A LITTLE ABOUT ME AND MY BUSINESS
My name is Michele G. I am a wife, a stay-at-home mom to 7 children, and I home school them all!! My business is called Blue Moon Artistry and can be found at http://www.bluemoonartistry.com.
I started my business because with a large family and only one income, I was having a hard time budgeting money to spend on all the creative things I like to do. I decided that selling some of what I make would provide an outlet for my creativity as well as a source of funds. Everything I sell is hand-crafted by me. I make unique, beaded hair sticks, jewelry, and items that are crocheted and knitted. I also do custom, made-to-order work.
Juggling a business and a family can be a real challenge! Everyone has to do what is right for themselves, but I am happy to share with you a little of what I have learned along the way. Let me start by saying that I am very blessed to have a husband who puts a high value on what a wife and mommy does. He has said multiple times that he could never pay anyone to do what I do. He constantly reminds me that my time is extremely valuable and that being mommy is the most important job in the world! I know that I am very fortunate to have someone so appreciative and supportive.
DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY
There are a few things that help me to keep my very busy household and my business running smoothly. I do not think that I have all the answers. I am struggling along, just like everybody else, but in my years of wife and mother to multitudes, I have learned some helpful “domestic engineering” tools:
–Keep a calendar in a public place (like the refrigerator) and write everything on it! Music lessons, part-time work schedules for teenagers, sporting events, Dr.’s appointments, repairmen scheduled. Everything! This helps the whole family to know what is going on and not have conflicts.
–Schedule dates with your husband, and even your children. Set aside time to just spend with them doing something fun and relaxing.
–Keep some special toys or videos tucked away. Don’t let them be for every day use. Save them for when an emergency comes along and you really need a block of time where your children can happily entertain themselves.
–Two simple words: Delegate and Schedule. You may be a wife and/or a mother. You are not a slave. If they are big enough to take it out, dirty it, or eat it, then they are big enough to learn how to put it away, clean it, or load a dish in the dishwasher. Remember what your grandmother used to say, “Many hands make light work!”
–I am a firm believer in child labor. On our refrigerator next to the calendar are chore charts. The rule is, “chores and school come first.” If I have a child asking for a privilege, I can refer them to the chore chart. They can look at their name and see listed all their responsibilities for that day. This prevents (for the most part) lots of rants and ravings by me. I can smile sweetly, and say, “You know the rule, dear. Chores and school come first. You may do that when your work is done.”
In our household, meals and laundry are the two areas that have the largest potential for disruption. Here are some hints to keep them under control:
–Don’t wait until 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon to decide what is going to be for dinner! Think about it in the morning, or even better, the night before.
–Plan a menu for the week (or two). Plan a grocery list based on the menu. Shop one day and get everything you need.
–Keep healthy, “convenience” food on hand — fruits, granola bars, cut up veggies, etc.
–Keep an “emergency meal kit” in your cupboard. You know, everything you need to make a meal quickly for unexpected company. Pasta, a few jars of sauce, and a box of brownie mix for dessert is what one lady I know always has on hand.
–Use your crock pot.
–Cook in big batches and freeze the extra. Don’t just make one casserole. Make two or three and put them in the freezer. Sometimes I will brown several pounds of ground beef at one time and freeze it in meal-sized portions. Then, when we want pasta, chili, tacos or a casserole that has ground beef in it, I am that much closer to having dinner on the table, plus, no greasy pan to clean!
–Keep the phone number for Domino’s Pizza on hand and remember that the 5-5-5 deal is great when you are really in a pinch!
–Schedule your laundry. I am going to repeat that. Schedule your laundry! This has been the biggest life-saving tip that I can give. I have a system I will share with you. If my system can keep a family of 9 from having laundry pile up, then it can certainly work for you too!
–There are three basic principles to my system.
1) Keep the dirty laundry pre-sorted.
2) Teach everyone in the family who is big enough to reach the machine how to properly do laundry. (All my kids help load, unload, and fold. At about age eight or nine, I will trust them to actually run the machine.)
3) Designate days of the weeks for different “zones” to do laundry.
–As an example, here is how it works in my household: The “zones” around here are GIRLS, BOYS and PARENTS. Each zone contains at least two dirty clothes hampers — one is for lights/whites and one is for darks/colors. In the boys zone, there is also a hamper for towels/linens. Even the youngest person in my house knows that their dirty clothes go into the proper hamper. We no longer spend time sorting laundry. It is pre-sorted for washing!
–My laundry schedule runs like this: On Monday and Thursday, the girls must do all the laundry in their zone. That means wash, dry and fold and put away! They are also required to change their bed linens on one of those days. On Tuesday and Friday, the boys must completely do all the laundry in their zone. They also must do their bed linens. I do laundry on Wednesday and Saturday.
KEEPING IT IN PERSPECTIVE
In this season of my life when all my children are home, I try to keep everything in perspective and my priorities straight. For me, that means that family must always come first. When a day or two rolls by and I realize that I have not had time to snuggle and read to my 4-year-old, I know that things are getting out of balance and it is time to set my business on the back burner a bit. The business can wait, but my children will be grown and gone so quickly! I know how easy it is to get consumed with your business. I know, believe me, I know how hard it can be to make ends meet and money is important. But remember, the greatest gift you can give your family is you.
You can find the author’s unique, hand-crafted creations at The Petticoat Pirate in uptown Greenville, NC. and at http://www.bluemoonartistry.com. For a special 10% off discount, enter this voucher code in the appropriate box at check out: 12471221. You can also view the author’s blog at http://busyhsmom.blogspot.com