April 7, 2009

A little advice for me, please?

I have decided that having 4 children is hard. I am overwhelmed pretty much all of the time. And my house is a disaster--constantly. Sooooo, I've been thinking about ways to make things better.

Let me preface my thoughts with this: I am a pretty laid back kind of a girl. I like having days with no plans at all. I mean, yes, my children will go to school but other than that the only plans that I have on a general basis is
1. Take a shower
2. Take my girls to school
3. Blog
4. Make lunch
5. Make dinner

Not necessarily in that order. And then I just kind of shove things in, like cleaning, washing dishes, doing laundry, when it becomes absolutely necessary for me to do so. I like having unplanned days because I usually end up reading to someone for a while, watching an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with my son, or making cookies with my girls. These are fun days.

But right now, it's just not working out. My house is a mess. My garden isn't planted. The girls are wearing dirty PJ's to bed. The sheets desperately need to be changed on almost every bed in the house. The garbage's are overflowing on a regular basis. My husband doesn't want to come home after work because I am in full blown 5:00 panic mode. You know what I'm talking about. So I decided this needs to be remedied. As a starting point, this evening we are having tuna sandwiches for dinner. This is uncommon at our house on a weeknight, because for the past 4 years my husband has taken leftovers to work for lunch the next day. Requiring me to make a meal that would create said leftovers.

And as for everything else, I'm trying to come up with some kind of schedule. Like certain days to clean certain rooms, certain days for outings--like the zoo or the park--certain days for big meals. Do you have a schedule like that? What works for you? I need some tips. . .


Carolyn said...

I have tried everything under the sun! I feel your pain. So many days I am just surviving!

The only thing I've found that works is keep moving. Just move all day. Pick up this, wipe that, fold these. Never sit for more than 5 minutes even when your hubby is crashed on the couch watching TV. If I do this for a week or so I can catch up. But this gets exhausting, and I get resentful so I just do my best. I stay on top of the essentials like laundry and dishes and leave the toys on the floor for most of the day...or week...or (just after a baby) month.

Everyone tells me to cherish these times...that I will miss them later. I have to try really hard to do that, some days it works. Some days it doesn't.

Melinda said...

I'm totally a scheduler, not that I stick to it, but it helps. For me, I have to do charts (thats what I grew up with), so I put a chart on the fridge, and I have to initial it at the end of the day. I feel guilty not having it initialed (only on certain days though). Somedays just have to be crazy, on those days I tell myself that when my kids are grown up I'll have a perfect house, but right now I can deal with it. Other days I HATE it. I just don't have any motivation. So I guess, find something that motivates you, and the cleaning part? Um, make the kids do it!! :D

hippyrochelle said...

I don't know what to say because I'm pretty much in the same boat (with 1 less child). I guess my goal on having a clean house is to keep up on the little things and then it doesn't seem so bad. I do the dishes before going to bed and straighten the living room up a little bit cuz I find if I wake up to even a slightly cleaner house I'm in a much better mood which makes the whole day better.

I'm with on the 5:00 panic, I feel like pulling my hair out or breaking some things if my husband doesn't come home on time.

janae said...

I have scheduled days I do things.

Monday - random
Tuesday - laundry
Wednesday - sweep & mop
Thursday - bathrooms
Friday - vacuum

Monday I use as my off-the-wall clean out the fridge, dust the blinds, whatever day. If I don't do the job that day, I don't worry about it and make sure I catch it the next week. (The bathrooms can miss a week without anyone dying.)

My sister doesn't let her kids eat dinner until they've cleaned up all their toys. (That one took a while, but you should see them now!) I pick up everything off the floor and clean off my counters before I go to bed. That way there is some semblance of order when I wake up.

Well, there you go. Good luck figuring out what works for you!

Debbie said...

I have tried a handful of things and they've all worked! But I bet you're wondering for how long... Well thats just it. Some of the stuff I've done has worked for a few weeks and others worked for 1/2 a year. (I've done lists on the wall, a recipe box divided into days with certain chores that day that i can file back in when done, white board, calendar w/ chores on days, binder to keep track, etc).I guess I sorta feel like anything is good as long as I'm feeling like it is.

Here is where I am currently
*Laundry I have scheduled for several days (M-whites, T-shirts/pants Th-kid clothes F-colds etc)
*Dinners I plan out a weekly menu (4 or 5 days of actual cooking w/ 2 or 3 days of leftovers or something easy like mac and cheese)
*Other chores are fit in around the rest of my days. We try to get at least one day a week when the hubby and I can work together to clean for a few hours. This is when we clean the bathrooms, mop, get into that junk pile, etc.

Like others I try to have the dishes at least in the dishwasher before bed and the counters clean. I usually have the kids pick up the toys before dinner (although this works a million times better if daddy is home and can be in charge of cheerleading this while I'm finishing cooking).

