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The Battle for Sanity: Me VS My House

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 

Hello! I am going to clean my house. You are going to help me. You needn't to do anything. You needn't say anything. You don't even actually have to exist. I could be talking to thin air and that would probably be fine, I just need a place to put it all down I think. I would, of course, prefer you to actually exist and would very much welcome anyone who wanted to join in here themselves. thumb.gif


Let me start off by saying that this whole house was just completely and totally clean a month ago! (With the exception of one room that we aren't even going to talk about yet, I will get to it last.) It would be hard to believe seeing it now. I decided that accountability is the only thing that really motivates me. I'm not even sure "motivate" is the right word, more like "forces me." For instance, this whole house was clean a month ago because I had family coming to stay. And every time I get it all clean, I swear I am going to keep it that way because that would be so easy, wouldn't it? So much easier than all this horrible catch up cleaning I just had to do. But it's not, and it never is, and I would almost swear to you that it is not possible because I try so hard and want it so bad! However, other people seem to be able to manage maintaining a house that it would not be mortifying for someone to drop by and see, right? People even do it with kids, yea, even babies. I want to. It must be possible. But we'll get to maintaining cleanliness after I get things clean enough to maintain.


So what I am going to do is this. I am going to take a picture of one room and share it with you. Then I will clean it so that I can take another picture of that room and show everyone how nice it looks now. Then I will move on to the next room. This may seem very weird, I don't know, but I am really confident (so far, because it hasn't gone wrong yet shy.gif) that this will really help me. I will really want to show you that I have gotten that room all clean.


I would also like to say that this is incredibly, even excruciatingly, embarrassing for me, but I am hell bent on being honest about this and changing it so that I do not have to feel that way. So if you feel like the only thing you can say to me is that I am gross, please say nothing. wink1.gif


Here are the hardest challenges for me to overcome in cleaning and keeping up my house:


1.) dizzy.gif I do not have any child-free time. DD1 does not nap, and DD2 does not nap for long or go to bed before I have been ready for bed for hours. Anything I can get done I do with at least one child probably attached to me.


2.) sleepytime.gif I do not get nearly enough sleep. I cannot seem to make DD2's sleep patterns overlap with DD1's, no matter what I do. This does not leave very long for me to try to get sleep, not to mention waking to nurse or settle a toddler back to sleep. I am exhausted all the time, and pretty much operate soley on coffee tea6.gif and the thought that things won't continue like this forever. They will change eventually, they have to, I just need to do my best and survive until then.


3.) help.gif I only have one day a week that DH is here to help, sometimes two. I get the kids up and ready by myself in the morning, and I get the kids ready for and in bed by myself at night. DH works so much and his schedule is such that I effectively feel like a single parent, although I am sure actual single parents could find 1000 reasons that is unfair of me to say. He is not easy to get to help on his only day off, either, when he works 2nd shift and overtime all the other days. Not even, "Please just sit and play with the kids while I try to work." Which isn't all his fault, he can't nurse the baby or do much about either screaming for Mama. They've both been very ornery and clingy lately. DD2 is teething and I am not really sure what is going on in DD1's little body, I hope to get her to the chiro soon and hope that helps. DH is also very good at contributing to the mess, especially in his daily rush to get out the door to work. I feel like a domestic failure. The house is not nice for him when he gets home, dinner is certainly not on the table, and most the time I don't manage to pack him a lunch. I am happy if I eat. And it is terribly depressing when I spend all day fighting for every inch I can on the house and he comes home, throws his coat on the floor, and doesn't say anything. Or even appear to notice. I know there is other crap on the floor, but, really? I will leave projects I am not done with yet out, or things I have to drop to go running for a baby, but I swear to go he leaves everything out. Especially if I have just gotten it clean. It's like I've cleared it just for him to have a place to throw #@^*. I don't mean it to sound like the mess is all his fault, it isn't, but I find this indefinitely frustrating.


