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#1 of 28 Old 08-26-2014, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Home, Filthy Home...

I'm writing this at the risk of sounding whiny, but I hope it will result in some useful advice, reassurance, anything to help me feel better.

My children are sweet and beautiful, but my home.... well, I'm sure you've been there. Sticky floors, dust everywhere, loads of laundry in various stages. Dirty dishes, damp refrigerator, wasps nesting in the roof, raccoons nesting in the foundation. I dare not look at the soles of my bare feet after walking around for a while. Bathroom? Don't ask. Windows? Never done them. I'm not a neat freak, but I used to enjoy the occasional cleaning session. It was so satisfying. That was BC, of course.

Now, with a baby and a preschooler, it's getting to be that I can't even get the basics done, and if I try, I find myself becoming so frustrated that things lose their proper perspective for me psychologically. I don't want to see my children as "getting in the way", and I know that it's more important for them to be well cared for, but I just feel so disgusted when I look around and see nothing but dirt, and can do nothing about it. DD is learning to walk, so I spend much of my day finger-walking her around. She is quickly discontented with her playpen, exersaucer, and high-chair. I have a backpack for her, but wearing it with her in it tires me out very quickly (and is difficult when it comes to bending over for any reason). She never naps for more than half an hour if I'm lucky. DS wants and needs more attention from me as well for playing and learning, and there's so much I'd love to do with him, but find I can only give him tiny fragments of time between everything else. I try to get him to "help" with whatever I'm doing, but must keep my expectations well within perspective. He's only 4, after all.

And so, I feel that nothing is getting done even half-decently. Not child-care or house-care, spouse-care or self-care. Meals are rushed and not that tasty. I hardly get to sit down to eat them anyway, as DD insists on more finger-walking before I've had a bite. I know that DH is disappointed that mealtimes aren't the joyful thing they used to be, though he tries to put on a cheerful face. I'm up late just getting the dishes washed and floor swept (forget mopping, I'm too beat after that), and am usually interrupted a few times to nurse DD back to sleep before I'm done. I haven't had a shower in days, as there just isn't a chance to occupy the children sufficiently (and safely) for long enough to have one. I dare not complain to DH about this, as he will feel obligated to "fix" the situation, and I don't think the solution involves more work from him (and besides, he's hobbling around on an injured leg right now). *Sigh*

Whine, whine, whine.... Like I said, I'm sure many of you have been there, or are there right now in
your own households. Feel free to add your own experiences here!

This morning, I was in tears over this. I'm feeling better now and am able to carve out the time to write this because I'm outside of the home at the moment. My parents are occupying the kids right now, but I really want to be more self-reliant, and not reduced to tears every time I have to face the housework and child-care by myself. Really, I should be more mature and capable than this. Possibly it's just hormonal fluctuations making things look worse than they are. But there must be a way to make things a bit better?

OK, DD is getting antsy, so I'd better quit while I'm ahead. I'm sure I've whined enough for today.
Please write with any commiserations or suggestions!

And please, tell me, does it get a little easier as the children get older? They are so very cute right now, that I feel a filthy home is tolerable, if it means I can have such sweet and adorable kids.
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#2 of 28 Old 08-26-2014, 03:24 PM
 
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It absolutely gets easier! Sooner than you think they'll be old enough to gently boot outside or to another room while you get a few things done, and most kids enter a stage when they want to help Mama. Slower for sure, but even a 3yo with a spray bottle and a rag gets it cleaner than it was before.
Not to paint too pretty a picture, my house is far from perfect, but the basics do get done now that my mere presense doesn't trigger cries for milk and small people clinging to my knees.
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#3 of 28 Old 08-26-2014, 05:19 PM
 
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Sometimes it helps to do little bits of jobs instead of thinking of entire rooms needing to be cleaned. And lots of things don't need to be cleaned perfectly to look better. An example is, lots of times throughout the day, I need to grab a wipe for my 2 year olds hands or face, so I grab an extra one and wipe down a surface... the side of the fridge or stove, an arm of the couch, whatever. The fingernail scrubby-doo thing works good enough for shining up the bathroom sink between proper cleanings.

It helps to limit the amount of toys they have available to them at one time. They can trade in what they have for something else, and still have access to everything, just not all at once. Throw a bunch of stuff in a closet where they can't strew it all over the floor the second you turn your back.

At-the-table stuff is a lifesaver when you're getting supper ready. My daughter loves pouring water back and forth between 2 cups, and 'painting'... some things look like they change colour just by getting wet. Your older kid might like having a car wash with hot wheels or something like that. You get a puddle under the table, but then you can wipe it up with an already-dirty towel and it kinda-sorta looks like you mopped, if you don't look too closely.

It definitely gets better, especially with more than one little one, if you can believe it! They will keep each other company for an hour at a time, sooner than later.
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#4 of 28 Old 08-27-2014, 02:38 AM
 
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It definitely gets easier. Can the kids play outside at all? We have a sandpit, water table and trampoline and they will play for ages outside. I can see them from the kitchen, lounge room and playroom windows so I can do things in those rooms.