I'm totally checking back though for more good ideas. I'm always in need of more help.

Kristina P. said...

I have no children, so it makes a schedule pretty easy.

But I still fall into the lazy trap, a lot.

wonder woman said...

I'm right there with ya, Rach. And with 1/2 the kids. In-laws are coming tomorrow, so I REALLY cleaned today, and it's nice. But I have no schedule for anything.

Have you ever read The Potentially Sane Mother's Guide to Raising Young Children? It's by an LDS woman and simply fantastic. Her name is Tamara Fackrell. I found it at the library just after I had Eric, and loved it so much I went to Seagull and bought a copy. I strongly recommend this.

Among all the kid-raising tips are house-keeping tips, and she has FIVE kids. :o) She has a few basics that she does every day (bed, clothes, dishes.) On days where I feel particularly ambitious, I make myself do a load of laundry, load of dishes, and tidy and vacuum BEFORE I get on the computer. It takes a LOT of willpower, but it's also a fabulous incentive.

I was going to try to summarize parts of that book for you, but I really think you oughtta just try to find it at the library. Maybe you could sneak out with only 1 child on Saturday? Oh, wait. Easter. Well, try to find it somewhere. It honestly might change your life. :o)

Wendy said...


With 5 you can only imagine my "MESS of all MESSES" that exists in my own house. It is hard, and does seem very overwhelming at times. I don't have a schedule and I have kids old enough to help, but do I make them???? Hmmm that might be my problem. But as my friend suggested every night before you go to bed make a list of things that you need to do the next day and after you make the list pick the top 3 - 6 (Depending on how long the "thing" might take to do) and just get those done. That way you'll feel like you did something.

I'm working on getting my house back in order finally -- because it's been horrible since I've had Ethan and he'll be 2 on Friday.

Just don't beat yourself down about what it isn't like, and just choose to find something to be happy about.

Something I've just started to do -- I go to the church website and play the scriptures over the computer speakers and wash the dishes or fold some clothes or just go pick up toys etc.... while I work. That way I am listening to the scriptures and still get some cleaning done to.

And an idea to get a real jump start on it..... invite some trusted friends over and have them help you. You just recently had a baby you deserve some help. Just ask.

Emily said...

Sidetracked Home Executives is a great book and website. I only have one kid, so I can't give any helpful advice there, but the book is written by two moms who came up with a system to get everything done, and it's easy to customize to your own expectations. They're very funny, too, so it's an easy read.

also known as shell said...

I'll have to check out Emily's website. I'm very very random and not scheduled and I have the same issues.

3 Peas in a Pod said...

We don't have a schedule per se. But there are certain things I do every day. The basics: pick up everything off the floor, tidy up the couch/blanket/pillows from the night before, unload dishwasher, make beds, cook (& clean up) meals, run dishwasher at night, set out clothes for the next day, tidy up house again. Other days whenever I have more energy I do laundry. I wash each person's laundry separate. It makes folding mindless and you don't have to think about whose clothing belongs to who. I really find it so much easier than doing everyone's all together.

My hubby and I do the real cleaning on Saturdays. Like vacuuming (unless we have spills during the week which we do a lot then I have to vacuum more often!), mopping, bathrooms, dusting, windows. He does the majority of the grunt work though as he has an enormous amount of energy. Vaccuuming hurts my back. Bummer, huh? LOL

Some days things pile up but I usually try to stay on top of it. Not only for the fact that I used to be a neat freak (before kids) but because of our dog. If we leave something on the floor when we leave in the morning she destroys it. She's a great incentive to keep things tidy. Don't know if I would have the energy to do it otherwise. We still have our pack-n-play in our foyer which I use as a pitstop. If something needs to go upstairs that's where it lands so the next time I go up I bring it and put it in it's rightful place.

You have one more child than I do too Rach. I can't imagine adding one more person to our house. You have to find what works for you. That's most important.

Much love from NJ,

Susan said...

Just found you through Real World Venus vs. Mars... Welcome! And your posts are hysterical... I have two daughters and two step sons... and I am a newly SAHM, since leaving my 13 year job...


I scream help everyday.

Heidi Ashworth said...

So far, your base schedule sounds pretty good. Then, slowly add things into the schedule one at a time. For example, on the way out to the car to take the kids to school, take a load of wash with you out to the garage and toss them in as the girls are getting buckled up. When you get home from picking them up, switch the laundry to the dryer and then fold them when you are watching TV in evening. If you do that five days a week, you should pretty much have clean basics most of the time. (Maybe you park outside--but you get my drift--just slide it in somewhere and then do it.) After that goes well for a while, add something else that needs doing on a regular basis to the shedule. I find that when I get through my morning routine most days still feel like a "free" day (unless it's not a free day--if you know what I mean).

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