The house is actually more out of hand right now than usual because I am just getting ready to try reclaiming my house after 2 weeks of myself and both kids (DD1: almost 3 years, DD2: 6 months) being horribly sick with the flu / sinus infection.That said, DH and I are both messy people by nature and house keeping has always been a struggle for us. This will be a struggle and it will also not be the first time that I try to really change my habits and get control over my home, but this will be the first time that I will have other people to go to. (with any luck! orngbiggrin.gif)


The hardest things for me to keep up on are dishes and laundry, I do not think all of the laundry has been clean and put away all at once since DD1 was probably 6 months old.


Getting started is so hard, because I look around and feel instantly totally overwhelmed and depressed and I am apt to run to the internet and google, "Inspiration for cleaning my house" rather than actually just starting somewhere. The way things are now, I can't set DD2 down without being next to her, and I have no idea how anyone can do this with a baby in a sling. I try, and it does not work. Things like exersaucers, playpens, and swings start to look appealing, lol.. but I don't want to need one!


So here is my livingroom. I am going to try to get it really clean so that I have a place I can comfortably let DD2 play while I attack the kitchen and dining areas. If she will let me put her down. ROTFLMAO.gifI am feeling so much better than I have been the last couple weeks of illness, and am still so happy about getting more than 2 hours of sleep for the last two night in a row, I am hoping I can seriously attack this and keep going, and keep my drive! (Which is far more prominent while talking about cleaning than while actually trying to clean orngtongue.gif) Wish me luck! (please Peace.gif)


Looking East


Livingroom 1


Looking West


Livingroom 2

post #2 of 58
Thread Starter 

Kudos to anyone who actually makes it through all that lol.gif I just I just needed to vent a bit, too.


Anyway, did I mention that my daughter's 3rd Birthday party is going to be here in just over a week from now? Mostly in the basement? Oh, and the (previously finished) basement was just flooded by a ruptured water pressure tank? After also flooding the kitty litter box? It's extra special plus.

post #3 of 58
Mama, good luck and we the ones that exist will be reading and rooting for you. thumb.gif
post #4 of 58

Sheepish.gif I am rooting for you...as I read this post and feel inspired to get to work myself! thanks for motivating me to clean up too! I need to do dishes.gif and laundry too, those things always seem to sneak up on me after a few days of everything being clean.

post #5 of 58
Thread Starter 

I love these! dishes.gif wash.gif hang.gif Don't they make these tasks look so fun and satisfying? Sooo far from how I feel while trying to do them lol.gif


Is it terrible that I actually teared up while reading these responses? And I'm not even pregnant! ROTFLMAO.gifThank you so much, guys.


Mammajamma, I am so happy I could give anyone some inspiration, I don't feel very inspirational. love.gif

post #6 of 58

Those symbols are rather cheerful, sometimes I envision them when I'm doing these tasks and they crack me up. Kudos to you for doing what it takes to make your house a happy place for you. We are rooting for you, you can do it! goodvibes.gifthumb.gif

post #7 of 58

What do you think of flylady.net ? I really feel inspired by her methods - but I don't do them anywhere near like she does, but I've definitely picked up some great habits.


How about some meditation / relaxation / prayer / breathing / yoga? You seem overwhelmed. Honestly the room that you showed doesn't look too bad, all things considered. And with 2 kids and no help, I think it would be fine if you did a bouncy seat / exersaucer / whatever. Heck, even a little TV (Duck!)


I think that you are doing really great already, and I really want you to succeed. As for the basement, can you just rope that off or something? I don't know that you need to deal with that, right now.


A fav suggestion from Flylady is to leave DH alone, and just work on yourself. As far as meals - just do what is easy now: open a can of spaghetti / sauce and heat a frozen veg or something, and take it easy! As for your DH eating, maybe you can just get snacky kind of stuff, hummus and dip, precut veg, tortillas and salsa, cold cuts, etc. whatever you got to do, just to get through, you know? Can you afford a babysitter / get family to help? Maybe getting a few hours, maybe 3 hours every other week? or something?


