Being a Mom has got to be the most underestimated job in the world. No one really understands till they become mothers themselves! And then people say that you’re ‘just a housewife’!!
However, just a little bit of time management can get you through the day peacefully. There are numerous self help books and blogs that tell you how to do this, but as any Mom knows, things hardly ever go as planned!!
Here are some of the most common challenges that Moms face when trying to manage their day, along with some simple solutions.
Sudden guests and phone calls
Sometimes your neighbor turns up asking for sugar, and then goes on to elaborate her MIL woes. You want to be kind, but you also want to get back to work. Similarly, people on the phone can take up a chunk of your time in small talk.
Solution: For phone calls, let friends and family know when you’ll be free. If they still call during busy hours, let it go to voicemail and call back when you’re free. Soon they’ll call only when they know you’ll answer.
Visits are trickier – if it’s your neighbor, hand them the sugar and tell them nicely that you really need to get back to your cooking/typing before your kid comes home. For other visits, if it looks like it’ll be short, entertain them till they leave. If they’re going to be there longer, greet them, offer refreshments, chat a short while and then say that you’ll be back as soon as you finish that pending chore. Don’t worry, most sensible people will understand!
Maid not turning up
You have all the dishes piled up in the sink and clothes lying in buckets. And then the maid doesn’t turn up! If she calls in advance, you have the luxury to think up a plan B, but if she’s just truant, you’re stuck with dried food on the dishes!!
Solution: For starters, place all the soiled dishes into a tub of water, so they’re easier to clean. Consider the maid’s usual jobs along with your tasks for the day, assign priorities and do just the main ones – usually cooking, laundry and dishes. Order in or make instant noodles, if need be. Get everyone else in the family to help – great bonding opportunity!!
Kids getting sick
Kids are the most unpredictable creatures. Just when you’ve managed to get the household running smoothly, one of them gets sick. All your deadlines and plans go out the window, as doctor visits and holding your sick child take up your time.
Solution: If you can, drop everything and care for your child. Babies need carrying around, so it is sensible to ask for Dad’s help. Maybe Grandma can come and help with cooking. On the other hand, sick kids spend a lot of time sleeping and require very basic food, like soup. Use that time to finish your MITs (Most Important Tasks).
You getting sick
“There are only two things that a child will share willingly: communicable diseases and its mother’s age”, says Dr. Spock. No sooner have you finished caring for your sick toddler than you start sneezing yourself!!
Solution: Honestly, there is little you can do here other than resting. Let the house stay messy. Ask Dad or Grandma or your siblings to pitch in for a couple of days. The kids may be dressed in mismatched clothes (Dad) and may eat too much candy (Grandma) or watch too much TV (Siblings) but you’ll have to just let it go!
Ah, one of the pleasures of living in India – unscheduled power outages! The power suddenly goes out; blenders stop blending and washing machines stop washing. The worst part is that you never know when the power will come back on.
Solution: Precautionary measures work best. Always keep your phone and laptop charged. Keep school and work clothes ironed beforehand. Usually, early mornings are free of power cuts – try to schedule the washing machine and chutney grinding for then. Take extra precautions during monsoons, when power cuts are more frequent.
Hartals and Strikes
Another (not so) simple pleasure of living in India – hartals, where some service or the other is completely disrupted for an entire day. In cases of complete hartals, no one goes to school or work. But that includes the Maid, and you can’t order in from anywhere.
Solution: Make sure that your home has the essentials in place – bread, milk, eggs and other basics, like formula and diapers or medicines.
Sudden school projects
Kids come home claiming they have to contribute cupcakes for the next day’s picnic; or some super special science project; or a friend’s birthday party. It’s enough to make you feel like you’re drowning in chaos!!
Solution: These are mostly isolated incidents and each circumstance would warrant a different solution. In general, have enough stationery material stocked, including chart paper and markers; have a neutral gift wrapped and hidden (a jigsaw puzzle or art set), and keep a readymade cake mix handy for impromptu parties or picnics.
Generally speaking, just remember to keep calm and to see some humor in the situation.
Don’t forget heaps of hugs and cuddles to cheer everyone up!!
Have you ever faced an unexpected challenge in your day? How did you deal with it?
This post is by Fabida Abdulla, the regular contributor to The Mom Views and blogger at Shocks and Shoes. Fab writes about parenting, baking, shopping and all the little joys in life.