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Dreaming of a beautiful home/daily routine....overwhelmed by the reality

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

I am feeling overwhelmed and just need a space to let it all out.

 

I love the mdc forums, researching parenting websites, reading parenting books, looking at photos of natural toys or play spaces, and dream of having a beautifully organized home with natural toys, a sense of peace and simplicity, little clutter, fresh food, beautiful plants etc. I dream of making bread with my toddler, doing crafts, playing outside for hours, and having a routine that includes these. I want to wake up early and start my day with a cup of tea, have a good breakfast ready for DH before he goes to work, and be ready for when my son wakes up.

 

My reality is so different. I sleep in. My toddler wakes me up and I find it hard to get out of bed. It usually hours before I get dressed, and our breakfast is basically little things to eat over the span of 2 hours. Our apartment seems to be so cluttered. There are always dishes in the sink, laundry hanging to dry, trash that needs to be taken out. Since we got a TV I find myself relying on it to entertain my toddler 2-3 times a day so I can "get things done." I waste time on the internet. My day lacks routine but instead, by the time everyone is dressed and fed, I feel like I have to get onto errands (calling the phone company, returning a phone call, running to the dry cleaners, the gym, picking up my little sister from school, schedule appointments). I feel so lazy, and yet I feel like I am constantly busy!

 

I just feel so defeated. I feel that there are other moms who have achieved a peaceful home and peaceful day and are truly doing enriching things with their kids. I feel like I just cannot get there. I try to declutter, think of new ideas, etc. but I feel too overwhelmed by to-do list items, lack of sleep, and clutter.

What's worse, I feel like my toddler is getting a sub-par experience because of my own inability. gloomy.gif

post #2 of 50

Honestly you sound totally normal. In the age of the internet, it's easy to click on somebody's blog - beautiful light-filled shots of a spotless (corner) of the house, or of a giggling toddler making cookies or lovely hand-crafted items...

 

I have met some of these moms (not all, but I'm assuming I haven't only met the exceptions), and what we imagine is their whole day is actually a tiny snippet. The rest is filled with doing dishes, wiping bums, cleaning dog vomit, making beds (or not), picking up strewn toys...no one's house cleans itself and everyone has errands/a to-do list.

 

But I get that you have a dream of what you want your life to look like. Can you pick one thing and try to accomplish that tomorrow? Make cookies with your child. Or take him in the yard and show him the bugs under a rock - whatever will make you feel like you're realizing your goal. For example, instead of doing last night's dishes, I took my tiny sewing kit outside today and sat mending while the children played. Sounds peaceful and Good-Mommyish, right? DD kept trying to snatch all my needles and dump my bag of thread. Ds2 was hell-bent to wreck his brother's "fence". Ds1 was throwing tantrums because ds2 wouldn't leave his work alone. But it was sunny and I probably could've snapped 1-2 photos of everyone looking idyllic. Oh, and last night's dishes? Still in the sink because when we came in DD pooped on the floor and DH got home having had a rotten day at work...you get the idea. But I do hold on to the fact that I sat outside today with my kids. :) 

 

As far as TV goes...there are plenty of people on here who will tell you that they NEVER ::rollseyes:: resort to using TV as a babysitter. Most of the rest of us stay silent because WE DO. Life happens. You have to be sane at the end of the day. On my Good Mommy days, I get out playdough and let the kids play while I quick get something done. Other days, I let them watch a video. We're all human and none of us need to be martyrs. So my kid will have a few less functioning brain cells than Little Joey who has never seen a TV in his life (or whatever the consequence for TV watching is supposed to be)...but I'm living my life, not the life of Little Joey's mommy. We did get rid of cable because it was too tempting to let them watch the all-preschool channel this winter. Now they watch the same Backyardigans video over and over but they are easily drawn away from it when I finish whatever I need to get done. 

