I like things clean. I feel calm and collected when the house is tidy and everything is in its place. I used to think this was a personality flaw, but now I realize I am who I am, and I like who I am.
I, Stephanie O’Dea, happen to be a sort-of-Type-A Clean Freak.
I also love the Smell of Clean. I’m not a “vinegar and baking soda” kind of person I am fine if other people clean with these products but they just aren’t the cleaning powerhouse I need them to be.
1, I don’t want the house to smell like Easter Eggs all the time and 2, I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that the germs are dead.
Because that’s what really matters to me. DEAD GERMS.
One of the side effects of my Love Affair with Lysol® is that we don’t get sick very often [KNOCK WOOD].
Sure, we get the sniffles now and then, but colds and flus don’t wipe through our house. I mostly credit this to Proper Hand Washing [side note: evidently I wash my hands so much that my fingerprints are hard to read now? I learned this after the school district fingerprinted me for volunteer work], but I do also use a lot of Lysol® Disinfectant Spray and Disinfecting Wipes.
I still let my kids get dirty we spend a lot of time outside, and I am not worried about outdoor germs or bugs, or licking a bit of worm slime. That kind of stuff is absolutely fine with me.
One of my earliest memories is going to family church camp and watching my grandmother go over the entire room with a can of Lysol® Disinfectant Spray. She sprayed down the light switches, TV (it didn’t have a remote, so she sprayed down the controls on the front of it which I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to do with electronics), the doorknob, and the entire bathroom.
She also laid down newspapers so we never stepped directly onto the carpet… huh. I’m beginning to see where I get my tendencies…
This Is What I Do To Help Keep Us Healthy
To keep us as healthy as we can be, I do ask my kids and all kids that come into my home to wash hands. It’s become such a habit for my kids (and for me) that I don’t even really need to say anything anymore. Everyone plops their shoes/backpacks/etc. by the front door and immediately washes their hands.
We do entertain a lot of other kids after school or on playdates, and I ask them to do the same. Every once in a while I get a kid who doesn’t want to wash hands “but I just washed them after lunch” or “my mom says I don’t have to” but I stick to my guns. This is a big deal for me, and I will take kids into the bathroom if needbe and help them wash their hands properly.
I also try my hardest to keep little kids in one area of the home, and provide easy-to-wash toys. I like Duplo Legos, Little People —hard plastic toys— these toys can easily be run through the dishwasher if necessary, or I take the bin outside later and spray the toys down with Lysol® or rub them clean with a Disinfectant Wipe.
This is what I did when I ran preschool centers, too. It keeps the toys shiny and dustfree, but most importantly it keeps boogers and saliva germs away. I also at least once a month (and more often during cold and flu season) spray down the doorknobs, light switches, and TV remotes with Lysol® or use the Disinfectant Wipes. I’ve written about this in the Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life book.
This truly is one of the best ways to make sure to Kill Germs Dead before they spread throughout the family and cause illness.
Lysol® and BlogHer
I’m doing some work with Lysol® and BlogHer and am happy to share with you a new project that Lysol is working on– the Healthy Habits Program, to bring a healthy awareness about germs to kids.
Lysol has put together its Healthy Habits Bus which is a “Science Museum on Wheels” that is able to go to schools across the country to show kids how germs work (good germs vs. bad germs) and how to practice proper hand washing procedure/sneeze etiquette.
The interactive games onboard the bus include a cool Hand Scanner where kids can put their hands under the scanner and see their hands projected on a screen in front of them – with animated “germs” wriggling all over them.
Kids can then watch a video about germs and watch an “Anatomy of a Sneeze” film before being able to practice proper hand washing right there on the bus. I love interactive school projects like this. I remember getting all excited when I was little when the Brush Mobile would come to school (do they even have those anymore?) or when the Library Lady would come and help us renew all of our library cards so we could check out books at the Book Mobile.
Lysol® is going to have a booth at BlogHer this year and I look forward to checking out the videos they have and learning more about their Healthy Habits Tour Bus.
Host the Lysol® Healthy Habits Bus at Your Child’s School
I’m excited to share this part with you!
Lysol’s Healthy Habits Program wants to offer your child’s school an opportunity to win a $15,000 educational grant, a one year supply of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol NoTouch Hand Soap, and to have the Lysol® Healthy Habits Bus come to YOUR school.
To enter your school, please visit Lysol’s webpage and enter the pertinent information.
This contest ends July 31, 2014. I think this is a great way to help raise awareness about healthy habits and hand washing.
My fingers are crossed for you and your school!
