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What do I need if I’m Pregnant with Twins?

12 May

Four years ago, my doctor informed me that my baby number 8 was actually baby number 8 AND baby number 9.  I was a pretty experienced mommy, but I knew twins would be different.  I scoured the internet for information on what I would need.  Most mommy bloggers of twins had different life situations than I had.  Their twins were usually their first and second babies, or they had a toddler and twins.  I don’t think I found a single blog by mothers who already had 7 babies and then had twins.  (These women are much too busy to blog.)  These mommy bloggers all also seemed to be able to afford the deluxe, premium versions of everything from strollers to diaper bags.  That was definitely not me.

I do want to remember what I learned and what turned out to be useful for me.  So if you just found out that you are going to be a Mother of Multiples and you have a real life budget, here are the things that were the best things I bought.  I got my money’s worth out of all of them.  (P.S. None of these links are affiliate links because Missouri and Amazon do not get along–these are just sincerely the things that saved my sanity.)

#1–I ordered this brace when I was 30 weeks along. I should have ordered it at 25 weeks. It really helped reduce how much back pain I had while standing to cook dinner. (by 27 weeks, I only stood up to cook dinner. The rest of the time I sat on the couch watching Dora with Baby Bean.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GO2Q8ZS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_uXjKBbDMJKPS7
#2–I bought this pillow for nursing two babies at once. It was great for just holding them too. My twins turned out to be terrible at eating, so I only used it for about 3 1/2 months before I faced reality and switched to full formula and bottles. There are lots of twin mommy blogs out there of super women who exclusively breast fed or exclusively pumped and bottle fed their twins for a whole year, so I’m not saying it is impossible. But don’t judge yourself if your unique situation doesn’t work out that way. ❤ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PC3KVYA/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B00PC3KVYA&pd_rd_w=8Juyu&pf_rd_p=8a8f3917-7900-4ce8-ad90-adf0d53c0985&pd_rd_wg=u7f2F&pf_rd_r=MEGBRY09717XZEJ270CD&pd_rd_r=3602a5a3-752a-11e9-ad11-c3d8451968d7
#3–If it turns out that you partially or fully bottle feed your babies, you will be super glad to have these “hands-free” bottles. The part that goes in the baby’s mouth is like a pacifier that hooks to the bottle on a long tube. This way, no one has to hold the weight of the bottle. It’s awesome. Also, the babies swallow less air with these, so if your babies have colic or gastric re-flux, they help with that too. I can’t tell you how many nights at 1 in the morning I was attempting to nurse a baby with one arm, hold the breast pump on the other side, and had the other baby in a bouncy chair and was propping a bottle for him with my foot. These fix that. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001V9KPBI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_KcjKBb38QRQHE
#4–Speaking of bouncy chairs….when I had only one baby, these seemed like useless space hogs. But My twins were in their bouncy chairs so much. Bouncy chairs or swings…either is fine, but you need two! They can double as high chairs for a long time as well.
#5–I got a backpack diaper bag because I knew both hands would be busy with the babies. That was a good call. You don’t want a shoulder bag that is going to slip down your arm onto a baby or make you lopsided. You’ll be juggling too much anyway. This is the one I got, and I loved it, but there are many many options out there. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FCJB5NQ/ref=twister_B00MQNDH5E?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
A lot of twin moms recommend the JuJuBe diaper bags. They look amazing and expensive.
#6–This stroller is light weight, sturdy, and works with most car seats, so you don’t have to buy two new car seats (if you don’t want to) This thing was my work horse for many months–as long as you bring the babies into church in their car seats, you’ll be glad you have it. Baby Trend Universal Double Snap-N-Go Stroller Frame https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008U4MKU6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_o5iKBbZ9D8K2W
#7–Start making a list now of things that people can do for you. Lots of people will ask if they can help, and you’re going to be so tired and overwhelmed that you’ll go blank, and you won’t know what you can tell them to do. So make a list now of things you’re willing to let people help you with– like running a load of laundry through your washer, or sweeping your floor, or washing baby bottles, or feeding your goats etc. The thing that someone did for me that helped me the most was to come once or twice a week and take away my preschoolers for the afternoon (Banana Cream Pie was 3 and Baby Bean was 18 months old.) For those few hours I could take care of the twins or take a nap and not have to worry about what crazy messy thing Baby Bean might be getting into.
#8–I made lots of casseroles and freezer meals so that dinner would be easier after the babies were born. By 25 weeks I had 30 meals in the freezer.  I didn’t make more because after that, I was in too much pain to stand for long enough to put extra meals together.  (see #1)  After the babies were born, we also ate a lot of dinosaur chicken nuggets, freezer pizza, taquitos, and popcorn–everyone survived just fine 😉
You can do this, Mamma! Heavenly Father will grant you the strength and wisdom you need when you need it ❤ He is sending these beautiful babies to you because you are the perfect mommy for them. They will love you as you are.
Don’t let yourself think that you have to do things a certain way.
Every time you get frustrated, ask yourself–What is driving me crazy?
How can I make that process simpler or make it go more smoothly?
What expectations do I have that aren’t really true and I need to let go of them?
(example: “good moms do X so I have to do X also.” or If my kids are unhappy, I’m failing.”)
❤ Glowworm

