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Any Tips / Advice on Just About Anything

Lately, I feel like my life is spinning out-of-control. I need help in so many areas that I couldn't pick a topic. I am struggling with: keeping my finances in control, organizing the house (which is in massive disarray from my hoarding/procastinating tendencies added to my seemingly excessively busy life), kids behaviors, trying to have a more equal split in household responsibilities w/ my husband, and more. My parents didn't do the best job in teaching me about these things. I feel like I am in a whirlwind/hurricane with no branches to grab onto, no rescue boats in sight. I feel as though I am headed for a breakdown or metldown. Any suggestions, PLEASE HELP!

What can I do next?

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I know exactly how you feel. For my finance issues, I pay ALL the bills at one time so I know what is left over. Dont spend it if you dont have it. Housework: do a little every day. Wheather its before bed or in the morning before work. I throw a load of clothes in b4 work, then put them in the dryer when i get home. I also sweep and vacuum at least every other day. I sat my hubby down and told him i need his help. Hes in control of the garbage and getting the dished into the dishwasher. The major cleaning like the bathroom or mopping gets done on the weekends. It doesnt take long if you split it all up, and keep up on it because it gets out of control FAST. I am a perfectionist and hate clutter so this might be easier for me than you, but try it. Once you get a schedule set up everything goes much smoother. TRUST ME

As we are finishing dinner each night I ask my husband if he wants to clean up from dinner or give the baby her bath. It prevents him from getting up and going to the couch while I do both but gives him an option so he doesn't feel like he is being forced to do either. His decision usually corresponds to how many dinner dishes have to be washed by hand, but at least I don't have to do both.

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Hi B.,
One of my saving graces has been www.flylady.net what an incredible sight for organizing your life. I highly recommend it as it works and...it's free! Good luck!
M.

Tackle ONE little project at a time- maybe the bathroom or livingroom. Have a family meeting and let everyone know that they also have to do their part in "helping" keep the house clean. Maybe buy a clothes hamper or basket for each of their bedrooms- what gets washed is what is in the basket. Helping them also start "picking up" after themselves will also help you- give them a list of chores to do each day and maybe have one big cleaning day per week (ours is Saturday morning) we all get up and help clean the house from dusting to mopping. Then maybe that evening we "treat" ourselves to pizza and a movie or whatever. WHen I clean cupboards- I take one cupboard at a time. Also, get yourself a little journal (can buy them at wal-mart) and write down each of the bills every month- I write the due date on the outside of the envelope before I put it in my bill pile as well as write it in my budget/bill journal and that way I know what is coming out and when. Just one small step at a time and before you know it everything will fall into place. Our rule here is; if you get it out, YOU pick it up- even if its ten minutes before bedtime to tidy up- everybody pitches in- every little bit helps. Also, we clip coupons around here from womansday.com or manufacturer coupons. I look for coupons BUT ONLY for stuff that we buy or use. Talk to your husband and get a game plan together. Even if it is, sitting on your steps , after the kids are put to bed, and talk about this plan and remember Little steps adds up to big rewards in the end.

Okay,,, BREATHE!!!! You have a very busy life!!!

It will get better over time... I remember when our girls were young and my dh worked two jobs and I thought we would never save any money... things are so much better now --- I still feel overwhelmed but not like I did then.

God needs to be in your life - if He isn't already - not just in YOURS but in your FAMILY's life! Taking time out for Him will actually help you have time that you never thought you would have.

reply to me if you'd like to talk or email back and forth... where are you from?

R.
NE Ohio

Schedules work great. I'm a stay at home mom now but I was a single parent for several years when my 3 kids were very young, and very close in age. I worked full time and went to school, it was NOT easy to balance it all.

Bills, pay bills online every paycheck, sort them by date due. For me that means my house and car payments get paid the last check the month before since they are due on the first. and set up direct deposit for both you and your husband. this saves running around, trips to the bank, stamps and trips to the post office. Do not use credit unless it's an emergency, staying out of debt really helps remove stress from your life.

