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Need Help simplifying & cutting down chore time

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
I'm expecting a baby in 2-3 months when my first child will be 15 months old. I'm getting very nervous about how I'm going to take care of a newborn, a 15-month old, myself, and the entire household all on my own. I have no close-by family at all (and no possibility of having them close); no friends to help, and husband works long hours. I need a solution to help me manage the 2 babies and the whole household on my own. And it needs to be a financially-conscious solution because we don't have the additional money to get help.

Life now with an extremely active 13-month old and the household (cooking, cleaning, shopping, errands, appointments, etc) is already more than a handful to me (some nights I can't even put dinner on the table).

I'd like to get some ideas on how to cut down on the household work so I have more time for the babies & myself (at least the resting & recovery part of postpartum). We really don't have the additional money to get additional help but if we really have no alternative, we might consider spending a very small amount just so we can get by in the short term. Here are some thoughts (which all cost too much for us), but I'm just throwing it out there because I don't have any other ideas. Please help me figure out a more cost-effective solution:

1) Continue to cook, but either hire someone to do the shopping or shop online & have it delivered. (and do the same for all household stuff shopping). Not getting out to do the shopping would really cut down on the trips & time but the online places I looked into are so expensive it's really going to wrack our bills. Currently I shop around to stretch our money further but when you order stuff online things seem to be so expensive. Anyone know of any place that will deliver groceries & household supplies for low price?

2) Buy packaged prepared frozen meals (of course, cost more than cooking)

3) In addition to the first two, hire someone to come a couple times a week to clean (including all the piled-up dishes which I currently clean every night)

Like I said, I think any of these items would cost too much for us - can someone tell me how else I can get around it, or if I were to have to spend money, how to spend it the most efficient way? There is also another thought along the lines of searching for churches or organizations who has volunteers whose purpose is to come out and help young moms/people like me (just like organizations with volunteers whose main purpose is to go help seniors in their homes). Our church doesn't have a ministry like that, and I don't know where I'd go look.

Please provide any ideas you have for me. I know with much certainty that I won't be able to do it on my own and I'm not even going to try. And I won't have anybody around to help me, so I really need to figure out something... I need to get some help, somehow...
post #2 of 43
maybe it sounds dumb, but to me this made sense especially if you're talking about spending extra money-as far as shopping around to get the best deals on different food items, i recently kind of gave that up because i felt like i was wasting valuable time and gas money to save not that much. maybe for some of you who have bigger families and buy things in larger quantities it makes sense to shop around when you would save a decent amount of money, but to save $5 and spend probably close to that in gas and wasting time lugging ds around to stores wasn't worth it to me. also, how about planning out dinners ahead of time, making sure you pick some very simple things that you can work on prepping throughout the day; like we have tacos every thurs. and i soooo love it because it takes less than 20 min. to chop up the toppings(which can be done at any time through the day) and then cook the meat/veggie meat. when my ds was smaller i would always prep during the day,whenver i had a spare 5 min. here & there to chop an onion, etc. and it made it soo much easier to put it all together at the end.
as far as chores, some of the best advice i got on here was to just give yourself one small chore a day to get done instead of overwhelming yourself, like instead aiming to clean all of the bathrooms, just scrub all the toilets or mop the floors, that way if you get more than the one thing done you'll feel gone and hey your house won't be as sparkling, but you'll be a lot saner
post #3 of 43
Declutter. Get rid of everything that's not essential to your day to day life. You don't necessarily have to truck it all to Goodwill, but I would. It makes life so so so much easier.

Clean frequently. I spend such a small amount of time actually cleaning every day. If you pick up often and wash the dishes one meal at a time it takes very little time and it's spread out throughout the day instead of concentrated into the most stressful part of the day (around dinner time) and it feels good, too. When I first started this, I packed up all of my dishes, then I went to IKEA and bought a set of 6 bowls, salad plates and dinner plates, 4 small stainless steel bowls, and 6 plastic plates. The kids (2 at the time) each had one cup, and I think we had 4 or 6 water glasses. That's it. So it wasn't possible for me to go all day without washing dishes and washing breakfast and lucnh dishes took less than 5 minutes, dinner dishes maybe 10 depending on what I cooked. I stopped using my dishwasher.

Do small loads of laundry frequently. I wash 1-2 loads a day for my family. If I wash a huge load of laundry I do not want to deal with the folding so I tend to leave it in the dryer for a while, then the clothes are wrinkly and I have to re-dry them and sometimes I even have to re-wash the load I put in the washer because after sitting there for more than a few hours they start to stink. What a waste of time! If I wash my laundry one small basket full at a time folding takes a few minutes straight from the dryer and putting everything away takes no time.