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So you Have a New Baby and You Want to Know How to Get Dinner on the Table?

11 Dec

First of all, I present as a gift, my rule of thumb for time management after welcoming a new baby into your home.

Rule of Thumb:

Baby is 0-3 months old = you will get nothing done aside from feeding and diapering baby. Your family will survive on Cheerios, peanut butter sandwiches, ramen noodles, and popcorn. It’s fine. Order pizza as often as possible 😉 it’s good for moral.

Baby is 3-6 months old: you can accomplish 1-2 other tasks per day besides caring for the baby and toddler. This could be dinner, some cleaning, or laundry, but not all 3. Your toddler will watch much TV regardless of which task you choose. I recommend “Little Baby Bum”…

Baby is 6 plus months old: on good days you can accomplish 3-4 tasks. On bad days—zero.

If you have Twins:  basically double the length of each stage— maybe triple depending on how many other children you have and what their ages are.

Twins 0-6 months: feeding the twins is all you will accomplish.

When your twins have survived for 6 months, you will suddenly one day lift your head, take a breath, and realize that the outside world is still going on. You will probably be able to add one non-baby task per day at this point if your twins are formula fed and can hold their own bottles.

Now that you have realistic expectations, I’ll tell you the next most important thing.

The first key to being consistent at getting meals on the table is your attitude.  You need to recognize how important a part of your Mom job it is.  For years, I thought I had the best attitude about being a mother.  I “knew how important” it was to be a mom.  My day-to-day thought process did not reflect this, though.  Day in and day out, I viewed the work I did in my home as never ending drudgery, and I rushed through it hoping to have time to get to “something important” and time to do the “fun things I wanted to do.”

I am embarrassed to tell you how many years it took me to realize the truth that would set me free from daily frustration and misery.  I realized that feeding my family, clothing my family, and keeping our home clean WERE the important things I needed to do each day.  These chores were not the necessary evils of motherhood.   These chores were the most important daily service I could render to my husband and children and, by extension, the best service I could render to God.   Once I figured this out, I still needed to change my attitude so that I could rejoice in those daily tasks.  Reading this little pamphlet called Rejoicing in Repetition changed my attitude.  It is worth every penny!!

Now that your expectations and attitude are squared away, I’ll tell you my favorite way to get dinner done for the family. I’ve tried all the ideas: 30 minute meals, freezer meals, make ahead meals, crock-pot meals.  My favorite for ease of preparation and freshness of the food is doing a prep day once a week.

I started with a plan where someone else did the thinking for me: Five Dinners in One Hour. I began with the $2 trial plan. She gives you recipes, a grocery list, and instructions for how to do all the prep work for 5 dinners in about an hour on one day. Her meals are pretty traditional meat and potatoes type meals, but with lots of good veggies, and she had several meatless meals, which is very nice.

