I am not coping very will with being a SAHM. I literally get nothing done. My dd is 8 mths old. I have been home since before she was born. Those days I enjoyed cooking, cleaning, my new role as a homemaker.
These days, it is a good day when I can actually get dressed, make dinner, and put a load of diapers in the wash.
To top things off, I have been very resentful of my DH. He has a desk job. Not a stressful one, but often times monotonous.
When he gets home he doesn't do ANYTHING as far as the house goes. It drives me nuts! He does put baby to bed, but she goes to sleep around 630 and then the rest of the night is free.
I feel frustrated with him, frustrated that I can't get anything done in our cluttered house, and frustrated that I have to wake up and do it all over again.
Am I expecting too much of him? Is this what my job is? Making it all work? Or, do you work something out?
This is really affecting my marriage so any advice is appreciated, even if you tell me to get off my butt!
Mama. Staying at home is sooooooo hard sometimes! It's a struggle to keep it pulled together, to feel motivated, to feel worth it. It's hard feeling validated when most days no one notices if you change out of your sweats or not. It's hard, but I promise it does get better. Once your little one gets older and more independent, life will get better. The older they get, the easier it is. I struggled with the exact same issues you have when my oldest was a baby. Even now, I still have ebbs and flows.
One thing I've noticed is that when I'm really bitter, resentful, and downtrodden, it's usually because I'm not taking care of me. What can you do to meet your needs? Is there a mama nearby who might be willing to swap childcare with you once or twice a week so you can each get time out and about alone? Is there a book club you can join, or a gym with early morning classes? If she's in bed by 6:30, maybe make it a point, once or twice a week, to get out alone or with a girlfriend. Just grab a dollar coffee and hit a resale shop. Not much, but some *you* time will make a huge difference. Get your hair cut, splurge on a good book, walk the mall alone. Spend some time reconnecting with you. Mommy burn-out is the worst! I've been a sahm for 6 years now, and I promise it does get better, though there are spells that come and go.
Take care of you, mama!
Wife to , mama to , , , and - bonus mommy to !
Aw, thanks. I appreciate the response. I hope it does get better. I wish I had a tutor or something
Congrats on making it 6 years. I hope in 6 years I am loving my job!
Or you're going to him...and that helps nobody, right?
Here is how it works at my house:
Dh gets up with DS in the morning (usually at about 6am when DS wakes up). I sleep for an extra hour or two (because I co-"sleep" with DS).
DH goes to work at about 8:30
I am with DS all day. Some days the kid will take a decent nap and I'll be able to complete one major task (shower, breakfast dishes, vacuum, sweep, water the garden). Other days I scarf my breakfast, have some coffee, get dressed and he's awake. So oh well.
DH gets home at around 5:30 and then I usually make dinner. If I make dinner he does the dishes. If he makes dinner I'm supposed to do dishes but usually he does them anyway.
After dinner I put DS to sleep (while DH does dishes).
The rest of the night is usually free time for both of us.
If the house is a wreck then we both work toward cleaning it. Sometimes that means doing so after DS is sleeping (with the exception of vacuuming), sometimes we have to wait until the weekend. We have a tiny house so it can't get that bad really.
Many mamas on this board disagree with me but frankly I see my job as caretaker to my son. From 8:30 to 5:30 that is what I do. All housework done during this time is bonus (except laundry). Housework is a joint responsibility IMO. SAHM does not equal maid.
I'm sorry you're frustrated.
PP is absolutely right that you need to make sure to get some me time. Leave DH with the babe and go out somewhere. And if he has ever given you crap about not getting stuff done around the house, make sure to tell him you expect him to finish the dishes while you're gone .
I agree that some time for you, doing whatever recharges you, definitely sounds like it is in order. Some time on an evening or weekend afternoon drinking coffee in the quiet (I have older children that are LOUD), time getting my hair cut, cooking classes (I love these!), once a month night church, time browsing a bookstore or looking for a new shirt, these are things that recharge me.
When my oldest was 0-2, my dh traveled 4 nights a week. During that time, I found joy in long baths, silly movies after bedtime, and lots of playgroups (and mama conversation) during the day.
But, taking care of you is very important, whatever that might be.
Contrary to the way ChamomileGirl's house runs, I am in charge of most of the house type stuff around here. BUT, that's the way it's always been (since long before children), that's the way I like it, and while my dh likes it (who wouldn't??), he regularly checks in, so to speak, and makes sure that it's still working for us.
