June 11, 2010,
L.S. asks from Omaha, NE on June 27, 2008
My House Is a Mess!
I need help! I work about 45 hours a week and my husband works about 50, sometimes more, a week. We have a 10 1/2 month old daughter who attends day care full time. I used to feel horrible about not being able to stay home with her, but since we just bought our first house, I must work. The problem I'm having is that I don't have enough time on weekday evenings to get anything done. When weekends are full with family get-togethers or other things, that makes the week that much harder on us. Not only are we trying to paint the new house, but we want to spend time with our daughter before she goes to bed at 8:30, and we have regular house cleaning to keep up with. The problem is, I can't keep up with it. My husband and I sometimes don't even eat our own dinner until 9 at night - and I want to get into a routine where we eat with my daughter as a family at the table. My husband does actually help out more than I've heard some husbands do, but it's not just having the help - it's feeling guilty that I put my daughter in high chair with toys or bouncer to keep her occupied while I clean - that's not the quality time I want to spend with her. But if I don't, my house is a mess. Not to mention, many days I'm so beat from working all day that after she goes to bed, I don't have the drive to do housework - I just want to relax. Does anyone out there have any advice on some organizing tips, or tips on how to keep her occupied without feeling too guilty - or maybe I shouldn't be feeling guilty and I'm not the only one who feels this way... I just don't know what to do. My husband and I have begun to argue now about the house and other silly things because of the stress of our unorganized house and everything else we're responsible for - that's not typical of our how we keep our house usually or our relationship and definitely not something I want to expose our daughter to. I'm sick of feeling like a failure - I'm a mother, a wife, an employee and the house manager... I need to balance it all and stay happy!
So What Happened?™
I just wanted to thank EVERYONE for their advice, suggestions and understanding. I have already begun using some of the helpful tips - and for the many people who suggested Flylady.com - great site! I had never heard of it, and it seems very helpful. And, I'm now officially addicted to mamasource! Again, thank you to all of you who were kind enough to pass along your tips and advice - please email me if I can return the favor and offer any advice to you!
L. - AKA, the mom with the messy house : )
T.C. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
I just want to add to the FLYLADY.NET suggestions...and add this for what it's worth...
Babies Don't Keep
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
- Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
3 moms found this helpful
M.F. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
I can relate with feeling overwhelmed with the house cleaning on top of everything else you've got going on. I spent much of my time in that state when my son was a baby. My sister-in-law recommended a website to me then that I'd like to pass on to you. www.flylady.net It's full of practical, straightforward strategies to overcome the chaos and feelings of failure. I highly recommend her 'method'...it worked wonders in my life. Good luck and please try to reemember that whatever you can do in the moment is enough. You don't have to be superwoman. Enjoy your baby and your husband! M. F-M
2 moms found this helpful
D.K. answers from Sioux City on June 28, 2008
Make a schedule so that you don't have to get it all done at once. Look at your work load and schedule lighter jobs on heavy work days. Make Sat. Morning chore morning. It is good for children to see you work around the house and as they grow older they will enjoy helping. It becomes time together. My family does all the lawn work together and we all work until it is all done. Give your husband some jobs. Usually mine does the kitchen clean up. I make a lot of meal in the crockpot. You don't need a five course meal every night. Don't allow toys in every room. Use a laundry basket to take everything out a room that shouldn't be there and then put them where they need to go. When I clean I give the little ones a rag and let them pretend with me. They love it! I never put anything on the rag or they end up ruining the cleaning I just finished. They love to hand me clean dishes out of the dishwasher.
Remember that it is also good to teach your child to play on their own. I totally spoiled my oldest. She would go play if her life depended on it. I also had a hard time leaving her at daycare. I felt quilty not being there for her so it was hard just to let her go play once I got her home from daycare. See if you can cut back on some hours at work. Days that you don't get with your little ones can never be regained. Talk to your husband. I am sure he loves you. Tell him how your struggling and ask him if he has any ideas.
Oh and never forget the "Flight of the Bumble Bee." When the house is really bad go set the timer for five minutes. Work as fast as you can for five minutes. It is amazing what you can get done. I use this with jobs I hate. I figure I can put up with anything for five minutes.
1 mom found this helpful
M.F. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
spend time with your daughter. You'll be sad in a few months when you realized that your daughter is walking/talking and you don't remember that happening. Let the little things go, like everyone else said, eat and clean. Feed yourselves and than clean up the dishes. Eating dinner together as a family with your daughter there is SO important. You are spending quality time with her and teaching her that it's important to sit together.
I made a list of all the day to day household chores that should be done, and decided from the list what was most important.
I have now designated Monday evenings for stripping all the beds and doing at least two loads of laundry. You can fold the clothes with your daughter or wait until she goes to bed. Sweep up or vacuum the floors when it's really bad or if your worried your daughter may pick up and eat something from the floor.
I wash down the bathroom sink and counter when im done brushing my teeth, I spray dwon the shower as im getting out (vinegar and water, no scrubbing). The mirror usually ets wiped down after my shower, I just wipe off the steam. When the towel is ready to be washed, wipe down the floor quickly. Presto! Bathroom is clean.
As for the weekends, I usually throw in a load of laundry in the AM, dry it and leave it until later in the evening to fold it. Wkends are family time (with just the three of us as much as possible). We run errands and throw in a park or walk and sometimes lunch or dinner, everyone gets what they need.
As for your house, congrats on buying a new home. I know how exciting and overwhelming it can be, unless you entertain guests every other night of the week, put off what you can...if your home is suitable for living in the the condition it's in, put it off. Take turns on the wkends or evenings, you paint and hubby plays with daughter and vice versa.
Your family/friends may want to spend time together with you too, but you have to set limits, your daughter is so very important to you, and you don't want to miss a thing. I know it's hard putting all this stuff, but do what you can, when you can. Again, if your a two household working family, spend the extra time with the kids, they want to see you too.
1 mom found this helpful
A.O. answers from St. Cloud on June 29, 2008
Flylady is all about setting up routines so your house will never be more than 15 minutes away from company ready. I have been using her system off and on for a year and though I may be more than 15 minutes away from clean I am a lot closer than I was a year ago.
1 mom found this helpful
J.B. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
Oh do I hear you!! We just remodeled my kitchen and my husband pushed up demo day by 2 weeks, so needless to say he cleared our living room and kitchen, which meant every room in my house is trashed!! It is sooo horrible! But, slowly but surely I will get it done.
My MIL is a total organization freak and always has everything done and clean. I am the opposite. I put my family first and yeah, my house is usually messy, but as the kids get older, it gets easier. They can pitch in. Until then
My MIL actually told my husband that I am so great, but I can't keep a house worth anything (not that it is filth, it's just the daily messy stuff and I do work hard to have it clean every couple of weeks) and his comment to her was, when he was growing up her priorities were the house, her kids, then her husband. She ended up divorced and my husband moved out when he was 17. My priorities are my children, him and myself first, then the house. My house will always wait. Husbands and children can't.
Hang in there! And there are a lot of great tips already, so I would just agree with those.
1 mom found this helpful
J.R. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
If I were you I'd just pick one time per week, evening or weekend and have your husband take your daughter for a few hours and entertain her while you get it all done. You'd be surprised how much you can get done in a few uninterrupted hours. I have a pretty big house and I can get it all done in a few hours. Just ask him "do you want to clean or do you want to play?" They'll usually go with play which is good because we all know how they clean, lol.
First start a load of laundry, and then spray down the bathrooms, sweep, vacuum, dust, mop, and then go back and wipe down bathrooms after they've had time to soak. Keep the laundry going as you work. As far as keeping things tidy, if you try and maintain throughout the week it will make it all much easier.
