I'm a mom so why can't I do housework?

Karissa - posted on 02/25/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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My mom hasn't "worked" since she married my dad 16 years ago. She home-schools my 3 little brothers and manages to keep the house spotless. It's taken her years to be able to do it, but she has mastered organizations and cleanliness. I've wanted to be just like my mom ever since I was little, you know, staying at home with my babies and cleaning the house, but I haven't been doing a good job. The day we moved to our new house, I went into labour, so it was really hard to get all unpacked, and now everything is just stacked in piles. I try to do a little cleaning everyday, but facebook is quite a distraction and playing with baby and reading stories to her takes up most of my time. I know I should be more dedicated. I've tried flylady.org, but it's hard for me to stay on topic. WHAT DO I DO?

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Donna - posted on 02/27/2010

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A wise woman told me to do this and it worked for me: get up in the morning and get dressed as if you were going to work or something. have your breakfast (not coffee and a cookie). Set the timer for 45 minutes. start in one place and proceed from there cleaning until the timer goes off. take a 15 min break. get a drink, whatever. then do it again. You will be surprised how much you can get done in 90 minutes. Now I know that when you have a baby it's tuff. but you can get there! I had 4 kids and I was so much more organzed back then than I am now. And my house was defintely cleaner!

Nicole - posted on 02/28/2010

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Karissa, you are not alone! We all struggle with getting everything done. Especially in baby's first year, don't expect a pristine house! Just make sure it's not toxic, and enjoy that baby. They truly do grow up WAY too fast.

Some things that help me: 1. Break it down. Set a small goal and reward. I make a little post-it list in the morning and don't let myself take a break (TV, book, or computer) until I've done it all. A typical list is breakfast, baths, read them a book, play for 15 minutes, do one load of laundry, and clean one room. When that's done, take your well-deserved break and then make another mini list and reward.

2. When my house is really overwhelmingly horrible, I ask someone to come help. I clean with them and we get the whole house clean in 4 hours--when I have someone else there, it helps me stay on track! Tomorrow I have a local teenager coming, whom I'm paying, but my mom and some great girlfriends have helped me before, too.

3. Make your hubby a little list of things he can do, and ask him to do just one a day. Mine likes to vacuum. ;)

4. Someone else already said this, but setting a timer is great--especially for distracted moms! I usually set it for however many minutes are left on my washer or dryer, and see how much I can get done in 20 or 30 minutes before it's time to fold laundry.

5. When I can't have someone there in person, another thing I like to do is call a friend while I'm cleaning (especially when the kids are napping). I can talk while I load dishes or clean the bathroom sink, and it makes the chore feel less like drudgery.

Shana - posted on 03/25/2010

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Have you heard of a book called "A woman after Gods own heart" by Elizabeth george..it has been a great inspiration to me in my duties as a woman ..also has some great house cleaning and organization tips. Like starting a chore list and a daily schedule...

I would reccomend when you first get up , pray that God will give you the focus and energy to accomplish what He has for you that day.



Good luck and God bless

Amanda - posted on 03/25/2010

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Give your self a little bit of a break. It's possible that you aren't remembering every thing the way she does. I bet the house was always tidy, but that isn't that hard to do. Just put things away when you are finished with them. my house always looks clean, but I know that it isn't. The floors need to be vacuumed, and the bathrooms need a good scrubbing. However, if you were to come over, you wouldn't be able to tell.

Cheryl - posted on 03/24/2010

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I am a mom of three kids and going to school. U just have to take it one day at a time get a rountine that works for you. I do the chores first then i get on to facebook. and 0ther things i want to do. But you have to find what works for you. not everyone is the same. dont be so hard on yourself. we are all one time or another done the same thing. FACE BOOK is Distracting.... LOL :)

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Andrea - posted on 03/25/2010

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The Fly Lady has the answers you need. Go to www.flylady.net . There you will find the baby steps you need to be successful and a whole community of people in the same boat you are. I really have become a better housekeeper since I started "flying". Best wishes!

[deleted account]

If you have the money, have you considered calling a maid service to help out once or twice a week, maybe on Mondays and Thursdays? Also, look in newspapers for maids who aren't working for a company, just by themselves. The prices are usually cheaper. I know being a stay at home mom is great and tough at the same time, but like you said, it took your mom a while to get it perfected! Try asking her for advice.

Rita - posted on 03/23/2010

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I have 2 kids. 15 months and 3 months, my husband works long hours for 3 days and then he's off for 3 but those 3 days that he works we rarely and I mean rarely see him. I have a full time job but I work from home part time. It's a struggle for me to keep the house clean cause I have very busy days...but I try my hardest. I clean when the kids are awake and when they nap sometimes. You can't do it all so just be patient and try your hardest to do what you can.