 

Oh and waste time on the internet? I never do that...winky.gif

post #3 of 50
Things are hard with a toddler. Yours is just the same age as my younger one. They're a handful at this age! Give yourself a break. It gets a bit easier to keep things together as they get older.
post #4 of 50
When I start feeling that way I have to give myself an internet time-out and just go and live MY life! I actually needed that reminder today, thank you. Know that what matters is your relationships and that your kid feels loved.
post #5 of 50

yes, stop reading the blogs (the beautiful photography ones are my vice!). make small changes. do no internet or only internet when baby is sleeping. then make small changes, figure out what is the most important- i am tackling my food issues right now! (i cannot seem to grocery shop or cook Sheepish.gif)

post #6 of 50
Oh mama! I feel your pain... Yesterday I was so excited to get some planting done while DS sat on a blanket on the grass and played quietly. It was the perfect mommy-blogger moment, and I even thought "this is easy! I should start a blog!" then ... Later inthe afternoon the dogs dug up and ate my plants at the exact moment that I was putting dinner in the oven without some of the key ingredients (I forgot the tuna in tuna casserole. Who does that?). So DH came home to find me frantically trying to fix dinner, DS in his highchair gagging himself with his spoon, while the great hostas apocalypse of 2011 occurred in the backyard. Nope, no perfect mommy awards over here!

One thing that has helped is for me to write out a daily routine and really try to stick with it. That gives me one perfect mommy moment every few days. wink1.gif
post #7 of 50

When I have one of those perfect-mommy moments I feel quite proud of myself - because most of every day is just regular getting-through-the-day things. Now that the kids are 4 and 6 there are many more ideal-kid-life kind of times, where I'm doing the dishes while watching the kids play in the backyard, or taking the time to bake muffins with them (usually they run off in the middle of that anyway or keep asking for more tastes of the ingredients while I just want to finish making them).  But with just one kid at 2 years old.... it was really hard to get to the relaxed nice moments.  If you're looking for any suggestions, I would say to try to front-load your day, making a point to get out as early as you can for some fun thing. Get to the park or playgroup or whatever at 9:30, spend an hour, come home and then do all the regular stuff.  It feels good to have that quality time under your belt and I find it gives a little energy to the rest of the day.  Your day and life as it is sounds pretty typical to me - or at least what it was like for me at that stage.  (Having two kids now, both of them in some school, gives me schedule and routine so it kind of solved it for me... )

post #8 of 50

I thought of a couple more ideas for you .... have you tried getting things set up the night before? Every night, DH and I do the dishes from that day (I go crazy if dishes are left out overnight) and pick up the main rooms of our house, and I lay out my clothes, DS's clothes, think about what we'll have for breakfast, etc. That helps me get going in the morning, when I know I'm not waking up to total chaos. Also, I wonder if your expectations might be too high. Honestly, wanting to have breakfast ready for your DH is really sweet of you, but no one I know does that. I would just drop that as an expectation and then you don't feel like you failed before you even got out of bed. Instead of having tea before DS gets up, maybe you can set a goal to drink tea while the two of you eat breakfast and get ready for the day? 

 

I might come up with more ideas later. This is a big issue for me - I really need to feel organized and on top of things to feel successful as a SAHM, so I completely understand where you're coming from. 

post #9 of 50

Hi mama, you're certainly normal! I just ordered a book - Simplicity Parenting: Using the Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids. I haven't got it yet, but I hope it provides some answers to issues like the ones you're having. In the meantime, I would suggest going outside as much as possible, and getting rid of toys except for the "creative ones" (blocks, crayons, dolls, etc). Also, don't be too hard on yourself and accept that life is going to be somewhat chaotic and messy for awhile. Our days are often made up of the mundane things, so we have to do our best to find joy in those. 

 

Finally, this won't solve your problems, but it might give you a laugh and help you see that you're not alone - my blog - http://ladynamedcarlos.blogspot.com/

 

Good luck!

post #10 of 50

I am so proud of my clean stove and clean sink. OMG they are shiny! But please don't look at my living room. It's littered with paper bits from making snowflakes and I can't vacuum because there are legos all over the floor and they'll get sucked up or clog the vacuum cleaner. When the kids get home I'll probably stand over them and be really annoying and naggy while they pick them up.  My kids are 6,8,and 10 and we have a chore chart but it's only for little things like watering the plants and organizing the shoe shelf. I only work out of the home about 20 hours a week and I still can't keep a clean home. I should be in the shower now so I can leave in 30 minutes but I'm on the internet. I haven't found the perfect balance either so I take pleasure in my small accomplishments like my clean stove. Some days I'm totally on it and then I'm the Doer of All Things ( hyperboleandahalf.com ) but that takes its toll.  I find enjoyment in just including my kids in everything. My youngest likes to wash dishes with me and my oldest likes to dry and put away silverware and my middle child likes to help cook. So I just make sure to include them in those activities so my list of things I have to do without the kids doesn't end up longer and longer. And isn't it so frustrating trying to make phone calls with kids present? Those voice activated menus are the worst. "Say 'my account'' MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM. "You want to cancel your account? Say Yes or No" MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM "You want to add a service?" UGH. 