As far as cooking help, we just make a lot of things ahead of time. Take an entire bag of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (we get them at Sam's Club) and grill them all up at once. Then let them cool and put in a container and freeze them. Then you can heat one up for a chicken sandwich or slice some up for fajitas or quesadillas. Just toss them in a pan with taco seasoning for a few minutes to heat and get the seasoning in. You can have the tomatoes and lettuce all ready and throw the sandwich together in a minute or two. Another thing is to cook up about 5 lbs of hamburger at once and then let it cool and divide it into 5 containers or bags and freeze. If you want spaghetti or something with hamburger you always have the hard part ready. I also make big bowls of pasta salad or cut up big bowls of fruit. Get a Fix It and Forget it crock pot recipe book. Toss it in in the morning and let it cook all day. Come home to a meal ready and an awesome smelling house. Just try to multitask as much as you can. You can even cook while you clean. I know it's a lot of work but then it's done and you don't have to worry about it.
Hope this helps,
Mom to 4, soon 5 through another adoption and hopefully more :o) Ages 7, 6, 4.5, 4, and 2 :o)
J.B. answers from Cedar Rapids on June 28, 2008
Wow you sound just like me. But my daughter is six now! But one thing i learned is life is too short to worry about house chores. Spend time with the kids they grow up too fast. I've learned to find two or three chores a day that are a must do. No more than what you can do in a hours time. Like one load of laurdry a day and maybe vaccume the floors. I cook dinner for our family so when i'm cooking i wash dishes and have the water ready for dinner plates. I'm probily the only mom in the us without a dishwasher. But now my daughter is old enough i give her little things to do to help. Like dust, wipe down kitchen table, now she gets the garbage out of the bathroom for me. But forget about keeping toys picked up i'm still battling that fight! Working full time and keeping house is a talent most people can't do so be proud of yourself. We may not be the pta mom we would like to be but our children are still happy and just as loving. You can do it. But just remember the chores never go away and yes they can wait till tomorrow. So our houses don't look like a picture in a magazine but we enjoy life. Good luck and enjoy yourself and life.
C.C. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
That is completely normal. You are not superwoman and shouldn't feel bad about it. I honestly don't know how people do it all. I'll have to read your other posts. I felt the same way after the birth of my first. After about a year of not keeping up and stressing out I went part time. After the birth of my second I quit to be a stay at home mom. And let me tell you it is still stressfull and hard to get it all done even without working. So you and your husband just need to sit down and come up with a plan wether it is him having certain jobs to help or cutting your hours, etc.
T.L. answers from Rochester on June 27, 2008
I hear 'ya sister! It is difficult to find balance. I have tried to follow flylady, as another poster suggested, in the past but found I just couldn't do all of that either. I felt guilty for not keeping up with a system that was supposed to be easy! Now, I simply try to make sure the house gets picked up each night - that means all beds are made, dishes are put away, mail and papers have been triaged, toys are in their toy box, etc. Then I dust, vacuum, scrub bathrooms, and do the floors once a week - usually on Saturday during nap time. If we are busy on a weekend, then the cleaning might not happen that week. For the most part, my house stays pretty clean. I am lucky in that I have nearly all tile floors, so they are pretty easy to keep up with.
I remember having that same guilt when my daugher was smaller. Now, she thinks it is fun to help me with laundry and cleaning - we make it a game. So - it it does get easier!
Just keep in mind - the dust and stuff will still be there tomorrow - that sweet little baby though, will be one day bigger. Put first things first (The baby!) and try to worry less about the house. (And YES, I often need to listen to my own advice a little more!)
D.S. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
Is a new house worth what you are going through? I realize it is not the best time to sell, but maybe you could sell a car or something and then cut back hours or become a stay at home mom. I know stuff seems important, but it really isn't worth the price you pay to keep up. You have no margin in your life as it is, so anything that doesn't go according to plan is going to stress you out. If you were not working full time, you could build in more stress reducing things, like cooking dinner at a reasonable time.
M.V. answers from Iowa City on June 30, 2008
I used to call this "Super Mom" Syndrome. Sorry, not meaning to make light of your stress, but I get it. I had that feeling for a long time after I had both of my children. Just working 40 hours a week, I still didn't get chores done. But honestly, you just have to prioritize. Do just ONE chore a day, only one of you does it. Take turns with your hubby - Monday, Wednesday, Friday is your day to do ONE chore, while he plays with baby. Your days are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday to play with baby while hubby does ONE chore. Then on Sunday, EVERYBODY plays with baby. Until your baby is old enough to start helping out with household chores, just let it go. You both just have to remember you are each only one person and you can't do everything. Once you start doing it on a schedule, you will find you will start to catch up. You won't have a spotless house, but it will be liveable and your baby will have the precious time with her parents that is more important than freshly vacuumed rugs or a dust-free house. You have a child now and you just have to remember, the house comes second - PERIOD. I used to get really frustrated about not being able to keep up with household chores and still maintain a Super Mom schedule with my baby and my career. Then one of my aunts told me that I was supposed only do one chore a day and once I realized I couldn't do it all at once, I would be lots happier. You'll get there, just relax and take deep breath. Maybe you and hubby can sit down together and come up with a routine that fits both of your expectations, while not being insane neat freaks, and still get enough time with baby. Talk with each other.
J.L. answers from Milwaukee on June 28, 2008
First of all, breathe. In order to take care of everything and everyone, you need to stay healthy and keep stress to a minimum. See what little changes you can make. For example, if you pay your bills by check, can you take them to work and write them out during your lunch break? How about using Lysol wipes? They take care of the sticky messes that happen, and they sanitize. You can do a lot or a little at a time. There are no buckets to get out, etc. You mentioned that you wanted to paint the new house, and that weekends are for family, right? So, invite some family over and ask them to help you paint. You can provide lunch and snacks, or even better, ask everyone to bring something to pass!
Now, some of the harder ones: Are you and your husband earning your potential income? Do you have a job that you actually LOVE? For 18 months after my twins were born, I worked 3rd shift and my husband worked 1st so we wouldn't have to worry about daycare. (I didn't want to do it any longer, so I started up my PartyLite business.)
Good luck to you!
H.V. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
Hire a house cleaner. It saved my marriage! SERIOUSLY!! She comes once a month and it helps out so much to have it done, because I can stay on top of things now. It is worth ever penny.
M.B. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
I've used Flylady and it helps... My general approach (can't remember if I got this from flylady or my mother) is:
Each room in the house gets 15 minutes. This isn't always enough time to make it CLEAN, but it's enough time to make a really big difference. I can do some of the cleaning in the AM and some after my boys' bedtimes. Also, I can do my 15 minutes of kitchen cleaning while I'm cooking dinner, or the 15 minutes of bathroom cleaning during my older son's bath time. The work gets spread out over the day, so I don't have to feel like it's all I do, or as though I'm doing more cleaning than parenting. When my husband helps it goes really quickly. After all the rooms are done I have the option of going back to a particular space and doing more, or just calling it a night.
Additionally, I remind myself daily that housecleaning seems to be one of the biggest issues I hear about from all of my friends. For the most part we've all accepted, to varying degrees of comfort, that if we want to spend time with our kids, our houses aren't going to look as pristine as we'd really like. Probably ever- or at least until the kids are old enough to have assigned chores. :)
A.H. answers from Cedar Rapids on August 27, 2008
Ok, mine is too, and I didn't just move. I just wrote asking for advice. You have a lot of stress with just moving and trying to paint. There is nothing wrong with putting your child in a swing while you spend a little time cleaning. I do that with my 3rd, and he just watches me. I don't spend all day every day doing it, but if I have a 10-20 minute task to get done, I do it.
You can't do everything all at once. And you don't always have to be giving direct attention to your child. You are not a failure. menu plans by the month, temporary solutions as you get settled in, finding one room to create order in, these things can help. Chaos will be for a while.
C.S. answers from Omaha on June 27, 2008
We had this same problem when we first got our house and we now have three kids. We sat down and made a list of everything that needed to be done everyday, dishes, laundry, toy pick up. and the things that could be cleaned less often, mopping, cleaning bathrooms. Then we just put everything on a schedule- mopping entry monday. vacuum living room tuesday and Friday, and such. Each day i had a chore and so did my husband. It will take a couple of weeks to see the difference but in the end everything go cleaned and we didn't just have a marathon of cleaning every sunday. Also If i cooked he did dishes. abd i try to put a load of laundry in before i left for work, put it in the dryer when i got home and folded it after the kids go to bed.