I agree that it's easier to do things in small bursts than big jobs. This has been a huge mindset shift for me. I used to be a once a week blitz cleaner. Now I do it in tiny fragments. Wipe the bathroom while they're in the bath. Put on a CD and dance while I dust a bookcase. Wash dishes while they eat in the learning tower. I never walk though a room without picking up one thing. Etc etc. Does the baby have to stay in the playpen/exersaucer all the time? Can she roam free at all? That may keep her content a bit longer while you do things.


Also, I would not feel the slightest bit bad about letting the grandparents have them sometimes. I think a close relationship with grandparents is a wonderful gift for children (assuming they healthy people for the children to be with of course). If they are willing to have them for a couple of hours then I say go for it. We aren't meant to do it alone. And use that time to do things which are the hardest to do with kids around.

DH and I also use the divide and conquer method a lot too. For example, he is watching them in the bath now and I just finished doing the dinner dishes. Earlier, he played with them in the back yard while I cooked dinner. Soon, I will feed the 21mo to sleep while he puts the 4yo to bed.


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#5 of 28 Old 08-27-2014, 07:04 AM
 
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Try not to beat yourself up about it. I'm sure all our houses were that way when the kids were tiny. My kids are 13, 11 and 9 now and it's a lot easier now. That said, I can't remember the last time I mopped or dusted. I joke that I am a great mom, terrible housewife. The floors being mopped and the laundry folded is not a huge priority for me. The kids are old enough to help now and they do help quite a bit.

For now, can you find one area to focus on that day? I might make it my goal to get rid of the pile of mail and stuff on the kitchen table. Once it was cleared, and it would only take me a couple minutes, it made me feel so much better. I used to also occupy the kids when something when I wanted to get something else done. If I needed to cook dinner, kids sat at the table and played with something, or I fed them a small snack or I used that time to let them watch a show (we were pretty TV free for a while). Like katelove, I also tag teamed with my husband. He and I worked together to keep things from becoming chaos. That said, we have different priorities now. He cares about the floors getting mopped and will be the one to deep clean the kitchen. We both do laundry, which is almost never completely finished and I care about general tidiness and the dogs not making the house smell like a dog and the cat box and keeping the dishes washed. We always laugh at pictures in the Pottery Barn type catalogues that show a child in a pristine room with ONE thing out. The child is always dressed immaculately and the room looks so neat and clean and even the block tower they are building or the picture they are drawing is perfect. I'm like "Who has a kid's room like that?"

Our house- My kid's rooms have yesterday's snack dishes sitting on a pile of drawings that were done with globs of glitter glue. Some of those drawings are mixed with some magazine clippings from a collage in progress and are strewn on the floor. The bed is always unmade and there are stuffed toys all over it. Clothes seem to never make it into the laundry basket and clean clothes are in the drawer and I know this because the drawer is hanging open. My floors have tracked in dirt and dog hair (I sweep or vacuum almost every day and still can't keep up with newfoundland hair) and my kitchen counters always have spices, and various items still sitting "neatly" on it. My couch cushions are always piled up somewhere that is not the couch and there are books, magazines and media in "neat" piles everywhere. My homeschooling corner is in bad need of organization. What am I doing? Drinking coffee, sitting on mothering.com and talking to my 11 yr old. I'll get to the housework eventually. Your kids are only little once and I always remind myself that when they're gone, I won't be thinking back to how clean my house was.
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#6 of 28 Old 08-29-2014, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, I'm soooooo relieved! Both, to know it does get easier, and that a clean house is not all that important. I ought to know that already, but it helps so much to hear it from others who have been there. I was having a tough day after a busy week where we were out of the house for one thing or another every day, and when I finally had a day where I thought I'd get some cleaning done, it just seemed so impossible to even get started.

But the next day was about as close to perfect as one could hope for. We spent the whole day at home. I found that magic balance between housework and playing with the kids, and even a bit of time for myself. We did stuff outside, we did stuff inside, I cooked a decent meal, scrubbed the bathroom sink, and even managed to do the floors after the kids were in bed. Not every day can be this good, but when it happens, it helps me to feel I'm doing something right.

I loved all your suggestions, like cleaning up in little bits and pieces throughout the day (which I'm learning to do), or getting the kids to "help" around the house. The other day I found my 4 y.o. cleaning the sink with his toothbrush. Well, I thought, as long as it's HIS toothbrush... I've also given him a bottle of vinegar water and cloth to clean the patio door... and it does get cleaner, though he won't stop until the bottle is empty. Lately, he's been better at picking up things when I tell him to, so I'm hopeful that he'll learn to be tidy if I keep encouraging him.

I've also made use of the backpack for DD these past days. Yes, it does result in sore shoulders for me, but it's worth it to have two hands free once in a while. Not having my own hands available to do things around the house has been my greatest source of frustration. I do put her on the floor to play with whatever I can find, and alternate between floor, playpen, high-chair and exersaucer, but eventually I'll be walking her and carrying her, and sometimes carrying DS too, if he's tired and cranky and needs to be held. Sometimes both of them need holding at the same time and I'm the only one available to hold them if DH is out or busy with work. Those are the moments when it's best just to put everything else on hold and give them lots of love for a while. Sometimes it's hard to find the right balance, but I think I'm getting the hang of it... after only 4 years of being a mother!