post #11 of 50

I'm so glad to hear your vent... I often think that I'm not enjoying the time while my DD (5) and DS (2) are growing; or that I'm giving them a "sub-par" experience as well... add to that, the fact that I have to work full-time and I feel guilty about that too! Even with somewhat of a routine, you just feel like your doing the same thing OVER AND OVER... Is this really what it's all about? The picture-perfect stuff makes me want to barf! I'm glad to see that people are keeping it real orngtongue.gif

post #12 of 50

Oh mama...you are SO not alone.  We all have this idea of how to be this perfect mom. Like a new age June Cleaver. But who are we kidding. We ARE exhausted, and do have too many chores to do. Let's face it, there are just not enough hours in the day. Many moms (myself included) stick their kids in front of the TV to get a few things done, whether that be showering or zoning out on facebook for a few minutes. Are you doing the best you can? Then don't worry about it. Maybe instead of dreaming of this unrealistic utopic vision, try incorporating one fun thing a day. Baking cookies, going to the library for storytime, an art project, sitting and reading stories together (besides bedtime), kick a ball around outside. Just having even 15 minutes of QUALITY time together each day would probably help lift your spirits. Check out the book The Way We Never Were by Stephanie Coontz, it helped me realize that we all subscribe to this facade of how a family should be. Lift the veil, and hang in there!

 

post #13 of 50

I don't have much to add to the wonderful things already said in response, but I thought I would offer you this snippet from one of my other favorite parenting groups:

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=199051383472174&set=a.156301214413858.27837.154014421309204&type=1&theater

 

 

The reality is not always what we see. :) Good luck, take a deep breath, and be gentle with yourself. 

 

 

post #14 of 50

Yes you are definitely not alone and these are all things I dream of. At the end of the day I feel like doing nothing but fiddling around on the internet (most of the time doing somewhat work related activities, but nonetheless completely unnecessary). 

 

I agree with pp about just trying to accomplish one small thing per day. I have started a schedule (though it has been difficult to follow) where I have specific activities to get "accomplished" each day. So for instance, today is cleaning the bottom floor of the house. If I get that done today, sometime, I consider it accomplished. Yesterday was baking day, unfortunately I didn't get around to it, but today was really easy and I have everything cleaned now and it just after lunch. So now I may be able to throw in my missed baking from yesterday. 

 

Simplicity Parenting is a great book and full of wonderful tips, but again it is one those books that may make you feel overwhelmed if you read it on a bad day ;)