You will come up with simple solutions with practice, for example i clean my bathroom while my 3 and 7 year olds take their bath, since they really only need me for supervision.
P.K. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
My hubby works construction and in the summer months from about march - September, I basically become a single mother and a single homeowner.
My advise is...let go what you can or learn to multitask. Leave the floor and mop as little as possible but sweep up the big stuff that your little one will put in her mouth. I started setting time aside on the weekend. Do laundry during the weekday, 1-2 loads a day and toss it in right before bed and when you get up in the morning before work. Work in the yard when your little one is busy playing in the yard...clip bushes, mow, etc. I got my daughter a cheep blow-up pool that I fill pretty low and that kept her busy when I was busy working in the yard, and I could always have my eye on her. Then, cool off in the pool with her when you're done and make time for some silly splashing too and it'll make you feel better. I do dishes after supper if I get done eating before my daughter is done (she takes forever to eat). She'll sit and finish eating and I'll do the dishes. Wash the toilet/sink/floor in the bathroom when she's in the tub, again, making time to splash when you're done cleaning. Then, scrub the shower when you're in there taking a shower. Make the things you do duelly productive. You'll catch up and then you'll have the freedom to leave things go for another month. :)
Quick Edit: Someone told me once, "Parents of happy children have messy houses." I've come to realise through my many mom friends messy homes and watching their happy children,...that this statement is pretty true. Let go what you can...most of it can wait. :)
E.T. answers from Rochester on June 27, 2008
I've had the same frustrations! Thankfully I'm a teacher and this summer I am able to do some deep cleaning of things. I'm also fortunate to have a fabulous husband who does a lot more than I ever expected. I haven't vaccumed once and have probably only done 10 loads of laundry since our daughter was born last July. He designated those his jobs.
It still drives me crazy to have a messy house but I'm not quite as uptight about it as I was at first. I've given up on trying to keep up with the little things like dusting and try to focus on just the bigger things like picking up toys and cleaning kitchen counters. Another thing I'm trying to do is to have one room per day that I really focus on. The other rooms I do just was definately needs to be done. When my daughter naps I might try to spend a little extra time in a room (unless I feel like I need me time!). I also try to do 10-15 minute power cleanings where I find something to occupy my daughter so that I can take care of something that is really bugging me. Now that she is older I can give her something to do next to me. She loves to "sort" socks and the other day she "cleaned" out one of my bottom cupboards while I cleaned out a top cupboard. Yes, it does make a little extra work to clean up after her "help" but she is happy to be right with me.
I've decided that spending time with my daughter and my husband and having "me time" is much more important than having a clean house. It took me a long time to get to that point. But, I also realize that there might be times when my daughter has to spend 10-15 entertaining herself while I take care of something. My mom used to have a poem hanging on her bedroom wall that said something about how cooking and cleaning can wait for tomorrow but children need me today. Good luck with trying to find the "happy medium"!
B.H. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
Don't feel bad when my daughter was a baby I was working full time and a single mom. My house was NEVER perfect or close to it.
Concentrate on important things like dinner and dishes. I always made sure we had dinner and the dishes got done. I always made sure the floor was picked up and we had no fire hazards etc. The rest had to wait til I had a day off or the time. My daughter spent alot of time in her highchair with toys and stuff too. I had no choice.
It definately got better for me once my daughter was a toddler/preschooler she followed me around while I cleaned and I let her help and bought her, her own little mop/broom set.
B.J. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
I feel your frustration and so do many- you're not alone.
Now - in the scheme of things- know your home won't be what it used to for many years to come. Kids change that and learn over time to de-stress about it.
I micro manage- rather than what I used to do- think I had to do it all at the same time. That was so "overwhelming" I just didn't do much. So I manage what I have to first- bills, meals, kids- then tackle one small thing each day.
Dust one day, bathrooms another, vacuum one level at a time etc. The home is never all clean at the same time, but it's clean and it's a lived in home rather than a house. It is difficult- and you'll find a way that works. Keep trying- and if all else fails- hire some help.
About me: 47 yo med. prof, wellness coach, indep. marketter, and mom to almost 7 yo twin girls.
J.J. answers from Des Moines on June 27, 2008
If you can work it into your budget, I would highly recommend hiring a cleaning service to ease some of the stress on you! We currently have a Molly Maid service come every other week to clean our house - the cost for our home on that schedule is $70/visit. With the every other week schedule, the house gets really clean that often and then my husband and I are able to better keep up with picking up and light cleaning in between. The stress that this has relieved and the extra time I have to spend with our kids makes every penny of this worth it! They do a great job and it is so nice when you come home from work on the day they have been there and everything is SO CLEAN!
A.E. answers from Rochester on July 23, 2008
Okay, L., take a breath! You're normal and it will get better!!! I'm a part-time working mom of a 5 y, 3 1/2 y, and 2y and I have been in your shoes (and still am!!!) I've got a couple tips that hopefully will help some! :) 1)Bathrooms: during bath time, wash her up and let her play, while you clean the toilet and wipe down sinks/floors. After her bath, simply wipe down the tub with the wash cloth and throw it in the laundry. The soap from the bath is a safer cleaning product too! 2)I use a filing system in the kitchen (one file box with hanging file folders). I'm training my kids to use their folders with their school projects, schedules, coupons, to-do, etc). It keeps the clutter off the table/counter. I also have a recycle bin right by the door so when I open mail, it goes right in the bin and out to the garage. 3)Dusting: My children LOVE to dust! I give them a clean (mismatched) sock of their own they put on their hand, I "pretend" to spray pledge on it and let them run it over the dresser, bed, piano, etc., while I "really" dust! 4)Hard Floors: same with floors: give your daughter a little plastic bowl of water and a sponge/washcloth and let her have at the floor while you scrub. We also have a play (LT or FP?) vacuum my youngest uses (your daughter is still young, but even letting her play with it while it makes noise) you can get the vacuuming done. 5)Laundry: I use a 3-compartment laundry sorter right from the dryer: each kid has their own "section". I sort their clothes into their own bin right from the dryer (no folding!) and wheel it into their rooms to be folded and put away righ then and there. Your daughter can help put her "jammies" (or soemthing) in the bottom drawer of her dresser while she's sitting in front of it. Just let her throw them in their now without folding (I teach them to fold around 3-4 years of age). Meanwhile, she is learning responsibility, and shortly, when you ask her to go get her jammies, she's going to know where they are!! :) Keep moving clothes, diapers, etc. to the lower drawers as she gets taller/older and she can put more away and get more out as she become more independent.
That is all I can think of right now, but I keep adding responsibilities for my children, making it fun, doing it with them, kinds of things. I beleive if they grow up doing what adutls call "chores", they really aren't chores to the children, they are just part of the responsibility of being in the house! :) Good luck! Let me know how it goes!!!
S.D. answers from Philadelphia on June 11, 2010
I know this was a long time ago, but I felt compelled to answer anyway. First, I am so sorry you aren't able to stay home with your little girl. I am very blessed (albeit broke, living in an apt and driving a used minivan) to have a husband who is willing to be the sole provider so I can be home with my baby. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you full time working moms, and my heart goes out to you. There is just so much to miss in these early years. That being said- get a baby bjorn or if your baby is bigger, a backpack. We used the bjorn until my daughter was about 9 months, now we use the chicco framed pack. I put her in it and do whatever I need to do, and she's included. Granted, it is a little bit more difficult and cumbersome to clean house while wearing a baby, but it gives us time together and changes her vantage point in many ways. She loves being worn. We used the sling right from birth. For moms that have to get things done around the house or walk the dogs, baby wearing is a super way to include your little one. Tones your legs too. Something else I did when she was smaller was put a leash on an empty diaper box, and put the baby inside of it. Then we'd pull her around with us as we vacuumed or did whatever. She really liked that! With the precious little time you do have to be with your baby every day, this can help you make more of it. Hope things have worked out for you! By the way, you are NOT a failure, you just have too much on your plate.
