Guide The Stay-at-Home Martyr: A Survival Guide for Having a Life Outside Your Kids

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Keep a small waste basket in your kitchen or under the kitchen sink for used clothes. This prevents dirty, wet cloths from sitting on your counter. Good quality sponges Just like most cleaning tools, not at sponges are created equal. I love sponges not only for cleaning the dishes, but for scrubbing sticky and greasy countertops and cleaning the microwave with no muscle, either.

Use different colored sponges for different jobs. Have a sponge for your counters, one for the bathroom and one for the dishes. This prevents cross-contamination and just makes you feel better about how clean everything is. Time to deck those halls. The holiday season can be pretty magical, at least for me. Growing up in upstate NY meant chilled air and snow fall which just made the whole season feel traditional. As I got older, the holidays are still just as magical, but stressful.

We overcomplicate the things that need to be done, obligate ourselves to people and events that we should have said no to and let the homemaking that can already feel like a burden become even more messy. Bah humbug to all that. Maybe it would come back more mellow and relaxed if it did.

Here are some of my tried and true methods for simplifying the holiday cleaning chaos so you can enjoy the season with family. Use the right tools I am a broken record here. I say it all the time, but if you want to simplify cleaning any time of the year, use the right tools. Quality over quantity, for sure. Fill your home with the tools that work. Their newest addition to the line-up is The Spin Mop, which is basically the most fun way to clean up your sticky floors after a day of baking.


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The Freedom Dust Mop from Libman is perfect for the job. Not only will constant vacuuming on your wood floors scratch and ruin them, it takes a long time and never does the job right. Dry dusting your floors is easier than sweeping, can be done by anyone and keeps your floors free from dirt and pet hair. On a non-related cleaning tool note, I love using Google docs to keep track of what needs to be done, especially around cleaning. Rather than a pen and paper, your Google doc autosaves and is available wherever you go with an app.

And find different uses for your tools, too! I am a sucker for repurposing where you can and house cleaning is no different. Why get the ladder and cleaning rags out to clean the walls when you can use a Freedom Dust Mop from Libman? Yes, you can mop your walls. You can easily slip on a clean dust mop head and go to town on the walls.

The handle is long enough to get up pretty high shout out to all of the short ladies in the audience, like me The Spin Mop works really well as a cobweb remover. Get it up high into the corners, or even the baseboards. Reaching up and down is laborious and straining on your body, so use these great tools in more than one way to simplify the whole cleaning process. Or how about using a stiff scrub brush to remove pet hair from the couch? You can use a clean scrubbing brush, like the The Big Scrub Brush from Libman to remove cat and dog hair from your upholstery.

The bristles help loosen the hair from the fibers and clump it up for easy removal. You can even use the scrub brush in the car to remove pet hair we all know you love to take your pets for rides… or to remove really stubborn stains, probably left by a child dripping chocolate milk. I mean, I have a mini course on that very topic. Spend a few minutes and create a more holiday-friendly cleaning schedule.

Maybe you vacuum a few more times a week thanks to the pine needles and skip the dusting upstairs. Delegate it out Who put you in charge of doing everything, anyway? Mama, delegate that stuff out! Can they refill the water in the Christmas tree stand? Clean up after holiday baking? Put their own clothes away? The more you can delegate out to others, the more you can enjoy your time.

See a Problem?

Do one, thorough deep cleaning. I know, I know. Who wants to spend their time in the month of December deep cleaning, but hear me out. This month especially seems to be full of outside obligations, parties, trips, parades, shopping and get-togethers. You may even have a guest or two coming to stay with you. Finding the time every week to go through your normal clean-up routine may not fit into your busy holiday schedule.

Instead, I say go for broke, spend a few hours once this month and thoroughly clean the areas you know will need to be used. Guest bathrooms, the flooring under furniture, the refrigerator and oven, decluttering, whatever you can do all at once to alleviate the stress of doing it later in bits and pieces. Relax and let things go Elsa knew what she was talking about. Prioritize, even with the cleaning, and let everything else go for a few weeks. Your job is to be happy and healthy, and provide that kind of atmosphere for your kiddos.

The rest will fall into place. This is a sponsored post from The Libman company. How am I going to get all this dust off walls and floors? And why is the kitchen floor so sticky? Although this is the time of year when we are taught to be grateful and joyous, being the one in charge of the home and all the things that go into keeping it clean can make you feel like a real Scrooge. Start using the right products. If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I have my go-to products and tools. These are the things I used to make my cleaning business the best it could be and what I recommend to all moms to make cleaning easier.