Cooking. Cook early in the day. For me (and most moms, I think) 4-6pm is a very stressful time. We have a natural lull in the day around 2 or 3pm. So I make dinner then. My dh is not home for dinner, so we usually eat around 4, but when he did get home at a reasonable dinner time I still made or prepped dinner early and reheated or tossed everything in to cook at dinner time. Meal plan!! Nothing helps more. I don't have a strict meal plan, just a list of 7 dinners that I cross off as I make them. This is easier for me because if I've had a really rough day I usually have a couple of super simple meals that I can do that night. And I love things like lasagna because I can just work on it throughout the day or if I know I have a really busy day coming up and I have some free time I can go ahead and assemble it in advance. On grocery day, sometimes I pick up one of the ready to bake pizzas from the deli. They're not expensive and with a bag of prewashed greens make a fine super fast dinner. Grabbing a few dinner in a bag frozen things is always a great idea, I don't like to make them regularly but sometimes we have a really off day and it's 4pm and my kids are starving and it's better than mac and cheese from a box!

Groceries. Write your grocery list with your grocery store in mind. A big piece of paper with a list of everything at random can be hard to shop from, but if you think about where you enter the store and what is there and how you walk around the store you can plan it out that way and it is much more efficient. No more running back to the front of the store to grab something that you missed in that section. I assume you babywear, and I would really recommend getting a good back carrier and a nice wrap or ring sling so you can put your toddler on your back and the baby on your front so your hands are free and everyone is happy. If your toddler loves riding in the cart that's great, but I would still look into an option for wearing both, it makes life so much easier! I also go grocery shopping first thing, usually around 8 or 9am. The stores are empty. No piles of people to weave around and no long lines at checkout. I occasionally do my grocery shopping online. I don't love it, they don't have the same selection I get at the store, but it is easy and sometimes it's nice to not have to drag everyone to the store. The cost was not much different for me than it was shopping in the store though. The delivery fee and tip were usually $10-15 but I didn't walk past the chocolates or doughnuts or the Starbucks inside so it usually evened out. What area of the country do you live in? Where I live, we have peapod (peapod.com) and the prices are pretty much the same as they are in the store. I like Amazon for household supplies, the prices are okay if you do subscribe and save.
post #4 of 43
Flylady.net helped me get my act together. It isn't for everybody, but you might take a look at it and see if if might help you.

My kids are 19 months apart, the older one has sn and the younger one was a high need baby. I couldn't grocery shop with them when they were little. Either I made a detailed list and DH did it on Saturday, or he stayed home with the babies and I did it. When is your DH home? This would be the top of my list on what he would need to help with.

Cook in bulk and freeze. Many meals freeze well, esp soups and casseroles. When you cook, make enough for 2 or 3 meals (which isn't much more work) and freeze the extras. That way you don't have to cook every night. (Do you know how to freeze things or would you like to type directions?)

Get to know your crock pot. That way you can make dinner as whatever time works for you that day, and adjust the cooking time and setting so it is ready at the right time. You can also cook cheaper cuts of meat and have them come our tender.

To simply meal planning, have the same basic meal plan every week. Monday pasta, Tues chicken, Wednesday crock pot, etc.

Keep a magnetic pad on the fridge to make a note of things you are low on/out of. This saves me HUGE amounts of time because I used to run out for one or two little things. This save trips!!!!

Set your timer and work in tiny blocks of time. Rather than waiting until you have time to clean the kitchen, set the timer for 10 minutes and just do 10 minutes worth of cleaning. Then stop and check on the babies. The kitchen will be cleaner than it was, and you can get more done in 10 minutes than you realize right now.

Don't try for perfection -- just juggle to keep thing sort of under control. You can get it all perfect after they leave for college. In the mean time, low standards are the key to inner peace.

As far as saving on groceries, I only shop at one store, but I sock up when things on are sale. I go through the ad and make a meal plan and list based on the offers for that week as well as what I already have in my freezer/pantry. I buy extra of everything that is a really good deal. For example, they put boneless chicken breast on sale for $1.67 once in a while, so I buy 10 pounds and then put in them in freezer bags in meal size portions. When you first start doing this, only buy extra of one thing so you can get it in the freezer before it goes bad!!

I think the way to get the most for your money in hiring help is to hire someone to come in a clean every other week. Depending on the size of your house and what part of the country you live in, it might not be that expensive. They don't do things like dishes, but they scrub the bathroom, change sheets, clean all the floors, mirrors, etc. dust etc. The whole house sparkles at the end. They do the things that I could never get to when I had two babies, but got really grossed when ignored.

Congratulations on your new baby!!! You are very blessed. Closely spaced children are a challenge, but they are such a blessing to each other as they grow up!! You can do this!!!
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments. Please keep them coming...