L.L. answers from Dubuque on June 27, 2008
Check out www.flylady.net she has marvelous tips on getting organized. F.L.Y. stands for Finally Loving Yourself
N.S. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
You and your husband need to have a heart to heart about what is really important to you. It seems to me, you have far too much on your plate and in addition are trying to accomplish too much. Perhaps after talking things through with your husband about your dreams and expectations, you'll have a clearer picture of what's really physically doable, and what is really necessary and important for you to accomplish.
Meals and time with your husband and daughter should always come first. You don't really have a home if you don't have a family. And you can't expect to live a very healthy life let alone a long one at this pace.
Consider dedicating a weekend morning or week night a week to prepare make-ahead meals that can be stored in the freezer for later in the week. If possible, collect about 5-7 recipe favorites (Quiche, lasagna, stew, soups, pizzas etc. all freeze well and can even make the all too valuable leftovers for another night of dinner) that freeze or store well, and try to make enough servings that amount to two weeks worth of meals at a time.
Invest in a good crock pot and a crockpot cookbook (I highly recommend Rival's). Most crockpot recipes allow for you to litterally throw all of the fixings in your pot before you head out the door for work. By the time you get home, dinner will be ready to serve. Prep time is usually a snap, and no more than 15 to 20 minutes. Clean up is usually a breeze, and often these meals can make up to 2 nights worth of dinners...or more!
Dedicate one night a week for laundry. Ask your husband to help clean on the weekend. Don't be so picky about how clean the house is. If you keep on top of keeping it neat throughout the week, you'll only really need to focus on the bathroom and kitchen for serious cleanings. It's great DH helps out. I recommend, if you're not already deligating duties permanently, don't be afraid to delegate concise duties to your hubby. That way you can depend on each other to always do certain things that are important to you in the upkeep of the house. This should cut down on arguments, and lessen the feelings of burden on you. If you can afford it, maybe hire a cleaning service or someone from the paper to clean once a month to do a big cleaning, so all you're doing is maintenance in the time between.
Family time can be anytime. Whether you're cleaning or lounging in front of the TV. If you try some of the mealtime ideas I suggest, you should have an easier time eating together as a family. Don't feel guilty if you have to do chores around the house. This is part of family life.
But also never feel guilty if you find it better and easier to just leave things messy. Afterall, who are you trying to impress? If the house is clean where it NEEDs to be clean for health's sake, do you really need to do more?
In short, decide what you can and can't live with, and let the rest take care of itself. Don't let work get in the way of living and being a family. Talk with your husband, and most of all enjoy the new house, and each other. If it takes a year to get it decorated, so be it. If you leave it messy for weeks at a time..so what? As long as everyone is happy is all that matters. The key is, between you and your husband deciding what exactly that will be.
V.N. answers from Minneapolis on August 18, 2008
Our's is too! We have a 19 mos. old and another one on the way. We both work 40-50 hours per week and our daughter goes to bed by 7:30. Our house is a mess and we just have to be fine with it. All we do during the week is load and unload the dishwasher. Wipe down the counters. We eat dinner together every night together at the table, then we do a 5 min clean up and then play with her until she goes to bed. We sort mail right away with need pile and then shred and recycle junkmail right away Don't let these things pile up. Sometimes we sweep after dinner, but that's it. Sat we clean for about an hour or two and that's it. Time is precious with your little one, don't loose it to cleaning. It is not worth it.
C.O. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
I think it doesn't matter how much time you have at home. If you have young children, you never get caught up. I'm a SAHM of 2 little boys and there is never enough time. I can't image what I would do it I had another full-time job on top of it.
I've heard excellent things about flylady.com. It's worth checking out. Other than that, I agree with Beth and Amy: make sure the most important cleaning gets done every day (that's usually dishes, doing a general pick-up, and sweeping the kitchen floor for us) and one extra chore. MOST things (scrubbing the bathroom, mopping, dusting, vacuuming) can be done just one or 2 times/week.
Make family dinner time a priority!
S.F. answers from Madison on June 27, 2008
If you can afford it, maybe you could hire a cleaning service to come every so often. I have one come every 3rd week and they get the major cleaning done. I only have to do a small amount of cleaning between visits. It really helps out! It may be worth doing just to take some of the stress away from you and your husband.
J.L. answers from Milwaukee on June 28, 2008
You had lots of great advice on cleaning, which I can use too. I'm a SAHM and I can't get it all done either.
However, I was thinking about the dinner part of it. There are places around, such as Dinner By Design, that you can go and make a bunch of meals at one time to take home and freeze. It takes a couple of hours, but they have all the food laid out with directions and you just put it together and take it home. It is really nice and it would then save you time getting dinner ready at night. I'm not sure what you have in your area, but you could check into this if you want.
A.S. answers from Iowa City on June 27, 2008
I know how you feel to an extent. I am a SAHM which may seem like I shpuld be able to get everything done but,I don't. I have 7 kids and most of my days are spent driving them around and making sure they aren't into things. In the evenings we have dinner and bedtime then, I don't want to go into their rooms to put laudry away so, it just sits and sits. Thus that is my major problem. Anyway, I would suggest just assign house cleaning to a certain day that works best in your schedule. Like for example Monday is dusting and vaccuming, Tuesday is washing floors, Wed is windows, Thursday is laundry day and Friday is bedding day. Saturday is lawn day. Then of course you have kitchen clean up everyday. This is my big idea for myself. Right now I am just trying to get things organized and then it will make that schedule even easier.
Best of luck!!
C.Z. answers from Omaha on June 27, 2008
Go to www.flylady.com You will find really helpful hints and you will learn how to keep your house clean 15 minutes at a time. I know it sounds like it won't work...trust me, it works!
Good luck and don't be too hard on yourself!
M.M. answers from Milwaukee on June 30, 2008
I also work full time and have a 15 mo old. You have to choose what work gets done and what you should pay someone else to do or simply let go. Just doing normal housework is exhausting, I couldn't imagine a project at this time. I hired someone to paint and do crown molding in my house. Sure we could have done it but I would rather be with my family. I also used to think all this work had to get done but in reality all that needs to get done is dinner and clean up and laundry. Dinner with family is a priority and everything else is a nice to have.
Hope that helps.
E.K. answers from Milwaukee on June 28, 2008
Hire a housekeeper!!! College Student or Merrymaids..it sounds like it will be worth it.
A.L. answers from Madison on June 29, 2008
What I had to do is figure out a way to stay organized and keep the house tidy (give yourself time to develop a plan that works for you and yours), but I had to let cleaning and some other extras drop in priority. I sweep and vacuum *as needed,* swish the toilet *as needed,* and tidy up regularly, but the mopping, scrubbing, nook-and-cranny cleaning I do every two to three weeks instead of weekly as I did PK (pre-kids).
I decided that my kids wouldn't remember that the house sparkled, but they would remember that I spent time with them (and their daddy!) and so that's what I do.
I also love baby-wearing for a lot of situations, including cleaning. This eliminates the guilt of leaving Baby with toys in chairs, etc. *when I haven't had other time to spend with her.* I wear mine until they are 15-18 months because I found a versatile and very comfortable carrier that works well that long.
BUT, I must say, it is GOOD for babies to learn to entertain themselves. Just because your daughter is playing alone doesn't mean you are a bad mother! In fact, IMO moms who never let their children learn to entertain themselves BY THEMSELVES are the deficient ones. Kid's need undirected free play to fully develop their creativity... Okay I'm off subject. Getting back on...
I also started using shortcut products such as a shower product that I can just spray after a shower and it keeps the shower clean without scrubbing. I know that there are robots that vacuum all day long and disinfecting wipes... You may find these to be valuable tools to helping you feel better/happier in the long run.
T.P. answers from La Crosse on June 28, 2008
I completely understadn where you are comming from. I have two kids, go to school full time and work part time and my boyfriend works all the time. I finaly broke down and decided that one day a week I would pay someone to come and clean. I can't really afford it, but it is a lot less stressful, if I odn't have time to get anything clean durring the week then I know someone will be coming soon to help. It gives me more time with my kids and a little less stress.
