Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So...my day job

As I have mentioned in recent posts, I am trying to find balance in my day-to-day life and trying to get on top of all of the things on my never-ending list of things to do. Being a stay-at-home mother, housewife, homemaker, CEO of the home - whatever name you want to give it - does not come very naturally to me. Yes, I am task oriented. Yes, I try to be organized. Yes, I can multi-task (or at least I used to be able to). All of these things are helpful to being a stay-at-home mother, but the whole package doesn't seem to come very naturally. The main one being, housework.
I, like most people, enjoy a clean house. I feel much more comfortable and relaxed in a clean, organized house. But actually keeping a house clean and organized...that's the tricky part. I am convinced, that if I can find some way to stay on top of my housework, keep my house (somewhat) clean, and get my "jobs" done everyday, life will be better, more relaxing, less stressful, and I will be happier. I am convinced.
Here's what I have been thinking about lately.
1.) Husband goes to work every weekday. Every weekday. Most of the time, even if he's sick. He gets up at the same time every morning, even if he's tired, and goes to work. He doesn't complain about it. He doesn't try to avoid it. He just does it. And he comes home at night. Still, never complaining. He works hard because that's his job, that's his role in the family, and he does it for the family. Somedays his work day is extra long. Somedays people bug him. Somedays go as planned, and somedays don't. Regardless, he doesn't complain and he does it everyday!
How does this relate to me? I have a day job too. How do I approach it every morning? How hard do I work? How much do I complain? How much do I actually get done? If I can compartmentalize my chores and housework into my "workday," perhaps that will make a difference. Hmm. Things to think about.
2.) Husband never asks me to do his job for him. Ok, now...I do believe that part of being in a family is that everybody contributes - including Husband. I really do believe that. BUT - if I'm not doing anything during the day, is it fair for me to ask Husband to do it when he gets home after he's been doing his part and working all day? I don't think that's very fair. There are a lot of days that I can't get everything done. No matter how hard I try, I just can't. That's part of being a mom - kids always come first and sometimes I just can't get everything done. And of course Husband should help (and he does!) when he gets home. But, if don't feel like doing anything all day, it's not very fair of me to expect Husband to get right to work as soon as he gets home. Nor is it fair to be bugged if he's not! And unfortunately, that happens sometimes over here. I guess my point is, I want to be doing my work too. It makes me happy when I do.
3.) Like any job, there are daily tasks, weekly tasks, and long term goals to housework. I think this is the key to staying on top of it. Sometimes I have days when I feel totally motivated and I clean the entire house top to bottom. This happens maybe twice a year. I can't rely on that feeling to get my chores done, otherwise they wouldn't get done. So...like I always do, I tried to get myself organized. (I confess, I have tried to do this so many times and still, here I am, doing it again).
Some daily tasks for me include:
- dishes (loading/unloading)
- laundry (one load - wash/dry/fold/away)
- making beds (trying to teach kiddos to do their own)
- picking up the floors/toys back in the playroom
- preparing dinner
*things that can hardly make it past one day before it NEEDS to be taken care of.
You can see some examples of weekly tasks on the above picture. Long term goals are set on a need basis. Usually includes house projects, deep cleaning, deep organizing, etc. This system seems to be helping, although I still really struggle in this department. I am mostly trying to focus on changing my outlook and attitude when it comes to housework. It is, in fact, part of my workday while Husband is away. I am so proud of him and how hard he works. I want him to be proud of me too!
How do all of you housewives/homemakers/CEO's do it? How do you stay on top of everything? How do you find balance in the day-to-day routine? How do you think household chores should be split? Should they? Where does Husband/Roomate fit in? Whenever I meet someone who has a clean house (I mean, ALWAYS a clean house) I am always baffled. HOW DO YOU DO IT?! Please share!


E said...

My mom is one of those who has ALWAYS had a clean house. She's in her 60s, takes care of her mom and works more then full time. I am constantly amazed by all the things I didn't (wouldn't) learn while at home and benefiting from her organization.

I also wish I could have a well organized house. But right now I'm just trying to make it through the day without feeling offended or steam rolled.

Something that helped with G and lil G was 5 minutes of family clean up every night.

Something I'm tempted to do with these kids is to keep a laundry basket out in the living room and put stuff in it (You know the socks, puzzles, books ext. I pick up and put away several times a day.) The idea is the kids would put the stuff away at night before bed. The other every day things (dishes, putting AWAY the laundry, ext.) I've just got to DO IT! Deep cleaning like bathrooms ext. is done on Saturdays. I can blare the music and I don't have appointments, visits or doctors interrupting my day. I am interested to follow you on this journey. I think it is something a lot of women struggle with.

Meg said...

Yes, well life situations definitely change things. For instance, I would say that your day job is to drive around and go to appointments! That's so much work. Especially with two kids!

I also forget that this is definitely a process - or journey, like you said - and doesn't happen overnight! It takes lots of practice, and lots of trial and error with what works. Also, figuring out some sort of balance in expectations as well.

I love your idea about nightly family cleanup, whether it's 5 minutes or empty the laundry basket.

The Hungry said...

I wish I had good ideas. You'd think after 24 years of marriage and 21 years of kids I'd have a clue but I don't. Just not enough discipline here - self or expected. I resorted to a rake for cleaning up toys. I bought it specifically for that purpose. It didn't clean everything up but it quickly got it out of the way. Our family room floor used to be constantly covered with "building" type toys. In my and my children's old age, I resorted to supplying them with a "decorative" dirty sock receptacle. Since they were always removing their socks in the family room and just leaving them there - I decided I'd give them a place to throw them. It works for the most part. But the thing does fill up and then I have to wash the socks and they're often bundled so as to make a better "ball" - thus undoing them adds to my laundry time. Oh well. Nothing is perfect. ;-)

Meg said...

I LOVE the rake idea! That had me laughing out loud - but it's such a good idea. Same with the sock bin. That's one thing I don't get - just taking off socks and leaving them around the house. At least Husband lays them nicely on the armrest of the couch :)

Travelin'Oma said...

I remember saying "I'll be insulted if my husband ever says the house looks clean. That would imply that he's seen it dirty." (Duh. I was 19.)

I love your insight about your husband going to work day after day, not complaining, just doing it. You are a wise wife to appreciate his dependability.