It was life changing for me even though my pep takes more like 2 hours since I’m prepping meals for 11 people.

Try Five Dinners Here

Fair Warning: kitchen must be clean and groceries bought. The prep time doesn’t count shopping or cleaning the kitchen. So I usually shop and clean on Friday and then prep on Saturday.

Seriously, this method is so much quicker and fresher tasting than making freezer meals (been there, tried that). Even on the weeks that I don’t do full prep, just taking time to wash and chop all the veggies makes getting food on the table 100% easier.

Another planning and preparation method I love is Mystie Winkler’s Simplified Dinner plan.  Family meals are a big deal, and if you want to learn how to make your meal preparation and planning go more smoothly and take as little brain space as possible, then this Simplified Dinner ebook is the thing you need.

You can do this, Momma!  God gave you this baby (babies) and He will give you the Grace and energy and wisdom to accomplish this mission.

❤️ Glowworm

Recap:

1. Get your Expectations Real!

2. Read Rejoicing in Repetition

3. Check out Five Dinners in One Hour

4. Check out Simplified Dinner

 

This post contains affiliate links.  That means that if you make a purchase from one of the links in this post, I will be paid a small commission.  I only recommend products and services that I use and love.  Thank you.

Because Twins: Changes

7 May

So things have already started to change around here because we’re expecting twins.

#1- I’m not babysitting anymore.  I was too tired and too pregnant to chase those high energy, high maintenance extra kids around.  When I first found out I was pregnant in February, I told the mom that I would have to take a month or so off from daycare.  Then I found out in March that the the baby was actually twins, and I realized I couldn’t keep babysitting after they were born, so I told her she would have to find someone new by the end of June.  Then I had that week of terrible tension headaches.  Also, I realized I wouldn’t be able to lift her heavy 2-year old much longer.  Also, Baby Bean suddenly decided that the 2 year old was a threat to her territory, and she would just jump on him and bite him/pull his hair several times a day.  It was getting hard for me to move fast enough to keep him safe from her. I told the mom she had to find someone else as soon as possible.  I had to watch her kids for 2 more weeks.

I went from this:

marypoppins

to THIS:

misshannigan

I gave her the phone number of an acquaintance friend who was interested in babysitting.  I was a little worried that this friend would hate me forever, but I was desperate to get out of a situation that I couldn’t handle any more. I ran into this friend at a mom’s night out on Tuesday this week and timidly asked her how it was going.

“Oh, I only watched them for one day and I told the mom I couldn’t do it,” she said.  Then she turned to the other moms at the table and proceeded to tell them all how terrible these kids were.  They WERE really difficult to care for.  I babysat them for them for 6 months, half of which I was pregnant and sick and tired, but it wasn’t until the headaches that I had to cry “UNCLE!”  Apparently, their grandmother (who is a relatively young grandma) is watching them now, because the mom can’t find anyone else who is willing to put up with her kids.  Lucky for her, the 2 oldest will be in all-day school beginning August 12th.  The 2 year old is a piece of cake, as long as you keep anything breakable away from him (and also keep Baby Bean away from him.) So grandma has hope on her horizon.

#2- Switched Baby Bean to cloth diapers.  This will be less diapers I have to buy when the twins are born.  I don’t like putting newborns in cloth diapers.  They go through, like, 10 diapers a day (x2).  Thats a lot of laundry.  Also their legs are too scrawny for cloth diapers to seal around to keep in the explosive projectile poo.  However, Baby Bean has enormous fatso legs and only goes through about 6 diapers a day.  The DH rigged me a clothes line on the balcony.


