Need Ideas and Inspiration with Handling Work, House, Kids, Husband, Etc.....

Updated on August 23, 2012
L.H. asks from Livonia, MI
12 answers

I work 4 days/week and have an 18 month old and 4 1/2 year old and I just can't seem to keep up! The BEST thing I did was hire a cleaning lady for every 2 weeks! She has saved me some anxiety! I do no expect a perfect orderly house but I am an organizational person and I feel like my house is in constant chaos. I am fortunate to have my mother and mother in law babysit my kids but they come to our house. So... by the end of the day it is a disaster. I have tried talking to them and that lasted for a little while. I am thinking of posting rules for the kids? Pick up toys, make bed, etc. I just feel like I can't keep up with the dishes, laundry and mess! When I am home the house stays somewhat in order and I have a lot of time to spend with the kids but on the days I work, forget it! Any suggestions?? Thanks!!!!!

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answers from New York on

Enjoy the weeks your cleaning person comes and be grateful for your baby sitters.

That is all you can do and should do.

Kids=happy chaos.

IMO 18 months is too young to post rules. Maybe have your four-year-old do small chores. My two-year-old is more than happy to help put spoons away from the dishwasher and throw thing sin the garbage. Start small with chores and shower the praise.

And again, enjoy the "clean" weeks and the help.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It sounds like you may have too much stuff. In my house evrything has a "home" or a place it belongs. I keep 2 large wicker toy boxes in my family room. All the toys must be able to fit in there. (I do have separate bins for play doe and legos etc. which are kept on shelves in the garage). I also had a couple of bins of overflow toys in my basement but if something came up to the family room then something had to go down to the basement. When I get a new puzzle I mark the back of every piece with a code word (ie pooh, river, party etc.) then store them in ziplock bags. My family room never takes more than 15 minutes to straighten/organize. If my kids don't play with a toy for a couple of months, we talk about how much some other poor child would enjoy playing with it and we donate it. We donate a ton of stuff especially before Christmas and birthdays when I know more stuff will be coming into the house.
-I make my bed the second I get up and make my kids beds as they get up. -I put grocery store bags in my trash cans so I can quickly empty the trash.
-I fold my wash as it comes out of the dryer then have my kids put the piles away. (my kids are older than your).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

How much is your husband/partner doing? It sounds like you think this is 'your' problem. I would stop seeing it that way.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with ES. You can't dictate to your (presumably unpaid) sitters what you want done for cleaning. You can instill some rules for you 4.5 year old with the goal of giving him age-appropriate responsibilities and teaching him life skills but that won't solve your day to day problem. I mean, it takes all of 15 seconds to make a 4 year old's bed right? Your child can and should do that, but 15 extra seconds won't really help you.

What is your husband's role in this? If anyone should be helping you shoulder more of the load, I vote him. Most husbands do a fraction of the housedhold work that their wives do, even if both work. Give him some things to do if he's not doing at least half of the chores already. might help you to - it's all about establishing routines so that the big things just get done automatically with a few minutes of effort throughout the day. Other than that, know that this, too shall pass.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I would hang up a daily schedule by time. Like:

7am Breakfast
720 Clean up kitchen
745 TV time
830 Walk

And put pick up toys and clean up time during the day so when your mom and MIL are there on those days they know what to do. The first day they are there, just say, "hey, I made this schedule and its been working for me (make sure it does first) and I thought you guys could go by it when you are here since I've noticed its easier to have the kids on the exact same schedule every day." And just make sure they keep up with it. That's what I would do. Also downsize as much as you can. You said you're "organized" but make sure you get rid of stuff you don't love, need or use. I have started to do this and its really helping. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

MOh man nothing is worse than leaving your house for work in the morning and coming back to find it in a worse state. I have the same situation as you- my mom and my mil watch my kids. And actually my hubs too because his 2 weekend days are actually Mon/Tue. I had to whip my husband in shape. It basically came down to "the house needs to be BETTER THAN or as good as I left it when I come home". So he tears up the yard all he wants but I walk into a neat and tidy space. As for the grandmas... my mom will clean stuff I didn't even know was dirty, but my mil will "help" in all the wrong ways. Like " hey I threw all the kids laundry in for you, its in the dryer!" Great cuz I really feel like folding 1,000 tiny kid items on a work night. Oh and I wasn't planning on stain treating any of that or anything...