One of the products I have used and recommended for 12 years straight is the Libman Wonder Mop. When I find something that works, I stick with it, which is why I was so thrilled to be partnering with The Libman Company this holiday season. This family-owned company has been around for over years. You read that correctly. For over a century, they have been providing solid, useful, easy cleaning products and tools to the market. What began as an endeavor to make to most-durable wire-wound corn brooms has expanded to a mission to provide households with the finest mops, brooms, brushes and cleaning tools.

It is this mission and their commitment to quality that has drawn me to them for so long and makes me even more excited for this holiday partnership. Over the next few weeks, my blog posts will be dedicated to showing you how you can simplify cleaning in your home during the holidays and dominate as a homemaker. There is enough stress this time of year with shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, visiting and traveling.

I want to make it easy and so does The Libman Company. And because I want you to not only use these fabulous products, but learn how to manage your home all around, the top 2 winners will also receive free enrollment to my signature course, Homemakerish U. The mop heads are washable, not to mention durable. Just wash and reuse. Speaking of simple, the Freedom Mops are so easy and light, a kid can use them. These are the perfect tools to get your kids started with their chores or uplevel the ones they have now.

Why will this cleaning bundle rock your world? Because having the right tools and supplies is one of the biggest factors in simplifying your household chores. First of all, does the dollar store even sell hammers? And second, a cheap tool that wasn't meant to do that job will make it more laborious.

Why you should quit being a mommy martyr

The same goes for cleaning tools. Is there anything worse than using a mop that just pushes the dirt around, had a handle that is hard to grip and breaks after 5 uses? Durable, easy, does the job on try 1. Just click here , enter your name and email address and voila! Because it is the season of giving, I'm giving you extra ways to enter by sharing on social media. The more places you share, the more you're entered. Here are the deets: The giveaway begins Wednesday November 29, at 9: The giveaway is open to legal US residents over 18 years of age.

I will be announcing the winners on a special Facebook live on Friday, December 22 at 1pm EST, so be sure to mark it in your calendars and like my page here to keep up with this special blog post series and videos. All winners will receive an email on that date as well. Want some great cleaning tips? Be sure to follow The Libman Company on Facebook. For more details, terms and rules, click here. And I know this because I spent many years of motherhood searching for it.

The Stay-at-Home Martyr: A Survival Guide for Having a Life Outside Your Kids

I would scour Pinterest, chat with my girlfriends about it on weekend getaways totally lame, I know! I wanted dinnertime to be simple AND meaningful. At that point, I was working full-time and all I wanted was to reconnect with each other after we had gathered back together after a long day apart. After pinning a ton of recipes, learning some great strategies for meal prep, downloading a boat load of pretty printables, trying app after app after app, and tearing out umpteen recipes from magazines, I cried uncle.

This search for the perfect recipe had me feeling like that Pig and his Pancake. I thought I needed a meal plan subscription because I saw them popping up everywhere. Funny thing is, we actually had a core group of meals that we were able to cook and get on the table without much stress.

But, as we moms often do, I thought I needed more. But, you know what? That binder went unused. And, in the midst of all of this, I lost sight of the fact that I HAD BEEN feeding myself and now my family just fine enough before I started the hunt for red october the perfect recipe. So, I scrapped it all and looked at what WAS working for our family. First, I decluttered my recipes and Pinterest boards And, you know what I realized?

We already had a couple of great seasonings and oils that we could use to marinate most anything. And we had a couple of meat and veggie dishes that worked perfectly for our family. Just recently, I created a free audio and workbook for folks who want to do the same. You can grab it here. So, I started embracing our theme night rotation of chicken breasts, chicken thighs, pork chops, flank steak, ground turkey, ground beef, salmon, cod, and shrimp.

We were sure to serve one of our favorite veggies broccoli, green beans, asparagus, corn, peas, and carrots as a side every night. So, then, if what we were doing was working, why had I been searching? And then, I go about my day. Would I love if my kids would eat beets when we make them? Would I like to envision myself as someone who appreciates bone broth enough to make it? And, would I would love it if my kids craved quinoa? Last night, we had BBQ made from a pork shoulder that I had cooked in the slow cooker. Angie Trueblood is a meal planning expert who spends her time helping busy moms simplify mealtime so they can enjoy their time around the table with their family.

The mamas she works with feel more empowered in the kitchen, less stressed when they sit down at the table, and spend much less time scouring Pinterest for the 'PERFECT' recipe. When she's not working, she loves exploring her hometown of Richmond, VA's parks and playgrounds with her two kiddos, checking out new restaurants with her hubs, and laughing about motherhood over cocktails with friends. The date is set, you have plenty of boxes ready to be filled and your new place is just waiting for you to move in and call it home. You have just one small thing to get done before you finally get out of your rental: The truth is, part of living in a rental, or even a house you own, is maintaining it and cleaning it up so the next person can enjoy the same comforts of the home.