Your kids are old enough to help. Mine are 10, 8 and 6, they make their own beds, put their own clothes away, wipe down the table after dinner, wipe down the sink after they brush their teeth, put their own clothes in the hamper, pick up their own toys, help feed the pets, load their own plates into the dishwasher, help set and clear the table and have even dusted and rant he sweeper for me when it just had to get done and I couldn't do it. mind you when i have time i will do their chores but they know how to do all these things and will if asked saving me a lot of time.

Talk to your husband, even if it's simple things like him putting away dishes, and starting laundry before he leaves int he morning, or folding a load from the night before, it can really help. Also simple things like if you cook, he cleans up, can go a long way.

organize, take a weekend and find a home fore everything, declutter and get rid of what you don't use or need. the less stuff you have the less work you have to do to keep it all in order.

and most importantly, ask for help, take time out for yourself and your husband and your family, and just go with it. truthfully no one really cares if your house is a mess. you'll have plenty of time later to clean and have the picture perfect home, right now you are a busy working mom to small kids, enjoy it.

Noone ever said everything has to get fixed all at once. Start with baby steps. As far as finances go, sit down and write down all of your expenses each month, including groceries and gas. Then write down what income comes in and figure out if anything is left over. If nothing is left, go through your daily routine on paper and figure out places where costs can be cut. If you eat lunch out at work, start packing lunches. If a coworker lives close, talk to them about carpooling. If you eat out, even just once a week, start always eating at home. If you have a cell phone, cut back on minutes. Cable bills, internet costs, and home phone bills can all be decreased too.

For the house chores, start by focusing on one room at a time. Go through closets and things that are out in the open. If you haven't used it for the last year, donate it and keep track of what you donate so you can claim it as a tax deduction. If you find you have a lot of the same thing, cut back to which one you use the most. If you have clothes that you haven't worn for the last two seasons, get rid of them. In closets, too many blankets, coats, and shoes just take up space so donate what isn't a necessity. Once you have one room done, move to the next, then you'll only have a weekly cleaning to do in the room you've finished. In the kitchen, go through food and if it's expired, trash it. Take note of what you have in your cupboards so you can cut back on groceries for a few weeks while you use food up. In bathrooms, if you have lotions or perfumes that you haven't used in a long time, give them to someone you know. Little things can really help like when you get the mail, sit down and go through it right away. Junk mail goes straight in the trash, bills go into a bill organizer with different dates of the month so you can keep track of what's due when. Also, stop buying things just because they're a good deal if you're doing so. Once you get your house in order, it will be much more pheasible to sit down and figure out an upkeep schedule with you and your husband. One thing I always make sure of is that my dishes are always clean and put away and my kitchen counter is always spotless. Just having that done feels really good when you walk into it. For laundry, try doing one load everyday. It doesn't take much time, and eliminates laundry buildup. Don't think about how the "house" needs organized, instead break it up into smaller jobs. Maybe do one room a week, or more if you have the time to. I always clean out my pantry and closets every 3 months or so and it's amazing how many things I end up just throwing out that maybe at one point I had placed there just because I didn't know what else to do with it. Also, get a two drawer filing cabinet. It's a great way to keep organized. Have a file for every member of your family. Every doctor bill that comes in, file under the particular individual's name. Have a file for mortgage papers, tax deductions so you don't have to scramble around at tax time to get papers you need, one for insurance info., car payment stubs, credit card stubs, and whatever else you tend to keep statements or papers from like report cards. Everytime you go through mail or write bills, file the papers in the appropriate spot right away to avoid accumulating piles of paperwork. Have a spot somewhere for the kids to keep their backpacks. THere's nothing worse than kids coming home and throwing their things from school wherever they land. Consider hanging hooks inside closets that are designated for bookbags. Since your kids are young, I also recommend having hooks for their coats also, that way they're put away without you having to do it for them. I have a large pantry that I have hooks on both sides of just for these purposes. Have boxes or rubbermaid bins for those things that no matter how hard we try, they just end up accumulating like AC adapters, extension cords, yellow red and white tv cords, and other electrical things that fit into that category. For the kids' rooms, have them clean with you so they can see that everything is going to have a designated spot from now on. EVery night about 15 minutes before bedtime, have them run in and make sure everything is as it should be. Also, get them in the habit of making their bed everyday, it rubs off onto other areas of their lives. My kids have made their own beds since they were 3, may not have been too pretty back then, but hey, they were made right? There are so many things that can be done to keep things organized, but first you have to go through and get rid of things that are not useful. You may be hoarding because of an area of your life that you are unhappy with. Try to look at your life and figure out what it is, and try to be thankful for what you do have in your life.