My parents are (thankfully!) available to look after them for me from time to time. But when I started this thread, I was feeling that I need to give them a break, after being over with the kids almost every day this summer. Often, they'll look after them so I can do a bit of shopping, which is an enormous help. When my niece was visiting, I'd hoped to have her over for babysitting, as she loves the kids, but we wound up spending more time going out together instead staying home where I could have got something more than the basic cleaning done. So, the things I'd been meaning to get around to (like sorting through their outgrown clothes) didn't happen this summer. But, hey, we had fun.

I'm learning to deal with my impetuous nature, which leaves me feeling impatient and frustrated when I can't do whatever it is that I've set my heart on doing on a particular day. It'll all get done eventually, and won't be that important in the long run.

I've got to laugh at those pictures (in blogs and mags) that show kids playing in a perfectly clean and organized home. I have one sister (with one child) who has always kept her home so immaculate that it would put Martha Stewart to shame, and another (with two children) who's home was just a little more "normal". I'll probably never figure out how the perfect sister does it, and it really doesn't matter.
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#7 of 28 Old 09-06-2014, 10:34 PM
 
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Oh, I'm soooooo relieved! Both, to know it does get easier, and that a clean house is not all that important. I ought to know that already, but it helps so much to hear it from others who have been there. I was having a tough day after a busy week where we were out of the house for one thing or another every day, and when I finally had a day where I thought I'd get some cleaning done, it just seemed so impossible to even get started.

But the next day was about as close to perfect as one could hope for. We spent the whole day at home. I found that magic balance between housework and playing with the kids, and even a bit of time for myself. We did stuff outside, we did stuff inside, I cooked a decent meal, scrubbed the bathroom sink, and even managed to do the floors after the kids were in bed. Not every day can be this good, but when it happens, it helps me to feel I'm doing something right.

I loved all your suggestions, like cleaning up in little bits and pieces throughout the day (which I'm learning to do), or getting the kids to "help" around the house. The other day I found my 4 y.o. cleaning the sink with his toothbrush. Well, I thought, as long as it's HIS toothbrush... I've also given him a bottle of vinegar water and cloth to clean the patio door... and it does get cleaner, though he won't stop until the bottle is empty. Lately, he's been better at picking up things when I tell him to, so I'm hopeful that he'll learn to be tidy if I keep encouraging him.

I've also made use of the backpack for DD these past days. Yes, it does result in sore shoulders for me, but it's worth it to have two hands free once in a while. Not having my own hands available to do things around the house has been my greatest source of frustration. I do put her on the floor to play with whatever I can find, and alternate between floor, playpen, high-chair and exersaucer, but eventually I'll be walking her and carrying her, and sometimes carrying DS too, if he's tired and cranky and needs to be held. Sometimes both of them need holding at the same time and I'm the only one available to hold them if DH is out or busy with work. Those are the moments when it's best just to put everything else on hold and give them lots of love for a while. Sometimes it's hard to find the right balance, but I think I'm getting the hang of it... after only 4 years of being a mother!

My parents are (thankfully!) available to look after them for me from time to time. But when I started this thread, I was feeling that I need to give them a break, after being over with the kids almost every day this summer. Often, they'll look after them so I can do a bit of shopping, which is an enormous help. When my niece was visiting, I'd hoped to have her over for babysitting, as she loves the kids, but we wound up spending more time going out together instead staying home where I could have got something more than the basic cleaning done. So, the things I'd been meaning to get around to (like sorting through their outgrown clothes) didn't happen this summer. But, hey, we had fun.

I'm learning to deal with my impetuous nature, which leaves me feeling impatient and frustrated when I can't do whatever it is that I've set my heart on doing on a particular day. It'll all get done eventually, and won't be that important in the long run.

I've got to laugh at those pictures (in blogs and mags) that show kids playing in a perfectly clean and organized home. I have one sister (with one child) who has always kept her home so immaculate that it would put Martha Stewart to shame, and another (with two children) who's home was just a little more "normal". I'll probably never figure out how the perfect sister does it, and it really doesn't matter.
I have seven siblings. At one time my Mom had four kids, five and under. Her home was always immaculate. She was a stickler for naptime and bedtime (as in sleep training). She used to tell me that I should clean while the kids are napping. I said, "Mom, the last thing I want to do is clean when the kids are asleep! I'd rather read a book!"

All of that to say, some people are cleanies and it doesn't matter how many kids they have - their house will be clean. Some people are messies and even if they're single, they'll live in filth. I have one 'cleany' sister and one 'messy' sister. I'm somewhere in between (TBH, closer to messy).