I thought about all these advice to help me do everything quicker, but I just can't seem to do it. I mean I already do each of these tasks relatively "quickly" with my streamlined process like many suggested. But there are just not enough hours & energy to get around. And I already have very low standards for what the house looks like (in fact, don't care at all). I see that a lot of advice (such as working the grocery list so the trips are shorter; meal planning so that cooking is simple; wash dishes as you go, etc) help with doing all these chores QUICKER. But I get the feeling that QUICKER just isn't enough for me if I still have to do it all. I already do some of the suggestions so that I can be more efficient, but I'm still doing so much, being so exhausted at the end of the day, and still missing things that are important for me to do.

Here is what consumes my day currently:

Half a day - each day I must take my son out somewhere or else we both go crazy in a small apartment - this takes half a day including packing, loading, driving, coming back, unpacking.

The other half of the day -
1) Required tasks each day:
- dinner (cook it fresh or not it takes 20-30 min to heat, set table, etc)
- bathe or wash up baby
- put baby to 2 naps & bedtime (takes average 30 min each time)
- dishes from each meal (takes time either doing as I go or all at once)
- feed baby & myself breakfast, lunch & dinner (including cleaning
highchair & floor where baby leaves a big mess)
- change diaper throughout the day
- pick up toys & other pick-up around the house
2) Plus a couple or more of the following tasks depending on the day:
- laundry (every 1.5-2 days for cloth diaper)
- grocery shop (every week)
- household supply & other necessities shop (every week I need to go
to some store for some type/group of items)
- appointments
- errands
- bills
- important phone calls
- make a bunch of baby food

Do you notice how cleaning the floor, toilet, bathtub, counter-tops or sinks isn't even there? That's right - I'm already letting go of many things and letting the house be, simply because I can only get around to the absolutely required every-day-basic-needs like food, diapers, etc. And for each of these "absolutely required every-day-basic-need" tasks, I already streamline it such as shopping & cooking in bulk; freezing, quickly picking-up & cleaning-up as I go to leave no major mess. I don't know how else to do it. I think many of you are just way more super than I am. And I'm frustrated that even though I'm already running non-stop everyday, I still have to be even more organized, do it even quicker and more efficiently and better in order to see daylight. I did not quit my important high-paying job to stress over "household chores"; I quit my job to spend precious early childhood time with my kids!!! What do I need to do to cut the time & energy on chores down and get back to my intention (spending time with my kids)? I know I could probably adapt many of your tricks and streamline my process even more, but I don't want to be constantly having the household on my head and having no undivided-attention time or emotional energy left for my babies. :-( I have to outsource some of my work somehow in order to gain more time for the babies, don't I?
post #6 of 43
I'm sorry you're so stressed and rushing against the clock, mama!

I save time on errands and shopping by doing most of the household shopping on amazon. They consistently have the lowest prices, and you can get free regular shipping on almost everything.

Plus, the "subscribe and save" option is excellent, as a pp mentioned. I just discovered it, and so far use it only for diapers and dog food, but will use it for more when I find more things I need to buy.

Another idea I like that I've seen ppl post elsewhere is to hire a neighborhood kid/teen as a mothers helper. $5 an hour to help you while you're still at home would be cheap labor, and help get this dishes washed and toys tidied up. I haven't had to do this yet, but I'd be inclined to when the need arises.
post #7 of 43
How is your pregnancy going? Are you more tired when pregnant? I am.

And I'm not more super than anybody. It took me YEARS to figure out how to run a household. I really had no idea when I first had kids! And I'm still not that great at it

Originally Posted by Mamaluu View Post
I quit my job to spend precious early childhood time with my kids!!!
but several of the things you list ARE spending time with your baby. You guys are spending half the day out doing something, eating meals together, changing diapers, etc. you giving him a bath, etc.

The business of caring for him is what is taking up the bulk of your day. You don't seem to be counting caring for him as spending time with him.

I don't want to be constantly having the household on my head and having no undivided-attention time or emotional energy left for my babies. :-(
honestly, I found that phase exhausting, a bit of a blur, and hard to enjoy because I was so tired. After awhile, you get used to having the household on your head and the babies eventually get easier to care for.

I have to outsource some of my work somehow in order to gain more time for the babies, don't I?
I'm a huge fan of outsourcing and think you should at least price having cleaning help.

I'm curious what kind of hours your DH works and what it's like when he's home. I'm curious if he is contributing anything at all to running the house or caring for the baby. I know that every one's situation is different. What are weekends like? Can either do some of this stuff or take over baby care so you can?

We found that bill paying and grocery shopping where things that he could do on the weekend. We also found that he could bathe the kids while I cleaned up the kitchen in the evening (when he was home -- he traveled a lot).

I also think that with a new baby on the way, getting baby #1 used to daddy taking care of him is one of the best things you guys can do to get ready for the baby.
post #8 of 43
Flylady helped me a lot.

