of cleaning hours needed. For example, I make sure my kids pick up all the toys beforehand so vacuuming and mopping are a breeze. I also make sure things are put away in the bathrooms so there isn’t anything to clear out of the tub. Before your help starts they will assess the size of your home and go over everything you’d like to have cleaned before giving you a time frame. Once you agree on a plan they know exactly where to clean and waste no time in getting it finished. Everything is negotiable, so knowing what you want help with really counts.

I only hire extra cleaning help during the summer to maximize my time with my family. Otherwise I couldn’t afford it. I am deeply grateful for the extra help every couple of weeks. The rest of the year I am on my own. Oh and one more bonus, I am less likely to get upset about a new mess in the bathroom after it’s just been cleaned when I wasn’t the one that “just cleaned that!”

Do you ever hire extra cleaning help?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Friday Favorites- Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You’re Not)

Teaching my kids to be responsible with money is a cornerstone of the foundation I am building for them. I grew up poor, but I learned very early the value of a dollar. By elementary school I understood that buying a toy that lasts for less than a few minutes wasn’t worth all the work I put into earning the cash to pay for it. By the time I was a teenager my mother (a single mom of four) was a full time employee and attending college at night. She entrusted me with the weekly grocery budget. I planned every meal and snack for our family of six, and I learned how to double stack store sales with coupons. That may sound like a lot of responsibility for a teenager. But I never had to work while I was in high school because whatever money I saved in the grocery budget, I got to keep ($30 a week on average). It turned out to be an amazing life lesson.

As a parent I worry how to teach my kids what I learned by doing. Age six is a little too young to clip coupons and meal plan, but I believe they can still be in charge of their own money. Our kids do not earn money for routine chores like dishes, laundry and cleaning their rooms. But we do want them to learn that hard work pays off. So we pay them for more labor intensive jobs like yard work, washing the cars and cleaning up the garage. Over the last year they have each saved up $30! Instead of marching off to the toy store to buy one item, we told them they could have it to spend while we were on vacation. The caveat being they were responsible for purchasing their own souvenirs. Why? Because when mom and dad are buying, they think the sky is the limit. It’s easier to spend someone else’s money when you don’t know how much work went into earning it. Our decision paid off because the girls really thought about their budget when making their selections. They asked about prices and we helped them do the math and talked to them about adding in tax. I am proud of how quickly they accepted the new money rules, and really proud of how well they stuck to their budget.

My friends reactions after hearing this made me feel like maybe I was being a little too strict about money with my young kids. But according to Beth Kobliner, author of Make Your Kid A Money Genius (even if you’re not) this is completely age appropriate, and the first step to helping our kids become money geniuses.

We are already following many of the tips Beth outlines, but one thing we never thought about was including our kids in the weekly discussion of household finances. We are so focused on teaching them what we know vs. allowing them to experience where all our money goes. I honestly did not think that needed to happen until much later. Thankfully, Beth breaks down money concepts kids should know in preschool, elementary school, high school and beyond. There is also a section on how to save and pay for college. I feel like that discussion is so far away, but it will be here before I know it. Thankfully, I’ll be prepared with Beth’s step by step plan.

I also really love that this book includes character building tips surrounding money, like when to donate and how to give generously. I tend to give whatever change I have in my pockets to a Veteran, or sports kid shaking a can outside the grocery store. But I never thought to talk to my kids about why I give. The book begins by outlining how to talk to your kids about money, and each subsequent chapter is broken down into talking about paying off debt, better, smarter, spending how to give back and even smart advice for parents. Which even as good as I am with money there is always room to learn more!

Unless you are already working a job in the world of finance, this book is essential for parents of children ages 3-23! It is the perfect primer for talking to your kids about money concepts at every age and stage. Helping your child understand the value of money and how to use their dollars wisely will set them up for future success!

In what ways have you helped your child become a money genius?

Find Beth on Facebook and Twitter or on her website www.bethkobliner.com/


The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

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