Aren’t diapers on the line so cute?  I love not having trash cans full of stinky disposable diaper trash.  I love not buying diapers.  (Actually I am stockpiling diapers for the twins now, since I’m not having to buy them for Baby Bean and Banana Cream Pie.  I don’t expect the stockpile will last long, but it should help.)  Also I’m hoping that cloth diapers encourage Baby Bean to potty train much earlier than Banana Cream Pie.  My other babies that wore cloth diapers potty trained before they were 2 1/2.  My babies who wore disposable diapers didn’t potty train until after their 3rd (or 4th) birthdays.  It would be super cool if Baby Bean was totally out of diapers by Christmas.

#3 – Banana Cream Pie is pretty nearly potty trained.  As soon as I was done babysitting, the potty training began.  We’ve been working on it for 2 1/2 weeks, and she is more trustworthy every day.  I’m not totally confident that she won’t have accidents when we are away from home, but at home, she is pretty good.  By August she should be an expert toilet user.

#4 – I’m slowly fighting my hoarder tendencies and trying to get rid of things we don’t use.  It’s difficult for me, because I can always think of possible scenarios when we might use those things.  However, one thing I’ve learned in the last few years is, you can’t clean clutter.  All you can do is move it around.  Reducing the “stuff” in the house will make the house easier to keep clean and make room for the twins and all their stuff (diaper stockpile).  When we designed our house plan, we were planning on having 6 kiddie pies.  Now we will have 9 (+1– I’ll have to tell you all about him later) and so using our space efficiently is important.  Luckily, the bedrooms are big enough to hold 2 sets of bunk beds each, and the closets are roomy.  I have planned out organizing systems to put in the closets (instead of just the couple rods we have installed now) to maximize the space for clothing storage.  If my dreams come true, those closets and maybe even some built-in bookshelves will happen before D-Day.

#5 This is just a little thing, but I feel like a genius for figuring it out:  I’m going to use a backpack for a diaper bag this time around. (Because my 2 hands will be full of 2 babies.)  Actually, for the last 4 years, I haven’t really used a diaper bag.  I just threw a few extra diapers and wipes in my purse.  I’m not one of those moms who feels like she needs 50 things to be prepared.  However, new babies do require a few extra supplies (like clothing changes and burp rags) and I’ll have to pack all that x2, plus Baby Bean is still in diapers.  So I for sure need a dedicated diaper bag, and it for sure needs to be as hands-free and easy to organize as possible.  I know I won’t actually use the organizing pockets as well as I could, but I plan on having a zipper pouch for each baby–or at least each size diaper.  That way I can say, “Cherry Pie, get the yellow pouch and change Twin A.”  Then the pouch can get tossed back in the backpack and yet it stays organized.

Yep, I feel like a genius for figuring that out.

I’m sure more changes are coming down the line, and I’ll roll with them as they come.  Life’s exciting and, yes I am busy.  But busy is ok.
#6. Oh yes, I got my hair cut even shorter. Easier is better, right?  I think I like it.

Saving Money on Groceries: Part 1

27 Apr

I just found out that I’m doing pretty well on saving money buying food.

For 2 years I’ve been a member of the local MOPS chapter.  (Moms Of PreSchoolers )  It has been a super fun way to meet other moms in my community.  I’ve made lots of new friends and had a rejuvenating and often inspiring morning at each of our meetings.  (Plus there is food.)  Last Friday I was asked to be one of the moms on a panel discussion  on how to save money and grocery shop on a budget.

Now I am always trying to save money on food, and I feel like I do pretty well sometimes, but I often feel like I can do much better.  In fact, I’m often very critical of myself and how much money I waste giving into impulse, poor planning, and convenience food.  I’ve always assumed that I spend about the same as my friends do on food, maybe more than some and a little less than others.

So I wrote down my ideas–things that have helped me.  When it was my turn to share my tips, I began by saying that I always like it when budget and money saving shows share real numbers so I would share mine.

For the past 3 months (because that’s what I have data for)  I fed my family of 10 for $615 each month.

Mouths fell open around the room as all the moms stared at me in shock.  They listened to my tips and had about a hundred questions.

