Staying on Top of House Work with a 2Yr Old and a 5 Yr Old.

Updated on February 15, 2008
M.A. asks from Cordova, TN
17 answers

I can't seem to manage to keep up with all the household chores with a 2 yr old and a 5 yr old. I work full time during the week and 1 weekend day. Its all I can do during the week not to sit down because if I stop, Im so exhausted, I'll fall asleep and then nothing can get done. How can you keep everything organized enough to keep up.

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So What Happened?

Thanks guys. I read all your responses they've helped. I woke up saturday morning before work with a renewed attitude. Started on my list.. and my husband was finishing it up when I got off work that night. I think it may have helped him a little also. And as for my kids, believe me, Im gonna start the clean-up game tonight. Thanks again

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answers from Parkersburg on

Maybe you could hire someone to come in a couple times a week, just to help out with laundry. I don't know about you but laundry takes forever in this household.



answers from Greensboro on

It's the perfect age to start teaching the kids to help you then they will be a HUGE help down the road. My daughter is 8 and she helps out a lot. I work a fulltime and parttime (7 days a week) job too and a single mom. It's a constant struggle. Good luck!

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answers from Chattanooga on

Get yor husband to help too. The kids can also help. My kids (4 and 6) love to help me empty the trash, sort the laundry to wash, wash the clothes, fold towels, and put their clean clothes away after I put them on hangers. My 6 yr. old can make his bed. The kids can also help pick up toys and put them where they go. Maybe your husband can help sweep, mop, and clean the bathrooms. I usually run the dishwasher at night while I sleep(it has a timer) Sometimes I put a load of clothes in the washer at bedtime and then put them in the dryer when I get up in the morning. The clothes are dry bu the time the kids need to get ready for school.

Mabye you could concentrate on 1 room per night. Monday could be the night to sweep and mop the kitchen. Tuesday could be the bathroom, etc. You will still have to keep up with laundry and dishes but maybe it won't be so overwhelming.



answers from Memphis on

I have a 4 yr old and a 6 yr old. They have chores.

Seriously. Think about things they can do. The 5 yr old would really enjoy helping.



answers from Charlotte on

I also work full-time and then work 2-3 Saturdays a month. I have a 4 and 2 year old as well. To be honest--- I gave up-- and I hired a cleaning crew to come in once a month. That way, I only have to keep up the laundry (which I do twice a week) and general sweeping and picking up. It was sooo worth the money and I squeaked it out of my spending money (no more Starbuck's or lunches out-- but I don't have to clean and I am much happier).

I live out in Mint Hill and have a great person who doesn't charge much (in my opinion)-- contact me if you want a referral-- you are worth it-- trust me!



answers from Louisville on

I can't stay on top of housework, and I'm home with my two girls several days a week. Sounds like you are working too much. What I try to remind myself is that they need to be loved now, so folding the laundry can wait. I don't think anyone ever looks back and says "wow, I wish I'd cleaned my house more" but people do look back and say "wow, I wish I'd spent more time with my kids". Stop beating yourself up. What is your husband/partner doing? He should be pulling his weight. And if not, or even if he does, you can always hire a part-time housekeeper to do the vacuuming and dusting once a week with all the money you must be making from working 6 days a week.



answers from Lexington on

Sounds like you're a single mom with way too much on your plate. You need that one day off you have to rest.

I know it's difficult (especially if you're type A like me) but try to get to a place where as long as the house isn't DIRTY you can be okay with MESSY, as there is definitely a difference.

I grew up with married parents where my mom worked fulltime during the week, but never stopped cleaning. If she was home she was cleaning and yelling at us for (1) not cleaning, (2) messing things up she had cleaned. I hated it, i hated her for it, and I hated the house because to this day she cares more about her house, how clean and stylish it is, and what it says about her than she does about her family.

that's an extreme example, but the lesson I took away was what I'm hearing echoed here: chores such as laundry can on and play with the kids while you've got them.

Something I did as a single mom, if you can: let em stay an extra hour at daycare after work so I could clean up and prepare dinner. (I had a small child at the time, worked fulltime and went to school fulltime so I feel your pain).