I may have to hang around here more often! This is a great conversation! I usually hang out in my DDC. A messy house is right up my alley!
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#8 of 28 Old 09-09-2014, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have seven siblings. At one time my Mom had four kids, five and under. Her home was always immaculate. She was a stickler for naptime and bedtime (as in sleep training). She used to tell me that I should clean while the kids are napping. I said, "Mom, the last thing I want to do is clean when the kids are asleep! I'd rather read a book!"

All of that to say, some people are cleanies and it doesn't matter how many kids they have - their house will be clean. Some people are messies and even if they're single, they'll live in filth. I have one 'cleany' sister and one 'messy' sister. I'm somewhere in between (TBH, closer to messy).

I may have to hang around here more often! This is a great conversation! I usually hang out in my DDC. A messy house is right up my alley!
Heh. I'm beginning to see that it's just the way I'm wired. My mother had six children, and she could never quite explain to me "how" she kept everything in order, but just kind of shrugs her shoulders and says, you just do what you have to do. Really, I spend way too much of my mental time (while holding baby girl's hand as she learns to walk, or answering DS's ongoing questions) trying to break down the "mystery" of keeping house while having young kids. I'm totally mystified by tales of pioneer women, having a dozen or more children, making EVERYTHING from scratch, and surviving it all. Mind you, many women didn't survive. We don't hear so many tales of those whose bodies broke down from the sheer exhaustion of it all. But many did survive, and found that they were capable of far more than perhaps they thought they were. And then there were those particularly extraordinary women, like Catharine Parr Traill, who not only survived raising nine children in the backwoods, but lived into her nineties and left a legacy behind in the form of the written word.

I often am hard on myself for not measuring up to that standard. I think to myself, if she could do all that, why am I having such a hard time with only two children and every modern convenience? But, after reading your post and pondering some more, I realised, I've always been this way to some degree. Not a total slob, but more of an experimenter, with a mind that goes off in several directions at once. Cleaning house for me used to be a kind of therapy, or a warm-up exercise to more creative endeavours. Now, it's just an ongoing thing, the work that's never done.

I too don't want to be stuck cleaning while the baby is napping. Not that she naps long enough for me to do anything anyway. Two or three naps at 20-30min each is not even long enough for me to catch my breath. I end up staring off into space, on the verge of panic, trying to figure out how to best make use of this small amount of time.

Anyways, I'm rambling. The point I'm trying to make is, people just are the way they are, and I hope one day I'll be able to appreciate my strengths more fully. I know I shouldn't feel like I'm a bad mother for not measuring up to someone else's standards, or those of another era. This is just one of those things I'm trying to figure out. Years from now, I'll probably be wondering why I thought it was all so darn important.
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#9 of 28 Old 09-24-2014, 03:44 PM
 
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My mom kept an immaculate house but all I remember of her from my younger years was her cleaning. I have two siblings and we learned not to go to her for help with a project or comfort when feeling bad. It took me being an adult and having children of my own to realize how much I missed out on having a relationship with my mom.
My house is currently driving me crazy. ( laundry, toys and books everywhere). I have to use nap time to eat or I don't get enough to sustain nursing. The little one is in a particularly active phase with getting into cupboards and climbing bookshelves and wanting to nurse all night because molars are coming in.
It's hard and exhausting but I keep remembering that I have a great relationship with my kids and they will remember more than me folding laundry.
: )

Loving all the ideas!
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#10 of 28 Old 09-26-2014, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, OrmEmbar, for reminding me what's REALLY important!
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#11 of 28 Old 09-26-2014, 02:44 PM
 
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It's taken years, but I'm finally making peace with the idea that cleaning the house ISN'T a job with an end point. It helps for me to think of it as a cycle. I mean even if I did get the entire house clean all at the same time (hah!), it wouldn't stay that way for more than a few hours. Then someone would need to cook, or shower, or play Legos (seriously, which is worse Legos or glitter? I can't tell) and then it would start getting messy again.

Because we cloth diaper, we do a load of laundry every day. We also try to run the dishwasher every day. If we manage those two things it keeps the mess from piling up too badly, but we are always somewhere in the cycle of washing, drying, putting away.

It does help to just do a bit at a time here and there. It also helps to delegate. Honestly I think that's how those pioneer women with a dozen kids did it, they put the kids to work. My DD (age 10) does the family laundry most days, empties the dishwasher, feeds the cats, cleans up toys and helps with taking care of her baby brother. It's been so helpful to me and great for building her confidence in her own abilities. That said, my house is still messy.
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#12 of 28 Old 09-29-2014, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think Legos are worse if they're on the floor (at night, in the dark, under your bare feet), glitter if it's in the food!

I get by with doing the basics (cooking, dishes, laundry, make beds, sweep floor) daily, and try to fit in something extra (bathroom, clean out a cupboard) whenever I get the chance. I think I at least manage to keep those dust bunnies on a leash!

