How do you deal with low-motivation days? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-27-2010, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes I wake up and I'm ready to get moving and get things done... other days not so much! It's just me and my one baby, so it's easy to be lazy sometimes. But I really do need to be getting things done most days!

This morning DD and I woke up at 8 and we've been just lying around for the past hour and a half. I did manage to make myself a cup of tea, eat some breakfast, and drag the space heater up from the basement. (It is COLD today!)

DD is taking a nap now... I have tons of things I need to do today and when she wakes up from her nap we have to leave the house... but I'm still just sitting here in my PJ's!

Also, perhaps more importantly than the stuff I need to do around the house, when I'm feeling blah I don't connect as well with my daughter and so then she ends up feeling icky too and is more fussy!

So... how do you motivate yourself on days like this?

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Old 10-27-2010, 01:43 PM
 
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i find taking a shower even if i had taken one the night before really helps me get motivated and getting dressed. gives me the feeling of ok lets get moving.

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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No advice, just waiting for others responses, as I have the same problem. It's easy to not have a big "schedule" when you only have one kiddo. I know it's going to be hard once our second arrives, but in a way I'm looking forward to it because it will force me to get myself on a schedule and do the same chores every day, make sure everything gets done. Ya know?

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:31 PM
 
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I sit on my butt. Sometimes I look at my list and see if anything really has to be done. Some days that gets me going again. Some days it doesn't. I figure there is always another day. If I push myself when I'm just not feeling it I just end up in a bad mood.

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Old 10-27-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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1 - I have some time to 'wake up' while I'm working (computer work) & DS is still asleep

2 - I always take a shower within a half hour of DS waking up

3 - We leave the house as soon as I'm showered & DS and I are dressed


Every once in a while we have a lazy day (usually if I'm not feeling well) & I think you need to give yourself permission to do that -- and truly enjoy and appreciate being lazy rather than feeling guilty.

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Old 10-27-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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If I really need it, I allow myself to take a lazy day to just be with the kids, make our meals and clean up just that mess.
The laundry and other stuff waits till the next day.
If I just feel lazy, but know I'll be mad at myself the next day, I just have a stong cup of tea and force myself to get with it.
I find that if I keep our menu planned and inventory all stocked I can have these days once in while- guilt free!
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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I firmly believe in one lazy day per week, and we are deep in a lazy "afternoon" here...this morning we did crafts, I rearranged spice cabinet, and did some homeschooling stuff but for the remainder of the day we are watching movies, order pumpkin sushi rolls, and taking bubble baths.

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Old 10-27-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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If I'm not feeling my motivated self to get things done around the house, I take a break that day. As long as I don't go into the second week, we're good. I've had times where I needed the whole week to rest. By the weekend or the next Monday, I've been back to normal again. Hubby pitches in on those times when I seem more tired than usual. Most of the time I don't need the whole week. Only like once or twice a year I'll need a week. Especially here coming up when I'll be with a newborn.
But to answer your post, take your day off. Mine are the weekends. I'm off on the weekends and sometimes I'll need a day off during the week. I don't need every week to have a day off, but sometimes I do.

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Old 10-27-2010, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess I just need to give it up and be lazy once in a while, but I feel like I DO have days for that... just once in a while I am slow to start on a day that really CAN'T be a lazy day. Today I had made a promise to ship a huge box of donor milk to my milk recipient family, and DW scheduled to come home on her lunch to help me, so I had to be ready. I also really wanted to go to playgroup because I like it... Just hard to get moving!

crunchy_mommy- I do tend to do better on the days that I wake up before DD. Perhaps rolling out of bed a little before her more often would be helpful.

kayleesmom- Showering right away is a good idea too!

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Old 10-27-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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I say enjoy it! As a SAHM it is so easy to get burned out or feel overwhelmed during different phases of your child's life. So if right now you are in a good place to just relax with a lazy day and enjoy your child...do it! That is the joy of staying home. Learning now how to relax about the massive To Do lists we create will give you some practice of how to let those things go when life really does get more hectic.

