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How do you do it? (WOHM & keep a tidy house, be enough for everyone AND sleep)

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Warning: I apologize in advance if this is a bit rambly, but I have a lot on my heart tonight and hoping someone out here has some good advice/perspective that I could really use to hear.

 

 

About 2 months ago My DP and I decided that I needed to go back to work. We NEED the money desperately. DP was working F/T and tried to get a different job that payed more, but hasn't found one, so I needed to quit working the 2 days a week and work F/T. I had been a SAHM/ very P/T worker.   Now 5 weeks into my job I am feeling overwhelmed. :(  DP works at night and I work 8-5 so we can avoid doing the daycare thing right now. I just don't know how ya'll do it. How do you balance it all? I am feeling like there just isn't enough time in the day/ week for it all. I am constantly overwhelmed by my messy house. My DP helps with the housework during the day, but He also has the 3 kids and works the evenings so there is a limit to what He can help with. (plus I'm a bit more clean obsessed than him. He likes a picked up house. I like a CLEAN house)  I express my concerns for stuff not getting done and He says," Its ok, just relax, its just a house, the dirt and stuff will wait" I know He's trying to be supportive but Sheesh! If I relax all weekend when will it get done? Thats my play time with the family and the time I recharge. I come home tired from work and just want to fix dinner and relax with the kids then pull out my outfit for the next day, go to bed and do it all over again.  I just am interested in knowing how you all prioritze and find time for the little things in your life...thats all. I guess. Thanks in advance :)

post #2 of 32

gosh i wonder how families working full time find the time as well. my kids are older and this past semester my house was a disaster and wholesome meals were far and few between while i tried to keep up with everything.

post #3 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by K's Mom! View Post

Warning: I apologize in advance if this is a bit rambly, but I have a lot on my heart tonight and hoping someone out here has some good advice/perspective that I could really use to hear.

 

 

About 2 months ago My DP and I decided that I needed to go back to work. We NEED the money desperately. DP was working F/T and tried to get a different job that payed more, but hasn't found one, so I needed to quit working the 2 days a week and work F/T. I had been a SAHM/ very P/T worker.   Now 5 weeks into my job I am feeling overwhelmed. :(  DP works at night and I work 8-5 so we can avoid doing the daycare thing right now. I just don't know how ya'll do it. How do you balance it all? I am feeling like there just isn't enough time in the day/ week for it all. I am constantly overwhelmed by my messy house. My DP helps with the housework during the day, but He also has the 3 kids and works the evenings so there is a limit to what He can help with. (plus I'm a bit more clean obsessed than him. He likes a picked up house. I like a CLEAN house)  I express my concerns for stuff not getting done and He says," Its ok, just relax, its just a house, the dirt and stuff will wait" I know He's trying to be supportive but Sheesh! If I relax all weekend when will it get done? Thats my play time with the family and the time I recharge. I come home tired from work and just want to fix dinner and relax with the kids then pull out my outfit for the next day, go to bed and do it all over again.  I just am interested in knowing how you all prioritze and find time for the little things in your life...thats all. I guess. Thanks in advance :)

Given that you are returning to work for financial reasons, the answer is likely no, but, could you have someone come in and clean once a week or even every 2 weeks?

 

If not, prioritize what is most important to you.  For me, if my floor is vacuumed and my house relatively tidy (ie: nothing on the table, floors, or counter) I can ignore the smudges on the walls and the dusty furniture, and the fact that my closets and drawers are a disaster and that my fridge needs a good cleaning.

 

Set a timer.  Do 15 minutes of cleaning, twice per day or even once per day.  Get done what you can.  Check out www.flylady.com for some ideas on how to keep clean/organized and get in a routine.  Given that you are already a clean/organized person you can probably skip a bunch of her steps but the idea of the timer is hers.  Her "Control Journal" and "zones" ideas might help too.

 

Are your kids old enough to help?  Give them chores that are age appropriate.  Dusting and vacumming are two good ones.  Maybe they won't do as good of a job, but it'll be done and they can feel like they are contributing.