I prefer to do most of the house type chores during the day/week, so that our weekends are full of entire-family having fun time. In other families, they prefer to have more childcare oriented daytime/weekdays, so that the weekends are more divide and conquer, with one person doing childcare and one doing housework type stuff. And, you know...Whatever works. I think that it's just important to actually sit and talk with your dh and figure out how you want your lives to run and look and be. And, then, however that happens, then, that's great. It's just having that conversation with your dh that is important. AKA the "your life doesn't look much different, but I don't think you realize that mine has radically changed since we created this little baby" talk.
I use a bought schedule (motivatedmoms.com) for my deep cleaning type housework. We moved in October to an old house that has a lot of dirt just every. single. place, and this helps me keep it under control. I also mix this up with flylady routines (so I do the same things every AM, late afternoon, and before bed--just basic routines of cleaning/picking up/keeping it under control). I have been home fulltime for almost 5 years, though, so it took me some time to figure out what works for me. And, just when I get it figured out, the baby changes his schedule or my oldest stops napping or something different happens. Of course. :) Keeps you flexible, I like to think. But, for me, yes, I do the housework. I do about 30 minutes of basic maintence every day (wiping down the bathroom sink, making the beds, sweeping the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher), about 60 minutes of deeper cleaning every day (from weekly like changing sheets, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms to more often laundry to less often dusting my open shelving in the kitchen or spring cleaning the blinds), and about 60-90 minutes of food prep (all 3 meals, plus a couple of snacks, since I have 3 little kids here all the time).
This still provides lots of time for me to be with my kids. They like to help, so often they are cleaning alongside me. The 9 month old baby just sits on the floor of the kitchen (he's not mobile, but when he is, I'll get him to play with the pots and tupperware) while I cook. The 2 year old has a spray bottle of vinegar that he "cleans" with, and my 4 year old is proud that his job is to empty the trash. So, at least half of my cleaning/picking up time IS time with my kids. But, we also do kid-centric things, too, a lot of the time. I just want them to know that while some times are kid-centric, not all times are, and the priority is the happiness of the family as a whole. Which means we have a decently clean house, good healthy meals, time for everyone (grownups as a group, each parent individually, kids as a group, kids individually) to get some time doing what they want, lots of whole family time (for us, this is early evening and much of the weekend), and sometimes, we put other people's needs ahead of our own for a time to make the whole family flow well. Yes, that's a lot for a little kid, but it's sort of the fabric of our lives, and hopefully, they'll never know a time when that wasn't our priority as a family.
I also put a huge priority on relaxing with my dh at night. My kids are older, so our routine is to eat dinner together, dh puts the bigger boys to bed while I clean the kitchen, I nurse the baby/put him to bed, then I sit down with dh. After 8pm, I am done with all my homemakerly duties. If anything is undone, it can wait until the next day. This "quitting time" is essential for me. Cause, really, otherwise, I could find something to do every minute of every day. It's very important that I quit and enjoy down time. So, I do.
Big hugs to you! Becoming a SAHM is quite the career change. It takes time to find your groove. But, you'll find what works for you. You really will.
First off if your house is cluttered, get rid of stuff. Here is an extensive declutter list from the forums in Feb. It was too daunting for me. http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1296641/old-get-rid-of-decluttering-list
As Flylady says, you canèt organize clutter. You cant clean it. And it will make you more and more crazy. Once you get the clutter out (do people really get it all out?) routines are easier and yes if you just do really simple things like keeping your sink siny everyday, it spills out into other areas.
Ask him to help you get certain tasks. Some people dont have a clue about what needs to get cleaned. Does he see it as your job to get these things done? As a SAHM mom I do see it as my job to get some of the housework done.
At 8 months my baby wasnèt mobile and hated beng alone (well I still do this just not as often). I put him in my baby carrier on my back to take care of dishes and a few other little tasks I needed two hands for.
My dinner routine is now a combination of two things: I work on in throughout the day, getting things ready here and there as baby is happy. And if DH is home early enough (my older DD has evening karate, so we have to eat by 6), he takes over childcare while I cook and clean the kitchen. Lunch is usually leftovers which makes it easier.
I do miss the days when I worked part time and I had one day a week where I was home by myself from 9-3 to clean and run errands. It was beutiful, but it will come around again.
Enjoy your baby too! And get out for a daily walk. It will reduce your annoyance level.