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Old 10-27-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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I go to this thread for accountability and I try to see what I can get done in 15 minutes at a time. http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1262265
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommariffic View Post
I firmly believe in one lazy day per week, and we are deep in a lazy "afternoon" here...this morning we did crafts, I rearranged spice cabinet, and did some homeschooling stuff but for the remainder of the day we are watching movies, order pumpkin sushi rolls, and taking bubble baths.
Now THAT'S my kind of day!
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:45 PM
 
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We too believe in one lazy day a week. But if I really need to get my butt in gear I take a shower. Or I start a project that I HAVE to finish. Like reorganizing the kitchen shelves, redoing the closet, etc.

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Old 10-28-2010, 02:59 AM
 
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on those days, i dont make dinner.

just knowing that dinner is going to be made by someone else makes my day sooooo much better, and makes me WANT to do things lol

or, i put on my walking shoes, which makes me want to go for a walk, which makes my blood flow, which picks up my mood

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Old 10-28-2010, 03:40 AM
 
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I've accepted that I'm not a morning person and that I'm not likely to accomplish anything other than breakfast before noon.

Mornings are relaxed for me and my son (who is homeschooled). And that's okay. My most efficient time is in the evening. When I was a new mom, I struggled with feeling like a failure because I didn't get "enough" done. I made long lists and felt good about myself only when I accomplished a lot.

I still enjoy taking care of business and being productive. But over the years I've learned the basics that make me feel like I'm doing okay. Those basics are something like:

1. get clean and dressed
2. homeschool basics (reading, science, history)
3. dishes done, kitchen counters wiped, and floors swept
4. something easy for dinner (Crockpot meal or eggs and toast, even)

If I need motivation to do housework, I use a timer and listen to Rihanna or Lady Gaga. I like to light my Yankee Candle Co. candle too.

I've learned that there are 3 things that make my husband happy. He thinks I've been working hard if I focus on these things:

1. make our bed
2. no dirty dishes in the sink
3. something (anything!) made for dinner

I think he's pretty easy to please!

What are your expectations for yourself?

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Old 10-28-2010, 03:52 AM
 
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This may or may not be helpful...

I just stopped worrying about it. There is no Mom Police that shows up unannounced with a clipboard and promptly tears off my big fat red F for the day. Once I figured that out, then I was good to go. I don't see the point in getting worked up about things. I just make sure i am not lying around in filth for days on end.

My expectations are REALLY low. I set them way too high in the beginning and definitely ended up in therapy for trying to be Supermom. Here they are now:

1. Feed my child decent food.
2. Feed myself decent food.
3. Drink water.
4. At least think about what to make for dinner.

That's it! If we get out, great. If I clean, great. If not, great. I am also pregnant with #2 and had a rough first trimester, so I spent a lot of time on the couch and floor with DD. She is too young to know the difference.

Sometimes I do 30 min. of power cleaning where I pretend like someone is coming over and I have to clean really fast. It is amazing how much I can get done. My biggest areas of noticeable clutter are toys, dishes, and laundry. I can fool my DH thinking I cleaned all day (not that he expects that at all) if I keep on top of these 3 things simply because they are the most visually obvious.

Hahah, to summarize:
1. Yes to figuring out your personal bare basic minimum expectations of yourself/situation. BASIC is the key word here. Anything you do past these simple rules for yourself is always a bonus.
2. Banish mom guilt and don't buy into the lies of the Mommy Wars and stop comparing/thinking of what other moms must be doing (and how much 'better' they're managing. ha!)
3. Do one fun thing a day.


e.t.a. Hahah ReadingMama, we seem to operate the same!!

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Old 10-28-2010, 04:15 AM
 
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I don't do anything.

I give myself permission to do as little as possible that day. For me that involves making sure the kids are fed and safe. Doing the washing. Tidying up and running the vacuum around. I used to let everything go (apart from the kids!) but there was always so much work the next day that I'd get too behind and have to work my butt off to get the house in order again.

I will sometimes decide not to make dinner. It's just me and the kids so I don't need to worry about a SO, so on those nights the kids might have popcorn for dinner or tinned soup. Today has been one of those days and it was peanut butter and banana sandwiches for dinner.