Of course, as a mother, the whole job can seem exponentially more stressful as you also have to worry about keeping small humans alive while you deep clean during your move-out. Let's make it a little easier. Your landlord or building manager should be able to provide you with a list of things they expect done upon your move-out.


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  • Things like, "Will the walls be painted? Do I need to do any painting? Do we need to fill nail holes? Does the carpet need to be professionally cleaned, or cleaned at all? This was one of the largest parts of my business when I ran my cleaning company. I did a tremendous amount of move-out cleanings and honestly, I loved it.

    When someone hired me, they knew that they could pass off the work to someone else and spare themselves the time and labor of doing it themselves. Be sure to inquire about pricing and get an in-person estimate whenever possible. If you have a list from your landlord, provide the company or cleaner with that list. If you live in a complex, ask the management for referrals.

    Many times they can provide you a list of names of reputable cleaning companies that they know have done a stellar job in the past. Check out my post on how to hire a professional house cleaner here. Ready to jump in and get your security deposit back, but not sure you know how to properly clean everything?

    The Stay-at-Home Martyr : A Survival Guide for Having a Life Outside Your Kids

    Quickly learn how to clean everything in your home. Now that you're in your new home YAY! Where do you even start? House cleaning is usually a nagging chore for most moms, which is why I created the Everything and the Kitchen Sink cleaning list. Sign up for the vault to receive your free house cleaning list and much more. This list is broken down by room and by frequency of the tasks so there's no more guesswork. Print it out, keep it in a binder, hang it on the wall and use it to create your cleaning schedule. Or just use it as a guide for allthethings that need to be cleaned in your home.

    Own your schedule so it doesn't own you, mama. What is so interesting is that I knew about this mental load before I read about it, but never put a name to it. For me, it is more like a weight dragging behind me day in and day out. It's always there and no matter how long the to-do list gets, or how much I accomplish, the weight is there. A few years ago, I made a list of all the things I happen to think about as I started my day.

    I was feeling particularly burdened and a little cheeky, so I wrote it all down, hell-bent on sharing it with my husband in an attempt to show him how much I actually have to think about and remember each day. The exhausting part is remembering that I even have to remember everything. As a home management expert and a modern homemaking advocate, I see what this mental weight does to moms. It makes even the most simplistic tasks seem burdensome and overwhelming.

    Suddenly, putting away the dishes is as complicated as solving a high-level calculus problem. We perceive the cleaning, cooking, decluttering, organizing and laundry as the most difficult parts of motherhood. In reality, these are just the things needed to run a home. The homemaking part alone can be pretty simple. Even as I write this post, a Google calendar notification went off reminding me that my son has picture day today. Immediately, I panicked, wondering if I remembered to send in the envelope with money.

    I did last week. When the floor needs to be vacuumed and I am staring at it wondering if I have the energy to even move, he grabs it and goes to work. Homemaking tasks aren't the issue, the ever-pervasive tasks of motherhood are. There are enough of those out there. Honestly, my husband is one of the most helpful human beings I know and would take on any burden I gave him just to help me out.

    He is loving and giving to the core and does everything he can to help in any way possible. But somewhere along the way, we silently agreed that it would be my duty to take on the mental weight of running the household and raising the kids. I would be the one making doctor appointments and chaperoning field trips. I would be the one buying new socks when the old ones got holes in them.

    I made the agreement, too. To be fair, I silently agreed to never worry about the lawn being mowed, or the trash getting taken to the curb each week, or creepy crawlies being killed in the house. I don't know what the ultimate answer is or how to cut the cord with the weight that follows me around like a toddler wanting a snack. I do know that part of lightening that weight is asking for help. I don't want to be the mommy martyr that has been glorified by our society. I don't want my children to feel that remembering to give them lunch money is a burden on my life.

    I went into motherhood knowing that there would be a lot of sacrifice and some servitude thrown in daily. Rather than complain, I want to lift the burden and ask my husband and children for help when I need it. I want open communication and trust that he can handle things just as well alright, kind of as well It's difficult to feel peaceful when you're drowning in day-to-day tasks and stuck in the "I just need to survive today. Download your free copy from the vault. The thing about a battle is that it requires someone to win and someone to lose.

