How do you do it all?

Eva - posted on 03/14/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Hi all, I'm a 25 y/o mom of 3 (8, 4, and 2) and I'm looking to transition into being a stay at home mom starting this summer. I've been chipping away at completing a degree for the last 7 years now and it's to the point that I feel like I'm wasting my time/money because my heart/focus is not in it. I've always wanted to be home with my kids instead of them "growing up" in daycare, but until recently, it wasn't really an option. I at least want to be home with them until they are all in school (hopefully by then I'll find my educational niche). :o)



I'm just wondering what it's like for some of you? What a typical day/schedule is like for you, any tips, suggestions, etc. My oldest will be in school (w/o the added cost of afterschool care), but my 4 y/o won't be able to start Kindergarten (officially) until next year b/c of her b-day (I'd like to work with her more at home too). Then of course there's my two-ie. :o)

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Tina - posted on 03/15/2010

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i am a stay at home mom of an 8 month old princess. i do go to school party time. we have chore days. for example monday is laundry day, tuesday is sweeping and mopping, wednesday is dusting, thursday and friday are do whatever didnt get sone monday through wednesday. i do dishes and clean up little messes everyday. this system keeps my house pretty tidy and everything organized. i also know that gracie cares more about my time with her then she does if there is a lil mess on the floor or if the dishes arent done.

Kim - posted on 03/14/2010

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I don't do it all either. There just isn't enough time and I dont' have enough energy. I'm 43 btw and have 3 kids(10, 7 and 3) and if you count my messy husband 4 kids. I clean the table off for dinner and he walks in and puts his stuff on it! I belong to an online group called flylady.com and it really helps get you organized on what to clean when if you have no idea where to begin. Its free and although I don't always get done what I would like to it helps. Taking care and playing with your kids is more important than a neat house. There is a difference. You can have a messy house but it can still be clean. The kitchen floor washed, bathrooms clean, the kids have clean clothes and beds. Some Moms have spotless houses but don't change beds or their kids wear dirty clothes. And it does get boring being home all the time with the kids. You miss adult interaction but I'd rather be home with my kids than chat with adults and miss out on being with my kids. Good luck. Enjoy being with your kids, they grow up too fast!

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Michelle - posted on 03/19/2010

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When my husband and I decide to stay home I told him right off that I'm staying home for the kids not to wait on him or the house. I have four boys. Two 6 yr old's, 4yr old, and 2 yr old. My job during the day is the children and when he gets home we co-parent and do the household things together.

I would suggest set a loose schedule that's flexible. Besides the meals, some education, music, play time inside &/or outside, nap time, me time during nap time, etc. That is what I do most the time during the day. I also joined some different groups to keep busy and so my children have playdates, like a Mom's Club, an indoor park during the winter with the local Boys and Girls Club, sometimes take classes with my children through my city's park and recreation, library for story time, memberships for children's museums, etc. Some days seem long and some days you want to do something different hence the flexibility in the schedule and the different activities.

It will be hard at first, but you can do it and it gets easier and it is very rewarding. Make sure you get 'me' time. You will need it. Also, make sure you get out of the house by yourself sometimes if you able to, even if it's to go to the grocery store.

Jane - posted on 03/18/2010

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i don't do it all, i do as much as i can. lol! you'll be fine. as long as their getting lots of love, and it sounds like they are.

Jennifer - posted on 03/18/2010

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Hi Eva,
I am glad that you are feeling more encouraged, you will do great:)
I start the kid's off with cereal/toast/fruit for breakfast.
If they are hungry between breakfast and lunch I'll give them fruit, youghurt, muffins etc.
I don't make sandwiches everyday for lunch for them anymore because as we are a family of 6 we already use at least a loaf a day.
I make a platter at lunch with crackers&cheese, olives, cold meat, fruit, carrot and cucumber sticks and just let them graze on that at their leasure. Sometimes I might give them cheesy pasta or cocktail franks at lunch.
lol.....In saying that though I still feel like they are constantly asking me for drinks or food.
All the best.