It's complicated.
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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Old 10-29-2010, 11:30 PM
 
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I totally agree, pearl2!! I worried so much about getting things done in the first month or so - things that legitimately had to get done re: insurance, my job, etc.... And finally, when those things FINALLY got done (working around severe colic), I just accepted that there wasn't really anything except those basic needs that HAD to be done. I need to step up my game on getting out more with my toddler now (same, only child), but I don't beat myself up over home chores and such.

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Old 10-30-2010, 12:10 AM
 
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Honestly? I give in. I wish I didn't sometimes, because sometimes things really need to be done. But a lot of times, I just give up and plop down on the couch and toss a bag of carrots to the kids.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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One thing to remember is that housework isn't really a checklist to accomplish. Because it's never really done. We will never have *everything* done with nothing else to do. It's more a daily maintenance thing--like eating breakfast or brushing your teeth.

That's why a timer is so helpful. As long as you're putting in some time each day, things will stay manageable. I need to put in about 45 minutes to an hour a day to not feel like my house is out of control. That keeps it at our "normal". I don't usually spend a straight hour doing housework though. I like to work for 15-20 minutes at a time.

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Old 10-30-2010, 11:53 PM
 
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I think of housework as cyclical. So I just try to manage the cycle a lil' each day.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ReadingMama View Post
One thing to remember is that housework isn't really a checklist to accomplish. Because it's never really done. We will never have *everything* done with nothing else to do. It's more a daily maintenance thing--like eating breakfast or brushing your teeth.

That's why a timer is so helpful. As long as you're putting in some time each day, things will stay manageable. I need to put in about 45 minutes to an hour a day to not feel like my house is out of control. That keeps it at our "normal". I don't usually spend a straight hour doing housework though. I like to work for 15-20 minutes at a time.

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Old 10-31-2010, 05:51 AM
 
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usually if I stay in PJ and do nothing it only gets me more depressed, therefore i put some rules not to get into such days:
-never leave the house messy in the evening; waking up in the morning into a messy house makes me want not to do anything.
-start the day with music to dress up and breakfast
-leave the house for a walk with the kids before doing anything!

if I do fall on such days for some reason I MAKE myself into cleaning and I do feel much better after I see the house clean, kids schooled and meal prepared!

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Old 10-31-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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-never leave the house messy in the evening; waking up in the morning into a messy house makes me want not to do anything.
-start the day with music to dress up and breakfast
-leave the house for a walk with the kids before doing anything!
I love this, especially the part about never leaving the house messy in the evening!
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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I love this, especially the part about never leaving the house messy in the evening!
If I did that I'd never get to sleep!

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:34 PM
 
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If I did that I'd never get to sleep!

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Old 10-31-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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If I did that I'd never get to sleep!
True to an extent. I know in my home that when I have to wake to supper dishes from the night before and a couple loads of clean laundry to fold/put away, I begin the day feeling completely overwhelmed. Something as simple as quickly washing the supper dishes and folding the laundry together before bed helps a great deal. Of course, the house is never spotless, but taking care of a couple things before bed does help. For me that's dishes and laundry and maybe clearing off the kitchen table. LOL When these things are done, our home feels clean to me and I end up having a more productive day.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:51 AM
 
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True to an extent. I know in my home that when I have to wake to supper dishes from the night before and a couple loads of clean laundry to fold/put away, I begin the day feeling completely overwhelmed. Something as simple as quickly washing the supper dishes and folding the laundry together before bed helps a great deal. Of course, the house is never spotless, but taking care of a couple things before bed does help. For me that's dishes and laundry and maybe clearing off the kitchen table. LOL When these things are done, our home feels clean to me and I end up having a more productive day.
Ok, all sarcasm aside, how does this actually work? When we get done with dinner DH has to go finish work, I have to wrangle kids to get THEM cleaned up from dinner, then start homework (for the one kid in school), run DSS home (on nights he's with us), baths/teeth/hair etc. It easily takes 2 hours to get everyone situated, and by the time I get them to sleep I'm so exhausted I just collapse into bed myself. The youngest is 3 months and nursing several times a night, and the 2yo frequently has night terrors 1-2x a night. When I get up in the morning I hit the ground running, an it doesn't stop until I collapse into bed the next night. Rinse, repeat.

