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#31 of 43 Old 09-02-2010, 03:18 AM
 
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OP, I could really relate to so much of what you wrote. I understand totally when you talk about how things seem to take so long (like getting out the door for morning activities) and all the things that happen that make that take even longer. For me, packing a diaper bag is something that takes 30 minutes or more, including all the interruptions that happen in the meantime. Your evenings after your DH arrives home sound so much like ours did when DS was a toddler and DD was a newborn. I'm not sure if this will make you feel better or worse, but even though I'm still in the thick of it with 2 young children, I am *starting* to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Originally Posted by Mamaluu View Post
I feel like I totally missed out of the "family time" - you know, the time when husband comes home and you can finally all be together (for about an hour or 2 max, share your day, unwind, relax & play with your baby as a couple....
I understand (and share) your desire for this .... but ... I've come to understand that this just isn't a realistic expectation for a family with young children. I think we've bought into some fantasy of what family life is actually like. The hour or two after my husband arrives home are a culmination of chaos - it's busy, busy, busy and feels like it's a race against the clock to get the kids fed, bathed, and in bed before overtired meltdowns start to happen.

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Originally Posted by Mamaluu View Post
Don't most families have some down time with family when you're not worried about dishes, errands, clean-up or what not? (For example, some families with older kids would have a movie night, or a hiking or picnic afternoon, or even just a few minutes at night, for example).
For us, that starts at the end of our evening routine and looks something like this: DH lies in bed with DS and reads him 2-3 bedtime stories. I'm in the rocking chair in the same room, nursing DD. The lights are dim, and when stories are finished, the lights get turned off. DH lies in the bed with DS until he falls asleep, and I put DD in her cot when she falls asleep. It's our quality family time, but it has taken me a while to view it like that (rather than viewing bedtime as another chore before I could relax myself).

Aside from that, I have absolutely NO suggestions for increasing your daily productivity, because I am still struggling with it myself. I feel like I work hard everyday, all day, but cleaning doesn't even make it to the list of things that need to be done. Care of my children, cooking, laundry, and shopping take up all of my time. I don't know how other people find time to fit cleaning in to their day.

Mothering my 4yo DS and 1yo DD
I knit : I sew : I read : I craft : and I very occasionally and irregularly blog
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#32 of 43 Old 09-02-2010, 05:19 AM
 
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I kind of have to agree with Linda. It must be super hard while you are pregnant and tired but I do think that you have kind of unrealistic expectations about what being parents is.

Before DH and I had kids we worked full time. We cleaned the whole house from top to bottom on a Saturday morning and tidied up each day. We had lots of time to sit around and enjoy spending time together. But that all changes when you have kids. You really are on the go from the minute you get up to the minute you go to bed. There is always something to be done because kids are messy, messy creatures. Even when they are little babies who don't even move they seem to somehow make mess!

I would suggest sucking up the money factor, if you can, and just shop in one place. I am the kind of person that will pay more for something if it saves me time and energy. I feel like it's just worth it in the end. Obviously this doesn't apply if you're just making end meet however.

I would probably cut out making baby food. At 13 months your DC should be able to just eat what you eat. For the rare occasion that you need to crack out the baby food (because you're too tired to cook etc) I would recommend just having a few jars of baby food in the cupboard. Or you could cook up a big batch of stuff on the weekend and freeze it.

I also do as a PP suggested and do regular cleaning and tidying during the day and do one big 'thing' a day.

Also, sometimes on the weekend it's worth just letting the house go so you can go out and do something fun together, though to be honest, at 13 months your bub will be just as happy sitting by your feet while you're cooking and helping 'clean'.

It's complicated.
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#33 of 43 Old 09-02-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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A huge part of why this is sooooo hard right now is because you are pregnant and taking care of a baby. It really will get easier eventually. It may get harder before it gets easier, so trying to develop some peace about everything (as well as hiring help, streamlining errands, etc) could really help the way you feel. If you can afford to have someone clean your home, do it. This is the best money I've spent on my mental health.

One more thing I'll add is that I believe our attitudes towards the work part of having a family greatly influences our children's attitude towards work as they get older. Part of the reason that having big kids is easier than babies is because they do things like set the table, clear dishes, put laundry away, empty trash cans etc.