Kim - posted on 03/18/2010

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Hi Eva,



The best thing of all is that you will get to devise your own schedule that works around your life. When my son was 2 I decided that I just couldn't miss all the milestones of growing up and resigned my position as children's minister. I did continue to work part-time in children's ministry for another 2 years but was able to stay home with my son during that time. Prior to all of that I was a teacher for 15 years. It was not easy for us to be a one income family and I felt a bit guilty for not providing. So, I started working from home, as skeptical as I was about "work at home" opportunities. Now, nearly 5 years later, I feel strongly that I made the right decision for our family.



I am afforded this opportunity because I work from home with a 38 year old company that’s publicly traded on the NY Stock Exchange and has an A+ rating with the US Chamber of Commerce. I really like that I don’t have to host parties or stock and deliver inventory so I can focus on what’s most important, my family. If you’re interested in making an extra $500 - $1000 a month I can tell you how. View my website for all the details – www.SecureTomorrow.info.



I teach my son from home so our typical day goes something like this . . .



8:00 AM - wake/breakfast

9:00 AM - school at home in pjs

12:00 PM - lunch/activity

3:00 - virtual class (only on Tuesdays)

4:00 - virtual PE (only last Tuesday of month)

6:00 - dinner

9:00 - bedtime (used to be 7:30, then 8, now . . . )



Monday & Wed. - karate class

Friday - park day with home school group (weather permitting)



Of course, if I need to schedule appointments for hair, doc, etc., I try to do that in the mornings or early afternoons. We rarely have the same schedule day in and day out. We do, however, have to get school work done on Monday, Wed., and Friday mornings so my son can attend karate and park day. We are also plan fieldtrips/vacations whenever we want. For instance, we might go to the Museum of Science and History (counts as educational) instead of doing science that day. Next month we are going to Caverns State Park for a virtual school open house, which will count as a school day AND a mini-vacation for our family.



Just as you plan in your career your daily happenings, you will also plan what you do at home with the kids. The schedule is flexible and you don't have to be so rigid to get things done at a certain time or date unless that's what you want to do. I sit down on Sunday night and look at the week ahead. We don't go out every day but we do plan something to do every day, whether at home or away from home. I've also been amazed at all the free things available to do during the week and on weekends.



Ok, that probably seemed a little unorganized but if you want to pick my brain some more I'll be happy to answer from my experiences. Oh, and my son was 2 when I started the SAHM experience so I can help with that as well.



All the best,

Kim

Corinne - posted on 03/17/2010

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ideally they say a big breakfast, an apple or some sort of fruit a couple of hours later...then a decent lunch (sandwiches, hot dogs, whatever...) and usually with milk... few hours later a small snack like crackers and cheese or carrots..things like that...then dinner at your normal time! its all in what you feel like they need and what you want to prepare!

Eva - posted on 03/17/2010

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Wow! I've been reading along with your posts when I get some down-time, and I feel more inspired and better prepared about staying home. I especially appreciate all of the encouragement I've gotten from your posts. :o) Just out of curiosity, what are meals/snacks usually like for you? I had the kids home with me over Spring Break, but I found myself a bit uncertain about mid-day meals. I cook dinner w/ no problems, but it felt odd trying to fix something in the middle of the day. lol. I keep fruit, cheese, sandwich "stuff", crackers, etc around the house, but I was afraid to give them too much "snack food" w/o actually giving them "lunch."

Melissa - posted on 03/17/2010

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Corinne - posted on 03/17/2010

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it can definitely be challenging some days! my hubby is military and currently deployed! the only way i can survive the days is by staying active! i get together for baby swim dates once a week with some friends and i do my best to go out and have what my mother in law calls it "big people time"! my house isnt as clean as i would like it but as tiffany puts it..sometimes theres not much point..especially with two dogs and a toddler! anytime i need to really do a deep clean or get a big project done my mother in law will come over and distract her! otherwise shes up my butt and whines! im working on enrolling her into daycare probably once a week just to get soome peace and quiet and maybe get errands done!