 

I'm sorry you are having a hard time transitioning back to work and feeling frustrated by the situation. hug.gif Just know that your kids don't care if the house is spotless.

 

Try letting go of some things (easier said than done, I know).  Why do you value having a spotless house so highly?  Is it for yourself and your kids, or for others?

post #4 of 32

Hi OP, NStewart gave a lot of good advice above.

 

When my DD was a baby/toddler I felt much the same way...overwhelmed...but now we have gotten into some routines which have simplified our lives a lot.

 

One of the things that helps a lot is that we do "family" cleaning time on the weekends.  DH does the floors, I do the bathroom, DD (who is 5.5) likes to dust and clean mirrors.  In this respect, we are doing this as a family activity while playing music CDs.  We live in an apartment, though, which means that there is limited space to clean, but overall we spend no more than two hours a week actually cleaning.  Sometimes I clean the bathtub shower when I'm actually in it! 

 

We also do group clean-outs (like several weeks ago we all worked on the clothes closets and weeded out a bunch of stuff.  It was fun!  I think if you can make cleaning a family event, it totally takes the joylessness out of it.  We do the same with cooking...we all help and we actually do bulk cooking on Sunday afternoons to avoid having to cook from scratch every work night. 

 

One thing that we do on a daily basis, however, is pick up stuff off the floor at the end of the day.  We have a bunch of baskets and bins for toys, shoes, newspapers, etc.  When we started assigning bins and baskets for everything, cleaning up and putting away became soooo much easier. 

post #5 of 32

I had to let my idea of clean go! 5-10 years ago I would of been so embarrassed that my house looked like this. Now if the kids are alive and fed and making it to school, that is all I care about it. The mountain of laundry will be there tomorrow and the next day... I really do like a very clean house but it is NOT physically possibly right now unless there was an extra 3 hours in the day. So I was left with either beating myself every night at 10pm when I am bone tired and needing to go to bed but wanting to stay up and clean or just giving up and accepting that this phase of my life meant a messy house. I do not like it by any means but now I am at more peace with it. Sort of.

post #6 of 32

Every second weekend I try to get H to take the kids for an afternoon so I can focus on the house and at least vacuum or put laundry away and/or mop the kitchen. The bare minimum gets done the rest of the time. Every once in a while when I just can't take it anymore, I take a 'mental health day' and use it to clean.

 

We eat a lot of pita pizzas, mac and cheese with tuna, and tacos. Easy easy. I clean the bathroom while the kids are in the bath. And essentially I am constantly doing some little tidying/cleaning virtually every moment I am home... no kidding. But, the kids are starting to empty the dishwasher and load it, take out the garbage/recycling, put their laundry away. 

 

I have definitely let my standard fall. The kitchen floor gets mopped maybe once a month, if we're lucky. Laundry gets piled high. My kids fish clothes out of the dirty clothes hamper and wear mismatched socks. 

 

hth

post #7 of 32
I know for me personally, I let some things go and on others I just had to reprioritize and get DH more involved. Can you pick a few specific things and ask DH to do those things so that you can be a bit more relaxed with the state of the house? For me for example, I don't mind clutter and can tolerate a lot, but I need the kitchen counter kept clear, at least one basin of the sink clear and no random stuff on my desk or dresser, etc. Specific things I could tell DH, please do X, Y, Z and feel free to let the rest go a bit. He came back with a short list of his own and things have been much better! Also, in general, I am quick to ask DH for help, usually phrased like, "Hey can you take out the trash/move the laundry from the washer to the dryer/etc. or play with DD while I do it?" sometimes it isn't even a questions, just "Hey, I'm going to do X, DD is in the living room."

But yeah, I was very overwhelmed at first too and I remember when my Mom came to help when she was really young and I was crying from being overwhelmed and so sleep deprived when she was ready to leave, I realized that I needed to ask DH for more help. It wasn't like he wasn't helping, he just didn't always know what I needed and why should he really? I can't read his mind either, so as hard as it was (it really was hard, I never realized how socialized I was to not ask for help) it's much easier now after practice to ask for help. And asking for specific things is the best, asking for general and vague help just frustrates the people who want to help you!

