S.F. asks from Grapevine, TX on July 29, 2008
I have a long story, so bear with me. I stayed home after my 3rd child was born to do the SAHM thing. Did not do so well. I HATE to clean- but I have found flylady, so it's bearable :o). I frequently had the kids in front of the TV while I was cleaning or organizing. Then the youngest started walking and getting into everything. I about lost it and got severly depressed. My DH and I decided I needed to go back to work. I am an oncology nurse and am good at what I do. Plus I enjoy it.
Since then activities for all 3 kids have become more and more difficult. My DH has a very demanding job. He works a ton and even when he is not a work, it's not uncommon for him to have frequent phone calls or be stuck on the computer for hours while he fixes something at work. We talked and decided that it was time for me to stay at home again. I resigned my job that I loved and everyone will be going to school in the fall (The youngest will be 4 and start 5 day preK).
Given all of that I am in somewhat of a quandry. I still haven't figured out how to keep everyone/thing clean without ignoring the kids for long periods of time. When I was working we hired someone to clean, and all I had to do was pick up. Plus I never worried about the heavy duty stuff. I figured I would get around to it eventually. I'm still working on what to do with them during the day. I don't have anything organized, it's too hot to be outside long. And I have no idea what to do for fun with them that is fairly cheap. We are going to the dollar movie tomorrow and we swim everyday. So what does everyone do? I feel like my kids are couch potatoes. Most of my friends work or are an hour away.
The other issue is that I can't sleep. I figure it has to do with the fact that I'm not on my feet for 8-10 hours a day anymore. But I'm falling asleep at 2 and 3 in the morning, and then waking up at 7 am. So of course I'm exhausted and really don't want to do a whole lot.
Any suggestions would be helpful.
2 moms found this helpful
S.S. answers from Wichita Falls on July 30, 2008
If you can afford to stay home, then working it seems like you should be able to afford a part (or full time - even live in) nanny / housekeeper kind of person... someone who can transport the kids to some of the activities and do light housekeeping while they're at school and you're at work.
It's just a thought - but I know that, staying at home full time, I get a little nuts. I'm a better mom when I'm working - and my kids are happier.
Oh - and have the little angels help you. My 11 year old can do anything in this house that I can, except work with chemicals... my 5 year old can make his bed and run a mean vacuum, and my 2 year old can put his toys in a basket. They enjoy "working with mama".
H.S. answers from Dallas on July 30, 2008
Hey Shelly, Have you looked into a MOMS club!! MOMS stands for Moms offering moms support. It is a group of stay at home moms that get together for playdates, moms night out etc. I think the website is momsclub.org if you wanted to see if there is one in you ares. I belong to the MOMS club of southwest Fw and I love it. I am also learning to let my house go a little bit. I have a son who is 18mon. and my daughter is 6wks.so for awhile my house will just have to be a little messy.
M.D. answers from Dallas on July 30, 2008
Sister you need to chill out! You're going to drive yourself nuts along wth your kids & your spouse. We have all know that feeling but you gotta pick your battles.
Read this poem & remember to keep things in perspective.
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby 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 her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for 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.
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
3 moms found this helpful
A.M. answers from Dallas on July 30, 2008
Take a deep breath and know that you are not alone. Being at home full time after working full time takes getting used to. It took me a year to figure it out and now the idea of working full time stresses me out. :)
I noticed that you have received a lot of advice on keeping the house picked up, so I will try to address the "what do you do?" part of your question.
I have 2 girls (4 and 14 months) and summers are hard b/c there is no real routine/schedule. Here are some of the things we do to spend our day (without too much tv):
2. If there is a mom's group near you check it out. I am involved in MOPS and in a local group called SMILE. We don't do everything they offer, but it has been great to meet other moms who are in the same boat I am and it's been great to have scheduled events to go to if we want.
