How I Make It Work {a guest post from Jennifer from Life in the Green House}

*Today’s post is from my dear friend Jennifer from Life in the Green House. Jennifer is such a good friend with a heart of gold. She is a beautiful writer and writes about life with her adorable toddler, Braylen. Jennifer is very creative and has great ideas and recipes that she shares on her blog. My favorite posts of Jennifer’s are the ones where she so openly shares what’s on her heart. I hope you’ll hop over there and visit her!

Let me give you a little background about myself. I blog over at Life In The Green House about random happenings in our home. I have a tiny toddler who pretty much rules the house, or so she thinks.

And I teach kindergarten.

That’s right, I’m a working mom.

It sounds weird for me to even say that since I’m sitting here at 1:30 in the afternoon typing this post in my Nike running shorts and a well worn t-shirt from college. Actually, I’m on summer break for about another two weeks and I am enjoying every minute despite the nearly unbearable temps. But really I’m no stranger to the stay at home mom gig, I didn’t go back to work until my daughter was nearly two.

This isn’t going to be a post about which is harder because let me tell you, I’ve tried both and they are equally challenging in different ways. I wish I could tell you that one side or the other grows grass in a slightly greener hue. But I can’t.

The truth is when I stayed home I questioned myself as a mother and I wondered if going back to work was the solution. Now that I’m back at work I feel the same way, I’m in a different position but I face those same nagging feelings each morning when I leave.

I think that once we become mothers a piece of our heart is literally laid on our chest in the delivery room and we are never, ever the same. So when I decided to go back to work I felt like I was leaving a piece of my heart at home each day. But I didn’t dislike going to work, I actually fell in love with the routine and structure it provided for us. I think there will be many times as she gets older that I experience the same tugging of my heart and that just comes with being a mother.

Life can be chaotic, our calendars tend to be full and most days I feel like I’m running in circles. Early on I knew I would have to make some changes and implement some organization in order to help us stay grounded. Whether you’re a working mom, stay at home mom or work from home mom, I think these can help all moms:

  • Create a home organization notebook. I saw how much Erin loved her  notebook and decided to create my own version. I’m being completely honest when I tell you that we use ours all of the time. It has been such a big help especially since I went back to work.
  • Organize your life. I use the Erin Condren Life  Planner but really it doesn’t matter what brand of calendar you have just as long as you have something that works for you and your family. I write down everything in my calendar from daily to-do lists and family goals to appointments and social activities.
  • Organize your home. We moved at the beginning of summer and I am slowly trying to organize and unpack. I created a Kitchen Command Center to help us stay organized and I have several more projects like this planned. I function best when everything has a place.
  • Family Meals. I started meal planning every Sunday morning using the printable from The Project Girl and we sit down and eat dinner together each night during the week. I also cook several freezer meals a month to use on the days when I just don’t feel like cooking. We are a family of three which makes it easy to half recipes for things like enchiladas and casseroles and eat one half for dinner and freeze the other half.
Do you have any tips for me? How do you stay organized and sane during the week?


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  1. says

    Another working mom here and I totally agree- being at home and being at work are both incredibly challenging but in completely different ways. Being organized and prepared is the ONLY thing that helps make it run a bit smoother. Thanks for the great tips, Jennifer!

  2. says

    I teach 4th grade. I went back to work when my son was 3 months old. The time between three months and one year was definitely the hardest for me as far as organization, but I think you hit the nail on the head. If you’re not organized you’re not going to get much done. I’ve been pretty lax this summer but am kind of looking forward to getting back on a schedule. Time to pull out the home organization notebook.

  3. says

    Thanks for the tips Jennifer! I work outside the home also and am a mom of two, ages 4 and 1. One thing I’ve learned is to not overplan on the weekends. This seems to be important especially for my 4 year old daughter. Since we are always going and up and at em in the mornings during the week, she loves to just stay at home on the weekends and play. We have church on sundays, and we do have obligations sometimes just like everyone does, but if there isn’t something specific to do I try to be good with just hanging around the house and letting her have a day to just rest and play!

  4. says

    I completely agree!! There are pros and cons to both. I also taught elementary school and went back to work when my first one was 6 months old. I worked until my 2nd was born 2 years later and now I stay at home with both. There are days that I am SO thankful to be home and there are days when I miss teaching (like the “Back to School” times). Thanks for the ideas!

  5. says

    I’m not a mother yet (eek – just over 9 weeks!) but I can already tell my life will never ever be the same. I’m afraid for the day when I have to go back to work.

  6. April says

    Thank you and Erin for all the great tips on making a planner. I am going to make me one this week! I wanted to order an Erin Condren planner but I’m going to see how DIYing one goes first.

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