Jennifer - posted on 03/17/2010

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I am a stay at home mum of 4 kids, 8, 5 almost 4 and 2.
It is just constant and I don't think you ever feel like you get everything done as there will always be tidying, cleaning, washing, cooking, dropping kids off to school picking them up................ In fact when my house is spotless, I swear my kids think that I have created a blank canvas for them to create their art (mess)........lol....

When we choose to be stay at home mums, we do it so we can spend as much time with our families as possible and I find that I cannot put too many expectations on myself to do everything, otherwise when I have one of those rotton day's and I don't get everything done I fall apart and fell like a failure. I just go with the flow and try not to be too controlled or have too much of a strict routine.

We all have really tough days and we all have great days.
Sometimes I fell like I am going crazy with lack of adult conversation, and I never seem to have my mind or my body to myself but I wouldn't change a thing.
I do not feel I have sacrificed any career and although it is a struggle financially I feel so incrediably satisfied that I am able to spend such important years and quality time with my children. It may seem like a thankless job but it is definitely the most important and one of the hardest you will ever do. They grow up so fast and before we know it I am sure we will be longing for this time back.
Good Luck :)

User - posted on 03/15/2010

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You do what you can, and the best way you know how. You learn as you go :-) You can't do it all, but as a stay at home mom for some reason we always try....lol My days are so different day in and day out. I just pray every morning that it is a good day.
Good luck and God bless :-)

Stephanie - posted on 03/15/2010

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I am a stay at home mom of 3,(almost 4, 2 and 8month old). I am very busy during the day with all of them. I am also taking online classes. I have a very understanding husband that when he gets home he will take the kids, so I can get my homework done. I also do most of my reading at night and on the weekends I do my papers. It is hard but the way I look at it is my kids will see that mommy is going to school and it is a good thing.

Samantha - posted on 03/15/2010

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i am a stay at home mum to 3, a 4 yr old, a 3 year old and a 4 month old, and i don't do it all, i give it a go my advice is organize my house is caos 24/7 and i do NOT have a helpfull husband, he doesn't lift a finger to help me or the kids so it's all down to me. Try to include your kids in the chores (picking up thier own toys..etc) nothing too much but they learn they have to pick up the mess they've made and thier more reluctant to make it in the first place!!

Wendy - posted on 03/15/2010

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I do what I can on a day to day basis. I rarely get the chance to CLEAN the house - so instead it is kept neat and tidy. Cleaning done when it needs to be, otherwise when I have the chance to do it. Tidy up a room as you go by, gets easier and you get faster the more you do it! I keep a small container of wipes in every major room, so that if a mess occurs I don't need to run across the house for cleaning supplies (usually!) and they come in handy for so many different things. I put in the effort to get the dishes done at least once a day. I throw in a load of laundry after hubby leaves for work, change it over to dry when I get a chance, and fold when I get a chance. Don't make a list, you almost never get done what you want and then you just feel discouraged - do what you can, and spend time with the kids too - they need a lot of attention.
People might tell you it is an easy way out of working or school or whatever - tell them to come live at your house and do what you do everyday for a week or two. Even a day or two - they won't question you again. It is A LOT of work being a stay at home, so never feel bad if that room didn't get cleaned, or you didn't have the time to make an extravagant meal, or you couldn't get all the grocery shopping done or whatever it was that didn't get done! A lot of what you do, will end up revolving around the schedule that works best for you and your children and at times that doesn't leave a lot of time to get much done!
Also don't be afraid to involve your kids in helping out when they are old enough to understand how something is done. My 17month old now helps pick up toys and put them in baskets or cubbies (or wherever they belong). He also loves to "help" me sort laundry, he loves to be given a wipe so he can run around "cleaning" every surface he can reach, and he loves to run around sweeping and vacuuming. The older they are/get, the more you can involve them in little chores. Their work may not always be up to your standards but don't tell them that, it is a learning process! And they will be so proud of their work!