post #15 of 50

I feel as though I could have written your post.  I feel this way a lot because I do have high expectations.  I know a lot of my friends look at me and think I have it all together when I'm dressed up at church, have my hair done, and makeup on.  But if they drop in any day of the week they will see the reality of my life!  I am at home with 3 boys; 4, 2 1/2, and 3 1/2 months. My middle child is extremely difficult and I find myself losing patience with him all the time.  He will be 3 soon and is still not potty trained and refuses, so I've pretty much given up. I'm tired of fighting with him and trying everything in the book only to have it fail.  I have dishes piled in my sink, laundry piled in the living room either waiting to be folded, or already folded and I haven't put it away yet (and usually more piles of laundry in the basement waiting to be washed), cloth diapers that really need a good soak, floors that haven't been mopped in probably a month, maybe longer, and every flat surface in my house is covered with clutter.  I think I look around every day and just groan.  Where to start??  And then there are the dusty curtains I should take down and wash, cobwebs on my ceiling fan and dining room light, etc etc.  The list goes on.  Besides the house work are all of those little projects that never get done like putting photos in albums (4 years later I'm still working on my oldest son's 1st year scrapbook).  But, if I focus on all of this I will surely go mad.  So I think of how far I've come since I got married.  I used to let dishes set for days, let the laundry pile up until there were no clean underwear and towels, and some days I would simply forget about supper.  I tend to be disorganized to begin with.  Now I find it a necessity to be somewhat organized by planning my meals for the next week or so (I live in the country so I try to make the most out of my trips to town), and know what I'm making for supper so I can thaw out meat or whatever.  I bake bread and do some canning (that reminds me; we have a very large garden that I don't have time to weed and last year the weeds were taller than me), but I'm no Martha Stewart.  And that's ok.  I think all of us moms have this guilt thing and we look at other women and think that they are perfect mothers and wives, but in truth they struggle as much as we do.  I am still in my pajamas at 1:00 pm, my hair is a mess and I still have makeup on from yesterday (I had to see the chiropractor, otherwise I wouldn't be wearing any at all).  I should be doing my workout DVD to get back in shape after having a c section in January because my oldest boys are down for a nap.  But baby's crying.  And I feel exhausted.  It's hard to get out of bed in the morning, especially when the older boys are fighting and begging me for chocolate, and someone peed the bed and is now climbing in MY bed.  Oh, you are so not alone.  Give yourself a break and a pat on the back for being a mom.  It's the hardest job out there and it doesn't come with a paycheck and many times without a thank you.  It's easy to feel overwhelmed and guilty but focus on the positive things you do accomplish each day. I like the idea of picking one thing to do each day with your child like playing a game or sitting and reading books together.  Maybe go to the library now and then or the park. You need a break, too.  :-)

post #16 of 50

I've been noticing a lot of posts like this on MDC lately.

I think we all have this ideal image in our heads but the reality is totally different and we end up feeling like failures. I agree with some pp that mention blogs-- they can be so inspiring at times but mostly they just help set up this unrealistic standard of what a "good moms" is.

Being a mom is so exhausting though, especially for at home moms.

I've noticed something with myself though that may or may not help. I, like you am the queen of sleeping in and I don't see that changing anytime soon! But on days that I'm super lazy and stay in my pj's most/all of the day, I feel worse. I have a hard time accomplishing anything and generally have no energy. But if I get dressed right away I usually feel like I can do most of what I need to. Days that are spent lounging in pj's are nice once in a while but I think ultimately they end up draining you more because then when you finally do get going you have to cram a days worth of work into a smaller window of time. I try to limit myself to one completely lazy day a week and that seems to work for me. 

I sometimes look at pictures on the thread to show your clean organized space but I swear maybe we should do a thread that is show what your house really looks like and then maybe we won't feel so bad or feel like everyone else has it under control except us. There is no such thing as the Perfect Mother! She does not exist. 

post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaboss View Post

I've been noticing a lot of posts like this on MDC lately.

I think we all have this ideal image in our heads but the reality is totally different and we end up feeling like failures. I agree with some pp that mention blogs-- they can be so inspiring at times but mostly they just help set up this unrealistic standard of what a "good moms" is.



Edited because I don't give permission for my posts to wind up on Fbook!hopmad.gif
Edited by philomom - 5/23/11 at 4:08pm
post #18 of 50

Oh Dear!

What you are describing does not exist! It is all a myth! Life is busy, messy and crazy! Kids and their changing ever evolving needs change too quick to follow any one set routine or anyone's sound advice. I say - spending the most time outside in the sun with the kid getting muddy and exited about life is the best they can get. As far as TV - whoever said "don't use tv as a babysitter" - to hell with them. I am sure they did not make meals from scratch three time a day and if they did they probably had someone else clean their house. The perfect wife/mother/family is an invention with the goal to torment all women a like.

post #19 of 50

I follow the "FlyLady" and try to incorporate her methods in day-to-day life... she stresses that no one is perfect and suggests taking baby steps... worth a look: http://www.flylady.net

post #20 of 50

Young Spirit Mom, I could have written your post. I feel the *exact* same way. Some days I get dressed because my husband will be home from work soon - ugh. I marvel at the organized, motivated, "put together" moms out there who feed their kid great food and parent in a gentle way and spend lots of time outside and keep a peaceful home and I could go on, but you said it all. I am really looking forward to reading what others have to say. As for mama like us, all we can do is the best we can do, right?! Maybe tackling small changes every week or two is somewhere for us to start?

Good Luck!

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