I wrote this blog a few weeks ago, it’s 8.49am and I’ve just finished my five simple things and Ollie is about to go to sleep. I now have the whole day for me and Ollie to be chilled out so it seems like a good time to publish.
When you have multiple roles like a family and a job, it can sometimes feel like you have 300 things to do everyday. I went back to work when Ollie was 2 months old and a sometimes it felt like my house was a mess everyday and I hadn’t sat down for days.
Then I did my old trick… Thinking! I think the secret to being good at anything in life is quite simply, think about it! Thinking is a sign of caring and if you care enough to think then you can be good.
Some people will be thinking, “Yeh right so if I want to be good at ballet I just have to think about it ‽” Basically yeh. Of course you need training initially but once you’ve mastered the basic technique, to be good you need to think! When I’m at ballet sometimes my mind might wonder off and then I’m not very good but when I think about leading with my heel, or trying to make my thighs meet on pointe or correct placement of fifth, I’ve noticed I can actually do it! When I can’t do it, it’s because I’m not thinking.
It’s the same with motherhood. If I’m tired and Ollie wakes up in the middle of the night, for a split second I’ll have the thought, “He’s crying for no reason!” Simply because I’m not thinking. If I wake myself up a bit and think then I can help him settle down because he’s obviously trying to communicate something and I just have to think things like, “When did he last have a nappy?” “Where’s the teething gel?” “Is he too hot?” And then I’m ‘good’ at motherhood because I can think enough to solve problems.
A couple of weeks ago I finished work late on a Monday so I was late enough to pick Dave up from the train station. When he got in the car he innocently asked, “What’s for dinner?” And I snapped back, “I can’t do everything you know!”
I was in a mood because my day was longer than usual so I hadn’t been home to make dinner! I almost become one of these people that spends so much time listing their reams of jobs to do, that by the time they’ve finished moaning you’re thinking how they could’ve completed half the list by now!
You know the ones, “I’ve gotta sort the clothes out, then carry them downstairs, then put the washing in, then put the powder in, then it takes ages, then get it dry…” So… You’ve got to do one load of washing then?
It got me thinking, I really don’t have that much to do. I decided to actually think what needs to be done to keep my house tidy and functioning and my days really aren’t stressful at all.
Five Simple Things…
1. Load and/or unload the dishwasher.
2. Do one load of washing.
3. Wash and sterilise Ollie’s bottles.
4. Vacuum downstairs.
5. Make dinner/ feed pets.
That’s it! If I do those five things everyday, my house will pretty much stay tidy. We’ll all survive and then I can still have a job and hobbies without having a meltdown or hiring a cleaner over one late day.
If possible I do my five things first thing! Then I’m free to watch Netflix and play with Ollie all day.
I’ve even started doing Five Simple Things for the week too.
1. Clean the bathroom.
2. Steam mop the floors.
3. Clean the pets out.
4. Vacuum upstairs. (It doesn’t need to be done everyday!)
5. Clean the bedrooms.
So on my days off or when I’ve done my daily jobs early if I do them then my house is extra clean! Simple! I really don’t have much to do when I think about it. Instead of getting stressed… Think! You can have daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly five and you’ll find that you really don’t have to do much!
I’ve been doing it for work too!
1. Finalise payroll.
2. Do the banking.
3. Complete end of week cash/ stock.
5. Set the bar up.
Done! If I do those five I can go home. I can stay and do more to make my life easier on the weekend like set up VIP, fill the toilet rolls… But I don’t have to! If I need to leave early or someone covers me for the day, five simple things and the job is done.
Another good trick is to not think of things you’re going to do anyway as a chore. When you get out of bed, automatically straighten it up. Otherwise you’ve got a list before you’ve even got downstairs!
1. Make the bed.
2. Have a shower.
3. Get dressed.
4. Brush teeth.
5. Get Ollie dressed.
6. Change Ollie’s nappy.
7. Go to the toilet.
It gets stressful! You’re going to do that stuff anyway even if you’re running late so don’t think of it as a chore.
I’m trying to think of five simple things for Dave to make life even easier and tidier but this is all I’ve got so far…
1. Take the bins out.
See… Even less stressful because I can’t actually think of anything I need him to do! Next time you get stressed with your other half for being a lazy man and not helping, think! Do you actually need him to help? (He is out the house of the house almost 12 hours a day for work so I could give him a break really.)
I’m sure there will be a few people that will read this and think, “I’ve got loads to do, wait till you’ve got 3 kids it’s not that simple, my other half does nothing…” If you’re thinking anything along those lines, you’ve completely missed my point.
Recap. Five Simple Things.
1. Think about what you actually need to do everyday to keep the household happy.
2. Think about what you need to do around the house each week.
3. Think about what you want your partner to do.
4. Think about what you need to do at work.
5. Don’t list things you’re going to do any way as jobs. Like picking the kids up from school, you’re getting them regardless.