Christy - posted on 03/15/2010

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Everyone made some great suggestions and they are right, you can't do it all. All you need to do is find the right rhythm that fits your family. I have two children (3 yr old and a 18 month old), and I created a schedule around their schedule. For example, everyday the get up at the same time, eat at the same time, nap at the same time, and go to bed at the same time. So I took that schedule and add playtime, clean up time, laundry time, etc, around them. Plus during clean up time, my children and I do it together. They clean up their toys and their room while I dust, vacuum, etc. It helps me out while it teaches them some responsiblity as well.

Christy - posted on 03/15/2010

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I also have a 4 year old that I will apparently always have. She is in kindergarten home school curriculum and flying through it. I just recently had a son now 5 months. I do what I can in the house, but we are pretty active. We spend a lot of time outside or at parks (We live in Arkansas so there is a lot of outside activities and areas to visit.) The housework can be monotonous. As soon as something is clean, the next room is suddenly a wreck. I have cubbies for the kids toys and a zoo for stuffed animals. This makes cleaning toys a lot easier. I do laundry everyday and wash dishes everyday. We are not on a strict schedule except for meals : ) I love being at home, and since I found circle of moms, I do not feel isolated from adults.
I agree with the others. Don't try to do everything every day or you will be overwhelmed. When you stay at home your house is going to be messier than mothers who work and kids stay at daycare because you are living there all day everyday. Also, it is good to have a company is coming plan. My best friend growing up was raised by a stay at home mom and I was always so amused when their mom would yell "S******* Clean Up" from the porch. All 4 kids would come running and they knew exactly where to "hide" the clutter for company. My kids are too young for this, but my husband and I keep a couple of laundry baskets clean and in a tight spot go around putting everything in them and stuff in a closet if need be. Also, get prepared for the "So what do you do all day?" question. Also, every kid is different so if you are wanting a schedule make sure it works for your kids.

Rachel - posted on 03/15/2010

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dont give up on your education if u have to go to school online u can do your work while they r all sleeping goodluck

Lauren - posted on 03/15/2010

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I am a stay at home mum to a 15 month old prince. I will be working approx 28 hours per week in 2 weeks time. Tina, I may well take your rota into consideration and do specific chores each day - that sounds like a good system. A typical day for me and my son is:

6.30am-7 - wake up, cuddle in bed and sippy cup of milk

8am - breakfast of cereal followed by toast or yoghurt

8am onwards - playtime, go to mum and toddler groups, painting, drawing or go for a walk to feed the ducks... or housework!

12pm - naptime

1.30pm - lunchtime

1.30 onwards - bit of tv, playtime, drawing, etc while I get some housework done.

5-5:30pm - teatime then tv before bath

6pm - bathtime! our favourite time of day! :-)

6:30pm - bottle and cuddle with mummy or daddy :-)

7pm - bedtime

Carolee - posted on 03/14/2010

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Every day, let something else slide... but do what you let slide the day before (if that makes sense). Today, I made dinner and washed off the dishes and did art projects with my son (he loves to draw). I did not, however clean up the mess of toys my husband and son made this morning because my back just couldn't take it. I may do it later tonight, but I may leave it until tomorrow. I only have one kid, so I can leave stuff like that (he's just going to do the same exact thing tomorrow morning the moment he gets downstairs). It's also helpful to have a helpful husband/boyfriend. My husband knows that it's his job to take out the trash, do the dishes (the rest of the way), and do the laundry. I clean up all the other messes, vacuum (when the floor is actually clean of toys), and teach my son and soon our daughter (due in July). If you stress about doing everything, you will get nothing done! Be happy with what you accomplish every day, and be okay with what you haven't accomplished on your "off" days. And there will most likely be days when you will be able to get absolutely NOTHING done.

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I DON'T do it all. Someone I used to know had a plaque that said "cleaning the house while raising children is like shoveling the driveway when it's still snowing". My day starts with homeschooling my 6-yr old twins, then after lunch, I get done whatever I can. I try to get the housework, laundry and grocery shopping done for the weekend, but it doesn't always happen. Luckily, I have a very supportive and understanding husband.

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