Stay at home moms are sometimes thought to have it all together at home. “You’re home all the time, so isn’t your house spotless and laundry basket empty and oven constantly cooking up the perfect chocolate chip cookies?” Let me set the record straight now – NO! With a husband, 3-year-old, one year old, and giant lap dog, I’m lucky to get a load of laundry done each day and make my bed. Some days are better than others, and some days are worse. In these uncertain times, my anxiety told me that these days would be the “worse” ones.
But with my husband’s ability to be home more and us forced to stay put, we construed a plan to make the most of the time at home. Even though I’m looking out my window right now at the lovely Indiana snowfall, Spring will be here soon. That spurred my thinking during this pandemic and confinement to get some Spring cleaning and organization done! Here are the tasks we want to tackle to put some positivity into this rotten situation during our time at home.
- Clean the house – While I’m a germaphobe, there are some cleaning tasks that I rarely do. Those are the ones I’m going to make time for. Things like scrubbing the tub and shower to remove some water stains, cleaning baseboards, dusting the top of the fan, and wiping down all toys. Of course, I’m not going to worry about getting it all done at one time. I’ll spread it out over a few days so that I can also keep up with my hyped up, necessary sanitizing.
- Socks – Let me explain. Having two small children and a husband who notoriously gets amnesia and can’t find the laundry basket, sock mates continuously end up in The Land of No Return. Matching up socks is one job I loathe, so I usually just throw them on a chair in the living room when they come out of the dryer. Today we sat down for what seemed like an eternity and paired them up. Of course, there are still a few whose partners have disappeared, but the chair is once again suitable for sitting.
- Clean out clothes – This one has three parts. One: get rid of and donate clothes that I have not worn in a while or no longer fit or no longer serve me in this season (Goodbye, dozens of beloved teacher cardigans). Two: switch out cold clothes for warm clothes (Of course, this can’t happen until Jack Frost gets out of town). Three: switch out the kids’ clothes for the next size up. I’m lucky to have a sister in law who has handed down truckloads of boy clothes to us. Yay for cousins born in the same seasons!
- Clean out the freezer and pantry – As an enneagram 6, I feel heaps better when I’m prepared. I began gathering items slowly over the past couple of weeks that I knew would be necessary in case we were stuck at home. I’m not stockpiling 500 rolls of toilet paper like some, but I did stock up on items like dry/canned goods, frozen fruits and vegetables, meats, and coffee to last a few weeks. Because of that, I’ve been forced to organize and clean out my freezer and pantry. The problem with my freezer is that it’s still full of breastmilk from my pumping days. I’m still planning on keeping some, but will be donating the rest to moms in need. With my pantry, I’ll be sure to clear out any expired items and put like goods together to be able to find what I need easily and meal plan better with what I have.
- Take inventory – How many lightbulbs and batteries do we have? Will three bottles of wine be enough? Should I buy a few more books to keep us entertained? We’ll be sorting through random items that we don’t usually take inventory of, like in the utility closet. It still contains some items from when my husband’s grandma lived in our house. It is time to say goodbye to that gallon of teal paint used to paint the coat closet in 1990.
- Connect – No, I don’t mean to the internet. I mean with each other. While every day more and more things get canceled, one thing that isn’t is our quality time together. I want to use this time to be together, really present together, through conversations, games, outside play, reading, learning, eating, and laughing.
I could let my anxiety about this pandemic cripple me into doing nothing but sitting on the couch and scrolling through gloom-and-doom news stories, but instead, I’ve chosen to use this time at home to my advantage. I’m sure the socks will pile up sooner rather than later, and my oven may not be filled with mouth-watering cookies every day, but staying positive and being productive will help me and my family navigate this uncharted territory.