Monday, April 19, 2010

Okay, supermoms, 'fess up. How do you do it?


My archenemy, my nemesis, the bane of my existence. Piled up all over the house - clean grown-up clothes unfolded in baskets by the washer, clean baby clothes in a pile on the ottoman next to my bed, dirty kids clothes overflowing the hamper in J's room, a dry-cleaning drop-off bag slung over the bottom newel post where "somebody" hung it LAST WEEK "to go with me on my way to work." Half of my work clothes pretty much live in the clothes basket; by the time I get done putting them away I have a new load or two in the hamper waiting to be washed. This is one of those areas that for some unfathomable reason has become alot harder to stay on top of since having Jr. I'm not sure why, it's not like he makes alot of laundry by himself. Well, actually, being an infant I guess he does make a good amount of laundry but it doesn't seem like it should add that much to my workload. But as soon as I get a good flow going with the laundry, usually on a Saturday, Jr. will wake up from a nap or decide to be extra-clingy or J will need me to play with him and I'll have to abandon whatever I'm folding...and somehow not get back to it until days later.

It's a symptom of my whole house right now. The laundry. The dishes. The ever-spotted ceramic tile floor and grout that will never look clean no matter what I do. The cat hair on the stairs (who has time to vacuum the stairs on a regular basis?). The hard water stained shower doors. The papers piled up on the kitchen island patiently waiting to be shredded. All those little things that I notice when I scan every room in my house, the perpetual "to-do" list that never quite seems to get done. I know, I know, it's not really all that bad and I could have way worse problems, but I just can't seem to figure out how to keep my house at the level I'm most comfortable with (i.e. spotless) without going crazy or exhausting myself. Because it's not possible, of course. TH keeps telling me this (he's probably sick of me looking around and sighing melodramatically about what I perceive to be a mess), and I try to tell myself, but I REALLY want to know the secret!! I don't want to be a "slacker" mom! I'm a lot more comfortable riding in the supermom lane, thankyouverymuch. I get the feeling from reading other people's blogs and posts (probably my first mistake) that online, anyway, I'm in the presence of a few supermoms. And I want to know, how do you do it? How do you keep your house clean and your kids fed healthy homemade meals and your body in shape and your bills paid and BLOG for God's sake...and sleep, too? What is the secret?

Haha I'm kind of joking, but really. Any tips would be appreciated. Our schedule is fairly hectic on workdays, and I just can't seem to figure out how to do things without feeling like a hamster in a wheel, running at top speed and going nowhere. Recipes that can be made on the weekend and easily put together during the week (and of course not fattening LOL let's make it as complicated as possible) for quickly getting kids dressed and out the door without yelling and dragging and threatening to take away Hot Wheels cars...a beauty regimen that only takes 3.5 minutes in the morning (is there a magic product out there that miraculously straightens curly hair while you're sleeping?)...a way to clean and pack bottles & daycare bags while simultaneously running on the treadmill and paying bills online...and yes, a way to wash and fold several loads of laundry during a 2 hour nap...I'm all ears.


Maria said...

I'll tell you the secret- they're lying! No mom out there is super mom! We all yell, most of us get behind on things, and if there is anyone who claims to do it all, I wonder what kind of time is being spent with the kids. We all hav things that we let slide. For me it's housework. I would way rather have a house that looks mediocre (okay, messyish) and play outside with my kids than try to keep at perfect. We have a minimum of five kids over here on weekdays, and usually a few extras on the weekends, too, and it is next to impossible for me to keep this place constantly clean. My laundry is NEVER done, and I guess I'm okay with that because some day there will be time for it. Like in 15 years. My house will be clean then. We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week, and generally I try to make sure they all get fruits and veggies at least at some point in the day. My kids are mostly happy, I am mostly happy, Will would love the house to be cleaner, but if it's that important to him, he can clean it...I try to remember that the kids won't remember the state of the house, but they will remember the fun we had. I guess to make a long response even longer, it is impossible to do it all, and to those few who can, hats off, but for me, the mess can wait. Be easy on yourself. A long as you are happy and your family is happy and dressed most of the time and fed often, you are doing great! I hate to vacuum the stairs, too!

Maria said...

Oh, and Will is mostly happy, too, despite desiring a cleaner house!

LauraC said...

