Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I'm writing this on my phone as I rock Hutton to sleep because as soon as he is down I need to retire myself in order to get up in the morning to work out before heading into work early.

Our house is a complete disaster, I can't keep up with and I don't know what to do.

Tonight I was playing Boom Boom Dinosaurs with Keaton, a game he usually plays nightly with Collin. All it is is crawling around the house going "Boom Boom, Boom Boom" but he loves it. We were having a good night with the boys but as soon as I got down on the floor and could see all the dog hair up close I lost it.

I don't want my children to think back on their childhood and have vivid memories of how Mom was always so upset about the state of the house. I don't want to quit playing Boom Boom Dinosaur, or any other games, because of the hair on the floor. But I also don't want to live in filth.

I knew when I went back to work this was bound to happen. I knew something would have to give. I knew we couldn't keep up with it all.

We've been picking and choosing, making exercise and diet a priority and trying to take some time for ourselves to unwind at night. But it has come at the cost of this house. It's messy and dirty and while I can overlook it for awhile it always catches up with me and ends with my yelling - not at anyone or anything in particular, just yelling, ranting. But that's not what I want my kids to see.

We've talked about hiring someone to come in a couple times a month but I just don't think we can afford it, at least not until we get these medical bills figured out. We've joked about getting rid of the pets (seriously, they are a solid 90% of the cause of the dirt) but the truth is we want our kids to grow up with and around animals. Plus, they are part of our family. We've talked about making a weekly chore list but we haven't actually done it - maybe this would help?

I just don't know what to do and I'm at my wits end - both with mess and with myself for getting so agitated by it. I know there are more important things in life to get worked up over and yet I can't control myself.

Help! What are your secrets for keeping up with the housework?
Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel


CaSondra Shim said...

Hang in there girl! I am so glad that you are still putting your family and now yourself before the house- this is the way it is suppose to be and some days that means- things are not going to look perfect. One thing Ben and I are learning is we both have different things that mean "clean" he likes floors washed and no counter crumbs, I like things put away- if we work on these things first the others can wait until their is a spare moment like dusting and bathrooms. Figure out what makes it feel clean for you and Collin and concentrate on that first.

Em said...

Man, I wish I had some good tips to share. I admit that the house does not stay as clean as I'd like it to, and sometimes I'm okay at not letting it upset me, and sometimes I freak out and then have to drop everything and have at it until I feel better. I know that money is really tight, but part of me wants to tell you not to let that deter you from hiring a cleaning lady if it can give you some peace of mind. I am *this close* to doing that myself. There just aren't enough hours in the day! If that really is just not an option, the weekly chore list might be a good way to keep better tabs on that. In fact, I might have to steal that idea. :) *Hugs to you* Keep hanging in there, Mama.

amanda said...

I'm not busy in the same way you are, but my schedule changes at the drop of a hat! I found myself in the same situation, and decided to do one small thing a day, like dust one day, tile/hardwood floors another day, vacuum a few times a week. This way, it doesn't seem like such a daunting task! Lately, I've put cleaner on the stuff in the bathroom while I'm getting ready, then do a quick wipe-down when I'm finished. I've also been known to clean the shower while I'm in there! Hoping this helps! If not, I'm always up for a trip "Up North!" Hang in there, mama, you're doing great!

Jill said...

I have no secrets to offer, just support, I guess. You're right, the house is the thing that suffers when there is no other time. I know it feels awful and like you're "dirty" if it isn't cleaned, but you're not, that's just the way it goes. I think CaS said it best - pick the one thing that truly annoys you and make that your 1 thing you make sure gets done. Then the other things can come with time. Our 1 thing is vacuuming, but even it doesn't get done as often as it should. I have to admit, the other things probably only get done before we have company. And that's okay! My Mom complains about not having enough time either and her kids are grown! She calls the spot cleaning "a lick and a prayer!"

One thing you could do is make sure you have a hand-held vacuum handy (like a dust buster/dirt devil) to be able to quickly sweep up the visual floor debris. Then it sounds silly, but if the floor in the kitchen needs mopping (go to the dirtiest location - likely kitchen), I've been known to fill a lg bowl/bucket of water with dawn and make lots of bubbles. Let the kids play in the bubbles and splash it around for a bit and then wipe up the mess with a cleaning rag - ALL DONE! :) It's not the best, but at least it feels a little cleaner and you're not sacrificing kid play time (or sleep!)

Again, I have no good advice, but I have to believe that the vast majority of people do not live in a pristine house all the time, so you're in good company! Keep your chin up...this is just a phase in life! Enjoy it (the kids I mean)!

Em said...

Jill, you did give good advice! I love that "letting the kids play in the soapy water" idea, then wiping it up! Awesome.

Kira said...

Oh I just had to add my two cents are preaching to the choir Kate. I love our dog, but man his hair is everywhere, literally, EVERYWHERE! On the flip side, he doubles as a vacuum, he will literally eat anything the kid throws on the floor, which saves me alot of work! One thing I have found is that I used to have a dedicated "laundry day" and it normally was on the weekend which sucked up the fun of the weekend of course, but now I try to throw a load or two in every other day, that way I don't have to do laundry on the weekend and I don't feel like I'm doing laundry for the whole neighborhood all at once. It probably costs a little more, running the machines more, but it saves me my wknd time with the family. I also have started letting Jack do the dishes with me, he stands on the chair next to me and splashes in the water with a spatula, he loves it, we get some Mommy and Jack time and I get dishes done....score!

Jill said...

I did forget to add that along the lines with Kira's suggestion, my kids LOVE standing at the counter and playing with sprinkles in a bowl and then I give them a set of measuring cups and they go to town dumping them between the cups or just eating them. It's simple, inexpensive and they could do it for hours! It allows me to get dinner ready or dishes while they're occupied. (They do especially like it when we put on some "kids songs" on the radio too while doing this and we sing along).

NOTE OF CAUTION: It does make a little bit of a mess on the floor, but that's where my dustbuster tip comes in handy (or dog, in Kira's case). For the amount of time it occupies them, it's worth the small cleanup.

Amanda said...

I too have no really good ideas (as I lay in bed with a bowl of ice cream watching TV instead of cleaning!) I try to dedicate one "day" to cleaning, I get as much done as I can while the kids are napping. Every Sunday (if we're home) I clean bathrooms, change sheets and try to vacuum. We don't have pets and I have to say, I'm grateful for that, I just couldn't handle one more thing to clean up after.

Just remember, at the end of the day, your kids will remember you playing with them, not how clean the kitchen was ;)

Amy Bomstad said...

I truly know how you feel. Unfortunately I take a lot out on Adam...being when I can't stand the state of the house I snap on him all the time for everything! I definitely feel i can't keep up anymore but $ is tight for us too and so cleaning lady is out of the question.

Hang in there! In the years to come our kids will be able to help us out with keeping up!

CLAREW said...

Alot easier said than done but this was my Moms response to a SIMILAR email I just sent her this week!
"My Grandma told me YEARS ago that she LIKED a messy house because that was her confirmation that she was making memories somewhere else."
We have SOOOO much in common girl! Im posting something in response to this on our blog!
Hang in there!
P.S. ~ Im playing with dawn tonight with Andrew ~ I LOVE THAT IDEA!