It sounds like you're so stressed! And that makes perfect sense, like others have said it's just such a giant life transition! I agree with much of what previous posters have said, about finding ways to meet your own needs (I'm still learning how to do that!), about talking with your DH about what his expectations are and how you two want to live and be. What is your role? Is it workable for you? What do you need in order to stay sane?
Just to add a bit about how we worked it when DD was around 8 months, here's what our days looked like:
- I primarily cared for during the nights, so DH got up with her anytime after 6am while I slept. He often got the big kids ready as well. I sometimes chose to get up and shower around 7, other times not so much.
- We left the house at 8:10 to take our eldest to school. What I LOVE about this is that every day we get ourselves ready and we get outside for 30 minutes. On the weekend, if we don't get ready and out, I notice a significantly lower energy level.
- We then did something with the baby and DS, who had just turned 4. It could be grocery shopping, errands, going to watch trains, the playground, a playdate, or a little field trip. Sometimes we stayed home while I caught up on housework and he played with his trains or something. I had the baby join me, sometimes she sat in her exercauser or crawled around while I swept and wiped the table. She hated being elft alone so laundry was very difficult. We also did some yardwork in those days while she just hung outside on the lawn. There were some jobs I never figured out how to do with her in tow, and others that turned out to be quite doable.
- DS went to preschool from 11:50-2:05. DD2 usually slept during that time and I often sat in the car to read a book while she napped. I also did a fair amount of journaling and even completed a 40 day bible study during that time. It was awesome.
- The rest of the afternoon was school pick-ups for the older kids, then head home and be swept up in a craze of child care during which nothing else got done. Around 5 or 5:30 I'd start dinner prep and usually put the baby on my back for that. She usually dozed off till daddy came home at 6.
- By 8 all kids were asleep. DH usually did the dishes after that while I restored some order to the house, but by around 8:30 we both called it quits most nights. Sometimes DH would fold some laundry while he watched the game, or I would go move the laundry along (a job I could rarely accomplish during the day!). We also each have a night out, his on Tuesday, mine or Thursday. I try to get together with a friend or hit a coffeeshop.
Our partnership has really developed over the past few years. I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that I need to ask him to do stuff (except dishes), and that he'll gladly do it. We're now working really hard on finding ways for me to meet some of my deeper needs around creativity and having an impact on the world. I really hope you and your DH can find ways to have these conversations. For us it was a thing too of reconciling the fact that there really were no quick fixes and instead it all took regular check-ins and adjustments, and that just as anything started feeling comfortable it changed again. I'm sure that will continue to be the case. All the best to you!
ETA I meant to stress that it's a rare occasion where all the housework is done and I've really had to lower my bar. Also, we tend to spend about an hour on Saturdays cleaning.
Married to DH since 2006. Adoptive mom to DD1 (June 2002), DS (Jan 2006), and bio mom to DD2 (May 2009).
Thanks for all of the perspective. The thing is I need the house to be clean. It drives me insane to have a crying baby and a messy kitchen, clothes piled on the couch, diapers hang drying everywhere, cups of cold coffee everywhere, etc. Honestly, I know I have to start taking more responsibility for my own messy actions, but it is so hard to do. I am exhausted by evening. After baby goes to sleep, I literally just want to have a night cap and melt into the couch. (But often times, lay around on the floor since the couch is usually covered with clothes that need folding!)
The declutter list has really got me thinking. But my DH is really connected to stuff, and gets so frustrated the second I try to start getting rid of things.
I often times leave the house, but to escape the mess! DH doesn't seem to care if the house is a mess or night. But, he is quite passive so maybe he does and just chooses not to say? I don't know.
Thanks for letting me vent here. It is nice to get feedback.
Oh, mama, I soooo know what you meant. And, the mess, oh brother, that gets to me beyond belief too. It's totally - not - fair that you get to bear the brunt of doing the household chores.
At some point, I was so sick of waiting for DH to help, I just did what needs to be done, well, at least enough, so things don't bother me as much. Guess what, it took less time to just bite the bullet instead of negotiating with DH. Yeah, it's totally unfair and I'm not happy about it.
And, no, it didn't solve the problem because, as you said, these chores need to be taken care of day in day out. When I decided to "just do it", I also tried to come up with time-saving strategies. So, whether DH ends up helping or not, it would take me less time to do them anyway.