It didn't help me only to have a cleaner house (which it did). It helped me to find more time in my day.

She breaks things down into small, manageable tasks. You can of course do FL without her. There is a morning routine (mine includes getting dressed, unloading dishwasher, feeding kids, and quickly wiping down the toilet/sink in the bathroom), an afternoon routine, and an evening routine. I put a load of clothes/diapers in the washer in the morning, flip it in the afternoon, the fold as I sit down right after bedtime (or sometimes, if supper is ready early and kids are happy, right before supper).

Then, there is a one-hour "weekly home blessing". I break this into three days, so supposedly 20 minutes a day. Usually more than that, but not much more. I have 6 tasks, so I do two a day on 3 days. Mine are vacuum, dust, mop, change sheets, empty trash all over the house, and clean bathrooms (but I wipe them down everyday--a 2 min task--so this isn't that bad). So, if I vacuum and empty the trash, maybe 30 minutes at that.

Some weeks, I need to do something extra (like vacuum again or clean the guest bathroom for company), but not really often, and my dh helps a lot with those occasional extra tasks.

Then, a few days a week (I do mine 3 days a week), I do 30 minutes of deep cleaning. Mine isn't all that deep, but it's stuff that needs to be done. Dust the ceiling fan, vacuum corners of a room, vacuum the couch cushions, clean out the fridge, etc.

You'll notice this is 6 days of 30 minutes of cleaning beyond the regular dishes/laundry. I double up one day (usually), so that I clean 5 days a week (taking weekends off from cleaning), but only for 30 minutes, and one day, for 60 minutes. Sometimes in the morning (if we're staying home), someitmes in the early afternoon (if we leave). This is 30 minutes WITH children, so not all that much, really. It keeps my house at a place where I feel comfortable with it.

And the best part? When it's done, it's DONE. I don't worry about it. I don't sit down to read books and think, "oh, I should be vacuuming." Cause I know that I'll vacuum on, say, Tuesday, and I am just not going to think about it until then. I know that I'll get to most everything in a given month, and I'll hit the highlights every week. That means, in my down time, I am really, really down. I'm in the moment playing with my kids or relaxing or spending time with my dh. This helps sooo, so, so much. I used to have a constant to-do list with no beginning or end, and I always felt guilty about not cleaning, cause I should be, you know? It didn't make anything cleaner (cause I still procrastinated), but I felt guilty all the time. This change in thinking really helped me a lot.
post #9 of 43
I will echo mbhf. The first thing i'd do is declutter - really seriously get rid of tons of stuff, like half of everything, and only keep stuff you really use regularly. It is SO MUCH easier to clean when you have less stuff. Less stuff = less stress.

And then I will echo her again. I clean very frequently, and I find that keeping everything clean takes much less time than letting stuff get messy and then doing marathon cleaning sessions. There's no way to set aside time for a marathon cleaning session when you have babies and toddlers, but there is time to spend 15 minutes three or four times a day. Keep everything up and clean as you go.

And two more areas where I agree with her: Do laundry every single day. Keep way up with that and it's easier to deal with the clothes, which makes everything else easy. I think getting behind on laundry starts a snowball effect. Clothes become clutter and then it's hard to clean. Doing it every day keeps that snowball from starting. And do your cooking, or at least as much as possible, earlier in the day. Like today, I'm cooking dinner right after lunch and we'll just heat it up at supper time. I know I won't have time tonight to cook so I am cooking during the day. And we'll have enough for leftovers tomorrow as I know I won't have time to cook tomorrow either.
post #10 of 43
Just a few quick thoughts. I am by no means super, and my house is not ever what I would call entirely clean, but we tidy up a few times a week and we're relaxed and happy in the process. I'm ok with a bit of a mess. For example, there is permanent marker on the cabinet, and I just smile at it and plan to paint the cabinets in 10 years. A few minutes a day to focus on the long view goes much farther for me than spending that time in a rush to clean or cook, or getting in a panic about not being able to get everything done.

Half a day - each day I must take my son out somewhere or else we both go crazy in a small apartment - this takes half a day including packing, loading, driving, coming back, unpacking.
We keep a bag packed for outings, with a change of clothes and prepacked snacks ready to grab and go. I also keep a bag in the car with a change of clothes, used to have diapers and toys in there too. That might help with packing/unpacking time.

- bathe or wash up baby
I never have done this every day. I mean, I wipe his face and hands when he gets dirty, which takes a couple seconds, but the poor thing only gets a full bath a few days a week. He seems to be surviving just fine

But I get the feeling that QUICKER just isn't enough for me if I still have to do it all.
I have to outsource some of my work somehow in order to gain more time for the babies, don't I?
Yes, you do. What is Dad doing? I know everybody has their own situation worked out as far as division of labor, and their own reasons for their system, but here's how we look at it: when we were married and childless, both working full time jobs, we both did what we could to keep up the house in the evenings and on the weekends. Now, my full time job during the day is caring for our son. That doesn't mean that I am doing all the dishes and cooking and cleaning just because I'm at home some of the day. I am responsible for loving him and helping him learn, and anything else that gets done during that time is a bonus. DH has a full time office job, and he does dishes and laundry, sometimes more than I do.