I'm with Maria, everyone is letting something go! Blogs are the cleaned up version of people's real lives.

I will tell you some of my "secrets" on how we get everything done.

* Laundry - we have three laundry bins. Lights, darks, kids. When a bin is full, we wash it. This means laundry almost every day. BUT I work from home so I throw the laundry in right after the kids go to school.

* Cleaning - we have a cleaning service that comes every other week. Jon and I consider this money towards avoiding marriage counseling. Since the cleaners come every two weeks, the night before the cleaners come is "prep for cleaners" night where we have to have the house looking good.

* Blogging - my job pays me to sit in front of a computer 40 hours week but it doesn't take me 40 hours to do it all since I telecommute. No chatting in the hallway, grabbing drinks with friends, etc. That's why I never blog on weekends - too busy!

* Working out - I work out during my work day. Generally run first thing in the morning after dropping off the kids.

* Meals - Jon and I work together on this one since he also works from home! When one is doing pick up, the other cooks dinner. When Jon's gone, I plan to have leftovers of things we've already cooked. If he's gone too long, then I hit up chick-fil-a.

* Morning scramble - this one is such a crap shoot. But the biggest factor in our success is that we don't have a set time we have to be out the door. If we leave at 8 or 8:20, doesn't matter since we both start work at 9. And generally there are two parents home.

So I would say the secret to our success is both Jon and I work from home.

As for the long-term stuff, that stuff NEVER got done for the first 2+ years we had the boys. NEVER. We pretty much only got the basics done. So now that they are older and more independent, we're knocking stuff our list. PAYING people to do it. Right now we have a contractor fixing up tons of crap in our house that we have put off since we bought it 5 years ago.

Sorry for the novel, but I wanted to keep it VERY real. Even though I do not love my job, I will keep it as long as possible because of all that I can do because of it!!!

(Hopefully in October in Vegas we can all talk about this in person!)

Mel said...

I'm a stay at home mom and STILL have issues with the laundry! Mine is usually clean (constantly running a load), but it is NOT folded and put away. That has gotten worse recently. If my husband or I want a pair of socks or some underwear, we dig through the basket of clean laundry. I used to be super anal about having everything put away. I my standards a little lately. Anyway, KUDOS to you working moms. I SAH and STILL struggle with these things. Taking care of 2 small kiddos is a full-time job no matter what:)

Lindsay said...

My thoughts:
- I don't cook. The kids get easy stuff for dinner, and DH is never home for dinner. We use a lot of paper plates.
- I fold clean laundry on my bed so that I HAVE to put it away before I crash. I really need to get rid of the arm chair in our room, because hanging clothes end up there instead of hung. LOL.
- I have an every-other-week cleaning lady, too. She does the stairs, showers, etc. It's hard enough to maintain everything else in between her visits!
- DH takes the dry cleaning; I pick it up. Pattern established and working.
- I bought a Roomba with my Christmas and Birthday money. LOVE!
- I also work from home. It helps to keep the laundry and Roomba rotations going.
- It gets easier as the babies get older. AJC is now 20 months and can play with brother while I unload the dishwasher, etc.
- My kids go to bed by 7:30. I do most of my chores after that.

Heidi O said...

Okay so we hired every other week cleaners too and I stay home.

Laundry... I do it once it has filled our hamper. The kids fold towels, bath, kitchen, etc. and put them away. Harry's clothes and mine and my husband's clothes are easy to put away. The kids clothes go upstairs so that can take a little longer. Like I finished laundry yesterday morning and some is still in a basket sitting on a small desk in their room.

Dishes, they put them away. Maggie puts away the plastic kid dishes and tupperware and silverware.

Food. Vege trays are a easy way to get veges eaten. I like to buy broccoli slaw to make fried rice. Also easy to make baby food from since it steams quickly. Spaghetti sauce. I got the no boil lasagna noodles and made a full lasagna with it. We ate half and froze the other half. I am a fan of ground turkey. If before you make lasagna you have tacos you can use the rest of the meat for the lasagna.

And running. Well you know I run early but only when Krismon is here. Though I am trying to do an every other day. On opposite days, I am walking with the kids. We make a deal for the length of time they walk, they get to watch tv.

Joanna said...

