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How do you keep the house in order?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

My twins are now 9 months old and my oldest is 5 years old.  I thought that I was doing okay, because I did not experience PPD with the twins, but I did experience it when my 5 year old was an infant.  I manage to get out the house and keep my 5 year old busy while finding time to have fun with the babies.  Everybody is healthy (thank God), we are still succesfully breastfeeding, and we are happy.  I guess this comes at a cost, because my house is a mess. 

 

My house is much neater than it was when the babies were younger, but it is a mess.  We have lots of family around, but my decision to breastfeed gave lots of my family reason to believe that they just couldn't help.  We don't get many visitors that can stay long enough for me to really clean any one room, but we try.  I often stay up late at night so that I can get a good amount of laundry done or so that I can really get a room clean, but it leaves me exhausted and cranky.

 

I am trying to find a balance, and I don't want my home's neatness to mean that I am in an even more zombie like state.  Things are improving and we are considering hiring a sitter so that I can clean more, but am I missing something?

 

Am I the only mom with twins that needs an emergency housekeeper?

 

I have asked for help, but folks are busy.  I get it, and its okay, but it hurts when visitors only offer advice about what I should be doing and how it is okay for the babies to cry for a while.  My babies do cry, but I am not excited about having them cry for hours or even longer than necessary.  My mom has suggested that I give my youngest babe a bottle, but I will not take that advice.

 

In an ideal world, I could have family help, but at this point, I plan to hire a sitter while I am at home so that I can clean a little better.

 

A recent house guest suggested Sitter City after deciding that we needed help.  I was open to the suggestion, but I was hurt as my guest seemed to be disgusted with how unorganized things seemed to be at my house.  It might have hurt more because of who my guest is, my best friend.  My best friend is single, and our lives are drastically different, but while I recall never really "getting it" when I was single, I do remember being a lot more supportive.  I remember reorganizing my friend's cabinet after deep cleaning her kitchen after she had baby #2.  I now understand that folks aren't going to do that, and I shouldn't expect them to.

 

Have things gotten easier once your babes got older? Am I off base?

 

I know that this was long and rambly, but thank you for reading.  Just trying to figure out if I am actually behind the curve regarding this whole cleaning while juggling thing.

post #2 of 36

My girls are still very small, but I get where you're coming from on this. It's hard.

 

One thing to consider is whether you would prefer to get a sitter (and do the cleaning yourself) or find someone to clean (and go off somewhere with the kids). Either requires some logistics. But think about which would give you the most peace of mind. I have someone who comes in and cleans. And it's brilliant. Though there are times when I would rather get someone to hold the girls so I can do it myself.

 

But sometimes it's easier to find someone to trust with cleaning.

post #3 of 36

I hear you!!! My girls are 8 months and most days my house is a mess. I really want to hire a housekeeper once a week but I have been trying to find someone who charges a reasonable amount and is willing to use green cleaning methods. I did the math and it's cheaper to get a cleaner then a babysitter and less work for you! Sounds like we are very similar, I am also that friend who brought over food, cleaned and watched twin babies while they took a nap...no one has done that for me!

post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 

Wow, that is a thought.  DH actually believes that we need to clean before someone comes out to clean for us.  That doesn't sound right to me, but I will try to get it together before I actually look into a cleaning person.  I also need to invest in a dish washer because hand washing the dishes takes up quite a bit of time.

 

DH gets home late from and his schedule is inconsistent, so by the time he gets home we are tag teaming the effort of bathing and putting kids to bed.  I am tired at this point, but I still try to clean.  I guess, it just hurt to hear that my efforts (when I keep trying after I am tired) look as if nothing has been done. 

 

Today, I wrote down everything that needed to be done in my house.  I need to highlight the living room, because it is a mess all over again, daily.

post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rinap View Post

My girls are still very small, but I get where you're coming from on this. It's hard.

 

One thing to consider is whether you would prefer to get a sitter (and do the cleaning yourself) or find someone to clean (and go off somewhere with the kids). Either requires some logistics. But think about which would give you the most peace of mind. I have someone who comes in and cleans. And it's brilliant. Though there are times when I would rather get someone to hold the girls so I can do it myself.

 

But sometimes it's easier to find someone to trust with cleaning.


I try really hard not to think about what I did for friends, because I imagine that there are reasons that it cannot be reciprocated right now.  I much rather a person refuse to help than to be overwhelmed or frustrated by my babies.