Everything has a solution, so don't feel hopeless, just feel motivated. Take it one day and one project at a time. You'll get there!!

I know exactly how you feel. For my finance issues, I pay ALL the bills at one time so I know what is left over. Dont spend it if you dont have it. Housework: do a little every day. Wheather its before bed or in the morning before work. I throw a load of clothes in b4 work, then put them in the dryer when i get home. I also sweep and vacuum at least every other day. I sat my hubby down and told him i need his help. Hes in control of the garbage and getting the dished into the dishwasher. The major cleaning like the bathroom or mopping gets done on the weekends. It doesnt take long if you split it all up, and keep up on it because it gets out of control FAST. I am a perfectionist and hate clutter so this might be easier for me than you, but try it. Once you get a schedule set up everything goes much smoother. TRUST ME

B.,
I agree with most of the comments about perhaps seeing a counselor to help you feel better about you so you can devote yourself more completely to your family.

I've had depression for years. Sometimes it's good and manageable, other times it's not. Last year, I was diagnosed with cancer, and it helped me put things into the proper perspective. Then, I lost my job in May, and it felt like the world had turned against me. In 12 weeks of unemployment, I felt like I didn't get anything done (other than finding a new job).

We don't have family around either, so 5 months of chemo with a newborn and a 2 year old fell completely on us with occasional help from friends/neighbors. it can add up and feel like you're at your breaking point.

Good luck. I hope you find the solace you desperately need. I did find that an antidepressant to smooth me out was the best ting for me so I could focus on my family appropriately. I hope you find whatever it is you need to help put things in order.

Get connected with a mom or parent group in your area. Try www.mops.org or your local hospital. Hire a babysitter so that you can go connect with other moms in your area. You need some "me" time.

I understand about the mess and the finances. Just sit down and take a deep breath. My husband and I both lost our jobs within 6 month of each other about seven years ago, just as we were getting married. We went from making over $100,000 per year between the both of us to making less then $25,000 in less than one year of getting married. Four years and 2 kids later we were only make $30000 to $36000 per year. With working two jobs on my own and my husband working side jobs were struggled to make ends meet. We moved to a much cheeper residence and worked different schedules so we could keep child care to a minimum.

Two years ago my husband was offered a great job that paid twice what the two of us were making together. But four years of minimal house cleaning and making do with nothing took their toll.

All those things we did without or made due with other things are catching up with us. I was able to quit my job because what I was making was just covering the cost of child care and maintain an extra car. Plus this frees up my husband to work overtime if its available.

I used to work nights and the dress code was casual. I am now two sizes smaller and have no professional or dress clothes with the excepting of a gray and black pair of pants. My house is a dissaster. I have three pairs of jeans (one does not fit well). and 6 short sleeved tee shirts and 5 long sleeved. I wear the same thing all the time.