I'm pretty sure that one more person in our house would tip us over the barely managing the laundry line. We are really close as it is. One trick, Michael stopped wearing PJ shirts a while ago. I put him in a clean shirt before bed, then simply change his pants in the morning and send him off. That's one less shirt for every day.

Cleaning? No advice there. My steps haven't been vacuumed since December 24th when we cleaned for guests. My living room is trashed. We prioritize the places people are most likely to see if they come to our door, and then worry about the rest later.

Meals? I do all of the cooking and Andy can't freaking eat onions, so I have a really limited menu of quick cook meals. The repetition gets old, but it's better than McDonald's all the time.

Exercise. Andy and I take turns running while one of us watches Michael, or we use the equipment in the basement after Michael goes to bed. Doing this 4 times a week means I end up watching almost no TV, and some days I don't get to sit down until 45 minutes before I go to bed. I'm tired!

And dude, I only have one kid and this is the best that I'm doing.

Karen said...

I am convinced there is no way to get it all done. Laundry seems to be the one thing that I can usually stay on top of but that's because our laundry room is upstairs.
I found that meal planning was a big help for us. I take the sales ads and plan the weekly meals around them. By doing the shopping on Sunday or Monday, I can have everything I need to prepare the meals quickly. This saves me time and stress.
About the clutter, we have papers on almost every surface in our house. When we have people over, I just move everything into the hall closet. It would be easier to keep things clean if we weren't home all day!

Steph said...

Wish I knew the answers to this one. Seems like everyone has posted some good ideas. I also telecommute, so I do squeeze in a few chores like laundry now and then during the day when I have the house to myself. I also think we'll get a cleaning service again after the new baby. I had a maid service right after Cooper was born and it was a lifesaver. To have the whole house clean at once and the fact that I didn't have to figure out when to get it done myself was worth the cost.

Dry cleaning is non-existent in our house. Ben wears whatever he wants to work and changes into a uniform there (the plant he works at has strict regulations on what you can wear while on the plant floor, and another bonus, they launder them for him too), and with me working from home I can be casual. Also, I tend to not even buy clothes that would require ironing. In fact, I did not take the ironing board inside our house until a few weeks ago to iron some had been in our garage since we moved to TN in Sept.

The cooking thing I DO NOT have down at all. I never know what time Ben will be home from work because of his crazy schedule, and since I'm busy during the day with work I don't have much prep time- so whatever we have has to be fast to prepare and/or I have to really think it out for the week and stay on top of things (which never happens). I think this is why we end up eating out often... by the time we're both home and Cooper is home no one feels like cooking.

Julie said...

I am probably a little late to comment, but I am CONSTANTLY struggling to keep up with the laundry and house work in general. Before kids, I tried really hard to keep a neat and tidy space, although Bill is kind of a slob, so I was always picking up after him. But, we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment and we didn't have kids. Now, my standards have totally changed. When it was just Lana and she napped, I often cleaned and picked up during naptime, but those days are long gone. I have just learned to live with a bit of a mess. I could spend all my free time cleaning, but the bottom line is that I don't want to. I feel like I spend so much time dealing with Lacey that when she is sleeping, I really want to spend time playing with Lana or doing something fun together. I often try to involve her in the cleaning task that we do side by side, so that we are still spending time together and I am getting something done. But even so, every time my mom comes over she reminds me what a MESS my house is! I am okay with that, although I could live without the commentary from my mother.

Laundry is insane, especially with a refluxer. Here is my secret: I hired a college student to come and fold my laundry and put it away. She comes twice a week (Bill's OR days, when his time home is unpredictable). She also does the dishes from dinner and cleans the kitchen (counters and floors). At first I thought I don't need the help, I can do it--everyone else does, but now that I have the help--its totally awesome. Awesome to know my kitchen will be clean and my laundry put away. I can handle the rest, most of the time.

Meals--I am a big meal planner and we eat pretty healthy stuff (generally). I cook every night except Friday night. Soups are fast and easy. I love my crockpot too. Could you cook big pots of stuff on the weekend to eat during the week? I am thinking things like chili or chicken enchaladas or beef stew. Fish is pretty fast to cook as well. I could email you some recipe ideas if you want, but it depends on how picky your peeps are--LOL.

Supermom, I am not. No where even close. We are all just doing the best we can. I secretly love to go to another mom's house and see dust bunnies or other clutter/dirt. It makes me feel so normal!