 

I wrote my friend, my house guest, an email to tell her how I felt and I was reminded of why she is a friend.  She set a date to come back to watch the babies while I cleaned or to clean while I cared for the babies.  I do wish that she lived closer (she lives 2.5 hours away), and I am glad that we were able to talk.

 

I would pay to have a friend like that who lived closer.  In the mean time, I have pledged to clean for 30 minutes tonight and go to bed so that I can be ready for tomorrow.  I really love my babies and I really enjoy them, I just wish that I could get some help with the house on a somewhat regular basis.

 

The working plan thus far is to ask my grandmother to come over to hang out with the babies in the day time once or twice a week while I get some cleaning done.  My friend will visit again and help out, and we will see how that works out.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by twinpossible View Post

I hear you!!! My girls are 8 months and most days my house is a mess. I really want to hire a housekeeper once a week but I have been trying to find someone who charges a reasonable amount and is willing to use green cleaning methods. I did the math and it's cheaper to get a cleaner then a babysitter and less work for you! Sounds like we are very similar, I am also that friend who brought over food, cleaned and watched twin babies while they took a nap...no one has done that for me!



 

post #6 of 36

I just wanted to add that, in my experience, yes, things do get easier.  I myself, don't have twins, but I do have a 2 and a 4 year old and have found that now that they are older they are great at playing together (even though or course there are sibling squabbles) and they often go off and entertain themselves at home allowing me time to catch up on house work. Of course, now that they are older they also make a lot more mess.winky.gif  But, overall, I find that it is much easier to get things done than when they were younger.  

post #7 of 36

I don't want to sound negative regarding the mess issue (but no one else has said anything and I don't think we should create a forum of sunshine and lollipops just for the sake of "being positive"), my kids are 4, 4 and 8 and it is a constant losing battle with my house.  To blow smoke and insinuate that it wouldn't be an issue if you did this or that is doing a disservice to those who battle it day after day, year after year and still come out feeling as though it's not under control.  It's constant clean up with kids, there's no way around it.

 

One thing that I feel that I could have improved on is instilling in ALL of my children from early one to pick up after themselves, something that I have tried and tried but never completely got the hang of.

 

Also, keeping the toys and stuff in general to a minimum could have helped but it still creeps in, sometimes without me realizing it. 

 

We often call our little's "twinados" because once they've been in a room (playing nicely together, seriously this is the best, they get along better than any friends ever would), it is a complete disaster and being home for a majority of their time, you can imagine the toll it takes on a home day after day.

 

 

FWIW, we were gifted two "maid" sessions after the girl's were born and I felt as though I needed to pick up before they came.  Often times, cleaning people state that their job is not to pick up and organize your junk, but to actually clean the house (ie, the floors, toilets, tubs, etc.) and if you want them to do more than that, it's going to cost considerably more.  Most of the mess being the daily "mess" that accumulates, the toys, the laundry, the dishes and not the toilets which only need cleaning maybe once a week, the maid service wasn't all that I had dreamed of.  Now a daily cleaning lady, that would be sweet! thumb.gif.  Maybe when I'm rich and famous!! ROTFLMAO.gif

 

 

 

post #8 of 36

I get you on the mess part. I spent all day Tuesday trying to clean up for my cleaners. Another possibility is to get a mother's helper: a pre-teen or teenager who can come over for a few hours. They're often more willing to do whatever (pick up toys, wash dishes, vacuum, play with kids, chop veggies for dinner), but since you're there, it doesn't matter that they're a bit younger. They often need a bit more direction, but that can be good when what you need changes day by day.

 

If the problem is more mess and overwhelm than deep cleaning.

post #9 of 36

Hug

 

I only read the original post.  My twins are now 2 years old...and my house is still a mess.  Although, it is a ton better.  I will say that from the age when they first start to move (crawl or walk) until around 18 months is the hardest.  At that time they would just empty drawers, boxes, cupboards, etc. etc.etc. adn throw it all over the floor.  Around 18 months, they learn more how to play adn tend to stay with a toy for longer, which makes it easier to keep up.