I do plan to give the children their own "duties" around the house as their abilities allow, but I imagine it will be a few years before they can do more than clean the sink with somebody's toothbrush.
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#13 of 28 Old 09-29-2014, 01:03 PM
 
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You are not alone in this feeling. My kids are 15 months apart and my house was horrific most days when they were littles. Now that they're a bit older (9 and almost 8) I can get a few things done. I've also struggled with depression which made all this cleaning business so much the harder. I found this website http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com which recommends little spurts of cleaning rather than trying to do big jobs (Like 20 minutes of cleaning, then a 10min break, etc), or setting a timer for 15 minutes and see what you can get done.

hope that helps
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#14 of 28 Old 09-29-2014, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I found this website http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com which recommends little spurts of cleaning rather than trying to do big jobs (Like 20 minutes of cleaning, then a 10min break, etc), or setting a timer for 15 minutes and see what you can get done.

hope that helps
Great site! Just had a brief look at it. When I can put down the cleaning cloth for a few minutes, I'll read a lot more of it.
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#15 of 28 Old 10-08-2014, 03:44 PM
 
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Right there with you

I wanted to respond and let you know that you are not alone. You might as well have been writing about my home. I'm a SAHM and feel like an utter failure at my job when I look at our home. I too have dishes that perpetually live in the sink, dog hair that has taken up residence as its own species, never ending laundry, and filthy bathrooms. However, my daughter who is 18 months requires most of my attention and I'm pregnant with our second, due at Christmas. I have to cut myself some slack, as should you. When the house is at its worst and I'm in tears, I need to remind myself that this is such a short season. One day the house will be clean, which will be bittersweet because that will be the day my children are growing up and no longer need their mommy as much. What a sad day that will be. So forget about trying to insufficiently do many things and focus on doing one thing the best that you can: being an amazing mommy and wife. Everything else doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.
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#16 of 28 Old 10-09-2014, 08:21 AM
 
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It gets easier. It never ceases to amaze me. My 2yo didnt nurse at all last night or in the morning....what???? Yes. its true.

You're at that difficult stage, but you will look back at it with nostalgia. Just remember that your relationship with your children is the most important thing, more important than keeping things in order. You will gradually learn how to do things more quickly, multitask, parenting is a learning curve in so many ways!

Also, as important as the relationship with your children, is your own health. Dont skip meals! Keep yourself well nourished. You need the strength. You cant do much if youve got a headache because you didnt get enough to eat.

Dont be too hard on yourself. You'll get a chance later to figure out how to keep an immaculate house, if that is important to you. But cherish these first years for you children, because you cant replace them.
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#17 of 28 Old 10-09-2014, 09:39 AM
 
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First off, my house is a complete disaster, so take my advice with a grain of salt
I have found that my 3.5 year old can be surprisingly helpful. Not so much with cleaning up her toys (except for occasionally) because she tends to be resistant and needs a lot of support to get it done, but I just discovered that she knows how to fold blankets really well, and she puts away the silverware from the dishwasher and can even do most of the setting the table for dinner. She also does wash windows which isn't on my radar at all, so even though that one doesn't save me work, it does leave the windows marginally cleaner than before.
Also, I am currently pregnant and leaning down is the bane of my existence, so her enthusiasm for loading and switching the laundry saves me a lot of headache and even time. She'll load the washer while I'm doing something else (folding?), and then I'll start it. And when it's done, she's excited to switch the load from washer to dryer.
This is all just to say - keep experimenting with having your kids help out and some things may turn out to be a help, even at this age. Many, many things I have her do end up being not helpful (and end up making bigger problems to clean up, of course), but the few I've mentioned are actual time savers (in particular the silverware).
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#18 of 28 Old 10-09-2014, 09:54 AM
 
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I came here from the Recent Discussions in the sidebar. I don't usually come to the SAHP forum because I work outside the home, but I hope my perspective might be useful on this part:
Quote:
I dare not complain to DH about this, as he will feel obligated to "fix" the situation, and I don't think the solution involves more work from him (and besides, he's hobbling around on an injured leg right now).
My partner is basically a SAHP (it's a long story, but I'm earning all the money and he's home all day) but he often complains to me about the overwhelming housework and how there never seems to be enough time, and while my first reaction tends to be, "You think YOU don't have enough time?!" we usually will discuss it and come up with a way that either I can pick up one task that's problematic for him or we can re-prioritize so that at least the most important things get done. I prefer that he admit that he's not getting everything done and ask for help, over feeling like he hasn't even noticed what needs to be done. Of course I'd rather he bring it up in a calm "let's work this out" kind of way than really "complain" and be very negative, and I'd rather feel like it's our situation to fix together than like he's dumping it on me to fix, but I certainly understand how he gets overwhelmed. Managing a house is complicated even when there aren't young children in it.

What's interesting is that "I dare not complain" is the feeling I often have, not him. I think this is a gender-role thing that gets in the way regardless of which gender is breadwinning and which is at home, and it's particularly intense about housework because of the societal idea that the cleanliness of a home reflects the character of the woman who lives there. I have really struggled with that idea. When the house is dirty and messy, not only do some of the specifics bother me personally, but when someone outside the family is in the house or I think about how it would look to an outsider, I feel terrible about myself, guilty and worthless, and although logically it makes sense that those negative judgments (if made at all) should be directed at the adult who's home more, I have a hard time believing that anybody would think badly of my partner rather than me for that reason.