I think it's wise to consider about how you want your kids to respond when you tell/remind them about these things, and then allow those same attitudes to grow within yourself.

Also, it sounds like you could baby proof more. A playgroup once a twice a week is great, but are you trying to go to one every day?

It is really, really tough. I don't want anything to say to sound like I'm minimizing how difficult it is. That's really the reason that I stopped with 2 kids! I felt like the baby/toddler phase was too intense to really enjoy the kids, and sometime now I wish that they could be really little again, just for one day, so I could just bask in it. But when I had two babies I was pretty busy just keeping them feed and in dry diapers.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#34 of 43 Old 09-03-2010, 01:28 AM
 
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I have to say, I don't think you have unrealistic expectations that you should be able to *enjoy* family life, but just that those peaceful moments might come in the midst of all the other stuff, not as a separate activity.

Two other thoughts:
you said your child has 2 30 min naps? Have you tried cutting it to one nap? My dd has been on a 1-nap routine ever since she was about your child's age. At that age I think she napped around 11 am-1pm. A longer nap chunk might really help you. I agree with a PP about doing an activity around 9 instead of 10:30. Could change your whole day. And I count going to the grocery store as an activity.

Second, it's not to early to sort of train your child to be helpful. They so naturally want to help at this age, and even little things can make a difference. Put a towel on a low hook so he can wipe his hands after washing or whenever he needs to. My DD loved "sweeping" at that age. (It didn't really get the floor clean, but it kept her out of trouble for a few minutes. )

Re mothers' helper: a great idea. This would be a kid maybe 11-13--look for a responsible kid (maybe even through your local red cross babysitting class). S/he can play with your son while you are feeding the baby, or wash the dishes while you hang out with the kids, or whatever else you need. $5/hr is totally suitable for an 11 year old who is trying to get experience and references for babysitting.
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#35 of 43 Old 09-03-2010, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I believe our attitudes towards the work part of having a family greatly influences our children's attitude towards work as they get older. Part of the reason that having big kids is easier than babies is because they do things like set the table, clear dishes, put laundry away, empty trash cans etc.

I think it's wise to consider about how you want your kids to respond when you tell/remind them about these things, and then allow those same attitudes to grow within yourself.
I actually very much agree with your idea here. I'm absolutely all for kids being helpful, learning what it takes to run a household and contributing to it at their ability. I love the idea of having kids help out in the kitchen, laundry, shopping, etc (I grew up this way). I think it's a great learning and training opportunity that many kids these days don't get. I actually envision part of my kids "education" to be cooking, cleaning, and shopping with me. And he actually already does a whole lot of that with me all throughout the day, and tries to "help" many times. It's just that at this age he is really IN THE WAY, he slows me down and often creates more work for me when I'm trying to get things done, and most times he can only leave me & the mess alone for 5-10 minutes at a time. I use all these scattered minutes to get things done, but for projects like shopping (that is more than 5-10 minutes) it is extremely frustrating for the both of us. Even meal prep, even though I try to do what I can in the scattered few minutes here and there but sometimes his 5 or 10 minutes is up and I still have raw chicken in my hands. I go crazy trying to do these things with him around. I feel like I'm always rushing trying to beat the clock. Like you said, just feeding & diapering is enough, let alone the rest of the household. When he is older and a little more independent and have a longer attention span I'd like for him to help me around the house a lot. But at this young age the workload is just a bit much for the both of us to handle.

I also agree with you on the other point you brought up: all this work is part of "the life" and the joy is in the mist of it. Generally I think the life with kids at home, cooking, shopping, keeping the house neat, etc is quite a happy life (for me, because I'm domestic). And I truly enjoy every single one of those tasks. Again, with the baby age and with the amount of workload around here, I'm always trying to beat the clock. I'm always under the pressure of the clock, the time. And that is no joy at all. Sometimes I just want a breather. I just want to slow down a bit. And if I already don't have time to take care of things as it is now, I don't know when I'm going to get the extra postpartum rest, to nurse the newborn 24/7, to heal and recover from birthing....

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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Also, it sounds like you could baby proof more. A playgroup once a twice a week is great, but are you trying to go to one every day?
No, just a couple play groups a week. But I realize that I (and him) have to get out of our 4 walls everyday somehow for both our sanity.

