Mothers who do it all - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 85 Old 06-28-2004, 10:02 PM
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Nibbled to death by ducks - that can sum it up quite nicely!

I've only got one toddler but add on a big dog, needy & tempermental parrot, a tank of fish, a ton of plants & a husband who's away 3 or 4 days a week & I totally understand & sympathise!

My husband is super & does a lot of stuff in addition to being the money-earner but I insist on a few things:
Like I'm not a mommy to him - he can put his own clothes in the laundry basket not on the floor!
I get to shower or bath alone once a week. Alone as in no dog drinking bath water over the tub. Alone as in without a 22 month old opening & shutting the shower door again & agian while he tosses blocks at my feet. Alone & undisturbed to get nice & waterlogged, use all the nice scrubs, lotions & oils, shave all the shavable areas - the works.
Plus I found that the Flylady website was a big help. BIG!
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#62 of 85 Old 06-28-2004, 10:24 PM
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Also check out the flylady thread in personal growth..

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#63 of 85 Old 06-28-2004, 10:57 PM
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Yes, I do get overwhelmed. I have a 4.5 year old ds and and a 16 month old ds; I work two days a week out of the house; I have a dh that works long and stressful hours out of the house; and I have a new house that we moved into 5 months ago and have somehow managed to live in without unpacking at least half of our boxes!!

The thing is that I think we (dh and I) are both doing as much as we can do to keep chaos at bay but it's a constant struggle. I don't know what we can do differently. Our house is pretty constantly a mess (unless it's one of my work days, in which case my mom is here and spends all her time cleaning and doing our laundry - very kind of her, but in the meantime she's got no qualms about sitting the kids in front of the tv so she can do this -- I'd much rather she play with them than do our housework, but she can't stand to be in a messy house :

Anyway -- I just have to assume that this stressful existence will slow down one of these days (if I can manage to quench my yearning to have another child - what am I crazy?) and become more manageable. In the meantime I try to live in the moment and enjoy our lives together and just be grateful that we're happy and healthy!
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#64 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 02:27 AM
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Yes, overwealmed here too! I just did a talk in my daughter's class for 'career week' on the SAHM. The kids seemed like they were about to hear that I'm laxin' at home, NOT! They made a poster of my 'job' and it is so funny--She is very busy, she cooks and cleans, she plays with Zac, I told them about how I'm cleanin' up in the kitchen and he's wrecking the living room to be sure I never get bored! My hubby works hard but he sees the fire in my eyes some days and 'volenteers' to take them for a bikeride. And to add to it all he is constantly 'improving' our house, there was a pile of wood on my computer desk today but now I have a screen door!!!! My advice would be that the feeling of overwelmed is real and if you feel it you need to look for some small piece of relief, a visit vith a friend, a cup of tea, a walk, etc can change everything and get you back into it. Know that we are all with ya!
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#65 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 02:31 AM
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wildfarmsmama - you always seem to have it together!
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#66 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 09:51 AM
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I definately get overwhelmed. I had no clue how to run a home when I became a sahm. Dh is the breadwinner and has always had long school and/or work hours. I try to take time to unwind and let things go without feeling guilty about it, but I would love to have a more organized and cleaner home. I was sick for a few days, and I'm still catching up on the dishes and everything. I never want to be sick again, I spent the whole time watching the house fall apart, knowing that I would have to put it back together again while dealing with the kids. I want to just do it and get it done, but the kids (understandably) go crazy if I just work all day. So I have all this to catch up on, I'm still regaining my strength, and we just took our new kitten to the vet's yesterday and found out she has fleas. She's an indoor cat, but came from a barn cat litter. The vet said we probably don't have them in our house, but the boys and I have a lot of little bites -- I thought it was from going outside more now that the weather is nice and it's bug season. Nope. So now I'm looking at getting rid of the fleas on top of working through the dishes, the laundry (slow going with no dryer), restoring order to the bedrooms, cleaning the bathrooms (they were already overdue for a cleaning when I got sick), and all the other little things. She sleeps in our beds and on the couches, so I'm assuming that they are there, too. We're also going away in less than two weeks, so I have to prepare for that -- it will likely be a long trip for the boys and I, dh has about a week off, but then we'll stay with the grandparents for another 2 or 3 weeks. I wanted to get flatfold diapers made before then. I'm tempted to just buy a bunch, I know they are cheap, but money is really tight right now, and I would prefer to make them from second-hand stuff. I also have to prepare a woman's education night at our church for the day before we go, and I'm helping to teach one of the classes, and I have to basically organize the nights for August and September too, since I'll be away and then having a baby. I had planned to have our freezer full of meals to thaw for when the baby is born, and also wanted to go to pyo's this summer to get veggies and berries to freeze too. I don't think that's going to happen. I often feel like if we could just get the house organized and get into a routine, there would be so much time for other things. We just started reading Little House in the Big Woods again last night, and it starts off in the fall, when all sorts of food is being laid up for the winter. I can't imagine how Ma did it all! I read those books when I was little and have always had this romantic idea about pioneer life, and I would love to have a little farm and we could grow our own food and be more self reliant, yadda yadda yadda... then I have times like this when I feel like I'm drowning and I wonder how I could possibly handle it all.