I guess I have more to share on this subject than I thought.  So here are my tips–maybe they can help you as well.  Be sure to share your tips with me too!!

According to Angela Coffman, The Grocery Shrink, (groceryshrink.com) you should be able to feed your family a healthy variety of food according to the following formula:  $100 per male age 12+, $75 per female age 12+, $50 per child age 2-11, and $30 for infants 0-2 (if you are pregnant, count the baby as well). However, the Grocery Shrink regularly attempts to feed her family for $50 per person.    I like to just simplify that to $100 per adult and $50 per child.  You can decide whether your teenagers eat enough to count as adults yet or not.

In my house, I have 3 males (age 12 and up) 2 females (age 12 plus), 4 children (age 2-11) and 3 infants (age 0-2)

So by Angela’s formula, I should be able to feed my family on $740 per month.  It would be nice if I had that much money to spend on groceries.

By my simplified formula, I try to feed the family on $600 a month or less.  I include all fast food and restaurants, but I do not include any non-food items like plastic wrap, dishwasher soap, etc. I have a separate household budget for that stuff.

The last 3 months I’ve averaged $615 per month for food.  You may remember that we eat mostly vegan.  I had hoped that when I stopped buying meat that our grocery bill would go down, but now we eat lots more nuts and veggies and fruit than we used to, so it pretty much evened out.  Except that meat prices have gone up  significantly in the last 2 years and I haven’t felt that worry of how to buy meat that often costs twice as much than it did.

#1 TIP: 

I make as much food from basic ingredients as I can.  It costs less, tastes better, and eliminates all the preservatives and garbage that come in processed food.

I make my own whole wheat bread & rolls, yogurt, rice milk, crackers, granola, salad dressing

***my family eats about 1 ½-2 gallons of yogurt per week, and a gallon of milk costs much less than a gallon of yogurt, so it is much less expensive to make my own.

***my family eats 4-6 loaves of bread per week.   I try to bake bread twice a week, but sometimes I only get around to it once.  In that case, I often make biscuits to go with soup when we’ve run out of bread.

***I buy my brown rice for 50 cents/pound and ½ cup of rice = .12 cents for 2 quarts of rice milk.  At the grocery store, rice milk costs $3-4 per carton (I think a carton is close to 2 Quarts, but it may be less.)

***homemade wheat thins take less than 15 minutes to make and my kids love them.

**Snacks:

Except when I have a baby that is just learning to eat solid food, I avoid buying crackers and other convenient “snack items.”  Instead I make my own.  The snacks my kids love:  Homemade crackers, mini-muffins, Peanut Butter Popcorn, smoothies, bread sticks, Spicy Potato Wedges, fruit or veggies & dip.

**homemade whole-wheat bread & rolls are very nutritious and filling. Bread makes the best snack/ alternate dinner for picky kids.

I will be sharing my recipes for these items in the weeks coming up, as well as sharing more tips for saving money at the grocery store.

Baby Bean is 8 months old

11 Sep

Lesue Family (153)

Baby Bean is 8 months old.

She is 30 inches long and weighs 21 pounds.  Most of my other babies were not that big even at a year old.

She has grown so fast, it’s like watching someone’s life on fast forward, it kind of takes my breath away.  Pardon me the Twilight reference, but it’s like I have a vampire-human hybrid baby.  She is crawling and pulling up to stand.  When she crawls, she stomps her hands and knees down like  “HERE COMES THE BABY!”  When she starts walking, I’m pretty sure the house will shake.  This week she climbed up our stairs all the way to the top.

She says “mama”  when she is crying and wants out of her crib, and when she sees a dog, she says “gog!”  She is my first baby to say mama before dada.

I feel like she is a super good baby because when I hold her she doesn’t cry.  (I had a little brother who cried all the time no matter what, so I know it can be worse.)  My sister says I should have a higher standard and that good babies are happy to lie in their swing or play on the floor for hours while mom gets housework done.