I wouldn't worry about organized - your house won't be organized until the kids are gone, or at least a lot older....

Good Luck!



answers from Charlotte on

Two things that really help in our house-
lots of small bins for my girls toys. Everything has it's own bin. We have a rule that they have to put away one toy before getting out the next. They don't always follow this rule, but we're working on it. But by having small bins that are designed to only hold one type of toy- my little ponies in one, musical instruments in one, doll clothes in one, etc. They know exactly where it goes and when they want to play with a specific thing they don't have to pull everything out of a large bin (making a huge mess in the process) to find that one toy. It takes some time to go through the toys and organize it all, but it's worth it. It's also a good time to get rid of all the unused, broken, outgrown toys.

The other thing that helps us is that my kids help around the house. My kids are 4 and 2 If you teach them how to fold their shirt and pants and jammies, they should be able to do it. It probably won't be a perfect fold, but it will be good enough. Then they can help you put away their laundry, and it can be a fun time to sit and talk with them in their room while you help put things on hangers and they sort and fold. And I absolutely agree with the mom who doesn't mix the families laundry- definitely helps in getting things put away and I have found that with kids clothes the colors generally don't run so you can put all colors together. My kids dust. I do buy all organic cleaning products so I'm not worried about them using chemical-laden cleaning products, but if you don't want to go organic they can use a dusting cloth or feather duster. They set the table. They help cook (my 4 year old can cut soft foods, with supervision of course). The things they help with won't be perfect, but it will help you, as well as give them a sense of responsibility.

The last thing I will say that helped me- getting over my need for everything to be spotless and perfect. It was a hard concept for me to put aside, but once I allowed myself to be okay with the fact that there will be clutter and I just can't vacuum as much as I'd like to (we have a large dog that sheds a lot) it made the whole load seem so much lighter.



answers from Fayetteville on

Take a little at a time.. trying to do it all at once will only become tiresome and exhaust you even more. It also might help to have a helper list for your 5 year old. My 3 year old helps take out the trash with me, put laundry in the washer or dryer and feed our dog. I try to make chores fun, so it will entice him to help. And of course we have a chart that he puts stars on when he does his helper tasks!! (It helps when we don't call them chores) :) When he has done them all week, he gets a treat in the form of a dessert or a small toy. But you are a busy Mom, so don't stress, and give yourself a much needed break!!



answers from Raleigh on

Lower your standards of cleanliness! Barring that- the best book my MIL ever gave me: Speed Cleaning.



answers from Johnson City on

Sweetheart, stop ! I am sorry but, you have way too much on your plate to be worrying so much over housework. As long as it is clean I personally am a housekeeper for everyone but, myself. I figure, hey we ACTUALLY live here. I am not hosting a party for the President of the United States or anyone else for that fact. You will have those days off when you can take care of the little things. Keep your house sanitary, and cleaned up... enough, but don't stress over being the perfect housekeeper. You live in that house and living means there is going to be clutter. No problem. Deal with it when you do have the time and don't worry about the days when you don't. I keep the laundry done, the meals fixed and the worst of the clutter picked up......I have no time for being the perfect wife and mother. The rest of the stuff, well, I am sorry, but, babe, you are not super woman, guess what, if you let this go and that, it will still be there when you have time. If someone who might come in to your home, does not like it......then hire them to clean it or take over your job and payments for you. You can only do your best and if your best means a bit of clutter, then so be it......guess what, you and your babies live in that house.Plus, you can, even though those kids are babies, you still can start some responsibilities of picking up after themselves, helping with the dishes, and such, and yes they are little but, even though it will be minor, it will be a big help, it will also be a learning experience for them that too many kids don't have these days. Even though they were too little to do the dishes, I had my kids bring their plates to the sink, then put a chair in front of it and helped them do the my work load is not so hard because they are able to do it on their own and know it is a responsibility. I know your kids are very young but start now.You are not super woman.....if you were, you would always be gorgeous and wear a cape that blows in the wind, with perfect hair and body........... You are beautiful and overworked. RElax a bit darlin. Understand, we are not perfect.You are doing more than God ever expected of you.



answers from Memphis on

I too am 41 with a 13 year old and an 8 year old. I had gotten so far behind I thought I would never catch up. Then my sister-in-law sent me a message from the "Fly Lady", I don't know if you have ever heard of her but she says "You can do anything for 15 minutes". Well starting with that in mind I started doing 15 minutes when I got home from work every night.

