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
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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.