As for cooking: I have worked out a somewhat unique situation for this. I'm in a dinnershare group, 4 families cooking for each other. One day of the week, I cook for all of our families. This does require focused planning and a day devoted to chopping throughout the day, focused cooking for an hour or two, dishes, etc. But then THREE other days during the week, a hot meal is magically delivered to our house at dinnertime - with plenty of leftovers, as we provide 4 adult servings per family. SO, I only have to come up with one idea for a meal, shop for one meal (saves money overall, I think), do cooking dishes for one meal... I only think about what to cook for dinner once a week! I invested in a food processor and I keep an eye out for good Big Recipes.

The key was finding families whose eating habits were compatible with ours and who lived within a few minutes drive. It's a stretch to get set up, but man, I can't imagine doing without our dinnershare. It's changed my life. Happy to answer any questions about details if folks are interested.
post #11 of 43
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm definitely very tired these days in my 3rd trimester. So the thought of streamlining my process so I can go quicker and do more in less time is entirely overwhelming to me. The thought of picking up my pace or getting my mind together to get more organized so I can be more efficient is a bit over the top of my head at the moment.

What's dad/husband doing? He is gone to work 11 hours a day. He is only home for 1-2 hours of our son's waking time a day. When he gets home at night, we rush eating dinner; bathing/cleaning baby (he takes him into the tub while I put away all the dirty clothes & diapers he takes off and set out clean clothes & diaper for the night, pick-up stuff/mess around the bathroom created during the bathing process, sometimes help with the actual bath when baby is fussing; he gets him ready for sleep while I clean up the dinner mess, wash up husband's lunch tupperwear and pack him lunch for next day, etc. After baby goes to sleep (9pm), he still has work to do on the computer for 1-2 hours (that's when I'm finishing up cleaning the dinner mess & kitchen, making baby food, chopping fruits, taking trash out, picking up around the house still, putting away groceries, laundry....whatever doesn't get done during the day). Sometimes if husband has time he helps me with all of the above (we do it together) so we can get it done and go shower & rest. Many times he offers to do it all by himself while I go shower & rest but I'd rather help do it together or else he'd be doing all this up till midnight and I'll never get to have a moment with him at the end of the day. Then our day starts 6am... (we are both constantly sleep deprived actually) And I already regret missing the special time when he gets baby ready for sleep because I'm still cleaning around the kitchen)

On weekends he does laundry for his own clothes (I do all other laundry during the week), he often still has some work to do on the computer, there is never-ending amount of stuff to fix around the house, additionally lately he's been shopping for & installing all the baby-proofing stuff everywhere. And now he is doing all the research for new stroller, new crib, new carseat and all that stuff for baby#2 (while I take care of baby). He is never just sitting around. As for me, I do some cooking or whatever chores or errands need done (while husband takes care of baby). But someone needs to be taking care of the baby while the other one is working on something. Bottom line is both of us are always still working on something on weekends, and one of us needs to be taking care of the baby while the other is getting something done or else baby gets into trouble or ends up miserable. The point is, there are only the two of us, and if I have him help with baby then I need to take care of other things, or if I take care of the baby then he needs to do the other stuff. Between the two of us we can probably manage but we're losing the family time (weekends with baby doing something fun and creating memory as family), and the couple time for just the two of us to be together (weekends or weeknights). And I don't really want to recruit husband to spend his already-very-limited home time to clean or run errands because then both our son & him are missing out on time with each other. And if I have him watch our son while I go take care of all these other things it'd still be too much for me and like I said, I'm missing out on family time & couple time (in the limited time husband is home).

That's why I said I think I really need to outsource some of this work, and I mean outsource it to someone outside of husband & I so that we can actually each get some rest, relax more, have more time for fun stuff & fun memories with our baby, and have more time to connect & be with each other. That is all the things we are missing right now.

