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Rule 15: Love Your Appliances

Aug 11, 2008
Sandrine Chaumette is married and the mother of four boys. She has spent most of her career in hi-tech and has degrees from the University of California, and Cornell. Currently, she works part-time for two mom-owned businesses.

Attending the Peking Acrobat Show a while back, I came away with one conclusion: I can do that! I can balance and juggle, with the best of them. I don't do my tricks on stage, nor do I use the same skills. My stage is my home. My acrobatics are balancing a part-time job outside the house with a full-time job at home as wife and mother.

My apparatuses are my appliances. They buy me time, decrease my effort, and assume some of my responsibilities. Using the technology built in my appliances is the foundation for my successful balancing and juggling act. Before starting your home "acrobatics" do the following:

- Take a look at your appliances' quick-start guides.

- Check out the control panel on the appliance.

- Identify and use buttons labeled "auto," "self," and "delay."

My appliances reduce the amount of effort I spend doing unpleasant tasks; like cleaning my oven. I dreaded buying one of those noxious oven cleaners. I hated the idea of wearing safety goggles and safety gloves. Then I noticed the "Self Clean" button on the oven. On a whim, I pressed the button before going to bed. When I got up the next day, the gunk had been reduced to a small pile of dust. I wiped the oven clean in 15 minutes. Wow! Also, I no longer rinse my dishes in the sink. I load the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and press "Rinse." The process takes nine minutes of the dishwasher's time, not mine. In addition the dishwasher uses less energy and less water than if I rinsed the dishes myself. Imagine that.

My appliances help me manage my time. Mornings at our house include breakfast, homework (my kids do homework at 7 a.m.), dishes, preschool drop off, elementary school drop off, all by 8:30 a.m. After all that, I drive to work. I buy myself time, by grinding my coffee beans, and setting the coffee maker to "auto" the night before. My coffee is ready and waiting at 7 a.m. I also use the countdown timer on the stove, washing machine, dishwasher, cell phone, and more. I use it to start a load of laundry after everyone is done bathing, run the dishwasher after it's filled. I can turn on the appliance when I remember, but not have the process actually start until I am actually ready. All I have to do is decide how much of a delay I need and press the button. I absolutely hate driving to work and remembering that I forgot to start the dishwasher or washing machine. Using the "delay" buttons dramatically decreases this annoying source of stress.

I even delegate responsibilities to the appliances. There are certain television shows and stations I don't allow my children to watch. Instead of standing guard, I set up a list of our "favorites." That way, they are only able to watch the shows I approve of. Also, my kids love a nightly bedtime story. I use books on CD when I am not available because of travel or illness. Delegating lets me take care of my kids needs when I'm not physically with them.

To successfully work inside and outside the house I delegate, manage my time, and reduce effort with the help of my appliances. Give it a try. Your life will be so much easier.

As excerpted from "42 Rules (tm) for Working Moms" Super Star Press, 2008
About the Author
Laura Lowell is the executive editor and author of "42 Rules for Working Moms." She has gathered practical advice and information from working moms all over the world to share with others. She lives and works in Silicon Valley with her husband and two girls. http://www.42rules.com/working_moms/index
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