…yeah, I’ve never had a baby who would do that.  Baby Bean does play happily if she has just been fed and I stay in relatively one spot.  If I try to walk away, she starts crawling after me and howling.

She puts everything she can grab in her mouth. She finds every bit of candy wrapper/trash/dead bug and eats it as fast as possible.  We haven’t had candy in the house since Easters, but she finds foil wrappers almost daily it seems.

Getting her to sleep through the night has been kind of hard. She did very well for awhile and then suddenly had to be touching my skin to stay asleep.  Finally, I thought I had it figured out.  I was so tired and desperate for sleep that I left her in her crib to cry and before 5 minutes passed, she was asleep and slept through the night.  3 days in a row, she slept through the night.  Victory!  I thought.  I told my friend that I had figured it out.  Then she got her immunizations.  (Which I totally believe everyone should get.)  But she was miserable for 2-3 days, and she needed me.  Back to sleeping with me she was.

I tried the letting her cry thing again, but 5 minutes is the maximum amount of time I can stand to hear her cry without getting her, and either she’s figured that out, or she just still needs me.

I have figured out some things though:

#1  if she falls asleep nursing, 9 times out of 10 she will wake up as soon as I put her down in her crib.  So I feed her, but try to make sure she doesn’t fall asleep until after she is done eating.

#2  if she is still wide awake at 10:30  and I’m desperate (I have to get up at 4:45 a.m.), I can put her in her crib.  She will cry until I come get her again, but 5 minutes of crying wears her out enough that she will go to sleep by 11. Is that terrible of me?   I’d be delirious with happiness if I could get her to sleep by 9 p.m. but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen any time soon.  11 p.m. is my max

#3 Sometimes she will sleep through the night after all that, and sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder how she ended up in bed with me, but that 1-2 hours of sleep that happen before midnight make all the difference for me.

*****************************

I sure love her a lot.  I try to restrain myself from covering her fat cheeks with kisses and blowing raspberries on her neck when I’m in public places.  But lots of times I forget.

Happy Mother’s Day 2014

11 May

20140510-193342.jpg

Today was Cherry Pie’s first time to give a talk for Sacrament Meeting, she being newly 12. I looked up several stories, scriptures, and quotes for her. She chose a story from our family history to share and the quote she wanted.

*********************************************************

Today is Mother’s Day. Today we remember and honor our Mothers. Our mothers give us life. They teach us the gospel. They feed us. They keep us from eating too much candy. They help us feel better when we are sad.

President Monson said: May each of us treasure this truth; one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.

I would like to share with you a story about my great great great grandmother, Lucy Ann Bingham. Lucy Ann had 13 children. In the spring of 1908, her youngest child, Florence, who was 6 years old, became very sick with scarlet fever. Lucy’s husband was away. Her neighbors were so afraid, they passed by the house on the far side of the street. With humble faith and patient work, Lucy Ann nursed Florence back to health. But before Florence was quite well, her 12 year old daughter, Bertha became sick. For 2 whole weeks, Bertha’s fever burned at 106*F every day. The doctor said there was no hope. He told others in town that he did not know why or how the child was still alive.
Lucy Ann worked and fasted and prayed. Bertha asked for a priesthood blessing, but the family was quarantined and no elders would come. After 2 weeks, suddenly Lucy Ann could tell that her daughter was dying. She gathered her children together around Bertha’s bed and prayed, “Heavenly Father give us wisdom to know what to do, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” Just then, she heard out in the street, one man call to another. She went out and called to them, “My daughter is dying, are you afraid to come in and administer to her?” The 2 men left their horses in the street, came in, washed their hands, knelt by Bertha’s bed and anointed her with oil. Before they had finished the blessing, Bertha’s eyes were closed in peaceful sleep and her fever was gone. Lucy Ann’s prayers and the prayers of her children had been answered.