I grew up in a relatively dirty and cluttered home. My mother had serious back problems that prevented any bending over and required significant bed rest. My father worked in some of the heavy cleaning around his full-time job, consulting work, and parenting, but a lot of it got done infrequently. It was annoying at times, but I survived just fine and have many happy memories of home. In fact, I appreciate very much that I was allowed to set up toys and leave them out for elaborate play that I returned to over several days, unlike most of my friends who were required to keep their home looking like a catalog photo at all times.
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#19 of 28 Old 10-09-2014, 10:22 AM
 
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I'm not meaning to pick on anyone, especially when we're all trying to make each other feel better. And when the message is to focus on your kids because they're only little once and we should cherish this time.

But...I get that. I cherish that more than I sometimes think the vast majority of people understand. (It always strikes me as odd that some people apparently wouldn't cherish this time?)

The problem is, I feel that my mess/uncleanliness is taking away from that time.

I know there are people who have organized, clean homes and little kids. Do they really have that at the expense of the relationship with their children? (That's a real question.) I also know that these people might have a big age gap that makes it easier. I'm just trying to figure out how much of this is the situation and how much is a complete lack of skills on my part.

I'm not the OP but this has been a helpful thread for me. Lots of good ideas. I just wanted to put this thought out there.

...ok I just skimmed through this thread again and there's even more good advice here than I remembered. I'll read it again, and thank you.

Eta: forgot what forum I was in. I work away from home. Sorry to crash.
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#20 of 28 Old 10-09-2014, 11:02 AM
 
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Let me say it does get better!

When we had only 1 child, I was Martha Stewart 24/7. It's more my nature to be that way. However, I did realize I had to develop some middle ground, as I was spending my focus on a clean house, great hospitality towards others, and exceptional cooking/baking from scratch..and my child was growing up while I cleaned.

However, I don't believe it has to be either/or. When they were all small, it was a bit harder to keep up on things, but I did, because I wanted a calm, chaos free home where everyone wanted to be, not just landed because they had no choice. I developed a cleaning schedule. I have a one month empty calendar where I hand write larger cleaning jobs, and day to day chores that may not be a given such as on Friday I mop and Monday I dust (dishes are given's, cooking a given).

I do things as they come up and don't put them off. I know we all have different personalities, but both my husband and I do not like living in a mess. I can't even go to bed if the house is in too much disarray because waking up to that puts me behind to begin with.

Here is where I respect we all may disagree. I am not looking for debate or to convince others, but rather sharing what works for us. Our children all do chores, every day (except Sunday and their birthday's or if they are ill) without complaint. We have a large household, and although I enjoy serving my family and caring for them, I am not a slave to them.

We spend a relatively short time each morning before school, doing chores. By the time they are 2, I have them doing some small task daily to realize they are part of something bigger than themselves, and that time is not just their own. They have LOTS of free time, because we homeschool and we are mostly at home all the time. I do not feel badly about requiring something from them that teaches respect for other's things, taking care of their own, responsibility, and how to keep a home/space of their own someday. They rotate chores so they all do things that they may not enjoy. As a result of that, (and of course lots of love and fun stuff, too) they are very happy AND compassionate children who realize that the world takes putting oneself aside to help others to be a better place.

My house is ready for drop in visitors at any point. I still do the "big stuff" for the most part, but my children all know how to if needed. When a sibling is sick, they pitch in and do their part to cover their tasks so it isn't dumped all on me. I do not spend my entire day cleaning, just a while in the morning, and a quick pick up before dinner. If the older kids see toys coming out in excess, they just pick them up without being asked. They care for their possessions, as well. Larger cleaning tasks I will tackle in the afternoon while they are doing their own thing and being kids.

Anyway, this has worked well for us-we have a clean house and responsible children who are well-educated on how to care for a home and for others. Tackling a little at a time, and assigning the children some responsibilities to contribute may be a great start if it fits into your dynamic and philosophy. Yes, it does get easier, but only if you've been working towards that. Otherwise they can just as easily be non-contributing 10 year old's or teens as they can babies who are just needing to be mothered and not ready to be "helpers".

Blessings to you!
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#21 of 28 Old 10-09-2014, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I guess I really did touch on something when I started this thread. But I shouldn't be surprised. Keeping house is really a universal topic, regardless of what kind of value the "outside" world may place on it.

Where to start, there are so many points I'd like to respond to and make.

To MyFillingQuiver, your household sounds like something I'd like to aspire to. It's so wonderful to hear you have two more littles on the way, and that the older ones are so responsible and willing to help out. It's such a strong skill you are teaching them. I think you tried to get across how you made it all happen, but I'm wondering what challenges you may have faced along the way? Had any of your children put up a lot of resistance to doing their part? Especially early on in their lives. My DS is now four and he is beginning to behave more responsibly, helping me pick up toys or things, but he seems so impulsive that it's hard to reign him in. Maybe this is something I should discuss in the Gentle Discipline forum, but I'll say here that I don't think he has a huge problem, but that it's more of a readiness issue. I have to keep trying to see if he's ready to do this or that, whether it's using the toilet, riding a bike, or cleaning up after himself. This is just part of my job as a parent, but it is exhausting and I'm afraid of missing out on opportunities to teach him, or perhaps overdoing it and risk having him tune me out as a nagging parent. It's just part of the learning curve for me, I suppose. Did you have any issues with your first child that you were better able to resolve with your subsequent children?