We're still continuously negotiating-compromising about these stuff, meanwhile I rely less and less on his (possible) help to get things done. Also, the less time-consuming the chores are, the less upset I'm at DH, or the less time I spend getting upset at him ... The fairness part, or lack of it rather, still bothers me of course. But at the end of the day, I'm just so tired of spending/wasting time on this, you know. Fair or not, the less time I waste on these stuff, the more I have to do more pleasant things ...
Anyway, I'm totally winging it at this point, who knows whether it works in the long run or not ... but yes, I know what it's like
Not a full time SAHM but I have been, hope you don't mind if I post.
Doesn't matter if your DH cares if it's messy or not. YOU don't like it messy. So you need to do what you have to to get it clean (delegate to DH, hire somebody, figure it out on your own, or all of the above...) for YOURSELF :) Nothing wrong with that. My last stretch as a SAHM I probably did 90% of the deep cleaning but DH did a lot of kid stuff and day-to-day dishes and such when he was home. That worked for us. When I was home with our first baby the house was 110% my job and I thought it would change when I went back to work. Well - it didn't, and that's when I realized that for us it was not about who was staying at home but respect. I don't know if this is true in your situation, or if it's a matter of mis-communication or just adjusting to life after baby, but it is totally worth finding a solution and getting away from the resentment.
I am not going to tell you if you need to get off your butt or not....you be the judge. Relaxing is important but if you're at the point where it's making you feel guilty, then maybe pulling up your socks will make you feel better. For the record a load of diapers done and a dinner made sounds like a totally reasonable day with a baby in the house.
All that said, keep in mind that you are new at this SAHM thing so don't beat yourself up and accept the learning curve. After 4 years as a mom I have my routines worked out and lots of negotiation with DH behind me (not to mention a very helpful 4yo) and we run a pretty tight ship. But I was NOT handling things with such grace after only 8 months "on the job."
I'm a SAHD, and my wife helps out quite a bit with the housecleaning, so I don't have direct advice on that topic. My days sound not all that different from yours... cooking and childcare and errands in the day, chores at night while my wife prepares to teach her classes the next day. But, as a "guy" who sometimes forgets cleaning things, sometimes doesn't notice dirt and messes, and so on... Have you tried just asking your DH to do things? I know a lot of dads who just don't see what needs to be done, and if their DW says, "Hey, could you clean the bathroom tonight?" they'd happily jump at the chance to do something productive and please their spouse. We even have a little dry-erase board on our fridge for my DW to put tasks that need to get done soon-ish, so if I ever have a second where I'm wondering what would be a good chore to tackle, I can just check the board. I know that I probably SHOULD be able to do all that without such reminders... but I'm forgetful and sometimes oblivious, and the little reminders are a great way to help me organize my chores, and help my wife not get frustrated over the lack of chores being done.
So, maybe you've already tried this, but if not: maybe just ask?
I think this is a super-common issue. We have surely talked about it a lot here. Part of the issue is that DH would be fine with, say, not doing dishes until we run out. He just isn't bothered by that kind of thing and I really, really am. I do what I can during the day (and BTW, it's maybe one day out of the week that I can get a dinner together on my own before DH comes home...so thumbs up to you that you can get that done!), ask for help when I am ready to go nuts, and have lowered my expectations. It is hard to be the one at home LOOKING at the mess all day, where as a SO may be in a tidy work environment. Sometimes I get out of the house just so I don't have to look at how much stupid dog hair is on the carpet. One thing that is different with DH too is that he never tries to do chores while watching our LO. He really focuses on just playing with him, so he doesn't know how frustrating it is to try and unload the dishwasher or whatever while our son (almost one year) is clamoring for attention (which I know he should get, yes, but you know what I mean). I came home from getting groceries the other day while DH was with our son. DH said, "Well, I found that out of every hour, you have to spend about 55 minutes playing with him." I said "Yeah, I know...now you know why I am so pleased if I was able to make something for dinner!" Many men are used to their moms doing all the housework while their dads never helped, so it may be really weird to your husband to be asked to help. Just a thought. And now I better stop crapping around at the computer and do the dishes. Good luck and I hope that some of the advice PPs have given helps. If not, check out a book called Love in the Time of Colic. It explains how women's libido/willingness to have sex is often related to the state of the household mess. It touches on plenty of other issues, too, but DH was rather interested in that aspect of the book.
I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brother.