So, I'm relieved to see that I'm not the only mom who feels overwhelmed. I mean, I wish you all weren't overwhelmed, but I don't feel like such a failure knowing that I'm not the only one. I know I need to let go of some expectations. It's not fair to the kids for me to be grumpy because I'm trying to get housework done all day and telling them the whole time to just go play on their own. I'm even tempted to use the paper plates and bowls I have sitting around from a dinner I helped out with until I can get the dishes under control. : Or to get our dishwasher fixed. And I think I will use a mother's helper. I have a friend whose daughter is 12 and itching to babysit. I just don't like having strangers in my house when it's upside down and the dishes have been sitting for... almost a week (!) and the laundry's all over the hall, etc. But the kids love her and I need a break, so I think it's a win-win situation.

Thanks for letting me vent

Mom to DS(14), DS(12), DD(9), DS(6), DS (4), and DS(2)  


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#67 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 10:09 AM
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I do most and earn $$$ at a high stress job.

I cant tell you how discouraging it is to clean and clean....and it gets messier and messier. I have three kids, but the youngest is 6 and my oldest will be 17 in Aug. We rea past the toys all over, 2 yr old wrecking ball stage, but it seems to be worse, harder, to keep things straight. Now when school is in session, things are a bit easier. I have started flylady, and i have a cleaning service come and do big cleans.

I like a clean and neat home, it decreases my stress.....i just wish it would stay that way, kwim?

Paying the bills online and balancing the check book online helps me tremendously, as does auto payments of our car and a few others. I do auto refill on our prescriptions. I would love to have my groceries delivered, you know, shop online? I hate to go to the store!
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#68 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 11:45 AM
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I too feel so very overwhelmed most days. I have a 5.5 ds and a 2.5 ds. I do all the financial, work part time, and all, all, all the housework. Dh will sometimes lend a hand with cooking or watch the kids so I can clean. I guess misery loves company because it was somewhat reassuring to read all the other posts of mamas who feel the same way. Somedays, I get really upset with dh that he doesn't help unless I specifically ask, and then yes, he does it on his own time, which might be weeks later. He says he doesn't expect me to do all the work, I feel that his lack of participation is an expectation, because, after all, who else is going to do it. I have continually lowered my standard but at the moment there is truly no clean dishes in the house and laundy is piled everywhere, so I don't know how much lower I can get and still feed and cloth the kids.

The thing is, the more upset I get about having to do it all myself without help from dh, the crankier I become with the kids. I tend to see all their "messes" and playing as deliberate attempts to make more work for me (that's when I know I am way to stressed). DH works a construction job and comes home after supper usually physically exhausted and also feels overwhelmed.

I think the real problem isn't that spouses/sig others are not helping enough, but that in our society young families are left to fend for themselves without a true support community. I think there is simply too much work for two people to keep up with. For about 6 years of our early marriage, we had first my sister-in-law and then my sister move into our household with their new babies and we helped them go to college and raise their kids. I actually liked the arrangements because having three adults to share the household and childrearing chores made everything go so much smoother. And I truly think it helped that the third adult was another woman who felt responsible for those things in a way that dh doesn't. (During those times I was also the main breadwinner and dh was in college but household work contributions were the same.)