Later, Lucy Ann’s daughter wrote:
Mother’s hopes were high; that we, her children, would always remember and do the things she taught us, by her life, her words, and especially her deeds.
“Are there any sick among you?” She was there.
“Are you burdened with sorrow or shame?” a touch of her toil worn hand or words of encouragement she gave with a smile. Honor the Lord’s anointed. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy! If you cannot say anything good of people, say nothing at all. But if you look you will find good. Remember a tenth of your earnings belong to the Lord. These are words of our Savior, but they came to us from our mother’s lips.

I think all of our mothers have the same hope that we will remember and do the things they teach us and that we will obey the Lord. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Getting Ahead of the Housework

4 Jul
For almost 13 years, I have been on a quest to improve my house cleaning skills enough that I’m not ashamed when people come over.  Also I like to have the house clean because I am happier when things are neat and uncluttered. I feel so peaceful when things are neat and so out of control and cranky when things are messy. 
Myths/Lies I told myself:
  • If I can just get more organized, the house will be clean.
  • If I weren’t so lazy, the house would be clean.
  • If I would get up at 5 a.m. every morning, the house would be clean.
I’ve read many books on the subject.  These are some of them:
Organizing from the Inside Out- Julie Morgenstern
Time Management from the Inside Out- Julie Morgenstern
The Art of Homemaking- Daryl Hoole
Make Your House do the Housework- Don Aslett
Is there Life After Housework?- Don Aslett
No time to Clean- Don Aslett
How to have a 48 hour day- Don Aslett
Sink Reflections- Marla Cilley
The Ultimate Career- Daryl Hoole
It’s all too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff – Peter Walsh
The Sisterhood of Wonderful Wacky Women- Suzy Toronto
I’ve been to many time management classes.  I’ve made schedules, weekly plan sheets, lists, color coded spread sheets, chore charts, chore binders.
Only one thing has worked.  Achieving this one thing has brought not just success, but lasting success. 
Want to know the secret?  
Here it is:
Reduce the amount of Cleaning.
That’s right, the only way to keep up on the sisyphean task of keeping a house clean is to make it so there is less cleaning that has to be done. I still have more reducing to achieve.  But I’ve had some success. Here is my short list for how I have managed it (and how you can too!):
  1. Get rid of stuff.  De-Junk, De-clutter, De-treasure.  Re-shuffling piles of stuff around isn’t cleaning.  I gave away half of the family’s clothing and saved myself hours of laundry time every week.  None of the kids has had to go naked yet.  (Though one of them goes nekkid by choice quite often. And I think we can all agree that there is a difference between naked–as in “Naked came I into the world”–and nekkid–as in “plum stark nekkid.”)
  2.  Get traffic mats.   Good mats at every door will stop so much dirt from entering your house.  Dirt that you don’t have to clean up if it isn’t there.
  3. Put things away right the first time.  If it is in your hand, put it away right- it will take less time than if you drop it any old place and then have to go back later to put it away.  Unless a child is in mortal peril, you have time to put things where they go.
  4. Clean as you go. Example: Fold clothes as you pull them out of the dryer.  It hardly takes more time than pulling them out and mashing them into a laundry basket.
  5. Set a timer.  When you are cleaning, set a timer for 15 minutes and race it.  See what you can get done.  We’ve all performed cleaning miracles in the 2 minutes from when we saw an unexpected car pull into our driveway and when the doorbell rang.  Have a miracle every day and then have more time for what you really want do do. (Like read a good book!)
  6. Wait for your toddlers to grow up.
If you need more help with #1, especially if you are really emotionally attached to all your stuff, I recommend  It’s all too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff – Peter Walsh.
For more ideas like #2, I recommend one of Don Aslett’s books;  Make Your House do the Housework is my favorite.
For more help with #3 & #4 the best one is  Sink Reflections- Marla Cilley
To remind yourself that being a mom is so much more than keeping a house clean, read one of Daryl Hoole’s books.  

If you are still waiting on #6, sit down with your toddler and read him a book.  You’ll both feel better.
D&C 42:41 And let all things be done in cleanliness before me.
Psalms 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.