Yesterday was Pesach Sheini. Pesach Sheini is not really a holiday as such. In a nutshell, it is the day in Jewish history when those who could not bring the Karban Pesach (Pesach sacrifice) on Pesach itself, and so they got a second chance to do it, on this 14th day in the month of Iyar.
I absolutely LOVE the idea of Hashem giving us so many chances to improve ourselves and our lives.
From the day I was born until the day I got married, my mother always had full time cleaning help. This meant that I never made a bed, cleaned my bedroom, did a load of laundry or any other chores for that matter. I did help take care of my siblings, and cook for Shabbos. But I loved cooking and it wasnt a job. But in regard to housework, I never even thought about it.
My friends always told me how lucky I was that I didnt have to help around the house. I never really thought about it. Until I got married. And had kids. And had to run my own home.
It has always been a struggle for me. Sure, my house is clean and organized, but it has taken SO much work on my part- not just the physical act, but mentally figuring it all out (which I am still doing daily). I have cleaning help, my husband helps and I am constantly reading and taking advice from all these amazing organizing blogs out there. But it has really been a journey.
The one thing I realized, and this has only hit me lately, is that I cannot have my kids grow up with everything being done for them like I had. So we have started a system where every day after lunch and before quiet time the kids have 30 minutes of chores to do. Included in these chores are cleaning their bedrooms, tidying up after lunch, cleaning the playroom and any other chores that need to be done to keep the house tidy.
I'm not the type of mom to constantly be on top of the kids to clean up after themselves all day, so taking a half hour and dedicating it to cleaning has really worked.
I will not lie- the first day I implemented this, there were tears and lots of resistance! The second day there were less tears and less resistance. And by the third day I did not even have to tell them what to do. And now they actually take pride in their work. They will call me to the playroom to show me how clean it is and what a good job they did. And the nice thing is, because they are cleaning every day, its really not much to clean each day as it is constant.
I find that by setting up certain times to do certain things, it keeps you focused and really helps get so much done as you know that this specific time is for this specific task.
The reason I started this post off with Rabbi Nachmans' quote about starting over each day and many times each day is that the beauty of life is that Hashem is always giving us so many chances to change things and make things better. Things don't and wont have to stay a certain way. We really have the power to change things in our lives.
I have attached a few charts and things that I have made to make my life easier. I did not grow up with menu plans, daily schedules, chore charts or any of that stuff, but these are things that make my life so much easier.
This is just a cute printable, I laminated it and put it up on the wall in the kitchen. The kids take turns filling it in every day with a dry erase marker and it helps them with remembering what day it is, month etc.
I made this and stuck it on my fridge. Its a constant reminder of what to have ready made in the fridge so no one has to complain that they are hungry and that theres nothing to eat.
This is my weekly menu plan. I excluded Friday and Shabbos as that is in its own category. I sat down with my kids and every one gave me their favorite things to eat for each meal and we came up with this. Honestly, my kids could eat pasta every day for lunch if they could, and I don't stick to it every day, but it keeps things simple for me.
This is our daily schedule for now. Obviously it is always evolving, but having it up on the wall where the kids can see it is a tremendous source of sanity for all of us.
Here's our little bedroom clean up chart. Its simple, not overwhelming and it works.
You dont need a million charts all over your house- but for someone like me, I need to get it out of my head and onto paper where I can see it.
So I encourage all of you to take a moment, look at your life and see where your challenges are. Then think of ways, which are sometimes so simple, to make things easier for yourself.
Good luck and have a wonderful, restful Shabbos,