While I don't want any of our siblings to have unplanned pregnancies, I really wish we could intentionally create that kind of a household again. In the meantime, I try to take the kids out of the house and play at the park or library when I feel most overwhelmed. That way I don't have to look at the huge amount of work before me and start feeling resentful.
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#69 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 11:55 AM
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I'm a SAHM to four children ages 12.5, 10, 4, and 21 months. My husband is a wonderful man, a good provider, and is a special gem imo because my older two children are his stepchildren and he provides for them as well, even though their father is in the picture (yet doesn't support them financially at all.)

What does he do around here?

*home improvement projects
*most yardwork, although I do some
*diapering and other childcare when he's home if I'm busy with something else
*housework only if we're getting ready for visitors and I ask him specifically to do something
*sometimes cooks breakfast on Sundays

I do everything else. My children are all involved in many activities and while our house is far from spotless, it's generally picked up and clean. I struggle with housekeeping - I'm a very poor housekeeper, just ask my mother! - but since I quit working outside the home when my 3rd child was born, I simply feel there is no excuse to live in a pigsty when I technically *am* home much of the day.

I am overwhelmed sometimes. But then I think about the women who are single parents and really do it all themselves, or about what it was like when I was the wage earner of my family during my first marriage *and* did the majority of the housework *and* went to graduate school while working more than full time and caring for two children....or what it was like when I was going through my divorce and was doing all of the same things plus didn't even have a lump of a husband to ask to watch the children while I did the dishes or wahtever....and I realize that this life is FAR easier.

I guess I took a bit of offense to the comment about how it's easy to get things done when you ignore your child's cries for attention. Please don't generalize and assume that just because a mom is handling the activities of several children and has an orderly home means that she ignores her children. Sure, there are some who do - but there are also women who live in chaos and ignore their children.

I feel for those who are overwhelmed with their lives much of the time, really I do. But I hesitate to *always* blame the husband or partner in those situations. I do think that working a full time job and being there to assist with childcare in the evenings/weekends IS doing his share. A better way to handle the situation is to learn organization and coping skills and learn to take time for yourself without being blaming and bitter towards your partner.
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#70 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 11:58 AM
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i do everything, except earn $.

housework (TONS OF IT)
constant time with my sons
college class

i have tried to limit what i do........... i had my husband make a list of things that reallllllllllllly mattered to him(stuff i had to do)

and i try to do everything that realllllllllly is important to him.

then i have a list of stuff that is realllllllllly important to me.

everything else waits..

my husband cooks, but he is so messy, i dont consider that to be "Help" at all
but, it is still more than most of the mom's i know............

i just try to do as much as i can.
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#71 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 12:16 PM
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I do wonder how pioneer women did it, it must have been overwhelming. But then if you think about it, they didn't have a 10th of the "stuff" we do. They had just enough for everyone in the house. No 20 plates, cups, extra pots and pans, tons of toys, puzzles and games; everyone having 5-10 outfits. They had just enough. 1 or 2 chnges of clothes, maybe each child had a toy, just enough dishes pots and pans. The houses were a one room cabin, not a 2-5 bedroom house. Sure they had to do everything by hand (make the clothes, cook, can etc) but they also had their kids help out A LOT. I just started having my almost 10 year old do the dishes. Back in the "old days" she would have been doing a heck of a lot more than that... keeping an eye on the littler ones, milking the cow, washing the clothes, working in the garden. I mean I love that my kids get so much time to play and everything, but really way back then they just didn't have those extras and the whole family did the work, not just the mom. You just don't hear about that, maybe because while "Pa" was out working the land for the "crop" or hunting, "Ma" and the kids did EVERYTHING else, but Pa didn't know that the kids helped.