It's OK, really it's OK if you need to put yourself first. You've got to love and care for you. If momma's not happy, then ain't noone happy. . . .

post #8 of 58

I posted something similar a few months back about needing some motivation. Some very kind momma remarked that I didn't sound like I lacked motivation, I sounded exhausted! She was really, really right. I was exhausted and overwhelmed and she really helped me see that. You sound the same way and there are pictures of what my house looked like on Jan 1 of this year somewhere on this board. My house is bad. But it really helped me to be gentle with myself and realize that I didn't necessarily lack for motivation or inspiration. I was just exhausted and overwhelmed. Sound familiar? Go really easy on meals and let yourself off the hook about exersaucers, bouncy seats or swings. Just do what it takes. We aren't meant to spend our days alone with children and no other adult support. Finally, I also asked in the baby wearing forum on what people could do with a sling - it varied, but back carries and carriers seemed to be a LOT more helpful for actually getting stuff done and moving than a sling. I can't do anything but walk around a store with the sling. I can't do dishes, I can't bend over for laundry or clean-up.


I have a 7 yo (budding hoarder with anxiety issues) and a 10 month old so I know where you're coming from. The 7 yo EASILY outlasts me in the evening and the 10 month old is up at 5:30 or 6 am. But my DH is tremendous. He deals with the late bedtime of the 7 yo. I get up with the baby in the morning.

post #9 of 58
I'll tag along. I think this is a great idea. smile.gif And you do sound exhausted.
post #10 of 58

Would it be awful if I joined you? Not to take focus away, but I need this, too. I am utterly overwhelmed, and I can't keep things tidy at all. My house is a disaster. I can post pics too (well, maybe not the kitchen LOL), and maybe we can help motivate each other? Be accountable to each other, maybe?


Let me know.


Otherwise, you DO sound overwhelmed. Don't overdo it, and find ways to make life manageable. I sacrificed so much of me when my kids were littler, and now I realize that I should have found more balance: find things that work for them AND for me. A bouncy seat doesn't seem like the end of the world to me; if it is to you, then you need to work on finding ways to make life work for you, too. Otherwise, you're just going to burn out over and over again.


Baby steps. Just a small challenge at a time. How long are you giving yourself for that living room?


Take care.


post #11 of 58

You can do it!!  Having clingy kids definitely makes everything harder... and honestly, I don't think I did much at all - my house certainly wasn't spotless - when my second child was 6 months old. 


And, uh, people actually *ever* have ALL the laundry clean and put away?  Always just seems like a rotating thing to me, so I do a load a day.  I have a nice looking hamper in the bathroom and when it gets filled I take the laundry down and sort and throw in whatever load is biggest... and sometimes I'll even get around to the second load.  LOL


I've been into clearing clutter, lately - I've been ditching things that I've had sitting around the house and found aren't really useful or just add to clutter and aren't necessary.  Having less stuff definitely makes it easier for me. 


Good luck, though!  I keep meaning to do things like mop and it just doesn't happen unless there's something sticky on the floor or a major spill bag.gif

post #12 of 58
Thread Starter 

tessamami -  I did look into Flylady at one point some time ago, I can't remember it really, but I do remember thinking that it wouldn't work for me. Maybe I will try looking into it again. The meditation / relaxation / prayer / breathing / yoga does sound really good, maybe after I am done with this living room I can try to do 15 minutes of pilates when DD2 falls asleep. DD1 loves trying to do pilates with me, lol.


It's not neccessarily that an exersaucer, etc. sound like the end of the world, but I would be purchasing one (which isn't even really an option at the moment) for the purpose, and it is something I wouldn't want to continue to use. We do have a television set, though no service, but I do occasionally let DD1 watch a movie or borrow something from the library to watch.