My overall well being and that of my kids is SO connected to the environment in which we live that letting it get messy isn't really an option. I mean, yes, there are times it gets messy by my standards, and at those times I really feel stuck and I hate the idea of cleaning up (right now, for instance) but I give myself five minutes to wallow, then I get up and make it better. When DH is around, he will help if I ask, but his initiative isn't great, so he really appreciates my asking for specific help.
If your LO is in bed at 6:30 each night, you should be able to have the house pretty much restored to functional by 7:00 and enjoy some downtime together with your husband. If you can't tidy your house in that half hour every night- you probably have too much stuff and decluttering has to be a priority.
Really though- if you are a person who is affected by the mess (and if you are choosing the floor because of the laundry on the couch- you are!) the cleaning has to be high on your list of priorities.
A chore chart can help with clarifying expectations for DH, but for me it works better to take ownership of things that bother me. The mess bugs me, so I need to take responsibility for making it better. When I finish typing this post (it's nearing midnight- the youngest was up with teething pain until a few minutes ago) I will do a whirlwind through the living room to make it a comfortable place to walk into in the morning. I did the dishes while I gave the toddler a snack laced with ibuprofen a little while ago. When I grab a quick shower in the morning, I'll quickly clean the bathroom so I don't have to do it later. Laundry is an ongoing battle, but was mostly solved by making sure that I have enough laundry baskets that even when I can't get things folded, it can all be tucked in the closet in baskets so I don't have to stare at it and feel guilty. I'm alone with three kids- two two and under- for months at a time, I don't have energy for that kind of guilt. I keep every surface clear- nothing is allowed to pile up.
I am sure it all seems rigid, but if I allow myself to get behind, I come to a standstill, the kids get cranky, everything falls apart. I have an obligation, as a parent, to create a healthy environment for myself and for the kids with or without my partner's help. I can't be an effective parent in a messy house. There are people who can, but I am not one of them. It really is more important for me to tidy things up than it is for me to spend 5 minutes playing on the floor.
wow insidevoice, thank you for your response. That really touched bases with me. It is my obligation, and I must take ownership for that. Thanks for the clarity!
That is me. I get cranky with my 8 mth old , my pet, my husband, myself. And I think I just need to stop wishing my DH would help, like many of you pointed out, and use that energy to get stuff done. Thank you all for your thoughtful responses, so much of what you have mentioned and suggested I am taking to heart.
oh, and thanks for the papa perspective ScottyG!
If all your are doing is wishing your DH would help, then you aren't communicating well with him. And if you aren't communicating well with him, no wonder you are frustrated with him. Sometimes you have to actually ask. He can't know that the cups on the end table are making you nuts unless you tell him. He can't know that you want the laundry folded because you haven't had time and have had to spend the whole day working around it, unless you ask him to fold it. Obviously the mess isn't making him crazy, he's probably not even seeing it, but he can't know that it's making you crazy, he can't know that you want it clean and that you want him to help, unless you talk to him about it.
I hear ya! I sometimes let the frustration bottle all up too. My husband doesn't really lift a finger around the house, but I know that he works his butt off running his own business and the house and kids are my business that is supported by him. So I can support him by cooking and cleaning for him and making his life easier so when he comes home from work he can just relax. Sounds totally antiquated. But it makes sense, right? But the problem with that is- my job is 24 hours and his is half that. So in order for me to not feel frustrated I need to have some relax time. If I don't ask I don't get. SO I go out for monthly ladies nights. A couple times a month I do my groceries on my own. And I ask him to play with the kids so that I can workout either in the morning or evening. And sometimes I send them away so I can clean the kitchen after dinner in peace with some tunes or just silence!
I'm not going to just say "get off your butt" because lord knows I have been stuck in my tracks before. But really the only solution to that is to just get off our butt!! haha. Develop a family rhythm. We have a loose rhythm. My kids are older- 4.5 and 2 so they can play independently for a bit. Declutter first of all. Anything your husband can't live without can be boxed up in a container and kept. Revisit it in a couple months and see how he feels. Put away 3/4 of your childs toys and clothes in a closet and rotate them weekly. Seriously. Have a set of hooks in each room so you can hang clothing that can be re-worn. It will cut down on laundry. Forget folding (i personally love to do laundry start to finish. its my pet. but this will work) Keep a clean laundry basket for each person in your house and put it next to the dresser. Do your dishes as soon as you dirty them. A lot easier then waiting till they pile up. Involving your baby in routine household chores will help them develop the skills to help you when they are old enough!!
And I so hear you on the nightcap and couch. I do this every night. Its the best reward after a long day. :)
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