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#72 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 12:43 PM
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Mahdokht, . I didn't read all the posts yet, but I wanted to respond. I do "everything" except cook, which my MIL does. She also straightens up when she can, but I try not to give her a chance to--afterall she's 73! Dh will run minor errands during the day, like pick up prescriptions, go to the bank or post office. I must tell you, Mahdokht, that I am much less overwhelmed now that I'm working fulltime than I was during maternity leave when I was home 24-7. I wish we could afford for me to be a fulltime SAHM, but I really do believe it's harder. So to all of the SAHMs! When I'm working, I have time for myself at least during lunch--I can go to lunch with a friend, run over to the bookstore, go for a walk. I would suggest you find a way to incorporate something like that into your daily routine. Have dh or a friend or relative watch the kids for an hour a day. I know this is easier said than done--when I was home FT, I did not do this and I think it contributed a lot to my PPD.

I don't want to perpetuate any stereotypes here, but my dh is Lebanese and a Muslim, and he and I have discussed at length how our cultural differences contribute to some of our feelings of frustration. He is used to literally being waited on by his mother or sisters and having his home spotless. : Not happening with me as a wife!!! So we've both had to compromise. He's had to change his expectations and I've had to learn that doing housework is not (always) surrendering my feminist ideals. I'm far from being OK with it all, though. I'm not sure if your situation is similar, but we've found that acknowledging our cultural baggage, even when we don't change our behavior, helps us immensely. I wish you the best!
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#73 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 02:10 PM
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i was overwhelmed when i was a sahm, but now that my husband's lost his job and i'm back working again i am on the verge of losing it

i'm 5 months pg-because his unemployment is not enough to cover our expenses i've been temping to make ends meet (usually 4 or 5 hours in the morning) i don't mind working-anna gets to spend more time with her daddy but he does not do as much housework as he should-, and i still handle all of the bills, dr's appts, cooking, shopping-you name it. he does help with laundry but leaves it lying around for me to put away. he just doesn't see the mess and we live in a very small house so it takes constant upkeep to keep it from getting out of hand (i simply don't have time to do any deep cleaning) he's looking for work but uses it as an excuse as to why he cannot help out more. it's been a huge source of stress for our family and it's been affecting my parenting. i'm giving myself a break this week (thurs and fri) to calm down from all the stress but i do hope he gets back to work soon, because our current system isn't working and he is not responding to any of my attempts to change it.

RN, Tree-huggin, chicken-raisin'chicken3.gif, mountain climbing, yoga attempting namaste.gif Mama to Miss Areading.gif (10) and Miss K joy.gif(8). Newly re-married wife to DHpartners.gif We're pregnant!!belly.gifExpecting our new little addition this November!


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#74 of 85 Old 06-29-2004, 03:01 PM
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I am right there with you all who feel overwhelmed but sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough. I mean that I know what I have to do but I end up going in circles and not getting anything done. I actually am pretty good at getting my oldest dd to camp or school or getting errands done or going fun places but BAD at keeping things clean. Luckily dh doesn't mind much but I wish it would bug him as much as me so he would be more motivated to dig in and clear some clutter but he does do a lot around here as far as repairs and lawn and pet maintenance and other stuff that I am fortunate not to do. We are pretty balanced but I tend to be alot more compulsive and totally more overwhelmed. Hopefully my kids will remember all the fun we had and not how clean it wasn't
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#75 of 85 Old 06-30-2004, 09:54 PM
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FlyLady really helped me feel in control. (Check her out at if you need help getting your house in order.) Why I don't follow her system perfectly, which is okay by her, my house is definitely cleaner than four years ago when I had no children! And,no, I don't spend all day cleaning. I prefer to play with my children than clean too, but I've found little things help me from being overwhelmed. If the beds are made and the dishes are done, and everyone's dressed, my life flows more smoothly. My husband does help out a lot. I remind him that he gets time "alone" on the bus and the metro to read, listen to the radio, etc. He eats lunch in peace. He gets lots of adult conversation.