Since we are finally starting to get the bills paid off, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We finally paid off the hospital for my sons' births. But here is how we turned things around. Get a cheap calander about the size of sheet of paper. As the bills come in write down when they are due and what is due. Create a spreadsheet, list all of your debts with the exceptions of neccessary things like gas and electric. I am assuming that you have credit debt. Start with the card that has the highest interest rate. Pay a little extra on it even if its only $10 per month and pay only the minumum on everything else. And stick to this as best you can. If you find your self with an extra $15 either put it toword the bills or build up a cash emergancy fund of a couple hundred dollars. After about six months look at your total debt. Compare it too what it was when you started and take pride in the strides you are making. You may feel that within a year you did not make any stride but even if you cut your credit card debt by $100 dollars at 21% interest you will save yourself $21 dollars in the comming year. Round up if you can on some of the smaller bills for example paying $250 on the $242 a month car loan allowed us to pay it off in 4 years and 4 months instead of 5 years. Little things can make a huge difference. Over the time we only paid $8 per month more (a total of $416, but saved eigth months in car payments (at $242 a month we saved ourselves $1936 in interest on the loan).

Now to start on the house. Start with the bathroom and kitchens first. Remove everyting that does not belong in these rooms. If it has a spot somewhere else put it there. If you have no use for it put it in a box. If its usable, has value and you have not used it with in a year, sell it on craigslist. If the item does not sell donate it. But it must leave and never come back. If something is broke and needs fixing and it been sitting broke for a while get rid of it. Kids items are the worst. I have had no luck with the kids resale shops. I you know someone that needs kids clothes give it to them. Helping out a friend feels great and will help eliminate the aniexty of letting go of your stuff.

Once the kitchen and bathrooms are empty clean them well. Then start on the rest of the rooms. Start with one type of object first like removeing all the clothes from the living room, then go onto papers and magazines, etc. Remove everything from all the horizontal surface and don't let anyone else like the kids or the hubby turn it into their dumping ground. Just one room at a time and one thing at a time. This is where we start traing the kids and hubby. If the kids drop something were it doesn't belong you have to remind them that it doesn't belong here, you know where it belongs so put it there.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a year ago and my short term memory is not what it used to be. I have to have certain spots were things belong. The car keys need to be put on a hook next to the door when I come in. If I set them down somewhere else I may not remember where I put them. I once could not leave the house for three days because I couldn't find my house keys.

And don't worry if you can. (I know easier said than done). The important thing is that you keep on what you can. It takes at least thirty days for actions to become habits if you are religous about it longer it you let things slip for a day or two. However it really not worth beating you self up if you let the dishes go till moring and clean the bathroom tomorrow. I make a point with the kids that if the give me an hour of two to clean, I will take them to the park. It not worth sacrificing well deserved time with the family if its going to make you miserable.

Also look for rewards like points toward purchase of gift cards, etc. For example, speedway rewards, you get points toward further purchases when you buy something. My husband's work provides him with a truck that he has to fill up every day or two. His work pays for the gas but we get the points. We use the rewards to buy gift certificates that we use to buy gee whiz items. They have cut their rewards considerably since they started but over the last five years we earned enough to buy a tv, a dvd player, a winter coat, $50 in christmas gifts at JCPenny and $100 in household supplies from Lowes.

I shop at giant eagle because of the fuelperks. I buy gift certificates to pay for other things. When we need to get our haircut, we buy a $50 gift certificate for the place we go and then go get them cut. Need some tools from sears, buy a gift card at the store and use that to pay for them. We have saved over $600 on gas in the last year and together with coupons and the foodperks over $2000 on food. I only shop the sales. I like giant eagle becase when the have the 10 for $10 you can get one for $1 without having to buy 10 to get the sale price. Now if you use coupons, say they have Hamburger Helper at $10 for 10. They usually have a Save 75 Cents off 3 coupon in the paper (or you can find it online at coupons.com). When they double the coupon you end up only paying 50 cents per box. (Nobody can beat that price.) I usually save between 20 and 30% per trip. Also you can save the boxtops (as in boxtops for education, if your kids school does not participate clip the box top put them in a ziplock bag and send then every six months send them to an inner city school that desperately needs the money) My sister teaches at one in Chicago they really need them. This way you are helping out someone out that needs the help more than you and this should make you feel good.

