Posted in Parenting

A day in the life

Sometimes when counseling a mother with a second child I am asked about my daily routine and how I manage to balance house, 2 kids, 1 part time job and 2 volunteer jobs so I decided to write down what a typical day looks like for me during the week. I have the advantage/disadvantage of not having a car so I don’t have to worry about errands such as grocery shopping. Weekends and Wednesdays (if I have a babysitter) look different but this gives you an idea.

crazy-parenting-fails-parenting-fails-the-glory-of-the-stay-at-home-mom

 

 

All of these activities are done while having a 3 year old asking what something means, to spell something or to say something else.

  • 7:30- Shammy wakes up but he knows better than to try to wake me up so he cuddles me while I snooze.
  • 7:45- Zen wakes up and has his morning “milkie”
  • 8:00- we finally get out of bed and the boys beg to go to the computer room where they beg to watch their preschool videos. I do my best to wake up and catch up on e-mail/Facebook while they do their videos
  • 8:10- we all change out of jammies and head downstairs for breakfast.
  • 8:45 to 9:00- done with breakfast and tidy up a little.
  • 9:00- the boys watch PBS Kids while I shower
  • 9:15- I empty the dishwasher and/or start a load of laundry, the boys usually help with the laundry.
  • 9:45- Homeschooling, reading or playing together with blocks or puzzles. If the weather is nice or the boys have a playdate we walk to the park playground.
  • 10:30- small snack
  • 10:45- the boys have free play while I continue the laundry or do some minor cleaning like sweeping, vacuuming or scrubbing a toilet. I check Craigslist for new daycare/babysitter ads. Call daycares to be disappointed that they don’t have space or I can’t afford their rates. Have mini anxiety attack over not having a babysitter.
  • 11:30- start to cook lunch
  • 12:00- lunch time
  • 12:20- post lunch cleanup and diaper changes
  • 12:30- nurse Zen and attempt to put him down for a nap, lately it can take as much as 45 minutes for him to fall asleep
  • 1:15 I do at least 20 minutes of cardio exercises using the XBox Kinect, Shammy will either join me if it’s an exercise he likes or play with a homeschooling app on his Kindle
  • 1:35-15:00- Shammy will either color, read, practice writing or watch Sprout while his brother sleeps. I will attempt to do some work, return breastfeeding calls, answer La Leche League help forms or do homework, I am not always successful and end up reading a book instead.
  • 15:00- snack time
  • 15:15- play with the boys or they have free play while I try to finish some work or try to talk a breastfeeding mom off the weaning ledge
  • 16:00- the boys clean up whatever mess they made during the day while I do some assorted cleaning such as floors, bathroom, etc or may be talking to a breastfeeding mom that is freaking out about not having enough milk
  • 17:00- start to cook dinner
  • 17:40- hubby gets home, we eat dinner
  • 18:00- Tidy up after dinner, start to load the dishwasher, the boys usually hang out with their daddy.
  • 18:15-19:15- If I am lucky the boys are upstairs driving their daddy nuts and I catch some me time that I spend reading or watching Doctor Who. Sometimes we will take a family walk to the park and let the boys run around and throw a ball for a while.
  • 19:15-20:30- family time, usually in front of the TV :-/
  • 20:30- small snack
  • 20:45- finish loading the dishwasher, take out trash and recycling, bedtime prep
  • 21:00- bedtime for the boys
  • 21:10- mama computer time, usually spent looking for a babysitter online, checking out part time job listings, doing volunteer work such as bookkeeping for Best for Babes or web stuff for La Leche League. If I am specially awake I will read or watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
  • 23:00- I am usually still awake but I drag my rear to bed and toss and turn for half an hour before I fall asleep.

And throughout all of this sprinkle a generous amount of kisses, hugs and cuddles.  My past self would be horrified at how much screen time my kids get but I am not perfect and sometimes it’s the best way to ensure that they stay out of trouble while I get something done. As it is my house is never perfectly clean but I do enough here and there to keep it livable and prevent it from getting out of hand.

Baby Blues - Dr. Seuse

What does your day look like?

Posted in Baby Foxes

Housekeeping Blues

I am NOT a domestic goddess.

The biggest challenge of staying home part time has been staying on top of domestic chores. Several sayings come to mind “cleaning a house with toddlers is like brushing your teeth with oreos”, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. I hate cleaning because I can’t ever stop appreciate the progress because it’s undone as soon as (and sometimes before) I am done.  Check out Illustrated with Crappy Pictures for an amusing visual of my cleaning day.