B.J. answers from Rochester on June 30, 2008
My inlaws used to come over at the drop of a hat all the time. I work full time and so does my husband. My child to is in daycare fulltime. I finaly just gave up! I come home and make a quick dinner (I save the tough stuff for the weekend or on a day I have off) then we eat as a family and finaly it's bed time for the kids. Then I do what house cleaning I have to get done the rest wait till later. If people don't like it they are always welcome to come and clean for me!!! I put my kids first! Soon they will be old ehough they wont want to spend time with me (as that will be uncool) and then I will have lots of time for house work. My mom always tells me that they dont have kids at home and there house is messy to so I shouldn't feel bad!!
G.J. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
sometimes we just need to 'let go'...
so what if it's a bit messy once in a while... if the house doesn't get dusted for 2 weeks - so what!
How long is your daughter going to be this small?
I know it is hard to let your house get a bit messy because it makes us feel like failures, but what is most important in your life?
if it really bothers you and you have a little extra cash in your budget, a housekeeper once a month can do wonders.
I did have one for a short time while my 3rd son was a baby and it was a God send!
A.H. answers from Minneapolis on June 30, 2008
I saw a sign somewhere that said "A clean house is the sign of a wasted life" I posted it by my front door and all of my friends and family giggle and accept the fact that I have 2 small children and dont always have time to clean up after them every day!!
K.G. answers from Omaha on June 28, 2008
Amen to all the responses!
Now...... breath...you are doing just fine. I know the stress is what you are most worried about and not really the caotic house. It can really mess with your marriage and family happiness if you let it.
There are a ton of wonderful ideas in these responses and you will find what works best for you.
I too have a husband who helps more than what most people say so I know getting him to help is not the problem.
I use to think I had to get the house clean once a week so I would spend one whole day working my butt off. Luckily I was a sahm but my husband was airforce so i was also on my own alot. Luckily just with running house and not the income.
I finally decided that so long as the cleaning got done once a week- or every other week- it didnt have to be all in the same day. example- monday vaccum, tues laundry, wed bathrooms. You could even do one load of laundry every day. you will be doing it all week but it wont take all day. it will stay caught up as you need it.
maybe use paper plates and cups for awhile until you get a good routine down. when my husband was always traveling both boys were in sports-- alot of them. i would take them to school and spend the day getting ready for the evening because we litterally ate dinner after school then hit the road and werent home til bed time.
here is my fastest pick up job idea i ever used. take you laundry basket and start in the front of the house. put everything away in that room and if it goes somewhere else put it in the basket. dont clean like vaccum dust wipe counters thats for another time, just pick up. move to next room do the same and remove anything in basket that goes in there. no wasting time walking around putting things away AND if you need to stop before youre done-- the front of the house is picked up and you can sit and play with child and relax in a tidy place and feel good about accomplishments and enjoying your family.
remember there is a differnce between filth and clutter. you are paying for you house- LIVE IN IT! it need not be a "hands off" everythings spotless place. Just make it home :)
good luck and know that you will do fine- just takes time for your new family to find its groove.
T.N. answers from Minneapolis on June 29, 2008
Consider hiring a young, responsible teenager to come over and do some specific cleaning. Teens are having a really hard time finding jobs this summer and they are MUCH cheaper than a cleaning service. A young teen could come over in the evening when you are home or on Saturday and do the vaccumming, clean up a kitchen, pick-up toys.... whatever your comfort level is.
We also have a neighborhood boy who works on projects with us for a nominal fee per hour. He will help paint, help with yardwork, whatever. Again, it saves us bundles of time and is pretty inexpensive.
Give it a try!
L.K. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
First of all, stop feeling so guilty! I understand where you are coming from as I have three children, 11, 5, and 10 mos., and I only recently became a SAHM after my last one. I used to work 55 or more hours a week. The one thing to keep in mind is that they grow up so fast, and you can't go back. So if your house is a little messy and unorganized, so be it. If you don't feel guilty about it I'm sure you and your husband will not fight anymore. You should try to set aside one hour a day for light housekeeping and organizing. Maybe every other Saturday morning or something like that spend half a day. What I ended up doing was hiring someone to come in twice a month for the big cleaning, and it only cost me about $80. The money was well worth it to me as it meant more time with the family. Good luck, and remember, you need time for yourself too, without feeling guilty!
S.N. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
I totally agree with the other mom who mentioned to check out FlyLady.net I have been "flying" for a few years now. My kids are DS7 and DD4. Our house is almost always 15 minutes from being company ready. Her method is simple ways to keep up with the house cleaning and it doesn't matter where you start. You seriously can make a difference doing things 15 minutes at a time!! I've even had days where I've cleaned a room for 15 minutes and then played with the kids for 15 minutes and then back to cleaning for 15 and so on. The fun part is when the kids want to start helping b/c they think its fun!! I would get the book Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley - The FlyLady. Everyone I've loaned my copy to has eventually bought their own b/c its such a good system - her website tends to be a little overwhelming at first but the book does a great job of breaking it down. I Work outside of the home parttime and have daycare kids at my house partime and volunteers with my kids activities a ton!! Good Luck! Would love to chat about how it all works!
R.G. answers from St. Cloud on June 28, 2008
Sometimes our houses needed to be a mess and that is okay. I have 3 children and both my husband and I work. We have been married for 16 yrs. Our house is picked up, but I don't do dusting and all the deep cleaning I should be doing every week. We have decided our children come first and each other. After my kids are in bed, I make sure the kitchen is cleaned up (counters are cleaned off) and the family room and living room are picked up. If you have a counter in your house that becomes the catch all for mail, papers, etc., have a cute basket with cover or a drawer that you can put it in to get it out of the way until you can look at it.I have a letter organizer that I put all the bills in so they don't get put with the other mail and forgotten. I know exactly what you mean when you say you are so tired some days that you aren't motivated to clean. Then don't unless this has become a problem between you and your spouse. Take time to do something with your spouse. One thing I try to do is plan something to clean each day (bathrooms one day, vacuuming another) My biggest motivator to clean is when we are having company. I can clean a lot faster and don't get sidetracked sorting through stuff, etc.
"The greatest things ever done on Earth have been done
little by little." -- William Jennings Bryan,
God's Blessings! R.
E.O. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
Oh I know how you feel! I am married, we both work FT and have a 2 and 3 year old. And with everything, I couldn't afford a cleaning person if I wanted to hire one! I have a friend I actually clean house for PT to make extra money to have for myself to maintain my own income. One group I want to suggest to you is through Yahoo. Its called FlyLady Mentors. It breaks down ways on getting things accomplished on a busy schedule. You just go to www.yahoo.com and click on groups and enter FlyLadyMentors and you can get signed up. Just know that you aren't a bad mom. One person can only do so much. Eventually things will slow down.
N.B. answers from Duluth on June 28, 2008
I am not sure if you can afford it but it would help you out alot if you ould hire a cleaning person or even neighbor teen to help you once a month to get this straight and then make a game with your little one about 15 min a night to get things just picked up. I know how hard it is, but it will get easier. Don't worry so muchabout perfection just enjoyo the time you have with your family it goes by so fast!
A.B. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
Okay, I'm going to check out the website when I have a free moment, and I shouldn't be giving advice. Mine is more of a philosophy than advice.
As long as the clothes get washed and put away, the dishes are washed and put away, and the garbage is taken out, everything else is secondary. I live in clutter, and my kids' friends have started making comments, but most of their moms don't work fulltime or have other things that they do outside the house. (I work FT, tutor a bit, have rehearsals for my singing group and do Improv. I have started doing things for myself.)
The clutter gets worse as the kids get older because they start to bring things home EVERY DAY. Pick your battles. Enjoy your children and enjoy your life. Clean when you can, a bit at a time, and try not to let it bother you.