    Essentially, there is no middle ground. You fight, you put your all into it and either come out victorious or you come out hanging your head in defeat. So I choose my battles wisely and I have given most of them up. We have plenty of rules. The reason is because I started giving a good, hard look at why I was battling. Why did I need to win?

    Why was this act so important to me? And you know what I came up with? I was fighting a battle that somewhere along the way, I decided I was supposed to fight. Look, I want my kids to sleep through the night and I am fully aware that a good sleep schedule is paramount while kids are growing and staying healthy, but good grief with the rigidity of bedtimes. I read a hilarious article recently where a mother said that these days, bedtime routines seem to begin at 3: How true that is. I remember as a kid my mother saying, "I don't care where you sleep, as long as you sleep and don't bother me.

    Sometimes my kids fall asleep and stay on the couch. Sometimes my husband does the same. Most nights at the point, they are sound in their beds by 9PM, but the long-winded sleep routine that just causes fights back and forth isn't worth it to us. We'd rather they understand the joy and purpose of a good night's sleep rather than force them into bedtime rituals that only serve to annoy everyone and require a big glass of wine. Eating what and when: I am completely uninterested in sitting at the table for 3 hours, forcing my child to down those last 2 peas.

    We all have to do what is right for our family and for us, food is something I want my kids to enjoy. I want them to love trying new things.

    Why you should quit being a mommy martyr

    I want them to develop their own tastes and know that they have the ability to say no to things they truly dislike. What works for us, works for us. While I will always teach my children how to dress appropriately for the occasion, I refuse to battle over clothing. Wear what you want, within reason and go to school with unmatched socks for all I care. I grew up getting straight As and believed that it was my ticket to an amazing life.

    While getting good grades helped me get into college, I didn't actually finish college and honestly, it wasn't the grades that brought me to where I am now. I was at the playground with my kiddos 2 years ago after a rainstorm and of course, at the bottom of the slide sat a rather wide puddle of water. While I watched another mother scurry her child away and say, "NO! Don't go down the slide. You'll get all wet and dirty! We weren't on our way to meet the president or have dinner at The Four Seasons.

    We were at a park, where play is the name of the game. I no longer give much attention to how dirty my kids get. We own a shower and a washing machine, both of which can undo any damage done. I want my children to thoroughly enjoy all aspect of childhood before the getting old and forget how to have fun in the dirt.

    Your battles and which ones you're willing to fight should be about you, not about what society has dictated. We only have a finite amount of energy as moms and I don't want to spend mine getting bloodied in a war I don't even care about winning. The one battle we for sure should not have as moms is against homemaking.

    It really shouldn't be so hard. Imagine the zombie apocalypse we always refer to as a society has finally happened. Gruesome, I know, but just buy into this for a second. Why hello, thanks for asking! My name is Sam, and I am the blogger and kid lit expert behind Addison Reads. Our children become what we read to them, so why not reiterate our most important values into the books they consume?

    You can learn more about the concept of The Intentional Bookshelf, here. It is like the Zombie Apocalypse analogy. Your kid the zombie comes home from school crying. So, an organized bookshelf is key. Here are some more reasons to sort your books: There are several ways to organize your books, and no one way is preferable over another. What is most important is that you organize in a way that makes sense for you and your family, and increases your chances of finding a book when you need it — and fast. Some of our most important topics right now are: I would have one box for each topic and put our books into the corresponding box.

    Our weapon trunk is now split into 5 smaller weapon trunks for each need. It might even change over time and be dependent on the ages and life stages of your children and family. These sorting and organizing methods are great on their own, but any combination of them could work well for your family. The important part is identifying what you need your bookshelf to do for you and how you can best accomplish that through organization.

    My greatest hope for you is that when the zombies come, when your children need you most, that you can be prepared with a book at the ready and know exactly where to grab it off your shelf. Click here to join! Samantha Munoz is a mother, wife, engineer, bibliophile and avid coffee drinker. Sam helps parents as they search for the perfect books for their little ones and helps moms and dads build a library with a purpose. Once a seriously overwhelmed and stressed out parent herself, Sam turns to children's literature for the answers to all of her parenting dilemmas.

    She loves when it rains because it gives her an excuse to stay inside and read with her daughter! Follow Sam around the web! Here we go again. The summer has been filled with warm trips to the beach, backyard fires and s'mores. There was some chaos amidst the lack of routine, but it was fun. It was free of unnecessary paperwork. And now, seemingly as quickly as the summer started, it has ended and back to school time is upon us and with that, the descent of all the paper, projects and artwork, in droves. Alright, so that sounded a bit dramatic but then again, is it? The projects and artwork and papers and homework and worksheets and workbooks and doodles and collages and cut outs and coloring sheets and some weird piece of paper made into a fan.