Jill - posted on 03/20/2010

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keep doing what your doing....play with your baby... read to her ...love her.the r est can wait....don;t be so hard on yourself... you are not your mother,,,,, and you hit the nail on the head,,, IT TOOK HER YEARS TO MASTER IT.....

Honna - posted on 03/17/2010

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It's really hard I struggle with house work. But I realized that it is up to me. My husband does little things for me which I love but most of it I do. I just spread it out. I'll load the dishes in the morning, throw laundry in in the afternoon, vacuum when my daughters napping, and then start to make dinner. Big things like the bath tub or stuff like that I have a set day to do it that way I know it is coming. I will admit sometimes I let it go and I feel thats okay. It is just hard to catch up. Just find a plan that works for you and dont worry if sometimes things dont get done. There is always tomorrow!

Jacque - posted on 03/17/2010

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Hi Karissa, I just want to tell you that my "babies" are 23 & 19. The youngest went off to college last fall. For the first time in 24 years, my house looks picked up and organized. Once they got into school there were school activities and it got worse the older they got. I would have loved to have a beautiful, pristine house all those years. But that was not my family. I chose to spend my time with my boys. My house was messy, but not dirty. And that was my main goal, keeping it from getting dirty! I remember a cross-stitch my aunt had made and hung on her wall (she had 7 boys). It said"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow, for babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep" That was my mom motto. My boys grew up happy and healthy in a cluttered house. Now they can come home to a nicely organized home. I would never give up the time I spent playing with them in the yard or going for walks. I didn't have a distraction like a computer, tho. I spent my time playing with my boys, not on the computer. I guess what I am trying to say is this: If your house is cluttered because you chose to play with your baby rather than unpack boxes today, don't sweat it. That box will be there at nap time. Just make sure you unpack the box and not get lost on Facebook!

Bronwyn - posted on 03/16/2010

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I have the same problem. Thre are days when I just can't be bothered with the housework, and days when I motor around getting loads of it done. I reckon just take each day as it comes, and concentrate on keeping up with one think at a time. For me washing is always behind, so that's my goal this week to catch up and learn to stay caught up with it. Be patient with yourself, specially having a young baby. You can't be the best mother in the world, but you can be the best mother you can be.

Misty - posted on 03/15/2010

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Hey Ladies, I just wanted to remind you to not get down on yourselves and don't be discouraged even when others tell you your not doing a good enough job. Those comments can really destroy your confidence and satan will use that to keep you sitting on the couch and stop you from getting anything done. Do your work to please God. It pleases Him when you take pleasure in the work He has given you. Even if it's just baby steps, He is proud of the progress you make.
I am starting back over on baby step #1 today. You are not alone. I always try to do too much at once and then get overwhelmed after a day or so. We are all a work in progress but God loves us right where we are, with all our imperfections!

Melissa - posted on 03/15/2010

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PS I have moved 9 times in the last 12 years and I have always said that it takes about a year to get moved in -without the distractions of a newborn! Good Luck

Melissa - posted on 03/15/2010

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HA you sound just like me 3 years ago! When my baby was about 9 months I started to tackle piles. I didn't worry about Flying -infact I just printed off baby step #5 today. I was so overwhelmed after having a baby a month after we moved that I had a major fight with hubby. Its a lot that you just moved and had a baby so give yourself a break even if its hard to do that. Try to focus on your house and not other distractions like the computer and tv b/c in the longrun that is what is makeing you crazy. So tell yourself I'm just going to work for 20min or tackle that pile. It will get done. We moved again 4 months ago and I am not having another baby until I feel like the house has some order. That's because I know how hard and stressful it can be. So just keep doing what your doing and don't worry about Fly lady for awhile. You have to get moved in first -even though she would say that you probably could. Just focus on basic house work -dishes and laundry and don't be afraid to tell hubby that you are in need of his help. Having a little baby is very, very time consuming even though it doesn't seem like your doing anything. Keep loving that baby and remind hubby how hard you are trying. In those free moments just pick up your feet and tell yourself you will feel better if you do a few minutes of housework. Baby might cry but just go for a few minutes and eventually it will be done. Hang in there -you aren't alone. You'll get there if you keep trying. Marathon runners have to start somewhere and it's not easy but its so worth it! Keep smiling and trying -I would recommend trying Flylady later. I found it does help me stay focused even though I'm not super great at it. Yay for you -Your a mommy!