Other things to look into are memolink.com and mypoints.com. You can earn points by reading you email and clicking on a link. They offer surveys to earn points and if you purchase things online and they are part of their member network they rebate you in points for your purchase. You may only earn enough for a $25 to $50 gift card per year (you can even earn cash). But its enough to treat yourself or the kids once in a while. Good luck it takes a little effort but when it starts to pay off its worth it.

As we are finishing dinner each night I ask my husband if he wants to clean up from dinner or give the baby her bath. It prevents him from getting up and going to the couch while I do both but gives him an option so he doesn't feel like he is being forced to do either. His decision usually corresponds to how many dinner dishes have to be washed by hand, but at least I don't have to do both.

I know how you feel. I'm married with 2 kids (6 and 3), and both DH and I work full-time.

Get the book "don't sweat the small stuff: and it's all small stuff". First thing in there: "Make peace with imperfection." There are going to be times when you're just going to have to let something wait.

Flylady.net is a fantastic site for helping get organized and/or developing a schedule. Yes, it's sort of geared more for stay-at-home moms, but there's info in there for working moms. I just look at it as "Use the tips I can when I can, and that's the best I can do."

Have your 9 year old "help out" with dusting or vacuuming or helping fold clothes, something/anything. Have your husband help out with things that the 9 year old obviously can't for whatever reason (putting dishes up high on the shelf or something). Realize that sometimes they may not do the job like you would to it, but THAT's OKAY. As long as it's done, or closer to being done, that's okay.

With the hoarding/procrastinating, we've found that Flylady's 15 minute rule works well. Declutter for 15 minutes...there's nothing you can't do for 15 minutes. I don't know how young your kids are, but if they're old enough - set the timer for 15 minutes, and let them know "Mommy's Declutter time". They may want to help, and if you can swing it, let them. Let them get you a trash bag, ask them to put things where they go - toys in the toy-box, paper towel rolls on the counter, whatever. Surely there are little things like that that they can help with - or take the stance of "This is mommy's time." SHe also talks about doing 2 loads of laundry a day to keep up with that.

WIth us, we've found it's almost easier to declutter 1 box at a time. We get so much stuff, we'll just throw it in a box (mail, papers to sort through, etc.) and try to get to it when we get time. So go through a box a night or something.

I know most nights after dinner and before "winding down time" for the kids, I usually have about 30-45 minutes to start a load of laundry or straighten up a room.

Just a few thoughts, for what it's worth...and good luck!

OH - Hillbilly Housewife is a good website too.

Dear B.,
First of all your family is the most important. You & your husband need to be by yourselves once in a while.(once a week, or once a month) It doesn't have to be expensive. Walk in the park, the mall(not in the stores), a picnic. Be creative. When your kids see Mom & Dad together, they have a sense of security in knowing that you guys love eachother. I used Growing Kids God's Way(GKGW) when my kids were younger & it helped tremendously. Go to gfi.org and you will find many resources available. Start with GKGW first. There are CD's that come with books so you can listen to it in your car. You should listen to them with your husband; however, so you will both learn and "be on the same page."
Dave Ramsey is a financial guru that has a lot of insight.
For your hoarding, I would have a friend come over and help you get rid of stuff. Some one that is not sentimental but practical. Put stuff in non-see-through garbage bags and give to Goodwill. Don't look back into bags just throw it away or give it away. The less clutter you have, the more organized you can become. I hope this helps. L. J

As a mentor, I CONTINUALLY tell my students, the most difficult thing to do is to get people to THINK differently. Once you start THINKING differently, you can take ACTION.

Two books I'd recommend.......HOW TO STOP BEING YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY by Earl Wilson (It's out of print but you can find it on Amazon - and HONESTLY, EVERY adult should be REQUIRED to read this book)..and RENEWING THE MIND, by Casey Treat.

Set goals.....even small ones. If you meet your short term goals, you'll ultimately meet the bigger ones. Start by narrowing things down.....even to a ROOM or corner of a room and START THERE. Sometimes, the entire room can seem overwhelming.

