Simplifying the Urgent to Focus on the Important

As a homeschool mom, it can be hard to ‘balance’ everything and feel like you are doing a good job of being a mother, homemaker, and teacher. It can feel like the urgent tasks of running a home can take away from the important tasks of raising and teaching our children. Most of us have seen the Eisenhower Matrix that helps split things into Urgent/Not Urgent and Important/Not Important. However, it can still be hard to make that all work.

When there is no toilet paper because you haven’t been to the store and the toddler just dropped the last roll into the toilet or little bellies are hungry and asking for lunch, it is hard to focus on teaching math or doing your daily read aloud. One of Eisenhower’s components was to delegate the urgent but non-important stuff. However, as a mom it can often feel like there is no one to whom you can delegate.

Planning

Over the years, I have struggled with this balance and honestly still struggle. However, I have found a few solutions that help take things off of my plate. First, when your brain is overwhelmed with various tasks, do take the time to write them all out. This can help you function better as you are no longer focused on all the things you need to remember to get done.

Second, it really does help to prioritize what needs to be done and decide if there are things you can take off your plate or delegate. You might decide that you do not need to bake 10 different types of homemade cookies this year or you need to break down and use a box mix in order to maintain sanity.

Delegation

When thinking about delegating we often think about the workforce or other adults that can take on tasks. However, in the life of a mom delegating can look a bit different. It might mean teaching the children to take over some of the chores. For example, I almost never unload our dishwasher because my children rotate through that job.

Sometime, delegation looks like using the tools and resources that you have available to simplify or put things on auto-pilot. I may not have the servant girls that the Proverbs 31 wife had, but I do have tools that I can put to work to make my life easier.

Shopping

Before children, I loved shopping of any kind. I could stroll through the grocery store or spend an hour browsing the craft supply store. Four children later shopping takes time and a lot of mental energy. However, I have found that I can make my life easier by using some online tools. First, I do my grocery shopping online and do curbside pickup. This allows me to keep a running cart all week that I can add things to as I remember, I shop through the sales and even compare the sales with my Ibotta discounts to make sure I’m getting a good deal.

Second, Amazon Subscribe and Save is your friend. There are things that we need every month or on some other consistent basis. With Subscribe and Save, I can save money and know that it is going to be here without me having to continue to think about it. We use it for our laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, toilet paper, tooth paste and more. My husband even has our air filters on subscribe and save. We can set those to only get them during the months he is planning to change the filters.  It is also a great way to get good deals on fun snacks and treats. My children love to see the boxes come in and check to see if they are getting beef jerky or kids Zevias that month.

Finally, I love that by using Misfits Market I can have fresh produce delivered to my door! It helps encourage me to use more produce in our meals which is obviously good from a health standpoint and makes it super simple. We get a box every other week but you can also choose weekly delivery. They send me a reminder several days before the box is scheduled to ship so that I can go in and pick out which produce I want in that weeks box. I get lots of our normal staples, but also a chance to try some things we might not otherwise try. It is organic produce at discounted prices. If this sounds like it would be a blessing to your family, you can get 25% off your first box by going to Misfit Market and using code: COOKWME-IW0OPU.

Meal Preparation

Meal planning made a huge difference in our home. I always hated that feeling of 5 pm when the kids were starting to get grumpy and I had no dinner plan. Scrambling to try to get something thawed and cooked while entertaining a toddler that was just ‘done’ does not contribute to good mental health. By meal planning all of our meals for the week, I can make sure I order what we need from the grocery store, thaw and prep ahead what I can, and don’t have to make extra decisions on stressful days.

Another big delegation for meal preparation is teaching children to cook. It can take some time and energy upfront, but it pays huge dividends in the end. My older two children both cook several meals for the family each week. We are currently helping the six-year old learn how to cook. He loves helping and can hardly wait to be able to cook a meal on his own.

Next, utilize the tools in your kitchen that can make the job easier. If dinner time is busy or challenging, do the prep work in the morning to free yourself up before dinner. I love using my crockpot and throwing dinner in there in the morning and knowing it will be ready at night. I also utilize my Instantpot almost daily for making things quick and easy. I can put a roast and veggies in the crockpot in the morning and then when it is almost time for dinner I can do rice in the Instantpot. Another big favorite in our home is meatloaf and mashed potatoes cooked in the Instantpot.

Household Chores

The two major ways I simplify and delegate household chores are teaching the children to take on some of those responsibilities and creating routines. Deep cleaning the bathroom can feel like a giant task, but remembering to wipe down the counters and do a quick swipe of the toilet each morning only takes a couple minutes and really helps keep things clean.

Assigning a child to help with dishes or sweep the floors, teaches them responsibility and can help free up your time to work on other important work, like teaching a child to read, story time with the toddler, or a heart to heart with your teen.

Homeschooling

Sometimes as homeschooling moms we feel a lot of pressure to teach our children everything they need to know. I love being my children’s primary teacher, but I also appreciate that I do not have to know everything or teach everything.

Sometimes, I choose to delegate a subject to someone else. This might mean my husband takes on some teaching at night (I know this isn’t an option in every family), or I might use technology to help me out. For example, I do not have the musical knowledge to teach my children how to play their instruments. Therefore, we use Practice Monkeys and have someone teach them virtually. As my son is doing high school math, we have found that using an online program works well for him and takes a big responsibility of my plate. Other families choose to delegate by using co-ops and having students learn various subjects in those groups while they teach other subjects.

Remember, that while you are responsible for making sure your children are given a good education, you do not always have to be the one to teach each lesson. It is okay to utilize some of the resources that are available to you to simplify and help you focus on the areas that are important to you.

Overall, I know it can be hard to balance everything and the urgency of many household tasks can easily overtake the importance of other tasks. I hope that these tips can help you to ‘delegate’ some of those urgent things in order to focus on the important tasks that only you can do for your family. If you have other ideas for helping deal with the urgent, please share them in the comments.

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