L.W. answers from Milwaukee on June 28, 2008
You just need to take it easy and not be so hard on yourself. A mother's job is very tough, especially when you're out of the house for so many hours. Try not to feel too guilty about working - I need to take my own advice! I too strive for the organization and a semi-neat house. I'm often embarrased when people come in, because I can't seem to get caught up. Last summer I had my 3rd child, and I hired someone to come clean 2x a month - it only lasted 3 times before I thought I could keep up, I was wrong. I've come to realize that the daily household chores, as well as some dirty laundry will ALWAYS be there, but my baby will only be a baby now. I'd rather have my children remember me and the things that we did together instead of a neat freak who was too busy cleaning. Give yourself a break and know that you are doing the best that you can. One other thing I find helpful is a timer! I set it and try to get as much done in that time. Good luck and enjoy the summer with your baby.
N.W. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
You may need to lower your expectations. You can't have a perfectly clean and organized house, work 45 hours a week, and be an engaged wife and mother all at the same time. One of those aspects of your life will have to suffer -- and the most reasonable one to suffer is the house. Of all the roles you play, it is entirely appropriate that the child, husband and employer get more of your attention and energy than the house does.
So, I would advice you not to take on any big projects like painting right now -- or see if you can barter for the job to be done with another mom. I have a group of three friends, and we sometimes just "invade" one of our houses and do a painting/cleaning blitz for a day or two when one of us is in a jam like this. (When our kids were younger, we would drop all the kids off at one of our houses. One of us would watch the kids while the other three would do the work.) It actually makes the work fun, and you can get a lot done in a little time when there are more people to help.
That said, it's hard to be in a disorganized house, and it does cause stress. So can you do a daily "high five" -- five minutes of super quick straightening or organizing or cleaning each night? Sometimes knowing you only have to do 5 minutes helps you overcome the inertia and once you start the work, you find you want do do more, and you end up giving it a half hour or more.
A great website on the subject of organization, etc. is flylady.net.
Hope this helps! God bless!
S.R. answers from Davenport on June 30, 2008
I think many of us can relate to this! My first advice (as a mother of a 15 and 11 year old) is relax! My house is still a mess - except that now they can help pick up a bit more. Maybe you and your husband can set a chore list and address the most important things - kitchen and bathrooms cleaned, garbage out etc...
One thing I did was hire a lady to clean once a month. It's not alot, but it does help with the bigger jobs like mopping, really scrubbing the bathrooms, windows, dusting and so on. It helped me relax about things a bit more and wasn't too expensive.
Just remember - the housework will ALWAYS be there, but your daughter will grow up much faster than you think. So, relax and enjoy her. You won't ever regret it.
D.G. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
L. - the best part about this is that you get to decide how you want to feel and what's important to you. I'm a busy mom with 2 teenage children, I own my own home-based business, plus I do some consulting, plus I work 2 days a week in an office. My children have always been involved in sports and I rarely miss a game. I have some health concerns that require that I get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Therefore, my house isn't a picture in a magazine. Actually, it's my husband job to clean the kitchen and do the dishes. I don't stress if he doesn't do them for a day or two or even three. That's his job and I walk away from a dirty kitchen. I do the grocery shopping, meal planning and cooking, laundry and other household responsibility. We usually eat a home cooked meal 28 out of 30 days in the month. I get busy. I just choose not to beat myself up about my house not being a showcase of clean. One other thing I don't do - I don't have lots of stuff. I don't purchase things that require a lot of clean up and extra work. My house is very simply decorated and I don't like clutter. Personally, I would prefer my home to be neat and clean at all times but I choose not to beat myself up over it. There are more important things in life - like being at my son's baseball game.
All the best to you,
P.S. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
I am sure you've had enough responses but I wanted to let you know that things will get easier with time. It is important as you mentioned to get into routines such as morning & before bed routines. Plan your meals, lay your clothes out the night before are just some a few simple things that help. I also follow the flylady system. I have been fighting the routines but I realize now that I have kids that routines are a must. Babysteps will get your started. Maybe get a friend over to help or watch your daughter so you can get the house under control & then it will be just maintaining from there.
S.G. answers from Rapid City on June 28, 2008
When my granddaughter was born, I kept her while her momma went back to work and my housekeeping went out the window... I would rather sit and hold her then to clean..lol. Now she is 21 months and she can pick up her toys, but I still rather play with her then clean house. This is a poem I wrote not long after she was born.
A Grandma’s Love
By S. Gose
Not all that long ago, I held my newborn son
Handsome and sweet, giggles and fun
I watched him grow into a fine young man
At 16, his love for Brianna began
Three years later, a gift they gave
A baby so sweet, my heart she did enslave
Emmalyne Lillian is as perfect as can be
Making a proud grandmother out of me
To hold her close and feel her touch
No other gift, could I enjoy this much
She giggles as I sing out of tune to her
It’s a greater gift then all the kings Myrrh
Around those little fingers she has me wrapped
Keeping me from house work, she has me trapped
I don’t mind, my house can wait
My little grandbaby and I have a date
I love you Emma, more then you could ever know
You touch my heart deep with the smiles you show
While no love can compare to that of a mother
There’s no better title to be then Grandmother
Copyrighted ©2006 S. G.
L.M. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
I am a SAHM of three children, and I can't keep up! I never sit down. I clean constantly and will never be done. We have a 10, 4, and 3 year olds here. They will help pick up anything I ask them too, but it seems like I always have to ask and monitor the cleaning up or they miss half of it or get distracted. I can tell you from being home for the last four years, it does not matter how much time you have you can not get it all done. You need to give yourself a break. Leave it sometimes. I make sure I play with each child at least 20 minutes a day. They need that alone quality time with me, but then beyond that they play pretty good with each other or just by themselves with their toys. A good way to be more organized and get more done each day is to make a 6 most important things to do list. No more than 6 on your list each day though. Get through what you can and what does not get done goes on the top of the next days list. If you do lists, husbands will follow your lead, look what is on your to do list, and try to help you with whichever one they can help you with. If I don't make a list, my husband will get around to it with nagging, but does it without my pointing it out when I post a list for myself. I learned this through my Mary Kay business. They teach us to make the 6 most important list everyday to get in the habit of discipline with a homebased business. But it works with every job to help maximize your day. Try it for 21 days, and please let me know if this helps you:) You are amazing, you just need to hear it more I think!
S.W. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
I highly recommend a book called "Sink Reflections" by Marla Cilley. She helped me so much to get my life and house back on track after my daughter was born. She also has a website - www.flylady.net. I love that she presents her information with a great sense of humor. And it works!!
A.H. answers from Sioux Falls on June 27, 2008
I learned to do quick cleaning tricks, when I was working. For instance keeping disinfectant wipes under every sink and doing a quick wipe down of the bathrooms before I jumped in the shower in the morning. (I had to clean more often when I was working I had a little boy who was potty training and didn't have the best aim... still doesn't always:)) I still keep the wipes under sinks today and when things get bad I get MrClean Magic Erasers to take care of the touch stuff (on the sinks and tub), it's alot easier than scrubbing for hours. I also use those same cleaning supplies in the kitchen it works great to quickly wipe down after meals.
Another thing I've learned is that if I unload the dishes as soon as they are done and we just load into it as we finish with dishes, it saves alot of time and frustration.
Also get laundry baskets that are divided into compartments where you can sort them into loads as you go and when one side is full run a load. (I think you can get them at Target at least you could a few years ago)
D.S. answers from Detroit on June 28, 2008
L., your not a failure, one wise person told me, you will always have housework to care of, and the years with your child are much fewer and you will not always have them, i say be happy, and maybe clean a bit as you go, or while you are making the mess, and if its something you really want clean, then clean that, nothing wrong with her having some of her time in a chair watching you clean, for a bit, clean somthing , sing a song to her, while cleaning, put her in the same room you are cleaning, or strap her to you , then clean, but hey , the mess will not always be there, while cooking clean the kitchen, or put things away , its ok , you are not a bad mom, just a bad juggler, nothing wrong with that, its ok to juggle so much you cant handle it, put something down, but most of all, keep spending that quality time with your daughter, that time you wont ever get back, if that means living in a slight mess, dont fret over it, also think if i get it out, put it back, the time soon will be gone, with your child, as they grow we loose so much time, that quality time is far worth more than a clean house, not that you have to be dirty dingy, but cluttered, just do what you can when you can, and have her help you as she gets older, have fun , D. s
K.G. answers from Milwaukee on June 28, 2008
You can't do it all. I work full time too and so does my husband, and the greatest thing we ever did was move out of a house and into an apartment. We don't have a huge place to clean, there is no shoveling, no yard work, our lives are so much more focused on our time together now and not on all the other household "stuff". We have more time, more money, and way less stress.