 

Some ideas. . .stay out of the house as much as possible.  Hard to do, but then they mess up the library, playland, etc. instead of home.  :)  Also, I hired a "mother's helper" around that age.  She was in 6th or 7th grade and would watch the kids while I cleaned.  It helped with my sanity, was a lot cheaper than a babysitter and she got used to the kids.  Not that she's old enough to babysit solo, I use her as a regular babysitter so I can get out.

 

I also understand how hurtful it is when people visit.  My in-laws didn't offer to watch all three kids  until the twins were almost 2 and the eldest was 5.  After that visit mil remarked that now she understood why I didn't do any housekeeping.   It hurt to hear, but I'm glad she got some perspective on my life and realized that I'm not just lazy. 

 

You are doing a tremendous job keeping everyone happy, healthy, and breastfed!  It is ssssoooo tough.  Just remember that and hopefully you can get dh to compliment you on somethign each day.  I really had to coach dh, but it helped if he noticed a cleared countertop and thanked me.  THat made it much easier to keep on working and try to get ahead of the mess a bit.  Good luck!

post #10 of 36
You are definitely not alone. I believe that a messy house is pretty standard for families with young twins, unless they have regular childcare or a housecleaner. And maybe even then. wink1.gif

A big part of keeping things clean around here has been getting really organized. If the kids' stuff is everywhere and you have 15 mins to clean, you'll end up using that whole time just picking up toys and not get to any real cleaning. I got good about storing toys by type in bins and keeping most of them out of reach. We just leave a few bins out, and at any time if they want to swap for a different one, fine, but pick the other one up first. When my twins were 9 mos old, my oldest was 3 and I was so worried about the twins finding her little toys on the floor and putting them in their mouths. The organization helped my older DD's stuff stay in her room (also baby gated it off for her to keep it separate) so I could make sure to stay on top of vacuuming. (We've got a dog who sheds, which didn't help.) I don't know if any of this sounds familiar, but really it's the organization of stuff that led to me being able to take care of cleaning. It's about optimizing the few minutes that you have in between all the other stuff you have to do.
Quote:
Have things gotten easier once your babes got older? Am I off base?

When my twins hit age 3 most things started to get easier. Many people have told me that things get better when twins are 2, but for us it was age 3. The real problem was that mine decided to potty train when they turned 2, but it took a full year before the accidents had stopped. There were days I'd be cleaning up 6 potty accidents a day, it was awful. Between age 0-3, each stage was different but equally hard. That may not be true for you. But today I was able to let them play for a couple hours while I worked on a bunch of stuff and I only had to intervene a handful of times. I get more sleep now which is key, because I can function much better through the day and get more done.
post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys so much for your replies.  Your tips and experiences really did help to lift my spirit.  I was feeling kind of down.  It feels like I kept my sanity by not paying attention to the tornado like mess and congratulating myself for any late night cleaning successes.  An outsider's observation pulled my attention to the big picture and it made me feel like I wasn't really getting anything accomplished at all.  I went from "I am doing it," "it is working out" to "I am failing at this and I might be crazy for thinking that it was okay."

 

After a good night's sleep, I regained some perspective.  I am not failing at this, but I do need some type of help with just getting it in order (at least once).

 

post #12 of 36

My twin boys are almost 1 year old and they empty every cupboard, dash to the dishwasher as soon as its open, and dump every organized basket of toys or books in the house.  All of this, at least a few times during the day.  I used to be so embarrased when people would drop in, but I've given up on even being embarassed anymore, it seems that bad. 

 

On my best days, I "blitz" the house for an hour during their nap.  I prioritze all to be done and choose only 4 tasks, and give myself 15 mintues at each one with a timer.  I run around the house as fast as I can, knowing that 15 minutes, or an hour isn't a lot of time.  When it's all said and done, I feel pretty accomplished.  My dh has picked up on my "dirty house blues" cues and will "blitz" with me for 20 minutes before bed.  That is a big help to me, because it helps me see his priorities too, and he can handle 20 minutes, as long as he knows that when the timer goes off, I don't expect him to do anything else.

 

I have 3 other children 3, 6 and 8 who have "chores," but I have never felt like that saves me much time because I seem to be monitoring their work all the time.

 

 

post #13 of 36

Hang in there!  Our girls are 20 months and our small cozy home is a wreck almost all the time!  I also must say that I thought I was doing just fine with everything  for a long time, but when I looked back, noticed how anxious I was about everything, really, everything.  Once I realized this, I was able to just let go. 