I think the first things I'd consider outsourcing would be all the shopping (as much as I can), because that takes average 2 days a week. And I need to find an online place at good price. Some mentioned amazon - what type of thing do you get from there that are low cost? For household stuff I'm looking at toilet papers, paper towels, detergents, baby-wipes etc. And I put dry (non-perishable foods) into that category too, such as boxed cereals, drinks/soda, crackers, etc. For example, I looked cereals on amazon and found average price to be $4-6 a box, while I always buy them for under $3 a box (a bigger box than amazon) at Target (Target brand). I know it saves me a lot of time, energy, and halling a baby around town, but I just can't seem to spend that kind of money on a box of cereal when I know I can get it for almost half price elsewhere.... Where can I get those non-perishable items for less? And what about the meats & produce & perishable groceries? I get them from a health food store such as Henry's and I really love the low price & freshness. When I go to places like Albertsons or Vons, for some reason the produce cost so much more and the quality & selection aren't as good, I can't imagine trying to get them to deliver it to you. But is that what I'll just have to do & pay for in order to save the trip? What else can I do to get low cost fresh produce without taking the trip myself?

After I get the shopping trips out of the way (but it'll still take time ordering online & organizing the shopping list along with meal planning), if we still have money I'll start looking into hiring housecleaning bi-weekly or something like that. But then I'll still have too much of the day-to-day clean up to do....(like meals & clean up for each meal), cloth diaper laundry and just stuff around the house....

When you talk about a young aged neighborhood kid to come to the house and help at $5-6 an hour, what kind of age range are you talking? And do you mean to help clean up (dishes, pick up toys, floor, etc) or do you mean for them to watch the baby while you do whatever you need to get done in the house? If you mean for them to do the clean-up for you, would they & can they do almost all the light day-to-day chores in the house (like a housekeeper would), such as dishes, laundry, cleaning the floor, the kitchen countertop, trash, putting certain things away, etc?
post #12 of 43
I'm not a sahm mom, but in the almost same position-- my new baby is going to be born when the big baby is 16 months.

I have no idea how to make it work, but I'm subbing for ideas!
post #13 of 43
Originally Posted by Mamaluu View Post
That's why I said I think I really need to outsource some of this work, and I mean outsource it to someone outside of husband & I so that we can actually each get some rest, relax more, have more time for fun stuff & fun memories with our baby, and have more time to connect & be with each other. That is all the things we are missing right now.

I just wanted to extend a hug! It's so tough, and it's tough when you preggo and doing all of this too. And I totally understand when you and your DH seem so strapped for time that you can't seem to find spare minutes.No one told me that once you have a kiddo, you simply have no breaks-- everyone is working all the time. Every day is a working day. Even when you sleep you are nursing.

I am hoping to sahm when the new baby comes, but I'm not expecting to get a whole lot more done than i do know.

Out of all the things that you mentioned on your list-- If you have anyone offer to help at all pp, going to the grocery with a list seems like something most people could do without much trouble.

Don't underestimate how difficult it is to have someone come into your home to work. We have a sitter come in during the day while I work. She's supposed to do the floors and bottles. That's it. TBH it is almost not worth it to have her doing the housework. We have to make sure everything is picked up, she does a so, so job etc. It's the same for housecleaning-- we really need help doing daily things, like pick up, decluttering, going through the mail etc. those are things that only you can do. Actually doing the toilet and windows doesn't take that long. We've had better luck outsourcing DH's yard work, though.

I learned how to downsize. We live in a 5 bedroom 3 bath house. We only use 1 bathroom and one bedroom because that's all we have time to clean on a regular basis. We pared down the number of dishes and pots we have out, so dish washing can't pile up. When NB comes, I'm planning on baby gating off our main living area, so my 'must clean' area is cut in half.

Shopping is done as a family activity on the weekend, or for Daddy/son bonding time. A trip to the farmer's market is fun for everyone! Also, buy in bulk for 'stapes' (we are veggies, so that means flours, beans, rice, pasta, pasta sauce, non-perishables). Drive and shop for best prices on these items once every few months. Only buy perishables from one store on a weekly/biweekly basis.

My mom was great making snacks etc over the weekend to munch on all week. this is something

Laundry is never folded. We wear clothes out of baskets.

Finally, I learned to make priorities. If I'm feeling like reconnecting with my hubby or kiddo, to heck with everything else. We'll have pasta and ragu for 3 days in a row if I'm missing snuggling with either of my sweeties.
post #14 of 43
Motivated Moms is helping me try to stay on track, It's a printable chore planning system. I tried flylady but just couldn't stick with it.

I print a month and stick it on the fridge. It seems to help me focus a bit on daily tasks and I love lists .... I feel I've accomplished something when I can check it off. I don't seem to get through the entire list most days but it helps. I really want cleaning help when the new baby arrives...we'll see...
post #15 of 43
I have also found Motivated Moms to be easier and more streamlined to follow than FlyLady.

As far as what a single human being is capable of on their own with two small children and an entire house to keep up I have the following feelings: you either need a husband/partner who is very available and helpful, or who has a job that pays enough that you can outsource some of the work. I know that many women make it work without these things but I think that for my own personal sanity it's what I need to get through the day. There is absolutely nothing wrong or inadequate with you because you feel unable to perform the jobs of 3 people (cook, housekeeper, and nanny) by yourself.
post #16 of 43
I'm stressed just reading your posts. The tone just makes it so obvious how overwhelmed you feel. I'm sorry you are so stressed. It's terrible to feel that way all the time. When I was working, I constantly felt on the verge of a breakdown so I know how utterly crappy it feels. I have an almost 15m old sonnow, so looking over your comments, I can give a few suggestions based on what works for us.