The basement is a beast that I hardly want to think about right now, but needs to get done for a few reasons, aside even from the fact that DD1 invited 20 kids to her b-day party and that is where I was planning on putting them. (Don't know yet how many will actually be coming yet, although 3 have said they couldn't make it.) We're dealing with insurance and a building contractor and so forth, so I need to get the clean up done so that they can get their work done. (Not to mention the fact that I wouldn't want them to walk through the rest of my house right now!) Also, it smells. Quite badly. The carpet is torn out now, so that helped a lot at first, but when the litter box flooded it all flooded into all the carpet and it's all next to the furnace room, which pushes the terrible smell through the rest of the house. The cement floor will need to be sealed, but it wasn't, which means that it absorbed as the nastiness and brings me to the other major daily issue I am dealing with. Everything smells like cat and the cement floor with carpet glue is weird and new to them, so the 4 cats seem to have decided that downstairs is all one giant litter box and have been pooping in it wherever takes their fancy. greensad.gif I can't blame them, this isn't normal for them, they don't usually go anywhere but their litter boxes (well.. maybe my flower beds orngtongue.gif ) and I'm sure it does all smell like a giant litter box to them. Ugh.


I think that leaving DH alone and just working on myself is great advice. It just sometimes pushes me over the edge when I have worked so hard to get things as clean as I can and then he just throws stuff around like it doesn't matter. Babysitter isn't really an option, we are very tight on money right now and DD2 has never had a bottle or anything anyway, and doesn't eat food yet. As far as family goes, I could take my pick of either mother-in-law (DH's mum or step-mum) but.. uh... I don't really want them to see the house even more than I don't want most people to see the house. ROTFLMAO.gifAnd, at least in one case, it wouldn't be very helpful or pleasant. As far as food goes, I did just buy some "easier" foods, like boxes of soup, frozen "chick'n" patties, frozen veggies, and the like. That sure does help a lot with feeding myself and DD1 but a lot of it isn't the sort of thing DH can bring to work. Most "ready to eat" food is just way too expensive!


Ellien C Thank you, I very much am exhausted, but I just don't know when that will stop and well, in the meantime, I don't want things to get so bad! Not to mention that when I'm really tired, walking into a trashed kitchen to try to prepare food does NOT help! dizzy.gif On baby wearing though, yeah, I totally can't do dishes with her in the sling. I am short and I can hardly get to the sink around her, lol, and she will try to grab anything she can anyway. Same with laundry, just isn't really possible for me with her in a sling, and picking up is a mess of trying to keep her from falling out of the sling, trying to keep the sling from falling off of me, and killing my back. I will have to see if I can figure out a back carry with something.


MamaLeslie  - I would love for you to join! Please do! And anyone else who would like to. You don't have to take pictures if you do not want to, I just know that is something that will help me get things done. I also have a serious deadline here that things need to be done by, so that helps a lot too.


The living room really isn't all too horrible, just really messy. We need a good place to put / sort the toys, but we don't have one, just a few baskets, some "tables" I made from some cherry sticks we had to trim and some little pallets, and three little metal bins which are the dumbest things in the world to try to use for toy storage, but it's what we've got. Ah well, that won't be changing soon so I am going to try not to worry about it. The thing is, the livingroom may not seem so bad, but it is just one room out of the entire thing, and every one of them is trashed! All together, it is a lot! nut.gif And other rooms are worse, you will see. lol.gif I am going to try to get the livingroom today, I got a good start on it last night, and hopefully start on another room as well.

post #13 of 58
Thread Starter 

Juvysen, I x-posted with you, you sound like you do a great job on laundry! That's what I always tell myself I will do, lol. We have one hamper. When it is full, it should go into the wash, and when it is dry, it should be put away because putting away one load of laundry is like nothin and it takes 10 minutes. And then you don't have a mountain of laundry. But, it gets put off in leiu of other things and then next thing you know, there is a mountain of laundry. I am kind of hesitant to post the picture of our bedroom. blush.gif I have had all of the laundry clean at once, but then it is generally just a mountain of clean laundry, which is preferable to Mt. Dirty Laundry, but still.. lol.gif


Everyone else that I didn't answer directly, thank you so much for your support and compassion!