Salr, I too feel sometimes that trying to keep things tidy is taking valuable time away from my children. It's physically difficult to play with and teach them in a disorganized environment. Clearing the kitchen table after a meal MUST happen before DS can spread out his books, art supplies or play dough. And the next meal can't be started before the things from the previous meal or snacks have been cleaned up. The very act of doing these things, plus laundry, plus cleaning the bathroom, plus, plus, plus, is physically draining, and then there doesn't seem to be enough energy left for meaningful play with the children.

But, lest I get too negative over this, I must say that I am getting the hang of it. The past few weeks have at least felt much better for me. Somehow, things are falling into place, with the exception of a few glitches, and I've been able to keep on top of the messes and find time for fun with my children while they are still so young and sweet. Yes, part of this improvement is definitely that I've been taking better care of myself, making sure my nutrient levels are up and doing whatever I can to get adequate rest. It helps a lot if you're not burning out by noon! The other day, I was feeling really tired, and took the time to lie down with DD to nurse her to sleep. I woke up after 20 minutes and soon was feeling more energized than I had been all day. I surprised myself by tidying and re-organizing the living room (which is the children's play-room), created lots of space by rearranging their toy boxes, dusted under the furniture, then went on to sweep the leaves and pine needles off the deck. It just made such an improvement, and I was amazed that the children didn't once hanker for my attention while I was cleaning. I think it was because I had spent so much time playing with them earlier in the day, both inside and outside, that they were happy to have some time to themselves while I cleaned. Maybe that's the key to getting things done around the house. Give the children what they need first!

EnviroBecca, I'm glad you brought up the gender roles issue. It's hard to pinpoint, and I don't want to make sweeping generalizations, but I think there is a difference between genders. My mother and I used to joke that "men don't see dirt". Of course, that's not true in all cases, esp with my DH who sometimes sees too much of the dirt that I wish he would overlook. But he has a fundamentally different approach to cleaning. He likes to marathon-clean, spending most of the day vacuuming every dust particle out of the house without even stopping for breakfast. But then he's burnt-out and unhappy over how dusty the house was. I couldn't clean like that even if I wanted to. Being a mom has forced me to be more efficient and prioritized. And if that means many corners don't get dusted until the kids are older, so be it.

I could go on, but I think this post is too long already!
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#22 of 28 Old 10-09-2014, 01:38 PM
 
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Just to clarify, what I was saying is that my messy house takes away from the joys we could be experiencing living in a clean house! ...like the relaxed feeling, finding things easily, kids growing up in a place that gives them the idea that a clean house is normal. I value those things but just don't know how to make them happen.

I think my kids would benefit from me taking time away from them to clean but as a mom who works outside the home, I see them little enough as is. Searching the other forum for specific ideas...
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#23 of 28 Old 10-10-2014, 07:44 AM
 
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@head4thehills :

The issues we have faced have been pretty much only with the oldest. He was an only child for 5 years, because I had a misdiagnosed health issue with him during pregnancy, which created a cascade of health issues until I found the truth and got healthy again. Then I had a miscarriage. Anyway, having him an only for 5 years, and me doing EVERYTHING, he bristled when he was about 7 or 8 when I began implementing chores. He fought his dad and I for YEARS on chores..it was the same with homeschooling. He went to public school the first couple of years, and in gifted classes where he really seemed to be put on a pedestal..so when he came home a few years later to "we do chores in the morning, and then we do school" and I was both his chore supervisor/co-worker and his teacher, we had issues. It was his personality, as well.

We worked through it, and at just about an adult now, he's very responsible.

The other children have grown up this way. I vowed to not make that mistake again. While I respect all parenting approaches (because the parents have the right to do as they see fit, none of my business) I do say that we could not function, and I could not be a mother to all these children, if we didn't have "rules" and some schedule and order and peace and tranquility, etc.

The routine of it all becomes second nature. Children begin seeing outside themselves. They realize they are part of something bigger-a family, and that they are counted on and appreciated, and that by their helping out and pulling some weight, mama is able to do things for them like bake, and they are all able to help others outside the home. If all they see is a chaotic and messy home, they have no desire to help clean it because it isn't instilled in them. If all they see is mama cleaning all the time, they think it's her "job" and don't believe they need to be part of the workload.

In Summer we are a little more laxed with the larger things, because we all just want to get outdoors. This never means much to anyone on the outside, in other words, they'd never know it. Now, with Autumn, the house is in great shape and the kids are in school here and after school we can all enjoy relaxing and reading or watching something on TV in a home that shows it is appreciated by the people who live there.