My sister was most helpful.  I don't think I cooked a meal for 6 months.  She'd just come over and cook and eat dinner with us every night.  She was single then!  She's also a great cleaner and organizer. 

The most helpful thing was to get rid of so much.  So, in the first year we decluttered and donated so much.  Just easier in general. 

Also, we have always had someone to clean our house.  We both work and since it caused so much stress in our marriage about who did more, etc, we put an end to it and hired someone.  Best thing for us. 

It will get better, but then the kids start tearing everything apart!  :)

 

post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 

You guys will probably never know how much I really appreciate your replies.  I feel like I have been making some progress.  I realize where my problem began and I also realize that I cannot do it all, and I am beginning to be okay with this.

 

When we found out that we were having twins we decided to turn our office into the nursery, but by the time I stopped working and actually had time, I couldn't do much work.  My mom and sister came over loaded everything into my bedroom and our basement and helped us to set up.  This made the clutter crazier, but I believed that I would get it together once the babies came.  My sister and mom helped out a bit after the babies were born, but DH and I have been trying to get it all done alone since the babies were about 6 weeks old.

 

My friend's visit gave me some more energy and I began my search for a sitter.  A few family members offered to come over to help and to accept payment (mostly teenagers) to help out, but that has not become a reality yet, so we are giving it one more week to see if anyone is really interested. 

 

Without a sitter or a house cleaner we have gotten rid of 3 large trash bags worth of clutter through freecylce, craigslist, and tossing unusable things from our basement.  3 trash bags from the main parts of the house and we are still going.  The good thing is that we have gotten this far by committing 1 hour per night after all of the kids are asleep.  Last night I fell asleep before I could do anything, but I feel like we have done an awesome job thus far. 

 

It feels great decluttering and DS1 is actually enjoying gifting his old toys to other kids.  We planned to hold items for DS2, but we really don't have the space to hold on to so much, so we held a few special pieces and got rid of the rest.

 

We have a LONG way to go, but I am excited about the progress.

 

I plan to ask my aunt to cook a few freezer meals for us again like she did for during the babies' first 3 weeks so that I can avoid unhealthy meals on nights that I am exhausted from just getting through the day.

 

The good news is that I have been having more fun with my family now that we have been making space for us  by decluttering.  I still haven't found a way to get all of the dishes done everyday bag.gif, we might be able to fit a dishwasher into our budget within the next few months or so.

post #15 of 36
That is awesome, way to go on the decluttering! My house could use some of that, too, I think. I'm so impressed that you and your DH have put in so much time after the kids are in bed, when you must be exhausted by that point.

Re: the meals
One thing I did that really helped save time was that when I made dinner, I learned to double any freezable recipes and put half of it straight into the freezer. I still do that now and then. Or if you end up with more leftovers than you can eat in 1 more meal, split it and put part in the fridge and part in the freezer. I was way too busy to cook a whole meal just for the freezer, but doubling it when you're already cooking it--that's no extra work. I think one of the benefits of having multiples is that it forces you to learn to be more efficient in your time. wink1.gif Oh, I also did that with side dishes, too. I found a recipe for a dish with beans, veggies and greens, doubled it and froze most of it. Then I could make something with minimal effort (like sauce from a jar with spaghetti noodles) and just defrost the side dish to add veggies and protein. That way I could, say spent 20 mins cleaning the kitchen instead of doing a more time-intensive dinner. I'm sure as time goes on you'll find little tricks like that you can do too, that work with your own house and meal routines. smile.gif
post #16 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Lily View Post

That is awesome, way to go on the decluttering! My house could use some of that, too, I think. I'm so impressed that you and your DH have put in so much time after the kids are in bed, when you must be exhausted by that point.
Re: the meals
One thing I did that really helped save time was that when I made dinner, I learned to double any freezable recipes and put half of it straight into the freezer. I still do that now and then. Or if you end up with more leftovers than you can eat in 1 more meal, split it and put part in the fridge and part in the freezer. I was way too busy to cook a whole meal just for the freezer, but doubling it when you're already cooking it--that's no extra work. I think one of the benefits of having multiples is that it forces you to learn to be more efficient in your time. wink1.gif Oh, I also did that with side dishes, too. I found a recipe for a dish with beans, veggies and greens, doubled it and froze most of it. Then I could make something with minimal effort (like sauce from a jar with spaghetti noodles) and just defrost the side dish to add veggies and protein. That way I could, say spent 20 mins cleaning the kitchen instead of doing a more time-intensive dinner. I'm sure as time goes on you'll find little tricks like that you can do too, that work with your own house and meal routines. smile.gif


Thank you so much :)

 

I remember wanting to try and make freezer meals, but I have yet to try it.  I will have to actually try that.

