Friday, June 21, 2013

Juggling Faith, Home & Work-- Part 2: Practical Tips

In Part I, I shared a bit about the faith piece of this juggle.  Here are a few things that have helped me with home & work*:

1) Outsourcing. It works in business, it works at home. I realized that while cooking for my family and decorating my home are important to me, CLEANING it really isn't. Do I want it clean? Absolutely. Do I get stressed and start to feel like my life is falling apart if it isn't? Sadly, yes. Do I feel a sense of loss if I am not the one cleaning it? HECK-NO, Techno!

When I discovered that I could pay someone $20 a week to spend 2 hours a week cleaning my home (we keep it tidied, she cleans), I kicked myself for not having done this sooner. 2 hours doesn't sound like much, and it might not work for you, but it's made all the difference for me! To know that my house will get vacuumed, mopped & dusted, sheets will be changed and the bathrooms will be cleaned and trashes emptied at least once a week takes a bigger weight off my shoulders, and gives me back way more than 2 hours per week with my family.

We found our house cleaner through They not only assist with locating a provider who does what you need and is available when you need then, but also provide templates for interviewing and make checking backgrounds and references easy.
The next "outsourcing" plan I have is to utilize the Wash & Fold service at our local laundromat. My husband currently works from home about 80% of the time, so he usually gets the washing done, and then we fold laundry while catching up on Dr. Who TV after our son is in bed. But there are weeks where he isn't home and that leaves us with a weekend full of folding. I'm thinking if it's not too cost prohibitive, it will be well worth having more time together as a family!

2) My Slow Cooker. You could hire a cook to make tonight's dinner and tomorrow's lunch each day, or you can meal plan and use your slow cooker. There are lots of great websites out there to suit your family's needs (my current favorites are, and I love to cook, but not after working a 9 hour day, when cooking means I'm NOT playing with my little boy(who is increasingly less interested in cooking with Mom than he is in Legos) and don't always follow recipes-- but having a recipe and the ingredients on hand mean that your husband or teen can even get the Crock Pot going. I feel silly for how jubilant I am about this, but there are few things more peace inducing after a long day of work, than to walk in the door to find dinner already made!

A word about meal planning. If you read any Mommy Blogs at all (for Moms working outside the home or otherwise) SOMEONE has told you to do it. Meal planning is the one thing that can save you money and help you eat better. You don't have to be strict or formal about it (we are almost NEVER eating what we "should" be on the day my meal plan says, but having the ingredients saves us from eating out). Just figure out what works for your family and do it.

There are lots of pay programs to help with this, most of which you can get with a coupon or discount if you look (I have used and in the past). But now that I've been doing it for a while, and am shopping more online, I find it just as easy to fill in an online template (like this one from Organized Home with my family's favorites).

3) Grocery Shopping Online. I used to live in a major metropolitan area, and often used Safeway's grocery delivery to prevent my family from starving. It can easily be done on a lunch break or before bed. Other stores in your area may offer a similar service and even though there's usually a small fee I always managed to find a coupon and they often run promotions to allow you to skip the fee. I found that using this service I actually saved money-- because I could buy only what we needed and skip the impulse buys that come from shopping tired and hungry on a Friday night dragging a kid along.

Then I moved to a smalltown where grocery delivery wasn't available and languished for years. UNTIL! Until we got an Amazon Prime membership. In addition to the streaming and free kindle books I have been thrilled with having free two-day shipping!

Though we try to eat as little processed/packaged foods as possible there are lots of items we buy all the time that are available on Amazon. I buy all of our lunch snacks, juice, herbs, spices and many of our toiletries online. They even have the option of setting up automatic delivery for items you purchase regularly. This saves us time & gas money traveling to two different natural food stores in the nearest city (50 miles away) and it's all easily done from the comfort of my couch! You do have to make sure that what you're buying is "Prime Eligible" or an "Add-on" (free shipping with $25 or more in purchases) and there are always going to be items that it's cheaper to buy in person, but it is saving our family lots of money and time!

Now when I go to the grocery story, it's just for meat and the small amount of produce we don't buy locally in our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.

Which brings me to my next point. See if there's a program near you here ( We are now eating locally-grown, organic food at prices we can actually afford (no small feat!) and I pick it up just down the street from my house each week!

Bonus: We are supporting local agriculture and taking a stand against Genetically Engineered food. (You can also take a stand by supporting organizations like the Center for Food Safety ( Protecting our food supply is one of the ways I get political.

Not all CSA's are created equal, but at the one we currently use we fill our "basket" online each Monday and pick up or veggies & sprouted wheat baked goods each Wednesday.

What helps you juggle all the life throws at you?

*I make lots of referrals in this post, mostly because I am a passionate promoter of things that work for me-- I have in no way been compensated for any of these recommendations. Yes, I am genuinely excited about some of the things available to us in the modern age that can make being a working mom easier! :)

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