It is easy to be overwhelmed. Remember to take care of yourself. It's like a checking account: you have to have money put in, to take it out. You sound overdrawn to me.
Let your SO take the children for a little bit and do something just for you: pedicure, massage, hanging out at Starbucks or the library for an hour. Do whatever helped you relax before you had children. It helps to put your current life in perspective. It recharges you and you can cope with the stresses of being on call 24/7 that much better.
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#76 of 85 Old 06-30-2004, 10:51 PM
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I mostly stay at home with my ds - but have been teaching yoga a couple nights a week for a few months. Considering doing massage again one day a week...some days it seems like a good idea and others it seems like too much. Being a mom is the absolute hardest thing I have ever done and I've tried lots of things... full time all the time going on no sleep some days always available finding more patience from the well that never seems to end these days kind of job, you know what I mean? My dh makes the money when he gets the bids and helps out bunches! We still go back and forth a bit about details - the new one here is that I'd like a couple mornings to practice yoga without having to entertain my babe... think it might work. My advice is to figure out what you feel like you need and ask for it. I've started having a mother's helper come in. She's 15 and I pay her 5 an hour to play with ds while I get out and fill up some of my energy. This makes me so much happier and I have more energy to focus on babe and homemaking. My mom also helps out a bunch and I've learned to target in to whether I need a nap or to get something done etc. and just letting go of shoulds and all has made my heart a happier place. good luck all...
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#77 of 85 Old 06-30-2004, 11:24 PM
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We both do it all and I think we are both overwhelmed.

Off hand, I:

-work FT OTH...carry the benefits and make the majority of the money
-sometimes carpool to school, always pick up from school
-clean the house (usually the vacuuming, dishes and pet care)
-cook dinner
-care for the kids in evening and every week end, usually solo (dh works until 8:30 pm M-W and alternate weekends)
-sometimes put them to bed
-sometimes do medical appointment duty (luckily none of us get sick with any frequency)

And he:
-works PT OTH...makes up what we need to balance our budget
-fixes lunches for ds#1 in the mornings and breakfast for both
-does carpool to school almost all of the time
-pays all of the bills
-cleans the house (dishes, tidying, and the cat box)
-cares for ds#2 on Thursday and Fridays solo during the day, both kids after school and both every other weekend with me
-sometimes puts them to bed
-sometimes does medical appointment duty

By the time they are asleep we are both exhausted and often cranky. We are both frustrated becuase we never seem able to catch up.

Did i mention we are expecting our 3rd child in late Nov/early Dec??? We are having serious discussions about "downscaling" our lives, though we by no means are rolling in money as it is.

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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#78 of 85 Old 06-30-2004, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
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ARGH! I just re-read my post and I totally miscommunicated. My Husband (also a Lebanese Muslim Chasing Peace) DOES help around the house. He does 70-80% of childcare and housework on weekends. He has NEVER once complained about the house as a matter of fact if he comes home and I seem overwhelmed, he gets dinner cooked, cleans the house and then gives me a massage before bed. He is WONDERFUL.

I feel guilty that he has to do those things, that is where my discomfort comes in. He changes diapers, helps to potty train, reads to, plays with etc. He does everything I do except giving birth and breastfeeding. No, my guilt lies in the fact that I don't have it all together and for the days that he comes in from a long hard day and has to make dinner and care for the kids because I am overwhelmed.

For the record, mny of my friends married to Lebanese Muslim men have wonderful homes where their husbands consider childrearing and housework THEIR responsibilities as well. I don't think the "man sitting on his happy arse expecting service" is unique to any culture.
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#79 of 85 Old 06-30-2004, 11:50 PM
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In response to your last post clarifying your orginal intent, I would say that I truely do not believe that the household duties are only the responsibility of the SAH parent. I think it is a joint venture. Caring for children, without the responsibility of cooking, cleaning, etc. is a FT job in and of itself. For that matter, cooking and cleaning indivdually can be FT jobs. That means you are expecting to be able to do 3 FT jobs at once. Sure there are people out there that can do that. I for one am not one of them, nor do I believe any one person SHOULD be (unless the circumstances, like single parenthood, dictate it and then I am in full favor of getting any help you can).

I am happy to hear that your dh is willing to contribute, it makes the division of household duties more equitable. Like I said, I don't believe that it should be only one person's job. He helped make the kids, he helps eat the meals and he I am sure helps mess up the house. It is fair that he helps contribute to its' care.

I say, don't be so hard on yourself (WAY easier said then done, i know). We all are doing the best we can. I personally have ALWAY found the "household" chores to be completely overwhelming, even when I was a SAHM and had the "time" to work on it.