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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
sometime now I wish that they could be really little again
That's it, you said it. That's what I know I'm going to look back one day and wish, because everyday now is such a blur. And even now when I look at pictures from when he was smaller & only a few months old I wish I spent more time enjoying him than running the household. I just didn't want more time to pass by before I regret not looking at him, snuggling with him more.
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#36 of 43 Old 09-04-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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You say you are getting very nervous.
I think that you are projecting and creating anxiety for yourself.
You are still a new mom and about to have another baby.
It is a life change and you are still adjusting and learning how to manage it.
Being in your third trimester, of course you are beyond exhuasted and stressing about how hard it will be.
I felt the same way at your stage and when I look back I realize worrying isnt worth it. For now, just do what you can.
My DH is gone from 7AM-8PM every day. I have to do EVERYTHING by myself.
The hardest part is dinner and bedtime.
This is the funny part....
When I had one baby I thought it was hard to do it all with NO HELP whatsoever.
When I got pregnant with my 2nd I thought "How the heck am I going to do this?"
When I got pregnant with my 3rd I thought "This is going to be impossible."
But somehow you just DO IT! I dont know how, but you can.
I find that with 3 kids (and 7 years of experience) I am BETTER at running my household than ever before. Things I wasnt capable of managing to work out are so much more tangible now.
I dont really have any down time at the expense of something else. Right now my house is a wreck. My little down time is typing this while Im listening to 7yr old DD sing to my new baby. My DS is sitting next to me and asking me how many days till CHristmas (stopped to calculate- about 118 I think).
Life is busy. You will learn to multitask, plan a weekly menu, have a schedule, or be happier with out one (like me), enjoy the little things.
When ever I feel down or insane from having no help and things being chaotic, I just put myself back in check and try to be greatful that I CAN stay home and raise my kids. That's the reason DH isnt around and I have to do it all. Believe me, I have been where you are and you will figure it out.
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#37 of 43 Old 09-05-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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You mentioned Albertson's. . .we had them here, until they got bought out, and they actually let you shop online. You can either pick up your order (all of it pulled) or have it delivered. Both fees were very reasonable, as I recall. I realize it's hard to make that leap when the budget is tight, but I would totally do it for the next little while. . .maybe until baby #2 is settled into a regular nap routine.

I also agree with the poster who mentioned that your son probably doesn't need special food at this point. I would let go of that and just let him consume regular food cut up small or mashed. My kids loved feeding themselves.

Can you streamline the putting-him-down routine? Because 30 minutes is a chunk. If you can't, don't sweat it, because each baby is different. . . but you might try posting your routine and see if mamas here can help you with shortcuts.

Maybe also try shortening or eliminating some outings. It can be hard at first to not get out, but I would try a short walk (20 or 30 minutes, no need to pack anything if you are staying close to home) or a trip to the library, or other activities that are less around a schedule. Do you have any mamas who would arrange one-on-one playdates? If your DS is still taking two naps a day, that makes it hard to do a 10:30-12 playdate, as you know. You might be surprised by how relaxing it is to turn on music and dance with him, or read stories, or do something else at home than it is to try to go out. (Just speaking from personal experience, if you need to go out then of course that's what you need).

It's short term mama. In two years, when both kids only take an afternoon nap and DS is maybe potty trained, and they're both weaned or nursing a lot less, life WILL be less overwhelming. I can almost guarantee it. And you'll look back and know that you did the best you could, and that's all you can do!
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#38 of 43 Old 09-05-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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I just checked, and in the L.A. area, it's $5.95 to order online and then pick it up from Albertson's.
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#39 of 43 Old 09-05-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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And a couple more things. . .if you are VERY tired, get checked for anemia. Although of course it's normal to be tired when looking after a toddler or being in your 3rd trimester, never mind both! But if you feel your diet may be lacking or you forget to take your prenatals, get checked.

And simplify your food prep. Look in the forum on meal planning; they have fantastic ideas for freezing meals that can be doubled or tripled. If you're eating lunch out, plan simple foods to take so you are not taking three separate small containers plus two drinks, just for your DS. I think if you let go of a couple of things you will feel so much happier and relaxed.
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#40 of 43 Old 09-06-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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Mamaluu,

You've really been on my mind the last few days and I mean this will all compassion, but I think you need to find a therapist. I think you either are depressed or are at high risk for PPD.