What are priorities? WRITE THEM DOWN and re-read them ...several times a day if you have to. Otherwise, the negative and overwhelming thoughts continue. Put into your mind what needs to be done and the action you're going to take to get it done. Trust me, when I tell you, that SO MUCH of what's going on in the mind will manifest itself in your household! That can be clutter, disorganization, or whatever. I've found the people who have the biggest "messes" internally, have the most problems keeping organized, etc.

Set aside TIME for these tasks, whether that be 30 minutes or 1 hour daily, or whatever. Chip away at it. Ask for help. Kids can help, even at younger ages. In addition, it helps them LEARN to be organized, etc. If you do some of this together, it also gives you time with them in a constructive way.
And lastly.......PRAY! Calm your mind and ask God to help you set priorities and focus on what needs to be done. It's a great way to clear your mind and get refocused.
Hope this helps!

Yeah I can understand that.I procastinate a lot too and end up completely stressed out when the house is a complete mess.

I would spend a lot of time every weekend cleaning up the place and it would be back to where it was by next weekend.My stress levels got worse when we had friends/family dropping in.Ideally, I would suggest spending some time cleaning the house/doing laundry and folding clothes during the week.You can set aside maybe 20-30 mins everyday for this.

But since I just can't get myself do it everyday ,here is what I did.I spent couple of weekends re-organizing the house - one room at a time. I got rid of things/clothes that I felt are of no use anymore.And some things which I really didn't want to throw away inspite of not using them anymore ,I put them in boxes and they are now lying in the storage.Once I had all the unused stuff out of sight , I had far less things to deal with.I also bought organizers and had the whole place set up the way I wanted.I made sure I knew where things went in each room(esp the kitchen,bedrooms and also living room which were the most cluttered) and made it a point to put everything back in their place after using them.I asked my husband to do the same too , which is not too difficult to do if you make it a practice.

It is a LOT of work initially but all you have to do after that is just put things back in their place which takes just a minute or two.It's a LOT better than having stuff lying around all the time , half of which you don't know what to do with.Since you have kids ,you can talk to your kids too and ask them to do the same.Since you have everything organized you will spend far less time searching for something that you know it's there but not sure where you put it.I once remember going through all my drawers and cupboards searching for a document which was actually lying on my dresser.I must have been seeing it lying there everyday for the past few weeks but still didn't realize it as that was not where it was supposed to be and obviously that was the last place I looked for it!

So now the house may not be clean but atleast it won't be cluttered.You can then spend some time over the weekend or anytime during the week vaccuming/cleaning restrooms etc.So weekdays will basically be just cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.You can ask your husband / kids to help with loading/unloading dishwasher while you cook/clean the kitchen.
Organizing really helped me.Now even if I end up procastinating , it takes lot less time to clean up the place.

A tip that I got for controlling finances was to use cash instead of credit/debit cards.That way you can set aside an amount for each week/month for your family and try to spend from that always.I haven't tried this myself but really like the idea.For ex : take cash with you when you go grocery shopping.Also plan ahead and make a list of things you want to buy that week. This saves time and also you can avoid taking extra cash so that even if you want to buy something that is not on your list , you will have to put back something else that is on your list or make another trip which you most probably wont.Or you can add this to your list for your next week's grocery shopping.

Hope this helps.

Hi, B.! I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling this way. I know how hard it is try to accomplish anything when you feel like everything is out of control. My suggestion... organize your house. I feel much better mentally when my surroundings are in order. Do what you can to buckle down and accomplish one room at a time. I think that we get into a rut and just say "forget it" and let things go. After a while, it gets out of control, then we have a bigger pile to tackle! I just went through that last week, I put my mind to getting things organized, and I feel SO MUCH better! With four kids running around, I know it's tough! Ask your hubby to keep the kids out of your hair so you can work without interruptions. Lock the door of the room that you're in if you have to! Trust me, your mind will feel much more organized after your physical surroundings are in their place. Know what I mean? Especially with the holidays quickly approaching, we are going to be pretty busy! Make yourself a list of things your want to accomplish, and do your best to cross one thing off of your list every day or two. Your list will get smaller, your house will become more organized, and you will be a much happier mama and wife! You can do it!! Just do it one thing at a time! I wish you the best of luck! Stay positive!

