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Tips for the Stay at Home Mom

It can be a real challenge to tackle repetitious chores and lack of adult interaction, when your all time job is taking care of children. This is a guide about tips for the stay at home mom.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
October 12, 2006

I am a stressed out, overwhelmed, broke stay at home mom.

I am so bad about getting things done, I never finish what I start. I have more laundry than I thought was humanly possible, and have been having feelings of "it'll just get messed up as fast as I clean it anyways, so why bother?"

What do you do when you start feeling this way to motivate yourself? How do you deal with the husband that leaves his socks in a pile by his desk where he takes them off after work? How do you keep a 5 year old from making a HUGE mess every time he does anything? How do you get through 20 loads of laundry faster than you dirty it, and, and, and...?

Just frustrated, by myself as much as anything else. So, What should I do?

Celeste from Florida

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October 13, 20060 found this helpful

Celeste, I can relate to your issue about your husband's took me five years to get my husband to use the clothes hamper instead of the floor, another five years to get him to close the lid of the hamper. Even after all that time he would still leave the pant legs hanging out of the hamper when he closed the lid, either just to irritate me or to let me know that I just wasn't going to fully "win" the battle. You definately need to talk to your husband now about how you feel and ask him for his help. Maybe at bedtime hand him a laundry basket and ask him to get his socks before going to bed. I have heard of people using different colored laundry baskets for different members of the family to help organize them, I don't know if that would help you or not. For your five year old, how about those big plastic storage tubs for their "stuff" and before bedtime set an egg timer and have a race to clean up! It might be time to clean out some of the five year old's things, sometimes there is just too many toys, they don't play with them all anyway, and they just become clutter. Christmas is coming and maybe you could donate the toys to the needy. One thing that you have to do is something special for yourself, no matter how simple it may be. I like a cup of tea in the afternoon. I just sit down, no tv, no radio, just me and my cup of tea (okay and a cookie or two). It is my time, just for me. You need something just for you. What is special to you? Paint your toenails, read a chapter of an inspirational book, write a letter or call a friend, or go to the Thriftyfun website!! Stay at home moms never treat themselves to anything special and they don't get out enough to have "adult time". Anyway, you just need a little something in the day to recharge your battery, then you will be ready to take on the mountain of never-ending-laundry. Do you have enough to set days for certain types of laundry, like Mondays for jeans, Tuesdays for towels, Wednesday for whites, ect.? I personally think that many people, myself included, could hang up their clothes and wear them another day eliminating unnecessary laundry, resulting in a savings of laundry detergent and electricity. I hope you can come up with a solution to your situation, don't give up, and start delegating a little more responsibility to your family.

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October 13, 20060 found this helpful

Paula, I like the idea of differnt kind of laundry days, that might work. I think I would start with towels and linnenes, cause they are so quick and easy to fold...


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October 14, 20060 found this helpful

Hi Celeste, I'm sure many people can relate to your situation. I have given up trying to get my husband to pick-up after himself, my son's not far behind but his mess is usually limited to his bedroom. My husband drops clothing everywhere, the bathroom, the living room, the family room, the bedroom floor...well, you get the picture.

We each have our own laundry hamper, one each for hubby and myself in our bedroom, one for my son in his bedroom and one in the bathroom for used towels. I work approx. 4 full days per week so often spend my days off sorting my laundry, grocery shopping etc...unfortunately I'm not 'superwoman' so housekeeping standards have slipped a little...I like to keep things tidy but it's not always spotless, I try to delegate. My son vacuums, hubby does d.i.y. projects when he has the time! Ahem...

I sort my laundry by darks, lights, towels, get the idea again....and I hang everything up straight from the clothes line to reduce ironing (there are a few exceptions here but this has greatly reduced my ironing pile). I have even resorted in the past to not picking up after my husband and unless he'd put his dirty laundry in his hamper...I would not sort it for washing. He'd end up washing his own clothes instead :) Have you also thought about maybe having a bit of a clearout so you have less laundry??? One small step at a time though...even one drawer or cupboard at a time....less stuff means less work!!!

I have also learned to bulk buy when grocery shopping to save time, not to mention money. It all takes time and patience.

Other posters are also quite right when they say you need to find some time for yourself, whether it's sitting listening to music with a coffee or reading a book or watching a movie...time just for you fitted into each day.