3. Instead of the tv, we turn on the radio. We get XM radio through our tv, so I turn it to Radio Disney during the day. It's nice to have some music on that we can all listen to (and doesn't sound like little kid music). Plus we dance around to it or I clean to it while they are playing.
4. Play outside in the morning. We go to the park or play in the back yard as much as we can in the morning. This can get boring me, but I try to do some of my outside chores while they are digging in the sand box. we also play with chalks and bubble, and we paint the fence with water. It can be a lot of fun.
5. We have kids over a lot. I will have mini-parties for my oldest and her friends. Some themes we have are a bring you own toppings pizza party (I supply crust, cheese, and sauce), cookie decorating party, unbirthday party where each guest buys something at the Dollar Tree (so it only costs $1), wraps it and every one gets an unbirthday gift, slip-n-slide party, book party where guests bring their favorite book and we read them (I supply snacks), and before we got grass in the yard we had a "see how dirty you can get" party and gave prizes to the muddiest kids. A couple of weeks ago we had our second annual diaper and wipe dinner where we feed you dinner (hot dogs and such) and you bring a pack of diapers and wipes for the community pregnancy center.
6. Volunteer. I know that seems weird to do with a preschooler, but my daughter and I go to the local food pantry and sort canned goods, restock the shelves, and get bags ready for families when they come in. She is learning how to serve/help other people and we both feel really good about giving back to our community.
7. Look for free places to swim. We visit Granbury's city beach quite a bit. It's free and so much fun. If you live near a lake there are usually free beaches to play at. Sometimes there are even trails to walk through. We use to do that a lot (I am not sure why we haven't done that this year. hmm.).
8. Also check out local YMCAs to see what they offer. A lot of times they will let you visit 2x for free. We went and climbed the rock wall in Benbrook one after noon and then went the park next door for a picnic. It was a lot of fun. I have also asked the neighborhood fire department if we could see the trucks and the inside of the fire station. They are usually very excited about showing the kids (and you) around, and the kids love it.
I hope you get inspired a little bit. We do still watch tv. I don't want to make it sound like we don't. The tv is on until we finish breakfast, then it's the radio until nap where they can watch a cartoon before nap. Then it's off again until before bed when they watch another cartoon to settle down a bit.
Good luck and have fun!
3 moms found this helpful
P.B. answers from Tyler on July 29, 2008
Sam's carries a LARGE block of construction paper and scissors, glue, crayons, etc. are all REALLY cheap right now at Wal-Mart (back to school). These are always fun.
Also, turn OFF the TV and tell the children that if they can help you clean up (pick up the toys/clutter), you will play a board game with them. OR even offer to read each one of them their choice of book.
They are all old enough to at least HELP with some kind of light housework. I suggest that you start a chore chart with your kids so they can help you tackle the small stuff and free your time a bit. Here is a copy of a post I submitted for another mom recently:
"I have a child with special needs, but we implemented a chore chart for him that might help you with your youngest.
Silverware - after the knives and unusual utensils are taken out I put it on the counter above the silverware drawer and call him in (you may want to use a step stool). Worth 1 credit (explained below).
Towels - the wash clothes and hand towels are his domain. Also the towels that button onto the cabinets in the kitchen (great motor skill to button). Every 5 towels are worth 1 credit.
Pick up - Picking up toys after playing (working on doing this without being told). Worth 1 credit.
Trash - taking some smaller bags out to the large can and putting a fresh liner (bag) into the can after it is taken out. Worth 1 credit per 3 cans.
Dusting - my older son usually does this, but every so often the yonger one will grab a Swiffer duster (I love these things) and walk around dusting everything (chairs, toys, people, etc). I award 1 credit for effort.
Homework - This is usually only used in the school year, but we also reward for reading in the summer. (This can be for your older daughter.) Worth 1 credit per subject/page of homework (1 credit per 20 minutes of reading).