I agree with the other posters, let the housework go. So many other moms I know only clean when they are expecting company. Once your baby gets older, it will get easier too!
A.H. answers from Appleton on June 28, 2008
No advice here...just wanted to let you know I'm in the same boat!
My daughter is also 10 1/2 months, husband and I both work full time, expecting baby #2 and we're exhausted! Our house is definitely not up to my pre-mommy standards, but I'm learning to let go of the little things and just have the goal of clean dishes, clean clothes and pick up the main living area before I go to bed. And I don't beat myself up too much if it doesn't get done.
One thing I did do is transfer to a less stressful job, and I cut down to 4 days a week. I have every Thursday off and I've made it my "catch up" day...as much as I can catch up with my daughter at home with me! :)
S.L. answers from San Diego on June 28, 2008
Is there a reason you can't hire a college girl to clean 1-2 x a week. I cut corners to have this, because mykids grow up to fast to have me spend my time cleaning. There are so many things you can cut out to have this doable.Good luck, and think hard before you say "Can't afford it."
C.D. answers from La Crosse on June 28, 2008
You are doing a ridiculously huge amount of work. Nobody can be expected to do as much work as you are doing and keep sane. You sound like a very giving person, but this is just too much work for the mother of a 10 1/2 month-old. I wonder if you could move into a home which is not as nice but more comfortable for your family. Could you pay someone else to paint the house at least? I really think you have gotten some good advice from the others already but as for me, the first thing that comes to mind is that perhaps it is not time to be taking on as much work as you've got right now.
I.F. answers from La Crosse on June 29, 2008
It doesn't seem to matter how experienced you are at being a Mom this happens to everyone. I am a Mom of 3 kids ages 12, 11, and 2. I have went from a awesome housekeeper to find a balance at meeting my kids actually needs first. I often still feel bad about the neatness of the house, but I know from the older two that the time goes buy so quickly I don't want to miss a thing. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it or if someone offers. That is just more time to spend with the little one.
R.G. answers from Fargo on June 28, 2008
It sounds like you have alot on your plate. This may be an outside idea for you but when i found myself in a similar situation only a few years ago my husband and i agreed together that we needed to have someone come in 1x a week and tidy up the place. Not doing the every day pickingup clothes or that kind of stuff but she came in and scrubbed the bathrooms, did the dusting, windows, vacuumed and scrubbed the kitchen floor, and cleaned all the mirrors too. That was enough so that it didnt take me hours to clean up as long as i did some every other day. I still did all my own dishes and laundry, changed sheets on our beds, etc. But just didnt have to worry about doing the deep stuff. It was well worth the money to be able to have time again to relax with my husband and play with my daughter and not feel so anxious and stressed all the time. I guess it depends on where you live as to the cost but our lady came once a week for about 2-3 hrs and charged us $10/hr, and really she did a good job. I love coming home after she came b/c the whole house smelled clean from scrubbing floors and bathrooms etc. Good Luck. I hope something works out for you.
D.F. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
OMG you must read Sink Reflefections by the Fly Lady it is a great book with a lot of great ideas, I know that you are looking for tips right away but read her book even if its 5-10 mins here. It is so worth it. She really gives you a different perspective. Check out her website and check out the book at the library. Dont feel guilty, relish the time you have with your daughter she is more important than the dishes, but once you read some of the book you will see that you can have a clean house while working full time.
Best of Luck
W.D. answers from Green Bay on June 28, 2008
Every woman can relate to a messy house. But we may not agree on why or how it becomes a dilemma.
The truth is and you may not like me for this. Your lives are reflected in your Housekeeping. What you and your husband are trying to accomplish is impossible. 50 hour work week, you have a job, a newborn, just bought a home? S-T-R-E-S-S! You're looking at a serious set-up for serious marital problems.
You have no time to take care of his needs. He needs more than a meal eaten late at night. Health wise that is not good anyway.
Friends share the truth.
You and hubby are going to have to make a decision as to what is important - your marriage and family or the outside stuff that have torn up more marriages than adultery.
The sign that it is too much is you and hubby are arguing about the nothings.
Being a wife and mother is a full time job. You have four jobs not one.
I know the debts are burying you or hubby would not have to work 50 hours a week. You did not mention vehicles or other debts.
You have a hand full and there is no way to get tips to manage it all. It is a pipe dream that will eventually land you and your precious husband in divorce court. You are really still newly married and have no time to get to know each other or attend to each other's needs. I'm sure sex has been laid aside and become a chore.
Men are men. If you are not there to meet his needs in the bedroom, that's if you can even get in the bedroom, he will eventually find it elsewhere.
One of the greatest primary needs you both have is your sex life. Your hubby needs you in ways that as a woman you will never grasp completely.
You both will have to sit down and do some serious assessment of where you have to cut back, not if.
1. Evenings are for you and hubby to wind down and relax together.
2. Find some tasty simple recipes online that can be prepared easily and put in the freezer. Get a crock pot to cook tasty meals that can cook slowly all day.
3. Don't try to clean the whole house. Its defeating and you end up feeling worse. Clean one room first and keep it clean. Start with the bedroom. Your husband needs a place to rest and so do you. Make it a goal to get it clean, inviting and peaceful. Baby sleeps in his own room.
4. Use pretty paper plates and cups "for awhile" to cut down on washing dishes. Let your husband know what you're doing. You need time savers right now.
5. Don't buy anything else you don't absolutely need for the next several months. Cuts down on clutter.
6. The time you do have, take a tablet and pencil and go through each room including garage and basement. You have a lot of stuff you don't need. Write down what is in each room.
Go to the store or somewhere and get boxes, lots of them.
Put boxes in each room or outside the door. Label them: THROW OUT OR KEEP. Each day sort through at least a few things.
Do one room at a time until it looks like what it is supposed to be. Take your time. It didn't get that way overnight. It won't be resolved over night.
8. Laundry and dry cleaning go in separate baskets or boxes.
If you can afford it buy several stand up laundry bags on wheels, one for each member of the family. ALL laundry goes in them. Sit them outside the bedrooms.
Dry cleaning goes in a box at the front door for easy access and to dropped off at the cleaners.
9. Together choose one thing a week you and hubby can cut back on financially even if it hurts. Open a penny jar savings account and put in there even if its 3 dollars.
10. You're not tired. You are stressed to the limit and it feels like tired.
If you have to eat late at night because of jobs, You will have to eat lighter meals that digest easily. Vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, soups.
Your body is supposed to rest and repair at night not fight to digest late dinners. When you eat late at night, you wake up tired the next morning because instead of resting and doing repair jobs, your body was trying to digest a full dinner.
Water curbs appetite. Drink a glass before a meal and you will not eat as much. Drink water before going to bed.
It sounds like a lot but print it out and see if it doesn't begin to make sense. Like most young new couples you fell into the trap of the American dream. No one told you that you couldn't have it all at once. Marriage, family,jobs, house, cars--They didn't mention drowning in debt is part of the dream?
1. Put your marriage first not your house
2. Where must you cut back to get your life back-not if?
3. Inch by inch to clean the house
4. Identify you are both in over your head and find solutions together.
5. Make a pact together: The outside stuff will not destroy your marriage. I don't know how you feel about God but prayer is powerful and you need Him.
Money can buy a divorce or destroy a marriage but it can't save one.
J.K. answers from New York on June 28, 2008
L., After reading the other responses thus far, I think this one is a little different. I will back up the others on the flylady.net- it is an amazing site that is FREE and you do things one step at a time. That said, You need to think outside the box. Only one person really touched on my suggestion but I will take it a step further. Please sit down with your husband and discuss this idea honestly: Quit! Yes, quit working. Now I know that many families simply cannot or believe they cannot- but most financial advisors can tell you that more families LOSE money by both working.