 

After today, I realize that I need to tone down the late night cleaning, because I was extremely tired today.  I am a lot less optimistic when I am tired, so I will have to find a little more of a balance.  I am still working on this and I hope to find a happy medium sometime soon.

post #17 of 36
Have you ever tried Flylady.com? Maybe you already know all about that site/philosophy, but if not, perhaps it will help you feel better. I've looked into it but haven't signed up for the emails. The main idea is to do housework in 15 minute increments. Much easier to keep up long-term. Even though I didn't sign up on that site, I took that idea and it really helps.

So one approach would be saying to yourself "Next time they nap, I'm going to spend that whole time cleaning" and then being completely exhausted and overwhelmed by where to start and not being able to work up the energy for that kind of undertaking--so no housework gets done. But this idea is that you change that to "next time they nap, I'm going to spend 15 mins doing housework" is much less pressure on you. I know some people will set a timer. I often pick 1 chore, like the dishes or tidying a certain room and then vacuuming or scrubbing the shower. Sure the whole house won't be clean at the same time, but if you rotate rooms through the week, you'll know that at least it's all been cleaned recently. Some rooms may even stay clean for a few days.
post #18 of 36

My twins are 5 now and it does get easier.  When they were babies, my husband and I would spend about 20 minutes each night 'picking up' so I didn't have to come downstairs to a mess in the morning.  This really helped my mental status in the mornings.  I did have a house cleaner 2 times a month for a couple of years after having the twins.  If I could just keep things picked up, I knew that my house would get 'cleaned' at least every 2 weeks!

post #19 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spring Lily View Post

Have you ever tried Flylady.com? Maybe you already know all about that site/philosophy, but if not, perhaps it will help you feel better. I've looked into it but haven't signed up for the emails. The main idea is to do housework in 15 minute increments. Much easier to keep up long-term. Even though I didn't sign up on that site, I took that idea and it really helps.
So one approach would be saying to yourself "Next time they nap, I'm going to spend that whole time cleaning" and then being completely exhausted and overwhelmed by where to start and not being able to work up the energy for that kind of undertaking--so no housework gets done. But this idea is that you change that to "next time they nap, I'm going to spend 15 mins doing housework" is much less pressure on you. I know some people will set a timer. I often pick 1 chore, like the dishes or tidying a certain room and then vacuuming or scrubbing the shower. Sure the whole house won't be clean at the same time, but if you rotate rooms through the week, you'll know that at least it's all been cleaned recently. Some rooms may even stay clean for a few days.

:) Yes, I love flylady but I haven't been able to get back to 15 minute spurts, because I feel like it doesn't get enough done.  I need to move back to that, and it would help if I actually began to read the emails again.  Last night, I cleaned all of the toys that end up in their mouths and go on our living room floor (because so many shoes track back and forth each week).  I used to do this much more often with DS1, but I am proud of having had gotten it done last night.  I see progress, but I need to remember to be thankful for the small successes.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by midwestmom View Post

My twins are 5 now and it does get easier.  When they were babies, my husband and I would spend about 20 minutes each night 'picking up' so I didn't have to come downstairs to a mess in the morning.  This really helped my mental status in the mornings.  I did have a house cleaner 2 times a month for a couple of years after having the twins.  If I could just keep things picked up, I knew that my house would get 'cleaned' at least every 2 weeks!


Night time pick ups REALLY do help.  Whenever I am too tired to get anything done, not picking up in the living room, makes the morning so much harder.  I am working really hard to get rid of more clutter so that we don't scare a potential house cleaner away.

 

post #20 of 36

 

Quote:
I would spend about 20 minutes each night 'picking up' so I didn't have to come downstairs to a mess in the morning.  This really helped my mental status in the mornings.  I did have a house cleaner 2 times a month for a couple of years after having the twins.  If I could just keep things picked up, I knew that my house would get 'cleaned' at least every 2 weeks!

 

 

this!

 

I do the same, and it save me sanity wise :)

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