I do not pay an "allowance". I pay on "commission". If the child does chores, the child gets paid weekly for what is DONE. Once the child has earned enough to buy something, we take a trip to the store with the money (this also teaches the value of money). I have assigned 5 cents per credit (I'm cheap). My older son just recently asked for a raise. LOL
Please google: Dave Ramsey
His book is EXCELLENT and will go into more detail on this principle."
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A.S. answers from Lubbock on July 30, 2008
I just have one child and I get that way too.I am part of a play group and I love it.You can go to meetup.com and type in what you are intrested in and your zip code and it will pull up any groups in that area.The playgroup I am part of is the Kangaroo Kiddos but there are a couple of others so look around also the play area at the mall is free, visiting pet store,science spectrum,jumpin jungle,putt putt,swimming,and if you join the lubbock fun club they will email you fun things to do around town for you and the kids.Good luck hope this helps a little.
1 mom found this helpful
L.P. answers from Dallas on July 30, 2008
I have 4 children (7,5,3,2). I have 2 suggestions for you. First, include them in the process.
Along the lines of flylady(which I love), we do all the cleaning together. Mondays, we bless the house together and it only takes about 20-30min w/ everyone taking on a job. The 7yr.old vacuums, the 5 yr.old mops, the 3 yr. old cleans the glass and empties the trash cans, and the 2yr. old and I sweep and dust. Everyone takes their sheets off and clean out the magazines and newpapers.
Then Tuesday-Friday, we do the zone cleaning together 10 min. pick-up/declutter, 10min.- go down the cleaning list.
Second, lower your expectations a little. They are only this age once and you will never have this time to spend with them and build relationships with them again. Play board games, pretend, read books, Build tents w/ the sheets on Monday before you wash them. I also do "stations" that I started doing when there were only 3 and I was pregnant w/ the 4th. Make a list of 4 things they enjoy doing but make one of them spending time w/you whether it's reading or playing a game or cooking or just talking. An example of our list would be: Playdoh, Computer, Mommy time, Room Time. It can change each day. Then they choose wich one to start w/ and every 15,20,30 min.(whichever works for you) they switch. Everyone gets time w/you. I found this one-on-one time to be invaluable. And w/3 you will still get a time to yourself.
Hope these help.
Don't look at cleaning as something to do in spite of your children. Look at it as something to do with your children.
1 mom found this helpful
A.C. answers from Dallas on July 30, 2008
Being a SAHM is actually a pretty special time, but I do understand the weird feelings from not working anymore. Before getting married, I worked in chemical plants/refineries doing 84-91 hours a week for weeks at a time. It felt very strange to do a "normal" job after that. Then my son, born 6 weeks early, was in the NICU for 2 weeks and I just switched gears.....I didn't want to give him over to anyone else to watch, and became a SAHM. I loved it in one sense, but it was very taxing in other ways because we had no family/friends here (new to the area at the time). I found that a local MOPS or MOMS club gave me an outlet for hanging out and talking to adults again. My husband was working 5 1/2 days a week so we made sure that when he came home on Saturdays, we had fun family time. On Sundays after church I took a job at Babies R Us (just 6-7 hours of work a week, lol) and that gave me a little time to do my own thing and not be a mom or wife for a few hours, to talk to adults, etc. Later, I got a part time job at a daycare so that I've got my son right there, but I'm working and bringing in a check, too. Perhaps you can get a part time job in your field??? Especially during school hours when 2 of your children will be at school.....you could maybe work just a few hours during the school day while your youngest is in a preschool so you can have the best of both worlds. That's what worked for me, at least.
I go to Tom Thumb or the library to get the latest copy of Suburban Parent (free) and spend 30 minutes going through the whole thing and putting stuff on the calendar of things we'd be interested in doing. Some we make it to, some things we don't. But it gives options on days that you find yourself stir-crazy. I would take my son for a walk in the morning (in his stroller half the time, and I let him out to run around when we get to a playground or park)---this is time that I'm getting some exercise, he's getting out, and we have "chats" about whatever we're seeing or whatever comes to mind. We do this every morning before it gets too hot. Then we have little activities we do on a regular basis, on a semi-schedule so that we're not locked into anything, but we have a basic idea of things to look forward to and things to prepare for. (Like a neat little art project from Family Fun that I'd like us to try, or an outing to an event, or quiet time to read, etc).