Its really hard to ask any more of the grandmas because they are already babysitting for free (at least mine are). I mostly send my kids to their houses now. This seems to work best. If that's not an option... I would pick 1 or 2 rooms in the house and just ask the grandmas to keep those clean. For example "hey mom, can you focus on keeping the living area and kitchen neat? The kids room and bathroom can get as messy as we want all week but it really helps my stress level coming in from work if the front rooms are already neat". Or you could make the little signs or charts of the stuff your kids are supposedly working on "put clothes in hamper" and "take dishes to sink" whatever the stuff is you really want the grandmas to be doing. Unfortch, kids are just really messy so its never quite going to be up to your standards.

Maybe up the cleaning lady to every week? I haven't gotten myself a cleaning lady yet but I'm really leaning toward it this year! Its hard to keep clean with 2 working parents. I think we just kinda hafta lower our standards too. Sadly.



answers from Detroit on

It's an endless battle if u use relatives! Suggestion is go to a home based daycare there cheaper n say good by to grandmas or have them go to the arents house. Plus isn't the four in a half starting school in a week it's only one. It may get better



answers from Lima on

First of all, I had bad OCD awhile ago and now it has went away! Partially because I am a stay at home mom now with three kids ages 4, 2 and 1. My house is always a disaster and I honestly don't care. As long as my floors don't have dog hair on them, I don't get concerned. So here are my tips:
#1. Stop worrying about the cleaning and having an orderly house. Your kids are young once and eventually, yes they will learn to pick up. I'm not saying clothes need to be scattered but be thankful you actually have family to help you out while you work. I never had anyone when I worked. Just a babysitter where the kids were sick all the time.
#2. Your husband needs to help you out.
#3. If the kids don't clean up, take some of the toys away. I do this and it works like a charm! If they ask you where the toys went, you sternly tell them that since they obviously don't know how to clean up, you threw them away (yes it is lying, but I always stick the toys in a big garbage bag). Then tell them when they start cleaning up every day for at least 1 week, then each day they will re-earn a toy. This always worked for me.
#4. Making rules will help, but only if the children can read. Otherwise they are worthless.
#5. The beds don't need made until the weekend. They are back in it later that night.

I am just telling you outright that you need to please, please not be so clingy with the house. I used to be like this and I couldn't tell you how much time I lost with my oldest. Now I am teaching her preschool things and getting to spend much more time at home. I don't work, but I am in school at night 2 days a week and have homework and studying to do. When I have kids running around, I let them run. They need to have fun! Kids are so young and you will lose those precious moments in their lives just because your house had to be perfect. I bet almost every mom here would agree if they have kids that their homes are not dust free nor toy free. Forget about those small things in life and enjoy the time you have with them. Remember, they are only young once!



answers from Springfield on

If you figure it out, let me know! I was a SAHM for 5 years, and I never figured out how to keep the place clean for more than a few days. My kids are 6 and 3, and I believe it will start to get easier. My 6 year old is much better about putting things away and doesn't make nearly the messes he used to.

I think it's unfair to ask the grandmothers to play housekeeper as well as nanny. It can be hard enough to keep up with the two kids, they don't need to be concerned about cleaning along the way.

I'm working full-time now, and my kids go to daycare (well, aftercare for the 6 year old). One of the reasons I chose a daycare center was so that my house wasn't getting messed up any more than absolutely necessary. It's still a lot of work to keep it clean, and I don't really enjoy spending my free time cleaning when I really want to spend it with my kids. It's hard to balance the two, but I do my best.

When your kids are this age, they create messes. In a few years it will be more realistic to keep things in order. In the mean time, try to embrace this time for what it is. A messy house isn't the end of the world.



answers from Jacksonville on

Your 4 1/2 year can definitely help! And if you have them make it into a game/race, the 18 month old will probably get involved too. What I would do is tell your mom/MIL that you're working on teaching your 4.5 year old to clean up after playing with toys....make them part of the learning process. I don't think it's too much to ask "Can you help the kids with making their bed and picking up their toys?" If nothing else, have a "put away later" bin where they can throw all their stuff.

Your 4.5 yr old can also help with laundry (with supervision, of course). depending on your washer and dryer, they can swap loads, take stuff out the dryer, match socks, fold underwear, put non-hanging clothes away. I use "laundry folding time" to bond with my 3 yr old. We talk about colors, patterns, matching, etc and then she helps me put all the stuff away.



answers from Boston on

Maybe you can have the Grammys play pick up at a certain time, like before you come home. Use paper products during the day so your dishes are minimal. Laundry will be forever so throw a load in when you leave, have Grammy dry it and throw another in for you. Put a board with these things on it so all will remember. Reward Grammys for doing it, I bet they would love a manicure or pedi at the end of the month. Just a thought.

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