We live out oh hampers because the boy's definition of helping is taking the clean clothes out of the drawers and playing with them
We live out oh hampers because the boy’s definition of helping is taking the clean clothes out of the drawers and playing with them

I went from being OCD neat freak in college to not remembering what’s it’s like to have a completely clean house. Sometimes I may have a clean bathroom, or a clean living room, or a clean kitchen but never all of them at once and the clean part never stays that way for long (30 minutes if I am really lucky).

 

It became so depressing that I adopted a “why do I bother” attitude about cleaning, I’ll spot clean what gets really bad but other than that I’ve learned to have endless toy clutter and dust as roommates. And you know what? I feel better for doing so. I am not a Stephord Wife and never will be, we can’t afford a housekeeper. I don’t like ignoring my boys or putting them in front of the TV so I can scrub a tub, they don’t care that the house isn’t spotless, the total opposite, they are the reason why it isn’t spotless.

 

So while lowering your standards a little bit can be a good thing, having the house turn into a health hazard is not. So I am trying to avoid the panic/manic cleaning binge out of desperation because the landlord is coming over and try to institute a realistic cleaning schedule.

 

I will no longer aim to have the living room stay clean while I tackle the bathroom. With 3 males living in this house and only 1 very busy female trying to clean it, it is not realistic! I’ve created a schedule that will divvy up the tasks into bite size pieces that can be done 10-15 mins at a time so I don’t ignore the boys for long, I will still need PBS and Netflix’s help but it will be in reasonable amounts.

 

Will it work? I have no idea. Will I keep up with it? I don’t know but I am giving it a shot because I have been procrastinating too much. While I don’t have any hopes of getting this house in good shape, I want to build the foundation of a solid domestic routine so that when we move next month I will not let our new place get so out of hand as this one. It will be nice to not be embarrassed to have somebody come over for a playdate.

 

I love this new system because it takes the guilt out of not doing absolutely everything absolutely every day. If I notice on a Thursday that the toilet could use a wipe down, I can do it if it’s really bugging me, or I can just think “Oh, no big deal. Tomorrow’s toilet day”.

 

There’s something empowering about knowing when something’s going to happen, even if it’s not this very moment. (Clean freaks, this is for you, too. Follow this plan, and you can free up emotional space and find time in your day for other things.)

 

When I stick to my schedule, cleaning never feels like a chore, whereas it used to ALL the time. Now the house never has a chance to get out of control.

 

Listen to the girl who is easily overwhelmed, who is apt to look at a mountain of laundry plus a dirty floor and a pile of dirty dishes and a pile of toys and think  “Geez, even if I start, it’s not going to make a dent. No one will even notice.”
So here is my sample schedule, it is still a work in progress but it will give you an idea to create your own. This is a maintenance schedule and it doesn’t include spring cleaning/deep cleaning items.

Monday

  • Mama’s laundry
  • tidy up bedroom, vacuum carpet
  • collect trash and recyclables

Tuesday

  • Toddler laundry
  • sweep/mop dining area
  • diaper laundry

Wednesday

  • work- no cleaning

Thursday

  • Sweep/mop Living room floor
  • tidy up boy’s playroom
  • collect trash

Friday

  • Toilet
  • Bathroom sink/counter
  • Bathroom floor
  • Tub
  • diaper laundry

Saturday

  • relax

Sunday

  • Kitchen counters
  • Stove/microwave
  • Kitchen Sink
  • Sweep/mop Kitchen floor
  • diaper laundry

Dishes are done as needed (usually daily).

Some people put their schedule on the refrigerator, others create a pretty poster that will match their kitchen decor. I use Evernote software for my schedule because I can add check boxes and I really need the emotional boost of seeing progress being made and I check a box plus if I start to seriously slack I can setup Evernote to remind me.

 

Now for the magic of pickup baskets. This brilliant idea is also simple: a basket in each area of the house (or just one big basket). In the evening, throw in everything that’s out of place, then go around the house and put those things away. This seriously takes 10 minutes. And the other brilliant thing about pickup baskets is, if someone is coming over and you have to quickly clean, toss everything in there, set it in its corner of the room, and voila! Your house is de-cluttered! I have designated a laundry basket for this task and will see how it works.

So I may never have a perfect house, but at least it will be semi decent and still full of love.

cleaning-with-a-toddler