Jennifer - posted on 03/15/2010

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First of all, never give up time with your daughter. These are the formative years and so very, very important for her. That bonding time is priceless! Second, stop comparing yourself to your mom. There are going to be many things that you may never do as well as your mom and there might be many things you do better than your mom. You are you, just the way God made you.

Now for reality- I just went through this so I am going to give it the way God sort of gave it to me- Turn the computer off and get to work. Mine was tv and now I can't stand more than 15 minutes of tv. You don't need facebook or any other kind of distraction. Set aside time every day for yourself to do facebook, 30 minutes, an hour that is YOUR time and then set the timer. Once that timer goes off just walk away. It will be difficult at first to break that habit but believe it or not you are in a routine...just a bad one. Your goal will be to slowly develop a new routine. The thing that helped me was to read Proverbs 31 every single day. She rose while it was still night to provide food for her household and she stayed up at night always working. She never stopped. Like our moms, she was amazing. We may never be that great but we can work towards it.

You can psychoanalyze all day as to why you are or aren't doing it and that will only take up more time. Just start slowly making changes, setting time limits and changing your routine.

In order for me to continue a productive routine I have purchased helpful things like a swing/soothing center but so that I can continue to be close to my daughter I also purchased a moby wrap in order to "take her with me" while I clean.

It's really just as simple as just doing it. I did it and can tell that you have the desire to do it as well so I believe you can and will do it! To continue not doing it will lead you down a path of frustration and possible depression. I just watched a family member go through it and not only is her house utterly disgusting, she is completely miserable. It was great motivation for me to turn my tv off and get to work.

Veronica - posted on 03/13/2010

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Do you have a husband??? I raised 3!!!! NO MAN Try shopping, cooking, homework, babysitter, bus stop, pickup/drop off 8hrs of work, enterainment for 3baths, at night doctors School plays,school programs football games teacher meetings waiting for dances to be over prom sunday school and church driving 50 mils to work one way you got it made....................

Gerrie - posted on 03/13/2010

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Ask your mom to come over and help! Then just do what you can, when you can, and let go of the rest. Choose 2 hours 3 times a week to do stuff and stick to it. Put out a playpen for baby and whatever you get done in those 2 hours, you get done. whatever you don't, let go and know you now have 2 hours set up to continue. You will feel good about having started and you will feel good and having planned to do more. The work never ends as a mom, so, Plan and choose and let go. Over time it will all fall into place

Elizabeth - posted on 03/12/2010

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call your bff's and ask for HELP ! (friends will not judge you. Let them in the door.)

Cindy - posted on 03/11/2010

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Boy do I get this one. My husband was in the military so we moved a lot. We ended getting base housing earlier than expected so we moved onto base in January, in the middle of a Blizzard with 3 small children and a 4th on the way. Got in the house, made dinner, was eating feeling contractions decided maybe we needed to go to the hospital but silly me decided that I wanted to do the dishes first so went to put stuff down the garbage disposal and it expoded. My husband tried to plung it so it would run and then we had the plumbing break under the disposal so now I had 2-3" of water all through the kitchen which had to be cleaned up. Now realize we knew nobody on base to ask for help so we got down on the floor nad cleaned up water. By now I stopped my contractions, went to bed and the next morning was a Sunday and my husband had training. He was a military policeman so he worked everyday of the week. He came home about 11am with a friend and I am trying to be cordial but I am now in labor, He finally leaves and I tell my husband that we needed to go to the hospital. So we load up the kids , track down our old neighbors at their church to take the other 3 and went tothe hospital. Got there at about 1pm they checked me and said Yup you're having a baby and he was born at 2:04pm. So you can imagine what my house looked like and it took me along time to get it unpacked. In fact I am not sure I ever did.

Set priorities for yourself that need to be done and do those and then work on the others. You baby will only be little a short time, believe me I know, so enjoy them now. As long as your house is safe for them to be in and clean, the other stuff will take care of itself as time goes on. Please do not compare yourself to others, even your mom. You are not them (her) so do the best you can. My babies are no longer babies. They are 29,26,22,19 and I miss having kids at home so much. Cherish these times as all too soon they are gone. God Bless You.

Tammi - posted on 03/08/2010

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well, Rebekah, been there. I think God stretches us. One point in my life, getting the children cared for was about all I could manage, and I usually tell women that when your baby is 2 years old, your life will take on a new speed and you will be able to be superwoman, and you won't even realize it has happened.

Until then, I'd get yourself a good laundry basket. Remember you can mulit-task. You have washing machines, dishwashers, etc.. Count them as your staff and get them to working for you while you work on something else. Get your laundry going first, and then take care of the dishes. You can finish even the worst kitchen messes before the washing machine finishes its job, I'm sure.