Bathtime - Let your husband take care of this entirely. Don't run around under his feet. Just let him do it while you either sit for a few minutes or do something else. My husband takes our son upstairs, runs the bath, grabs a towel and washcloth, bathes the boy, dries him off (and the floor), pulls a pair of pjs out of the drawer and puts them on the kid, then tosses the dirty clothes into the laundry basket. It takes 15-20 minutes total. If you have a super-splasher, your hubby can do as mine does and folds a towel to kneel on during bathtime which doubles as clean-up. While all this is going on, I'm either cleaning up dinner dishes or sitting down enjoying some downtime. If you feel you are missing out on bathtime, you could try swapping bath and kitchen cleaning duties a few times a week with your husband.

Food Prep - You mention making baby food. Is this stockpiling a freezer stash for the new baby or for your 1 year old? At his age, he really shouldn't need any special baby food. My son eats from the food the rest of us eat, which makes things much easier for me. He has a huge list of allergens so I make simple meals from scratch and only make minor swaps when necessary. I make enough to cover lunch the next day for the rest of us. Leftovers are just dumped into a separate container for each of us. Oddly enough, I've also found it easier to chop fruits for my son at meal/snacktime rather then all at once at night. We do a lot of grapes, bananas and blueberries as they are less work then large firm fruits like apples, pears, nectarines, etc.

Shopping - Online shopping takes me forever. It's way quicker for me to go to the store. Do you live in a rural area or are things fairly close by? I shop at two stores per week and ALWAYS go with a list (written in order of the aisles at the store). I try to write things down as I think of them during the week, so I'm not trying to think of everything we need as I'm running out the door. One day during the week, I go to Target and get things like toiletries and boxed or canned foods. It's least crowded during school hours and takes less then 30 minutes, not including driving, unless I'm just wandering around looking at stuff. One day over the weekend, we go to the grocery store as a family. We have the list to follow, of course, and my husband entertains our son, but it still goes fairly quickly. I find that the vast majority of what we need on a regular basis can be found at one of those two places, so I don't waste time running around to other stores.

Morning Outing (and outings in general) - Maybe I missed it, but where are you going in the morning? Does this include errands? If not, that seems like a lot of time. My son also gets stir crazy so we tend to doing two mini-outings per day. Generally, they last about an hour, including walking/driving time. He has to carry life-saving meds at all times, so we keep a backpack, which doubles as a diaper bag, always ready to go by the door. I also keep a stroller in my car if we are driving somewhere, so it doesn't take much time to get out the door. Is there somewhere you can walk around your apartment? A lot of times, I just go out to the sidewalk, with or without a push toy, and let my son walk around and check out everything. When I don't want to be corraling him, I push him around the neighborhood in the stroller.

For the record, other then cooking, dishes, laundry, vacuuming (due to son's skin allergies) and taking care of my son, I don't attempt to get much done around the house. We don't have a lot of toys, so picking up is easy ... and somedays I just skip the pick up. I try to keep everything stocked and in a convenient place so I don't have to really think about the unimportant things. I'm pretty much chasing the kid non-stop and I definitely do not spend the entire day thinking about household stuff. I have to take some time everyday just to sit and rest (usually during naptime and/or bathtime). Yes, I get less stuff done, but it rejuvinates me so I can face the rest of the day without feeling overwhelmed.

Honestly, you sound like you are spending a ton of time with your son and have nothing to feel bad about!
post #17 of 43
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Gucci&Granola View Post
As far as what a single human being is capable of on their own with two small children and an entire house to keep up I have the following feelings: you either need a husband/partner who is very available and helpful, or who has a job that pays enough that you can outsource some of the work.
YES!!! I absolutely agree with what you said. You nailed it. It's either these two or something's gotta give, many times it's quality time (with kids, with husband/partner, as a family), or your own sanity (not getting enough rest or not having enough time for oneself to feel human & satisfied enough in your role). For me, everything I listed in the "something's gotta give" has given. Come to think of it, it totally defeats my original purpose & intent of being a SAHM - to be with my kids and to create a family life. With all the non-material things I seem to be missing now, I might as well go back to work, get my big salary back, pay the daycare, pay the housekeeper, eat out every night, and be stressed about my job that I never get to have a moment with my kids or husband. Of course I wouldn't do that, because I'm still trying to work things out as a SAHM taking care of 2 kids & a household on my own with not much extra money to outsource or husband with enough time to help out. I am still trying to work this all out so I can be with my kids and create a connected family life.