So I'm not trying to be a pain, or one of those 'no possible solution will ever work for me', I'm genuinely trying to understand this.

In order for us to have a meal at home, I have to keep the kids busy long enough to cook it without a disaster erupting. Whether the disaster is because of a younger kid, or because of an older kid, or both, just depends on the day So the kitchen is a mess by the time I'm done cooking because I'm moving fast just to get it done in the time frame allowed, where I'm not nursing, soothing a cranky toddler, or whatever. We sit down to eat and I'm eating while nursing the baby, because at that point I've been cooking for an hour/two and she's hungry. I'm ALWAYS doing SOMETHING, and it just seems to never end.

Maybe this explains why I had a meltdown yesterday that resulted in me losing my temper at DH....

Anyways, I think that's how I get so behind. I *don't* have time to clean up after dinner. I frequently am starting my day playing clean up from the night before. And on and on.... Help?

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Old 11-01-2010, 01:34 AM
 
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what about those who have art hobbies???

i used to draw comics in my free time. got a one shot published in a magazine while i was pregnant even, and i've been meaning to put my animation school skills to some use! but everytime i bust out the utensils i fear DD will poke her own eye or something when i have my face down in the paper! ack!

and i only have DD at the moment! what more when there is another (and possibly another)!? haha! i always wonder about that.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:02 AM
 
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Ok, all sarcasm aside, how does this actually work? When we get done with dinner DH has to go finish work, I have to wrangle kids to get THEM cleaned up from dinner, then start homework (for the one kid in school), run DSS home (on nights he's with us), baths/teeth/hair etc. It easily takes 2 hours to get everyone situated, and by the time I get them to sleep I'm so exhausted I just collapse into bed myself. The youngest is 3 months and nursing several times a night, and the 2yo frequently has night terrors 1-2x a night. When I get up in the morning I hit the ground running, an it doesn't stop until I collapse into bed the next night. Rinse, repeat.

So I'm not trying to be a pain, or one of those 'no possible solution will ever work for me', I'm genuinely trying to understand this.

In order for us to have a meal at home, I have to keep the kids busy long enough to cook it without a disaster erupting. Whether the disaster is because of a younger kid, or because of an older kid, or both, just depends on the day So the kitchen is a mess by the time I'm done cooking because I'm moving fast just to get it done in the time frame allowed, where I'm not nursing, soothing a cranky toddler, or whatever. We sit down to eat and I'm eating while nursing the baby, because at that point I've been cooking for an hour/two and she's hungry. I'm ALWAYS doing SOMETHING, and it just seems to never end.

Maybe this explains why I had a meltdown yesterday that resulted in me losing my temper at DH....

Anyways, I think that's how I get so behind. I *don't* have time to clean up after dinner. I frequently am starting my day playing clean up from the night before. And on and on.... Help?
Wow, your situation does sound much tougher than mine at this point. I only have 1 child full time, my 9 month old son. My younger DSD is soon to move in with us full time. She's 11 1/2. My other DSD is almost 14. I spend time with them and do fun things with them when they're here, but I never feel it is my responsibility to pick up after them. I generally have them pick up their things once a day (for summer vacations). I usually have to do a walk through and remind them that their dirty clothes don't go on the rocking chair/behind the door/etc. But they're big girls. I believe children should be taught to pick up after themselves. (I never was taught to pick up after myself and SERIOUSLY struggled with messy/clutter filled homes through all of my twenties and the beginning of my 30s.) I don't want to raise my children that way.

In a little over 2 weeks, DSD2 will arrive year round full time (with the exception of summer and every other Christmas). We're very excited and plan for me to homeschool her. Meanwhile certain things will have to happen so that the home runs relatively smoothly, certainly not perfectly. Supper cleanup is done in 15 minutes with DH, 2 DSDs and me, that's even considering that 1 of us may be tending to the baby. If he needs to nurse, that's me. If he needs to be entertained, one of the girls will volunteer to entertain him instead of helping to clean. But that still means that the rest of us can have focused effort. DH and I kind of presented the idea to them that we cook and do dinner cleanup as a family, that it all goes much smoother and EVERYONE gets to relax afterward.