Then get the dryer involved, and the washer again, and then pick a room. Hopefully your kitchen is done by now, so this is room two. Stay with your room until done, putting anything in your laundry basket that might need to go out of your room. (But don't you go!) Hopefully you can finish before the dryer, and the washer again. If you are breezing through, pick an ending point. We have a downstairs and upstairs, so my goal is always downstairs in a day, and then call it a day. Next day is downstairs quick-pick-up then tackle the upstairs, always keeping the previously clean place still clean...a bit like juggling. LOL! Do you have a garage, porch, etc.? Just make a list of the places that need your attention and get crossing them off.

Maybe before you start, ask your dh what his top 3 peeves are and go for them first. I was surprised at what my guy said, because it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I thought he seemed demanding, but when I could keep 1-3 looking good, he was pretty happy. (I always notice the floors, but he could care less. When he'd clean everything and leave the floors yuck, it seemed all yuck to me. Hopefully you get the idea.)

Lest you think you'd have laundry baskets full of stuff, when you do attempt to leave your room, you have to put away everything in your basket before you relax. If I don't have a basket, I make a pile at the door.

Once you get the hang of the quick-clean-ups, you'll be stretched and you'll hear what is next on your list, like schooling kids or making great meals on time. LOL!

I do think it is important to enjoy your baby too. They're only little once. When you get a plan, you will be amazed at how it changes things. Just start little, and don't look back. LOL!

Carla - posted on 03/03/2010

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Rebekah, trying to be Super Housewife will make you nuts! Why is hubby so clean-freaky? This is usually an off-shoot of control issues. What is he like other than the house? Take a hard look at what else he needs to control. If it IS only the house, was his mother a bad housekeeper? Keeping the house neat is wonderful, but the world will not end if everything isn't Martha Stewart clean! The hysterical part of this whole thing is that if you keep your baby in a sterile environment, he will not have a good immune system, and will therefore pick up every little bug that comes along if you take him to the store or visiting. Also, clarify what pft is. There's something deeper going on here, sweetie, try to figure out what is is.

Rebekah - posted on 03/02/2010

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My husband has some sort of O.C.D. and he takes it personally when I don't keep it clean AND he's not willing to help because he works pft. But it is very very hard, so I have to tell myself everyday that my baby will get sick if I don't clean. Even though it's not true, it helps me.

Diane - posted on 03/01/2010

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Relax, it will come. Playing with your baby should take precedence and you won't regret spending time with your baby. You could try seeing if there's a way for your mom or someone to take the baby for a day (at home with you if you're nursing) but so that you can tackle the house and get things better under control. You might need to do this a couple times to get things where you want them and don't worry about the house being spotless, that's something that will come with time. You're a new mom and you need to enjoy your baby while he/she is still a baby and don't feel guilty about it, your baby would rather have you than a spotless house.

Tasha - posted on 03/01/2010

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Hi Karissa!! I understand totally what you are going through. I wanted to stay home with my son Ethan as well, but due to financial constraints, I had to find a way to generate some income. I started an inhome daycare. Talk about never having any time for anything-including my own child. Staying home with babies is tough!! If your children are safe and happy -- that's all that matters! Just take one day at at time! Don't be so hard on yourself! You'll get it. Flylady.org is wonderful, I used some of their stuff when I did the daycare. Staying home with your children is rewarding but challenging. You are doing the right thing! You need to make sure you are taking care of YOU and your children. When the kids are old enough, they can start helping around the house, even little things like picking up their own toys will do wonders. I'm not sure where you are located but I am one of the facilitator's for a group in the Mankato area called Circle of Parents. It's a time for parents to come together and talk about things, such as what you are going through. If you are interested in attending, please let me know. It's free and we offer childcare. Glad to meet you, if only briefly, on FB. I know you can do it!!! Keep up the good work!! Your mom sounds wonderful! You had a great role model, but keep in mind, she's been doing it for YEARS!! You are just getting started. The most important thing is spending time with your children. Before you know it, they will be in school and you'll have time during the day to clean :)

Malena - posted on 03/01/2010

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my kids r 4 n 6. my house is a mess, but my kids r happy
so whatever-I still am trying, but what is better a clean house & crabby kids or a little messy & happy kids

Margaret - posted on 02/28/2010

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You sound so very young and it is hard to get your self organized,especially in this day and age with all the distractions. You need to make yourself get organized. Limit the time you spend on the computer, I suggest the evening when the baby has been put down for the night. Set a time to do each chore, eg; breakfast dished, make the bed, dust an vacuum, put in a load of laundry , etc.. fit in what needs to be done and do it. The baby will take up as much of your time as you let it, I know mothers now day do not use playpen like we did when I was young but I find them a good place to put the little bit older baby so they can be near Mom but safe. If you give in to every cry you will never have time for anything. Use common sense.