And little things like figuring out how to break tasks into 30-60s increments really helps with young kids. Sure, it takes 30 minutes or more to load the dishwasher a dish at a time with breaks in between, but it gets done eventually! Silly things like I clean little bits of the bathroom while DD plays in the bath and having DD "help" while I am dusting by giving her a rag too and pointing out different spots on the wall or floor she can clean. Pay a bill or two while I wait for work programs to load or things to download, all sorts of ways to multi-task.
post #8 of 32

Something that worked for me in my "past life" was to make a list of nightly chores. For example, Monday was vaccuming; Tuesday was cleaning the kitchen floor, etc.  Then I didn't have all the chores to do all weekend.  Laundry is something kind of "passive" so maybe your DP could be in charge of laundry when he's home with the kids?  That would free up some of your time.... 

 

Similar to PPs, we tend to clean as a family on the weekends.  For example, I will ask DH to do something specific while I'm cleaning the bathrooms.  And DS loves to use the Swiffer Wet-Jet cleaner thingie.  smile.gif

 

Also, it takes time to settle into a routine and get organized.  Five weeks into a new job isn't much time!

 

I remember feeling completely crazed when I was single and moved to a new city, started a new job, and was taking care of DS and the animals all by myself.  I never thought I'd get a handle on things, but I figured out what worked for us and it slowly came together.  You will, too!

 

Hugs....

post #9 of 32

Honestly, I don't. My house looks like a bomb went off. My kids are at the age where we spend up to 4 evenings a week running to activities.

 

When I'm keeping up with things I manage to empty the dishwasher before work while the kids eat breakfast, have the kids fill it and clear the table after supper, and keep the laundry progressing through the machines. But really that's when we are doing pretty good. I always get food in their bellies and enough clean clothes to wear the next day otherwise it all just slides until I can get to it.

post #10 of 32

I am also a Flylady fan. Otherwise I don't think anything would get done. We have basic routines we follow that keep things at least manageable. Deep cleaning only happens when company is coming. I've learned to tolerate a lot more mess than before.
 

post #11 of 32

the house looks pretty arse-y during the week.  On sundays I spend a couple of hours dusting, vacuuming, mopping etc.  I have a very small house though.  The OH does DD lunches, school stuff etc.

 

IMO, you just have to let stuff go and out-source where you can.  We now get SPUD delivery of vegetables every week because doing a weekly shoppin gtrip just takes up too much of the weekend.   I am a pretty good cook and can make food out of anything, so that's not such an issue, and I clean up after dinner etc.  I dunno.  I've got it down to such a fine art now that it only takes about 1.5 hours a day.  And really, the living room mess can wait.  I dont' care. 

post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca View Post

 And really, the living room mess can wait.  I dont' care. 

 This is the bedroom(s) for me.  Even if company comes, we can just close the bedroom doors.  There's no reason for guests to go in to any bedrooms anyway.

post #13 of 32

Ever since I went back to work full time, (3 years ago!!!) i have felt completely dysfunctional.  I had a boyfriend for a while who was always here and it seemed easier then (he would help but he also made sure I was taking care of myself and when I feel good and have some  real conversation in the background I can function better)  But things did not work out and I have different hours at work. I am exhausted all the time.  things just keep getting worse when you think it should be getting better.  i think depression plays into it (I don't wanna be a single mom, I don't wanna work full time) so getting out of the general funk is hard.

post #14 of 32

I work full time, attend school full time and have up to 5 child 18m - 10 yo at the house on weekends (Th - Su). I've learned what I can let slide and what drives me batty.  I can neglect dust a couple weeks but dishes in my sink more than 12 hours drives me loopy.  A basket of clean clothes can sit a day or three but overflowing dirty clothes hampers are not acceptable.  DP has his chores and I have mine.  Occasionally the three other adults in the house help but at this point I have no expectations beyond not having to take out garbage and I don't find dishes in their rooms. eyesroll.gif  

 

I do the bulk of my cleaning by devoting a chunk of one day (currently Sunday) a week to do a good three - four hours of cleaning often broken into 30-60 min. sessions, so I know my bathroom is sanitary and besides a quick toy round up I can let people through my front door without complete mortification.  