Final Thoughts (Does Not Reflect Lysol’s Opinion)
Before I go, I want to bring up Super Germs and the idea that use of disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and overzealous handwashing with antibacterial soap are making us (the human race) resistant to germs and are actually making germs stronger and badder.
I am not a scientist. All I know is that as a mom, my job is to do everything I possibly can to keep my kids happy, safe, healthy, and strong.
My gut, my pediatrician, and my grandma’s teaching tell me that hand washing and germkilling is good.
If I’m wrong, and the germs are in fact getting stronger and badder because of what I’m doing to help keep my kids happy, safe, healthy, and strong, then I’m okay with it. I trust that science will continue to adapt and develop to Kill Germs Dead.
If germs can adapt, so can the scientists. I am not comfortable using my kids as guinea pigs to test out whether or not theories such as Super Germs exist.
All in all, at the end of the day, we are all doing our absolute best to raise our kids the best we can.
You’ll find them over there, in a cloud of Lysol. ;)
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!!
click the link for a printable PDF version of the golden rules for your use –steph
The Family’s Golden Rules
Summer is coming, and I plan on having the kids home with me. I don’t like having the kids at camps and try not to have a lot of structured activities planned during the summer months. It’s a little old-school, I know, but I just really like having them home with me and I like the uninterrupted free time and play that occurs when we don’t have something we HAVE to do.
And I’m kind of lazy.
And I’m terribly cheap.
That said, I do have things that I need to accomplish this summer, and in order for me to get my work done, the kids need to find a way to fend for themselves and not run completely feral.
We have chore charts, and we do follow The Daily 7 as much as we can to keep the house in somewhat decent order. I try to let them work out their own squabbles (my kids are currently 12, 9, and 4) and choose to not intervene unless truly necessary.
(see above. I’m kind of lazy…)
AND? I am not going to always be here. I need these kids to grow up to be responsible members of society, and in order for that to happen, I can’t swoop in and fix every last thing. They’ve got to figure it out on their own.
I’ve gotten a few emails about chores, and responsibility charts, and decided to use those emails as a springboard to make up a list of Golden Rules for the house. These are certainly not the *only* rules in our house, but these are the ones that I expect to be drummed into their heads before embarking out into the Wild Wild World.
Feel free to print these out and hang them up in the play room or family room.
I hope you’re having a wonderful day!!
This contest is now over. Thank you for all who entered!! The winner has been notified via email. Have a great school year!! –steph
Thank you to Staples for providing a backpack for me to review (and for my daughter to keep), and for providing another backpack for a reader give away. Your generosity is appreciated.
It’s back-to-school frenzy season. I have a bit more time with my kids before they head back — our district isn’t beginning until after Labor Day this year. In fact we JUST got the supply list this past week and I was startled when I checked around that the local stores were already picked clean and were gearing up for Halloween!!
I don’t host very many reviews or giveaways on this site, and opt to keep them on the review page, but wanted to make sure that you don’t miss out on this cool offer.
I’ve got a seventh grader this year.
A VERY PICKY SEVENTH GRADER. (said with love, lots and lots and lots of love. I was picky in seventh grade, too.)
Her chosen backpack last year didn’t hold up to being jammed into a locker and kicked around after school during soccer practice. The bottom seam ripped and I ended up securing it with duct tape in April.
The backpack that Staples sent over? It’s wonderful. It’s terribly durable (it’s made by SwissGear, the founders of the Swiss Army Knife) and meets the seventh-grader-it needs-to-look-cool-but-not-too-cool-like-I’m-trying-to-look-cool-test.
I like that there’s a padded pocket in it for future laptop use, and I like that since we don’t have a laptop for her, she can stuff an extra binder into that slot. The straps are nicely padded and don’t dig into her shoulders even when it’s weighed down.
There are a few “secret” compartments, which is quite helpful since she just got braces and needs to carry around dental supplies.
I think you’ll really dig this backpack — it looks like it will hold up for a very long time; I’m impressed.
Staples has got pretty much anything you might possibly need for back-to-school supplies, and
would like to offer a backpack for the student in your home. One lucky winner will receive a brand new backpack of their choosing — up to a $60 value.
To enter this contest, simply leave a comment below with a valid email address in the email line. I’ll randomly choose a winner in a week — so this contest will end on Tuesday, August 27th at 5pm pacific time.
I’d also like to throw in a copy of my Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life book for the lucky winner since it follows the school calendar. This is it! This is the year you’re going to get organized!
good luck to all!
this will be the best school year, ever. I promise!
I’ve been working from home, for myself, for the past 4 years.
When I first began working from home, I had a contract for Bay Area Parent magazine and BlogHerads. This meant I had set hours and a set list of tasks I needed to accomplish on a daily basis in order to get paid.