Amy - posted on 02/27/2010

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I'm trying to get a grasp on this whole mommy keeping the house clean thing too! Unfortunately right now it's not a matter of keeping it clean but getting it clean. I have stacks of stuff that I too am working to get through. I try to do a little bit every day. Somedays nothing gets done. The computer is definitely a no-no for me because it is so time consuming. I try not to be too hard on myself about it because I know that will not make anything any easier. I have to remind myself that this is my "job" and I am blessed to be able to stay home to raise my baby. Like the previous post suggested I need to treat it like a job and get up and get ready for my day at "work". Best wishes to you!

[deleted account]

I agree with leaving the computer alone until a specific time. As far as with your baby, get a sling and your baby can be with you all the time while you unpack and organize. I might not use any cleaning chemicals until you put the baby down though. We have 5 kids and have a weekly schedule so that I'm not trying to deep clean everyroom everyday. Basics get done daily like dishes, laundry, ect. but focus on a small area at a time and it will all get done.

[deleted account]

I struggle with it, too. I've found that not turning on my computer until naptime works great. Then it's my time! :) It's hard to keep up with kids (especially little ones- mine are 2 1/2 and 5 months). You need some time to decompress so you don't take out your frustration on your kids, but just pick a room and work hard one day. You'll find that that is a really great motivator to keep going. Once you get the major stuff done, the maintenance of the house won't be too hard. If your baby is still a newborn, just rest while you can. Maybe your husband could "babysit" so you can get something accomplished. I don't exactly think it is babysitting if you're watching your own kids... lol Good luck and don't beat yourself up!!! Mom has had a couple of decades to master this. Ask her for tips. :)

Carla - posted on 02/26/2010

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You don't say how much time has passed since moving and going into labor, I am assuming it has been fairly recent. Coming home from the hospital with a new baby to a house in chaos is depressing! You naturally feel overwhelmed. I WILL say, tho, the FB CAN be a BIG distraction! As a mother you now have different priorities. Housework, cooking, laundry, etc. HAVE to be done, and there is no one else to do it for you! Instead of looking online for ideas, simply get in there and get 'er done! Start on the rooms that are vital (kitchen, bathroom) and get them set up and in order. Moving is a wonderful time to toss out broken and unused items, so get the trash bags out! Organize as you go, putting spices closest to the stove, silverware near sink, etc. THINK about how you cook when you set up your kitchen, don't try to do it the way Mom did, this is now your kitchen. You will be more apt to want to be in there if it's got your own personality in it. Organize the bathroom so all the shower items are handy, medicines and tooth-brushing stuff close to sink. On to bedrooms. Nothing makes me feel at home more than having my bedroom orderly and quiet and neat. It will be a haven where you can collapse at the end of the day and spend a little quality time with your husband. Next living room; look at hgtv to watch room planners arrange and add little touches that are inexpensive, yet add the hominess you want and need. Take one room at a time, don't try to do everything in one day. BUT, get it done! Once you have all the boxes out to the garbage, everything is in place, and looking good, you will find a quiet, peaceful spirit fall over you. Living in chaos keeps your mind in chaos, having the order restores your senses.



Just because Mom has mastered all this doesn't necessarily mean you are going to follow in her footsteps and be a carbon copy of her. And probably, if you ask her, she will tell you she struggled at the first as well. We are not all automatically Wonder Mom when we start out. It takes years to figure this stuff out! Be patient, but be dedicated to putting your house back in order, and it will all work out. Good luck, sweetie.

Shelley - posted on 02/25/2010

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it has taken a long time and i still do'nt quite have it all the time. i find lists are wonderful i wrote a monthly meal plan a monthly shopping list an daily weekly and monthly cleaning chart and i've found this to help a heap i also try not to go to bed untill everything is done. a stitch in time saves 9 its hard and you don't always get there but lists help

Aine - posted on 02/25/2010

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Its not easy. It is possible that you are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of things that need done & so you put it off & off & then it just gets worse. Would there be anyone who could help you to catch up & then it would just be your job to stay on top of it? I only work two days a week & my husband works long hours so I don't expect him to do too much around the house.. but sometimes when things get on top of me I will give him a list of things to do to ease the burden & then I can usually stay on top of it all for a few weeks until I need to call upon his help again. I have 2small children & feel like I am constantly picking up after them.. Its not easy. don't be afraid to ask for help. Also I find it helps to have a schedule.. A few hours of housework & then play time with the kids etc.. When my house is clean & tidy I am alot less stressed. So for me it is important. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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