And if you look at my list, dh does the majority of work around here, and probably would even if he was working FT. I forgot to say that he also does 90% of the laundry and 70% of the yardcare. I simply cannot handle it and I cannot stand housework. I do my best not to feel guilty about it (like I said, it is easier said than done).

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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#80 of 85 Old 07-03-2004, 06:51 PM
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Dh and I have pretty old-fashioned roles. He makes the $, keep up the lawn, vehicle maintenance, etc. and I do the household and financial stuff.

I too envy those "perfect" moms that seem to have it all together. There are days that I can't seem to accomplish a darn thing and I only have one child! Thankfully dh cares more about being happy and loved than having a clean house and gourmet meals!

I must agree with mamalisa!
Originally Posted by mamalisa
....when I feel overwhelmed I lower my standards :
Each person can handle different amounts of work and stress. Just do the best you can with what you have and remember that a happy home is not always a clean one! ((HUGS))

Jennifer :, blessed wife to M since 4/00 and joyful mother of ds M 6/03, dd L 2/06 and ds O 3/10.
Now waiting on a surprise blessing: edd 4/23/15!
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#81 of 85 Old 07-03-2004, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Stugroupie
I too envy those "perfect" moms that seem to have it all together. There are days that I can't seem to accomplish a darn thing and I only have one child! Thankfully dh cares more about being happy and loved than having a clean house and gourmet meals!
I used to do personal/life coaching. I used to coach a "perfect" mom, who by all appearances had everything together. She was extremely active in her mommygroup, hosting this and organizing that. Downstairs always looked immaculate when I was there, but that was just the surface. Behind closed doors she had lots of control issues to deal with and self esteem problems. She would have panic attacks (she was also seeing a therapist).

You don't always know what is under the surface of those "perfect" moms.

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#82 of 85 Old 07-03-2004, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Amys1st
I am an at home mom. This means, I am home to MESS my house up. My house is upside down right now. We had all day to mess it up. I have been to those spotless houses. Either they cleaned up before I got there (like I do) or they are not home all day to mess it up.

this is true. I'm at home and my house gets messy because we're here. I don't like telling my kids to limit their playing in order to have a nice looking house, so I figure I make it look nice when we're havig company or when I feel like it.
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#83 of 85 Old 07-06-2004, 11:42 AM
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Mahdokht, I hope I didn't offend you--I didn't mean to imply that Lebanese Muslim men (my dh included!) sit around waiting to be waited on. My dh is a wonderful husband and father--he changes diapers, feeds ds while I'm at work, gives ds baths, etc. He usually doesn't help with cleaning (but he helps out in a lot of ways), and I do see a big difference in the way his mother and sisters behave towards men in their family. He has always attributed it to cultural differences--maybe because my husband and his family are recent immigrants? or maybe it's just his family. And I definitely agree that men sitting around waiting to be waited on exist in all cultures. In any event, I meant no disrespect to Muslims of Lebanese descent, or to Muslims or Lebanese men in general.

BTW have you checked out It's literally changed my life.
Take care!
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#84 of 85 Old 07-06-2004, 12:13 PM
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You know, cleaning is my stress reliever... and more often than not, I'm stressed... :LOL soo, my house is often spotless, but I'm learning to let the upstairs go to hell. As long as my space is clean (not neat, but clean) I'm okay... I certainly am not Martha stewart...
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#85 of 85 Old 07-06-2004, 12:42 PM
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I have to say - my downstairs is usually pretty decent looking. Just don't let anybody wander up the stairs.....

My DH is actually really good about helping out. But some things I have to ASK him for help with, because he just doesn't see it. He could not care less about dust or vacuuming.

Things he does -
Works FT OTH, and is the major breadwinner, carries benefits
Mows the lawn
Vehicle Maintenance
Dishes - though only about once a week (my majorly hated chore)
Changes diapers - usually I have to ask but he doens't have a problem doing it
Almost all of the girls baths

I do -
Work PT OTH (until my contract is up)
Sorting through the girls clothes
Any other household work
Major caregiver for the girls

Some of the things on my list, just don't get done. We ended up hiring somebody to do the weeding, because I just couldn't get it done with both girls. dd1 is fine outside, but dd2 just sits and screams because she doesn't like the grass and it's hard to weed while holding her....
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