 

I hope you find your compromise with yourself.

post #15 of 32

We have a weekly cleaning person who is the key to sanity. Laundry is done at the same time as child play time. Health cooking is done in batches and we have a big freezer.

 

I have one hour after the kids go to bed before I need to be in bed. I am really burnt out.

post #16 of 32

Really, during the school year one of those balls always gets dropped. My DH is a teacher (and more clean obsessed than I) and I WAHM, but that is on a freelance basis, so I may be low on work & able to clean the house & keep up with laundry & put a nice dinner on the table, or I may be swamped and working until I can whip out an easy dinner, skip all chores, and then back to work until late at night. Also, DH is home in the summer, so things are much more organized then, simply because there is more time to get stuff done.

 

Apart from all the tips already given, I think decluttering is helping quite a bit. Keeping the clothes volume down makes laundry easier; keeping the bathroom uncluttered makes it easier to clean, etc. That said, it's a major work in progress, esp. with paper and kids' stuff. But I know there are a few oases of organization that are holding steady & that helps a lot. When the kids were little, baskets and wooden chests for toys were a godsend.

 

Like Indigo, we also do the dishes right away. Sometimes the dish rack is piled up, but at least the dishes are clean. This doesn't take much time and helps immensely in the kitchen. We cut down on dishes by not using serving dishes - load up your plate from the pot/pan/salad spinner in the kitchen.

 

Kids doing chores - this helps a ton. Mine are 9 and 12, though, so they can do quite a bit. DH is getting them involved in our cleaning, cooking, laundry routines this summer & I need to carry that over into the school year.

 

Do the minimum - I finally realized that I don't need to do ALL the laundry at once (I like to do things completely or I get frustrated). I just get out 4-5 outfits for each person, do one quick load, then catch up on the rest when I can.

 

Work ahead - this works well for cooking, i.e., make 2 lasagnas and freeze one for an easy dinner, same with soup, beans, meat, etc. Simplify recipes - instead of a stir-fry w/ 7 vegetables, I cook 1 veg. and some protein. We eat a lot of pasta and jars of sauce - super easy.

 

Hope things get better soon!

post #17 of 32

Wow, you all are handling so much. Wish we had paid leave for parents. Could you trade with a friend who likes to clean? You trade for something your family can do. There are lots of good ideas here. Hope things get easier.

post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy O'Mara View Post

Wow, you all are handling so much. Wish we had paid leave for parents. Could you trade with a friend who likes to clean? You trade for something your family can do. There are lots of good ideas here. Hope things get easier.


Re: Trading - trade kids, too! We have friends who have 3 girls, and we have 2 girls. The ages mesh and they are all good friends (as are the adults), so we each do 2 days of after-school care per week. The kids get a snack and do their homework or keep each other entertained, and we can keep working/make dinner, whatever, and not have to pay for after-school care. The same could work with cleaning - one family takes all the kids to the park or library while the other gets time to clean. It would even be enough to trade off the younger kids, since older kids can help with cleaning (don't know how old yours are, OP!)

 

Oh, and *paid leave* - AMEN! but that's another thread winky.gif

post #19 of 32

i don' know hat paid leave would help me.  My kids are 10, 12, and 15.  When they were little, I didn't have any trouble keeping up.  i have never heard of anywhere that offers paid leave for 18 years. :)  

post #20 of 32
In our house, organization is key. Everything has a place, and it's so much easier to straighten up that way. It took me 6 months to get everything organized but it was totally worth it. Cooking is important o me so I found a good crockpot and an even better crockpot cookbook. Many of the meals can be assembled the night before after the kids are down, then just turn the crock on in the morning. This saves me an hour of oohing plus cleanup time every night. I broke down and allowed myself to use paper products (plates and bowls,etc) to help me get through the transition of going back to work (I only had a week off after my son was born) and the convenience was so helpful. We did hire help 2x a month for the actual cleaning. My house is never perfect. But it's manageable. Good luck mama.
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