    Do I now have every sheet of paper even manufactured inside my house? In this episode of The Homemakerish Show you can go here to view episodes and get notifications when new ones are happening we had a discussion about this paper and artwork conundrum we find ourselves in as moms. Do we keep it? Will we need it? But he spent so long doodling that circle, I can't throw it away? Here are so tips, tools and recommendations to help make this school year less of a battle with the paperwork.

    My son constantly wants to help me clean. While some kids were just born with the innate need to be tidy, organized and clean, there is also certain level of nature and nurture going on. We can be taught to enjoy things, or at the very least tolerate them and house cleaning is no different. It is always such a process and I feel like I am nagging them. The nagging will get you very little in the long run. It is a circle, a process that will continue until the days when they leave for college, or for their first internship, or to galavant across the world to find themselves.

    We have to remind our children of what needs to be done and equip them with the skills and tools to do it. Whether it is brushing their teeth, combing their hair, changing their underwear, finishing their homework or completing their chores, children need to be reminded to do things and also equip them with what they need to get it done. Children are tiny, beautiful little sponges absorbing everything around them.


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    Sometimes, they just need a nudge. If you live in a messy house, your children with ultimately learn to leave in a messy house. If you model that when you make a mess, you clean it up, they will learn. We don't expect our kiddos to know how to do things like tie their shoes or ride a bike without being taught first, but somehow we have the expectation that they will just pick up on how to complete household chores without much effort on our part. This could be in the form of a chore chart, a chore wheel or a checklist.

    There are so many ways to do this. Gentle reminders, whether verbal, written or in writing can really help your kiddos to do what needs to be done without reminders. If you need help figuring out how to design your chart, check out one of my video posts about how to create your own printable with Canva here. Create systems and routines that set them up for success: Katie marked it as to-read May 03, Katie Wilson marked it as to-read Jun 12, Gina added it Aug 24, Naama Krauz marked it as to-read Oct 07, Ree Jones marked it as to-read Jan 05, Erika Martin marked it as to-read Jan 07, Tara marked it as to-read Apr 11, Kat marked it as to-read Jun 07, English Club marked it as to-read Dec 28, Sarah marked it as to-read Nov 08, Sancha marked it as to-read Dec 15, Sangeetha Natarajan marked it as to-read Jan 28, Lauren marked it as to-read May 20, Jo marked it as to-read Feb 13, Nancy Rhodes marked it as to-read Feb 17, Jessi Eaton marked it as to-read May 27, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

    I used to write for TV but when I became pregnant, I didn't want to work the long hours anymore. Besides, once I realized that pregnancy sucks, it gave me the perfect fodder for my first book entitled, "Pregnancy Sucks: This inevitably led to some quick and dirty sleep training , which I remember as a stop-motion progression from white-knuckling the kitchen counter to lying on the floor in the fetal position. This personality trait also explains the explosive little scraps my husband and I get into about downtime, like hungry dogs fighting over a meatball.

    I almost forgot about him. My house, truthfully, can feel like a minefield. With years of practice, I can finally sidestep, like, three or four mines in a row, but the fifth is always going to blow up…. Where did that stack of dirty dishes come from? As the dust settles, I often find myself wondering what it would be like to divide household labour without the complication of gender, specifically, when both partners are mothers.

    Not surprisingly, the research shows lesbian parents divide the work more equitably than either heterosexual or gay male parents. They negotiate based on interest and ability. In terms of child care, lesbian parents find ways to be equally involved. Communication is built into every single step of lesbian co-parenting, says Nelson. Baby steps What I guess I need to know, then, is how to get from here to there. How do I negotiate with my husband for a fairer share of the load? Thorn asked five sets of lesbian co-parents about not just who did what, but also how they came to their arrangements.

    Talking about our experience changes it. Posting anonymously online is OK, but we also have to open up to our partners. I want to apologize to the mom whose story I exploited for the sake of this article: I am sorry, Diaper Mommy. By sharing your sacrifice, you got me thinking. You got me asking important questions about my own sacrifices, like why on earth I tortured myself for so long with Taylor Swift and whether I was right to moan about it.

    Swizzle, and my world looks brighter without her. My goal now is to express my needs better, to negotiate more directly and with less angst. And that means doing it more often, which, of course, is more work. We've sent an email with instructions to create a new password. Your existing password has not been changed. You have activated your account, please feel free to browse our exclusive contests, videos and content. Sorry we could not verify that email address. Enter your email below and we'll send you another email. Create a new password.

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