On the other hand, some women seem to be able to do it all on their own, which makes people struggling like me feel inadequate. But deep in my heart I know that it is a 3-person job like you said (cook, housekeeper, and nanny), and I shouldn't feel like I should be able to do it all without shortchanging other things (time with kids & husband). Sure, I shouldn't have to do it all and why not have my husband help? I can, but with his already-limited hours at home, if I put him to chores while he's at home I'd be losing my own quality time with him, as a family, and even worse shortchanging my sons' time with their dad. What's more important to me? The time with husband, kids, and my sons having a dad to be with and learn from - this really is the most important of all to me. Therefore I feel the pressure to take care of everything on my own while husband is gone to work so that for very little time that husband is home every week we can have the more important stuff I mentioned.... I really don't feel like I should be able to do it all, but I know that if I don't I'd lose something way more important that I'd regret big time later on.... Does anyone know what I'm talking about? It seems like a natural tendency is to ask "what is your man doing? Why aren't you putting him to work?" Well, my man is by no mean lazy but I'd rather have him do the more important things (that is, be with the all of us).
post #18 of 43
My kids have slept more than your baby at that age, too, which makes a HUGE difference.

At 15 months old, mine were still taking 2 naps, but the slept from 7pm-5:30am every night. It sounds like yours is taking 2 naps, but sleeping 9pm-6am? Maybe you could drop one of the naps in order to have an earlier bedtime or a later wake time? That would give you either some down time with dh in the evening or some quiet time in the AM to get things done (or sleep! Important for pregnant women), depending on which way your LO will let his schedule be altered.
post #19 of 43
Originally Posted by Mamaluu View Post
I can, but with his already-limited hours at home, if I put him to chores while he's at home I'd be losing my own quality time with him, as a family, and even worse shortchanging my sons' time with their dad.
I think that part of the problem is the way you are looking at this. When you DH bathes your child and puts him to bed, they are spending quality time together. If the three of you go out to run errands together, it can be quality time together.

All this work, all this business of running a household and meeting every one's needs, is a chance to be together.

You are seeing the work and the quality time as separate things, and they aren't.
post #20 of 43
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I think that part of the problem is the way you are looking at this. When you DH bathes your child and puts him to bed, they are spending quality time together. If the three of you go out to run errands together, it can be quality time together.

All this work, all this business of running a household and meeting every one's needs, is a chance to be together.

You are seeing the work and the quality time as separate things, and they aren't.
I agree with this. I think possibly the way you're looking at all of this is making it more difficult. Running a family can be very time consuming, and if you feel like your reason for being at home is to build block towers with and read to your child for most of the day I can see how normal housekeeping and such would seem impossible. So yes, if you think your time is best spent doing child centered activities I don't really see what options you have other than hiring out help. But personally, I think it is very valuable for children to see their parents work and run the house and to see what is really necessary to keep life going.

If you are out for half of the day, that's a really great start. Really. That's half the day that no one is in your house making a mess. What do you do while you're out? Couldn't you do your errands and shopping then? Fun stuff is great but if other things need to be done they need to be done. It is a great thing to show your children that sometimes you have to do things that aren't fun before you can head off to do the fun stuff. Grocery shopping before the park, the post office before your playdate.

I think you are really overestimating how much time things take if you do them regularly. Does your dh have a day off that he could help you or take the baby next week? Or this week? Maybe one of you could really clean, or just pick up and do a major declutter (if necessary) and have someone come in for a one time clean. I have no idea what your house is like, but if it's messy or dirty, it does take a while to make things look half way presentable and it is overwhelming to think about doing that every single day, but once it's clean it really doesn't take much time at all, especially if you live in a small apartment. If you have extra rooms that you don't really use (especially bathrooms!) close the doors and say out of them. If you have a guest bath, keep it for guests. A wipe down once a week will keep it looking great and of course it's still there if you need it.

Believe me. I am no more "super" than you are. I've just got more experience and a different attitude. There was definitely a time when I felt like I was doing all that I could and still nothing was done, but then I realized I was really selling myself short. I am not a "natural" homemaker. I grew up in a filthy house, was never taught to clean or organize, was always told that my mother just didn't have the time to cook or clean so I felt like if she didn't (working 20 hours a week with one 18yo child at home) I certainly didn't, and I really feel like I have every excuse in the book (barring a physical disability) for not keeping up with my house and family but I think I do a pretty good job. You are just as capable as anyone else. If you want to hire someone to help and can afford it, go for it! If you're looking for people to tell you that you have no choice but to hire someone else, I'll quietly back away. I don't think anyone would begrudge you some help. But if you don't want to hire someone else or you can't afford it, don't sit around feeling sorry for yourself and making excuses, just do it.
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