My husband is great with keeping up on home repairs and keeping things in good working order. We share a philosophy of caring for what we have, and also we place a different value on entertainment and "free time" than many we know. Having a lot of children has really changed us

Anyway, that's my contribution to the topic you were asking about. If you want any more detail or ideas, just PM me. I don't want my take to be the only one that matters..its' just the one that works for us.

Blessings!
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#24 of 28 Old 09-18-2019, 12:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by head4thehills View Post
I'm writing this at the risk of sounding whiny, but I hope it will result in some useful advice, reassurance, anything to help me feel better.

My children are sweet and beautiful, but my home.... well, I'm sure you've been there. Sticky floors, dust everywhere, loads of laundry in various stages. Dirty dishes, damp refrigerator, wasps nesting in the roof, raccoons nesting in the foundation. I dare not look at the soles of my bare feet after walking around for a while. Bathroom? Don't ask. Windows? Never done them. I'm not a neat freak, but I used to enjoy the occasional cleaning session. It was so satisfying. That was BC, of course.

Now, with a baby and a preschooler, it's getting to be that I can't even get the basics done, and if I try, I find myself becoming so frustrated that things lose their proper perspective for me psychologically. I don't want to see my children as "getting in the way", and I know that it's more important for them to be well cared for, but I just feel so disgusted when I look around and see nothing but dirt, and can do nothing about it. DD is learning to walk, so I spend much of my day finger-walking her around. She is quickly discontented with her playpen, exersaucer, and high-chair. I have a backpack for her, but wearing it with her in it tires me out very quickly (and is difficult when it comes to bending over for any reason). She never naps for more than half an hour if I'm lucky. DS wants and needs more attention from me as well for playing and learning, and there's so much I'd love to do with him, but find I can only give him tiny fragments of time between everything else. I try to get him to "help" with whatever I'm doing, but must keep my expectations well within perspective. He's only 4, after all.

And so, I feel that nothing is getting done even half-decently. Not child-care or house-care, spouse-care or self-care. Meals are rushed and not that tasty. I hardly get to sit down to eat them anyway, as DD insists on more finger-walking before I've had a bite. I know that DH is disappointed that mealtimes aren't the joyful thing they used to be, though he tries to put on a cheerful face. I'm up late just getting the dishes washed and floor swept (forget mopping, I'm too beat after that), and am usually interrupted a few times to nurse DD back to sleep before I'm done. I haven't had a shower in days, as there just isn't a chance to occupy the children sufficiently (and safely) for long enough to have one. I dare not complain to DH about this, as he will feel obligated to "fix" the situation, and I don't think the solution involves more work from him (and besides, he's hobbling around on an injured leg right now). *Sigh*

Whine, whine, whine.... Like I said, I'm sure many of you have been there, or are there right now in
your own households. Feel free to add your own experiences here!

This morning, I was in tears over this. I'm feeling better now and am able to carve out the time to write this because I'm outside of the home at the moment. My parents are occupying the kids right now, but I really want to be more self-reliant, and not reduced to tears every time I have to face the housework and child-care by myself. Really, I should be more mature and capable than this. Possibly it's just hormonal fluctuations making things look worse than they are. But there must be a way to make things a bit better?

OK, DD is getting antsy, so I'd better quit while I'm ahead. I'm sure I've whined enough for today.
Please write with any commiserations or suggestions!

And please, tell me, does it get a little easier as the children get older? They are so very cute right now, that I feel a filthy home is tolerable, if it means I can have such sweet and adorable kids.

Yeah, having children can be very tough, both physically and morally. I know how you are feeling, as a single father I had a hard time in the beginning, being at work almost all day and having a nanny, it was very hard come home and have time not only for my daughter but for cleaning too. I usually try to clean little by little before bed, but for windows I get cleaning services from these guys leedswindowcleaningservices and they absolutely saved me. Their prices are pretty fair and they do a good job so you should try to hire someone to help you with the house as well.
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#25 of 28 Old 09-19-2019, 04:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Muller21pfg View Post
Yeah, having children can be very tough, both physically and morally. I know how you are feeling, as a single father I had a hard time in the beginning, being at work almost all day and having a nanny, it was very hard come home and have time not only for my daughter but for cleaning too. I usually try to clean little by little before bed, but for windows I get cleaning services from these guys leedswindowcleaningservices and they absolutely saved me. Their prices are pretty fair and they do a good job so you should try to hire someone to help you with the house as well.
nice service, I've worked with them
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#26 of 28 Old 04-10-2020, 06:03 AM
 
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Thanks for the replies!
It's very helpful
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#27 of 28 Old 04-12-2020, 05:48 AM
 
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I also have the same problem, I constantly think that I do not have time and that my house is not clean enough. I read all the comments, I will also try to put the tips into practice)
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#28 of 28 Old 05-19-2020, 07:04 AM
 
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You can find a lot of options on Upwork. I used to be a freelancer for many years, it's actually a great way to make money online and have enough time for yourself. Sometimes I play online poker to distract myself and to make some money. By the way, here is a great list of best gambling sites https://casinobetsites.com/
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