At their home out of state, the girls switch off every week between washing the entire family's laundry and washing the entire family's dishes by hand, including drying and putting them away. One of them is fully responsible for each chore every week. So for them everyone working together to get the dishes washed, floor swept, table, counter and stove wiped clean and being done between 10-20 minutes (even from a big dinner) is much more attractive than what they're used to. As far as cooking, the older DSD jumps to entertain her brother so she doesn't have to cook. LOL Younger DSD loves to cook. This past summer we taught them both how to chop basic vegetables and what not.

I can't see your siggy right now as I'm typing this. I remember you have a 3 month old (that's tough) and a 2 year old. Your older kids are 9, 11 and 17? I would say they can all help in the kitchen, at least to clean up if not cook dinner. You have to sell the idea to them. You could tell them that if they all work together for a short time, you can watch a movie together or anything that would be a treat for them afterwards. Kids love our attention and the prospect of a parent/parent figure playing games with them can be motivating. Honestly, I don't pick up after 9 and 11 year olds. That just reinforces their bad habits. It's not mean to ask an older child to pick her dirty night clothes up off the floor and put them in the laundry basket, or to please take the empty milk jug off the table and throw it in the trash can.

So I guess I'm thinking it might be a good idea to ask your older kids for help. One might volunteer to play with the 2 year old or hold the baby. One might help you with dishes while another quickly sweeps the floor and cleans the table. Voila! Dinner cleanup is (theoretically) done. Maybe the 2 year old can do small "helper" tasks, like holding the dust pan for the one sweeping the floor, or sweep alongside that person with a child sized broom and dust pan? (ETA: This would keep the 2 year old "busy", even though she/he wouldn't really be sweeping the floor clean.

Honestly, your situation sounds loads harder than mine. I'm saying this upfront. My husband is home every evening (unless he's occasionally away on business). I don't (yet) have a toddler. My 9 month old (while he nurses a lot) does not nurse nearly constantly like a 3 month old might. I've never had a child in public school to oversee homework. Every time the girls have visited we've followed the same routine, so they know what to expect. And, Theoretica, I haven't begun homeschooling yet, so I don't know how it will throw my routine. Honestly, though, I plan to have DSD do a couple small chores every day, so that I CAN homeschool her. I generally follow Motivated Moms cleaning program. So I plan to just have DSD do habit chores like picking up after herself and making her bed. Then I plan to have her do 2 chores that don't take a long time, like wiping the bathroom sink and quickly dusting the desk or vacuuming the living room (just basically vacuuming, not expecting anywhere near perfection) and feeding the cats.

It's amazing how fast things get done when family members work together. If each person does even a couple small things, things are much more manageable. No one person feels overwhelmed or like a martyr. I honestly believe that it's better for my family to have me less stressed regarding housework. I'm able to spend more time with them doing fun things and to occasionally relax. It also keeps me from feeling like a "wicked stepmother" because I'm more positive and bright--and they reap the results of that. ... These may not be the answers you seek, as I've truly never been in your position. But I wanted to share my thoughts with you and offer hugs.

ETA: DH and I will be TTC in about 3 months, so I could be in your position with an infant and a toddler soon. Also, my pregnancy with DS was so hard with all day sickness for over half the pregnancy. So I'm trying to come up with ideas ahead of time that will make things easier on me later when I'm pregnant and puking half the day or exhausted tending to a newborn and toddler.

Also, I plan to have DS contribute in small ways when he is able to. Maybe when he's older, I'll occupy his time having him color "place mats" for dinner or handing items to me and helping me to stir. Or if help with the preparation of dinner was not an option, I might make that time of day a quiet time: time to do activities like reading, drawing, coloring, playing with play-doh, working on homework (for your public schooled child)... That way things will feel less chaotic.
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