Also, I would like to share this comic. It's a little more accurate to before I had kids, but still good. orngbiggrin.gif  Hyperbole and a Half - This is Why I'll Never be an Adult

post #14 of 58
Thread Starter 

Got 5 hours of broken sleep. Got up.Head hurts. Fed toddler breakfast, fed baby. Changed baby. Made coffee. Took Ibuprofen. (make sure and punctuate all of this with toddler meltdowns and baby fussiness) Got the next step going on stripping this load of diapers. Changed baby. Made / fed toddler lunch. Fed baby. Changed baby. Got toddler dressed at least 5 times. Eventually ate some lunch, cold, one hand. wink1.gif Changed baby. Fed baby. Put baby down for nap. The sun is shining. Screw the living room for now, we're going to go play in the snow. I believe the appropriate emote here would be moon.gif




post #15 of 58
Thread Starter 

Foiled! Lol. We got all bundled up to go out, Kaia sat back for me to get her boots on, I finished strapping them on, stood up, and.... oh. Guess I will be getting to that living room after all! lol.gif Sad we'll miss out on the sunshine today, but excited to have both kids napping at once! Kaia doesn't normally nap, so that never.. oh.. baby woke up just as I typed that. FIGURES! Never the less, this is a very good thing. Poor thing was not doing so well, obviously tired, very cranky, not able to handle anything, pulling what I like to call, "The Toddler Puddler" every two seconds. Can't normally get her to nap no matter how tired I know she is. I hope she wakes up a happier person.


Sleepy Kaia

post #16 of 58

So cute!


I am the same way... exhausted and really struggling. I'll be following along.

post #17 of 58

can totally relate. I have a 9 month old and a 3 1/2 year old. Husband travels and works alot. I often wonder how people in similar situations keep their houses so clean. I think it is often at the expense of time spent with their kids (quality time) or time spent for themselves. It is nice to live in an uncluttered home but I remind myself of something I saw once " cleaning when your kids are young is like shoveling while its still snowing."  Not that I don't fully support getting the house in order but don't beat yourself up, especially if you're exhausted. Maybe a nap for everyone instead?

post #18 of 58
Thread Starter 

birthuwant - That's exactly it. I'm always thinking I would much rather be playing, creating, and discovering with my kids than sticking them on the TV, in a plastic chair, and cleaning. Mess will be here tomorrow, but these little things grow up frighteningly fast.


But there is a level of reasonable mess, I think, and my house is past it. Clutter is one thing, but there is a point that "cluttered" turns into "dirty" and that is not what I want for me, or my children, to be living in. My baby deserves to be able to exercise her new-found ability to crawl without having things taken away from her every two seconds. It is so frustrating for her. My toddler deserves to have enough floor space to dance without tripping on something and hurting herself. The floor needs to be picked up enough to be able to sweep or vacuum, the counters clear enough to be able to prepare and eat food.


I'm not concerned with my house being spotless all the time. That isn't something I care about. But things need to be clean enough that it is a healthy, nurturing environment. One conductive to making us feel good, one with the space to do the things we want to do. A home that makes me feel happy, instead of feeling depressed, stressed, and overwhelmed. One in which I don't second guess getting out the video camera to record my kids being cute because I don't want to record or share the condition of the room they're in. guilty.gif


Which is why after getting things clean again, I really need to figure out how to help myself be able to maintain things. It should be possible. It really should. I will deal with that when I get there, though.


Ha - Someone just shared this with me: Why Having a Toddler is Like Being at a Frat Party

post #19 of 58
Thread Starter 

Crap. New plan time. My Dad is going to be here Monday to start work on our basement. It's panic time! I'll take some pictures anyway and tell you all how long we seriously worked on everything and maybe it can be some inspiration to someone when you see what can be done when you really, *really* put your mind to it. I'm always amazed and also a bit ashamed every time DH and I really panic clean, it's like... wow, we cleaned hard for 3 hours and most everything looks really nice, why do we fail so hard the rest of the time?

It may involve letting DD1 watch Ponyo, but she'll survive lol.gif


*this will not involve "that one room" so I will probably get back at that in a week, after the whole basement fiasco is over and DD1 birthday...

post #20 of 58

Juise...have you seen the 'Motivated Moms' checklists? 


They are great for doing a bit at a time each day so you don't end up having to do 3 hour stints of cleaning.


I have found it a huge help, being naturally lazy lol....as it means I only have to do a few things each day.



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