Now I work solely for myself — I run the websites and I write books. I LOVE what I do, but because I don’t really have a “boss” I find that I spend more time procrastinating and fiddling around online or pacing the house thinking about work than I actually do working.
This hasn’t been too much of a problem for me; I’ve never missed a deadline, and so far (knock wood) I feel happy with the ebb and flow of our days, even if there isn’t an actual set schedule.
Sometimes feel like a kindergartener doing an adult’s job.
And when I’m asked by readers how I go about organizing my work day, I sometimes don’t have a very clear answer.
and that’s not good.
So I’ve decided to pay attention to what I do when I’m on a deadline — because as we all know, deadlines are really the only way to get things done. Here are the tips and tricks I use when I need to ACTUALLY GET THINGS DONE.
(but on the days I don’t need to actually get things done? I procrastinate. It’s human nature, and I’ve found it’s best to just not fight it, but instead embrace it, and move on to the next day. We can’t always be on task 24/7.
This is real life, not a how-to book or magazine article.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE A SCHEDULE.
NO, REALLY. YOU DO.
2) Fill it out —- fill out every slot, if you can. Write in waking the kids up, making breakfast, lunches, getting them out the door, etc. If you have little ones at home with you, schedule in outdoor play time and wear them out so you can then (hopefully) count on nap time so you can get some work done
3) Schedule business calls during nap time. If this isn’t possible, schedule them during times where you know the littles will be happy and can be occupied with a movie/favorite TV show. Try to let unscheduled calls go to voice mail — your clients will quickly learn that you need them scheduled.
Working when kids are always around:
4) When on calls with kids awake, have a full-on snack prepared, sippy cups filled; etc. I usually do microwave popcorn and apple slices, and a juice-box. My kids don’t get juice boxes very often, so they are a treat. I start the TV show right before getting on the call, or press “play” right as I’m dialing the phone
5) Take phone calls out of sight from the kids — in a closed bedroom, or the backyard or the garage. Usually with kids over the age of 2.5 or so, they are safe watching TV and if mom is out of sight, she’s out of mind (of course use your best judgment, etc. etc.; you know your kids best).
6) Always inform whomever you’re on the phone with that you are working from home today with small children and you’ll need to keep the call under 20 minutes (or whatever).
Sometimes a Mom’s Gotta Do What a Mom’s Gotta Do.
7) If you have to write a report or have quiet “thinking time,” I suggest working when you can be fully off-duty as a parent. If you have childcare help, or the kids are at school, use that time. If not, I suggest using the early morning or late night hours, depending on your own personal biological clock.
for me, I’m much more focused early in the morning. When I’ve got a deadline for a writing assignment, I set an alarm and get up at 4 or 4:30 am. It’s just me and the coffee pot, and I can crank out a good amount of work before Adam’s alarm goes off at 6am. When I wrote for Bay Area Parent, I regularly worked what I called “the split-shift.” I went to bed at 8pm with the kids, then set an alarm and worked from 12-4am; then went back to bed until 7am when the kids got up. It may not be a long-term solution, but it definitely works if you’re in a pinch.
and let’s face it. You’re working from home. You’re in a much better position than many, many working people, and there’s no need to complain. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
Life is good.
8 ) There is no End to the work day. I don’t care how many work-from-home books there are that tout putting away the computer or the phone or the book at 6pm to fully “unplug” and be present with your family. It just doesn’t exist when you work from home and are also in charge of the family. There will always be more to do — and there’s no need to make yourself feel guilty for checking email while you walk through the living room, or stop to answer a call if it rings during Jeopardy. You are home. You are lucky. Don’t make arbitrary rules for yourself that you have no intention of keeping.
That said, don’t be obnoxious.
Don’t be the person on her iPhone during the Saturday morning soccer games or text during church. Don’t put the phone next to your dinner plate, or use it in a restaurant. If the kids are talking to you, close the laptop and pay attention. Yes, you’re “always on” but you’re not a neurosurgeon. Get over yourself.
Accept Help Graciously
9) Enlist help. One of the cool things about working from home is that I can pop in a load of laundry in between tasks, and go outside and weed during a conference call. I love that I have this flexibility, but there are times when I just can’t do anything more than put out fires online, or over the phone. I expect my kids to do their chores, and I expect that my husband help out, too. We follow the Daily 7 as a family, we have regular Family Meetings, and the kids each have a chore chart. If this isn’t an option for you, then hire help.
Don’t try to do every last thing yourself. Not only is it not healthy for you, you’re not being a good role model for your kids.
I feel incredibly fortunate that I have this opportunity to provide an income for our family while being the full-time caregiver to our children. It’s not something I planned — but I couldn’t be happier.