As for cleaning, my son just turned 21 months old and he helps me a lot. If you are thinking "this must be done by this time" then life will stink, but if you can remember that you are building a relationship now with your children (if you wait too long for relationship building it won't happen or will be very difficult), then you can laugh at the cute stuff. Doing the laundry, he helps me throw colored clothes vs. whites in stacks, hands me the clothes from whatever stack we're doing to put in the washer, and he will cry if I don't hand him clothes (1 or 2 at a time) from the washer so he can put them in the dryer. When the clothes are dry, he puts the basket down in front of the dryer and puts it all in the basket so I can fold it. When I'm doing a declutter sweep of the house, I give him his pumpkin bucket (trick or treat) and he puts his toys in it and runs to his room to put his toys back in his room (I don't sweat hot wheels and toys in the living room until it's time to get my mess put up too, lol). Something very special about watching a 21 month old running to his room with a bucket of toys and stuffed animals in arms to put away. He loves to push the swiffer around, and of course I let him. I figure that even if it's not a perfect job, he can get some of the dust and stuff! I also give him a swiffer duster because he loves to wipe things. I have had to purposely refrain from fussing at him when I've caught him shaking juice out of his sippy cup so that he can wipe it with a towel....I figure if he likes to clean, I won't discourage that!
I would plan to do the heavy cleaning (toilets, mopping, etc) during naptime. The light easy stuff can be done as a family (at least mom and kids)and have some happy music going while you do it. You can teach the kids to dance, sing, and have fun while they do "blah" tasks. You can talk to them and have them talk back to you. And when the chores are done, you can go out for an icecream or cuddle up and read together. The TV I would discourage, as much as possible, though my son does watch Pinky Dinky Doo and Sesame Street (from 7:30 to 8:15) while I'm making breakfast and packing my husband's lunch. It takes time and creativity, but you'll find your groove. Good luck.
1 mom found this helpful
C.R. answers from Dallas on July 30, 2008
I'm a 54 year old stay at home, homeschooling mother of 10 children, well, the 10th will be official when we adopt him, he's our foster son, but lives here just the same. Three children have left our nest, although the college son is home for the summer, so I have eight living here at the moment. We do not have a tv in the house.
I get up in the morning, get everyone breakfast, then at nine o'clock, everyone helps me pick up and clean. By 10, we have a fairly clean house. The rest of the day, I pick up as needed, do laundry and whatever else comes around. We live on a small farm, and we raise animals as well.
My advice to you is to join flylady, that will help, and to declutter, declutter, declutter. That doesn't have to be done in a day, so make a deal with yourself that you will spend a certain part of the day cleaning, and the rest is YOUR time.
I do not entertain my children. I talk to them constantly, read to them at certain times of the day, and include them in what "I" am doing. They have their toys, their school, and a farm to keep themselves busy. If they dare tell me they are bored, that's it, they get a chore. I may have to direct them once in a while, but I don't entertain them. On Fridays, we go somewhere - the library, the museum, the zoo, or something, and some of them have music lessons, but mostly, we keep ourselves busy here at home, where we are supposed to be, doing useful activities.
I could go on and on, but just remember, your children are more important than the house. Turn off that tv, get them reading and moving, fill those minds with useful stuff so they will grow up with good character.
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H.G. answers from Dallas on July 29, 2008
Have you ever considered a playgroup? They're free and there is good comraterie (sp??) It's nice having female companionship. I found my playgroup on meetup.com
Once you get out and about, you probably will sleep better. It will also wear the kids out.