Here is how it works- you are paying for work clothes and casual home clothes, maybe even dry cleaning for them. You pay for quick lunches and dinners which cost up to 5 times as much (example, to make a pizza at home costs me less than $5 and my kids prefer those to say a Pizza place that charges $25 for the same type.) You pay for higher milage on a car for you to get to work, your gas and maybe even a car payment and insurance overall. We have chosen to be a one car family and it is a rare thing when we have conflict with this. In addition, you are paying for childcare and you are in a higher tax bracket for your income.
If you seriously sit down and find that you make even near to what that all costs then you need to consider cutting back on a couple of expenses and being a SAHM. There is great joy in it! It is not giving up any "feminist rights" nor is it something to be ashamed of. You will get all the time you want with your daughter and be the one who sees all her important growth steps. Your marriage will be stronger since you will have more day to take care of the house. You will not have the added expense of a housekeeper either.
The fact is that we have been fed a line of dooky about women being able to do it all and still be happy content people. We can- but not all at once! We certainly feel pulled in many directions when we do too many things at once. No human was made to function longterm that way! You are going to have to sacrifice something here and you need to consider carefully what it is; whether more money for a housekeeper, a healthy marriage, time with your baby, a clean house, whatever it is. Also know that there is no wrong answer here. Everyone lives a different life- so put you, your dh and dd first and know that the other moms on here are rooting for you!
Best of luck and my prayers are with you.
J.B. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
Buying a new home, happy as that may be, is a huge stressor. There is no way you can work full time and be a full time mom, too - so you have to prioritze and readjust your expectations of "clean" for this time when both of you are so busy and you have a little one underfoot. Check out Flylady online for tips on how to clean a little here and there w/o feeling overwhelmed and plan toward working yourself (as much as possible) out of an outside job in the future. Running a home, raising kids and keeping your marriage healthy is a full
job. Know your limits - what can you realistically do in a day? Don't set your baseline by what your mother, neighbor or best friend can do. Have heart to heart discussions with your husband on how much you want to do right by him and your daughter, and how much you believe you can do well. Let him express the same, then agree on what will be left for a different "season" of life. Babies grow up in the blink of an eye, but housework never ends.
SAHM of seven
D.M. answers from Duluth on June 28, 2008
Give it time!!!Your daughter is only 10 1/2 months...It's ALOT...It gets easier...
A.K. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
I feel your pain. I too wonder how to get it all done with both of us working full time and my husband about to travel much of the time. I have considered hiring some cleaning help? Once a month or so. I have no idea what that would cost but it may help and be worth it in the long run.
Maybe others have some thoughts.
S.M. answers from Madison on June 28, 2008
If I were you, I would probably hire someone to come in once a week to do cleaning...sinks, toilets, floors, etc. That way you can do the "picking up" that always needs to be done. If there's just three of you, the picking up stuff shouldn't be that major.
I work "part-time" but would love to have someone do those things for us. We spend almost every Saturday morning doing the deeper cleaning things. It would be wonderful to have those things done and just need to do laundry and straightening on the weekends. My mother told me years ago that if a person works full-time they shouldn't feel guilty about hiring someone to come in for a few hours. We really can't do it all.
My husband is a better cleaner than I am, but I think he would gladly give up cleaning floors!!!! Before we had kids we would pick out a CD and crank it on a Saturday morning and once the CD was done, we were done. What didn't get done just didn't matter that much. It's different now with our kids, but they are a little older than yours.
Also, if you're in the room with your daughter while you're cleaning up, that's wonderful. Just seeing your face and having you near her is great. I am not a fan of the term "quality time" because I think any contact is great. We can't be "on" as parents all of the time.
Good luck to you. Another thing my mom, the mother of 8, always says...I wish I would have cleaned the floor less and played with my kids more. Not sure I've helped!!!!!
L.H. answers from Minneapolis on June 27, 2008
I just became a SAHM May 1; I have a 20 month old son and have twins on the way in August. While I worked full time, I was fortunate to have a cleaning service come weekly- which was heaven. But, we canceled that now that I am home. I know the feeling as I often feel that, no matter what I do, the house is always in some disarray. My 20 month old is extremely busy, and I've learned what I can do when, and what makes the largest difference (thus giving me the sense of accomplishment and calm). For example, most of his toys are in the family room since I'm mostly on the main level, and always have an eye on him. I've learned it doesn't pay to pick up toys until after he's in bed- it can look like a disaster, but it's amazing what can be accomplished in 5 minutes of putting toys back in their spot. The other thing I can't go to bed without doing is cleaning the kitchen- table and countertops cleaned, dishwasher going, and ready for the next day. I find these two things do wonders for me and my sanity.
As for others, I run a broom or swiffer over my hardwood floors in kitchen/entry as needed, and do a load of laundry once that particular color of clothes is full in the laundry sorter, and try to make sure it's at least folded before bed. As for showers, tubs, etc. I discovered "Scrubbing Bubbles" has a great new tool- "Action Scrubber" which I love. You attach one of the cleaning pads to the handle, and I can get our shower, the guest tub/shower and all countertops with that and then just toss the pad in the garbage. Super easy!
I struggle with the ironing, cleaning the hardwood floor and dusting of blinds, etc. on a regular basis- but do them as I find time.
I'm also learning a ton of great ideas from the responses you've received- so thanks for asking. Best advise I can tell you is there are only so many hours in a day- start with the priorities and go from there. Good luck!
J.J. answers from Lincoln on August 12, 2008
I know how you feel!!!! We have all been there! The one thing that I always remembered before my son was born was that always take at a half an hour to an hour to spend just with them. That alone will give them the time with you that they need. Granted it is so hard to do sometimes but I look at it as the dishes will always be there, the living room will always need cleaned but your daughter will grow up so fast so just make sure to try hard to do at least that much a night if possible.
After a year in a half I finally got into a routine with my son. He has Cystic Fibrosis so he has even more stuff that we have to fit into the schedule but it works out.
God only gives you what you can handle. I know it's tough but I have faith that you will figure it out!
T.R. answers from Lincoln on June 30, 2008
I'm so happy to hear that someone else's house is a mess!! :) I have resigned to a "picked up" house versus a "clean house." (Not that our house is "dirty" per say) To me, the difference is a lot less stress and more time with my three very active beautiful girls, 6, 4, 2 1/2. If someone that comes over to my house and thinks, "she hasn't dusted in ages!" I don't care anymore. I have been told that if it won't matter 100 yrs from now, it isn't something I should stress about. Hang in there! My husband works from 8am-9pm most days and I work 8am-5pm with our oldest at school during the school year and our second starting school in the fall. At one time, we had 3 in day care full time, two in dance on different nights and one in girl scouts. It was very stressful, as I was the one taking them to and from everything, but very worth it!! The thing that has kept my husband and I going is a few hours together when we can manage to play cards, board games, go out or just simply talk to each other. I'm not sure if this is helpful to you, but as the saying goes, "this too shall pass," and your little one will grow up so fast! When she gets a little older, she can help with some of the things around the house. All of mine help sort and fold laundry...they think it's a game! :)
A.L. answers from Minneapolis on June 28, 2008
Just don't stress about it. Why are you stressing? Does it bother you or are you keeping up appearances? You would be suprised how many people if you dropped in on them don't have a clean house......try it sometime :)
Your daughter is only 10 months once, 10 months and 1 day once, 10 months and 2 days ONCE....so just stop on spend time with her and enjoy her. As long as your house doesn't belong on "CLEAN HOUSE" I think you are okay.
I try to follow flylady (but in my own relaxed way) and I have a list inside my cupboard and on it I have each day of the week and for each day I have a specific room or two so I know that they at least get cleaned once a week, but sometimes I just don't have time or have better things to do.
I work from home doing daycare with 12 kids including my own 2 that are here 24 hours a day and I work 11-12 hour days so I know all about the stress of cleaning.......just relax and let it go :)