I cannot recommend this enough! www.flylady.net and she helps with getting your house together and she offers info on getting your finances under control as well as clutter etc. Check her site out - sign up for her e-mails and do the baby steps and don't make yourself crazy thinking you have to make everything perfect at once - but know that you are human and working on things. Best wishes!

I really think that the first thing you should do is see a doctor. Much of what you say sounds like depression and I do recognize it because I have been ther done that. After you can get your emotions back to some stability then tackle one job and one concern at a time. Think about the concern that troubles you the most and tackle that one. Remember-one day at a time and above all breath. I know that sounds condescending but it really worked for me. I haad all four of my children in 6 years. Close your eyes, take the deepest breath that you can, counting to twelve while you do, hold that breath and count to three, exhale countong to eight. If these numbers don't work then try what will work for you. Do this breathing three times in a row and it will give you more oxygen and help calm your nerves.

B.,

In July I lost my job... and I was the only income for our house. So, currently we are living on my unemployment payments. I had to sit down and figure out which bills had to be paid which week. Some bills get paid a week or two early, but each week had to add up to under my check amount.

Also, I called 1-866-995-HOPE to start the modification prosses on my house payment... we just finished up the trial phase and we will be saving about $200 a month on our house payment. Go to http://www.development.ohio.gov/cdd/ocs/heap.htm they help pay a little on your heating bill once a year and you can get on PIPP to lower your electric and gas bills for the winter (if you can pay your full bill do so or the balance is still owed). If you qualify for HEAP - you will also qualify for life-line on the phone, it lowers your phone bill a little.

House cleaning... we have chore charts for each of our kids - even the 2 year old. They don't do a lot, but everyone does have something to do. Take their dishes to the kitchen after dinner, clean up toys before bed, brush teeth, wash hands before dinner... some are easy things to take care of themself and others are to help with the house. They do like helping with the laundry beacuse if they help load the washer they get to push the bottons to start it... it makes different beeping noises per button. As they get older the chores will change a little - maybe do dishes, put them away, put away groceries, fold laundry... time will tell. As they do the chores they get marks and at the end of the week they get a prize... if they did really well we go pick out fish for the tank in the dinning room or McD's but if not so week they get a small toy (Dollar Tree item), some candy or something else small they like.

But try to work on one thing at a time... pick a room you spend a lot of time in - start with that one. That way you have one room to relax in when you need to. And if you forget the dishes for a night... don't get upset with yourself. I'm currently a stay at home mom and I miss a day now and then. Things happen that matter more then some dirty dishes or a few pilles of papers laying around. Mainly your family... kids and hubby.

We also work on the behavior issues on the chore list... NO lieing, being nice, or whatever the issue is. Helps them to see the rules and know when they did or didn't follow them. Also rewards for good behavior without costing you a lot. Remeber you choose the rewards that go along with the chores and good behavoir - so they fit into your budget.

I hope you find a few things that will help you... you need to enjoy what time you have with your little ones as much as you can. Sometimes all the reward they need is a big hug and a kiss on top their little heads, just that can change their world. And for me getting the hug back can change my day and get ride of my overwhelming feeling I'm having... take a deap breath and work at it a day at a time. Belived it or not... taking it a day at a time was the hardest lesson for me, but I have to live that way right now or I'll loose it. I worked for the place I lost my job in July for one day shy of 12 years... my life completely changed, but by taking it a day at a time... I'm enjoying my life and time with my kids and hubby I didn't have 6 months ago.

Good luck!

Here is a completely different take on things. Perhaps you need to see a counselor. One who you can talk to about things. This was you are not feeling so overwhelmed. Sometimes when things are rolling around in your head, they take on a life of their own and just keep growing. Feeling like you are headed for a breakdown is what gave me a clue. This will be someone you can talk to about anything and everything, and not feel judged.
Just another way to tackle things.
R.

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