I think that you came into parenting with unrealistic expectations of what it would be like, and from your post it sounds like your kids are going to be about 16 months apart. Your DH works long hours, and it doesn't sound like you guys have a support network. This is a tough situation.

You've shot down all the advice that's been given, and ignored the comments that it's OK to hire help, have groceries delivered, etc.

I think that you need real emotional support, and that therapy is the easiest way to make that happen.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#41 of 43 Old 09-07-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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As far as cleaning dishes, switch to paper plates! I really should do this, as I just had a baby a few weeks ago, and had cleaned the house and kitchen the day before I went into my birthing waves (labor). Now it looks even messier than before! You can also get plastic spoons, forks, knives, (I think they may even have biodegradable ones now too) etc so you don't have to do that either.

I hear you about not having any friends or relatives near by, we moved down here a few years ago and everyone keeps to themselves and doesn't want anything to do with us. I feel like a hermit.

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#42 of 43 Old 09-16-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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Totally declutter. Flylady helped me with this too but now I have my own schedule. Once things are decluttered you can do the cleaning really fast. I have one chore a day:
Mon - Bathrooms, T-downstairs floors,etc etc.

Teh other thing I would suggest is to try and get your LO to go to bed at a good hour - like 7pm. Then you can go downstairs and clean up dinner and have the kitchen clear and clean and ready for the next day then relax.

For dinners when DD was that age I would put her on the floor with a good activity that was set aside just for that - scooping dired beans is good though messy - do it on a towel. Then cook. Or sit your LO on the bench.

Now that I have 2 it's harder but it's ok. Babywearing is a lifesaver ebcause you need your hands to toddler-wrangle. Mine are 18 mths apart and I am kind of surviving, but it's really really hard some days.

Oh, we don't have a TV but if you do it's a good "tool" for dinner prep etc!

For lunches, have some easy stuff available - cheese veg fruit, etc

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#43 of 43 Old 09-16-2010, 08:13 PM
 
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The thing that really jumped out at me is how little sleep your LO is getting. 10 hrs a day is not enough at his age. My 12 mo is sleeping 7-7 and 11-1 right now. Hes much calmer than even a week ago, when his schedule was 8-6 and 11-1. Thats just a 2 hr difference, and the only thing i did was move hid bedtime back an hour. I also agree about the food. My little guy eats whatever im eating for the most part. He also still gets a bottle, and will continue to do so until probably 18 mos.

As for streamlining - i do groceries once a week, early sat morning, leaving the baby w DH. W/o the baby, i can do the po, farmers mkt, bakery and 2 grocery stores in 2 hrs. Part of that is knowing what i need and where its located. I dont stroll, i dont go down every aisle, etc.

Our evening routine goes like this: dh gets home between 6&630. Bedtime routine starts at 630, and its all DH. He gets a bath once a week during bedtime. Then he and dh lay on the bed and dh reads to him until 7. 630-7 is when i get the nighttime dipe ready, make bottles for the night, prep dinner and occassionally sit down for 5 min of me time. At 7 i go into the bedroom, change dipe, and put him to bed while dh gets "me" time. When hes down, dh is on baby duty (while hes on the computer - if he brought work home, this is when he does it) while i make dinner, we tend to eat about 8 or so.

After dinner, we relax until 9, and from 9-930 we both clean (this includes organizing & decluttering). This week's project is the kitchen, next week will be something else. We devote 30 minutes each to it and then we're done. He starts his bedtime routine while i pack his lunch, then i do my bedtime routine. We're both in bed by 1030.

During the day, my responsibilities are cleaning up any immediate mess (i.e. Vomit), feeding me and DS 2-3 meals plus snacks, changing dipes and running the dishwasher (loaded the night before). I might have to put dipes in the dryer from the night before. I might vacuum the floor if its feeling gross to my bare feet. We get out of the house once a week usually, and we might take a walk around the block if we need to the rest of the week.

For other shopping needs, we buy staples in bulk 2-3 times a year, and i try to limit target trips to 3/yr. Although im discovering that the things ive been buying at target are often cheaper at the local CVS, which saves on gas, too. I can make the shopping trip our weekly outing and go during a dead time, or i can leave the baby w dh and go during a more busy time. Its probably 50/50. Anything else is purchased online.

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