She starts by saying to "shine your sink". I can tell you that it doesn't take long and you do feel like you are getting somewhere.

I too am running crazy all the time but with breaking things up the way she does it helps to not feel so overwhelmed. I am not completely on her schedule, but the things I have impemented have helped me tremendously.

It is I would encourage you to go there and see if there are some things you can do in your day to decrease this stress. I know it did for me.


answers from Memphis on

Have you heard of Flylady? FLY stands for Finally Loving It's a great system of making a control journal & assigning yourself zones, areas of your house, that you focus on each week and then daily routines to keep up with the clutter. It works great and you can get your kids involved, even the 2yo.



answers from Wilmington on

My girls are 3 and 5. We have bins for all their toys and work with them to put their toys back where they belong every day. My husband has always taken up the slack when I was not able to get everything done. He is a neat freak and our house must be clean, clean, clean ALL OF THE TIME. Picking up anything left on the floors is done before we go to bed every night. The kitchen is always cleaned after breakfast, lunch and dinner. We all chip in and get it done. The children should be able to put their dirty clothes in the hamper and other small tasks like putting pillows on the bed after you make it. They enjoy pulling clothes out of the dryer and putting them in the basket for you. They can sort clothes. Finding their socks versus your and daddy's socks and putting them in piles is fun and helps with their matching skills. They can recognize kitchen towels versus bath towels and put them in piles for you to fold.
Decide what will feel comfortable for you and work on one or two things being accomplished a day. You cannot do it all or be expected to do it all with out help. If you have a husband, partner or friend, tell them your concerns and see if you can get that little extra help you need. Your children are old enough to help out also. Let them know you expect things to stay tidy and they are expected to help.
Disposable plates are also good when you don't have time to clean. Just throw it away. Disinfecting wipes are great to have on hand for quick clean ups in the kitchen and bathrooms and any surface your kids get messy.
Take a day off, rest up, then make a new plan that will work with your schedule.
Good luck!



answers from Chattanooga on

Do a quick sweep and damp mop of the kitchen right after supper and wipe down counters(10 minutes top), have your 5 yr old help with dusting (just not the delicate stuff), after ur shower do a quick rubdown of the bath/shower, and lastly, on the day off, take a nap, and when you wake up, vacuum the house. Like my mom says.. do a little bit every day... and it won't seem like so much. Don't be afraid to put your kids to work!! Oh.. last thing when your go out the your car each day, take your trash with you, if you do things as part of your routine it helps SOOOO much, you get used to it like brushing your teeth and putting deodorant on every day. I hope this helps :)



answers from Nashville on

I have a 2 and a 4 1/2 year old and I am a stay at home mom and can't stay on top of the housework. Sure the kids can help and that really speeds things up, but maybe just a chore a day, but really you have to cut yourself some slack and just do the little things that just drive you crazy and do little things at a time, don't tackle it all at once or try to do it all on your one day off. I do certain things that may seem silly, but it helps to keep me organized and keep it easier. Such as laundry, I don't (normally) mix the family's laundry together. For instance, the kids will have a load, my clothes will consist of a load or two and my husbands clothes are a load or two. Then when I'm doing the laundry...folding, hanging, putting away I'm not running all over the house in everyone's room/closet. For some reason it's easier and can be done quicker. There are always exceptions, but for me it just makes that one thing a little easier.

good luck



answers from Hickory on

From one sleep deprived mom to another, I, too, can understand your frustrations. I have a 2 yr old and 5 yr old and also work full-time. The one thing that has helped me is keeping my kids on a tight bedtime schedule. This at least gives me some time for a quick clean-up and laundry. I save the "spring" cleaning for times when I can be home alone and let the kids spend an evening with grandma. My husband doesn't help very much with cleaning, but when I begin getting overwhelmed, I pretty much tell him what I need him to do and eventually he will do it. Good Luck!

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