I'm not sure in what way your son creates a mess, with toys? Perhaps you could teach him to put one thing away before he takes something new out...or reward him for tidying up after himself....either by spending time reading him a story or taking him to the park or something he enjoys...making him an ice-cream cone...anything that seems like a treat/reward. I hope you get on top of things :)

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October 14, 20060 found this helpful

I am definitely getting ready to go through all this laundry, and start tossing stuff out that I don't love. I mean, how many generic polo shirts do I really need? I came to the conclusion that I have been holding on to excess laundry as a buffer, stuff to wear when everything else needs to be washed, but now EVERYTHING needs to be washed, and maybe if I got rid of that "buffer" then it would be easier to keep up with the laundry in the first place, lol...


I recently did this with my sons room. We went in with a big trash barrel and started by first throwing away everything that was broken or had missing parts. Then we looked at what we had left and sorted it by what kind of toy it was (we settled on lego's, action figures, costume/dress up, cars, army men, tools, and misc for stuff that didn't really go anywhere) I got a container for each thing (the big plastic buckets that cat litter come in, tidycats I think) and put a picture on each one of what it had inside, and made an extra shelf in the closet. SO now all his toys fit into the closet, his books go on his shelf and his school/learning stuff goes into his desk. Its worked out rather well.

Unfortunately he likes to drag it all out into the rest of the house, and that gets annoying, and he'll throw every scrap of clothing out of his dresser looking for that one particular shirt or pair of pants. Makes me crazy, lol...

Well, it didn't happen over night, so it'll take some doing, but I'l get there...

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October 16, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, Celeste,

I could have written your message myself. I am an in-a-slump, at-home mommy of 4. I've been in a rut, too. I like my surroundings to be neat, because it helps me feel better. The truth is, though, I use tasks like laundry and picking up the house almost as a way to avoid doing some of the "higher-level" stuff, like sending out a resume or trying to get back into freelance writing.

The thing is, in this society, if you don't bring in an income, your time seems to others to be worthless. I run into this all the time, the "You're at home, you're not doing anything" attitude. I even get it from other at-home mommies! Who wouldn't feel demoralized by this? My time is certainly valuable TO ME, but I am clearly in the minority on that vote. It is depressing, and all I can do is not permit others to monopolize my time with their own expectations and tasks. I certainly don't mind helping people, but I don't permit them to think my time is completely flexible, completely expendible (by them).

I have no wisdom on this, truthfully, other than to tell you that you are definitely NOT alone, and to suggest that your overwhelmed feelings are completely valid, and based on your true experiences.

There is a funny story about a man who comes home from work, sees trash all over the yard, the dog running free, the kids eating candy in their pjs, dishes piled in the sink, broken toys all over the place, you get the idea. He finds his wife in bed, reading a book and eating chocolates. When he asks her, "What's going on around here?" she answers, "Remember yesterday, when you asked me what I do all day? Well, today I didn't do it."

Hang in there, fellow Floridian.


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October 18, 20060 found this helpful

I can relate. It wasn't too long ago I made a trip to the laundrymat with four kids and a husband in tow. It made all the difference in the world. Once I got caught up on the laundry it was such a relief. Everyone now has thier own laundry basket and carries thier own laundry up and down the stairs. Also if something arrives to the laundry inside out it is washed inside out and folded inside out. Each person will turn them rightside out at some time or another. I know money is always a factor, but it will be worth it! I also am going through clothes and getting rid of what we are not using, because some how it always ends up in the dirty laundry even if its never been on a body.

I also suffer from starting many projects and finishing few. I get bored easilly, so it is hard to stay on task. I don't know,,,maybe I'm ADD. lol What ever it is I have learned to stop fighting it. What I have found(after 43 years) is that I will start four or five projects. Then, like you I start to feel overwelhmed. All I have to do is finish one of those projects and I start to feel better. Trust me it takes a lot of self talk through it. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP! This too shall pass.

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January 8, 20070 found this helpful

I am a stay at home mom. I'm stressed to the max. My husband is out having dinner with my dad. While i am stuck yet again with cranky fighting kids. My dad takes me out to lunch once a week but I am always accompanied by a child. I haven't had a vacation since the third harry potter movie came out. My 4 year old is determined to send me to the nutty bin. I vacuum 3 times a day. I have been couped up 2 weeks with sick kids with only 2 hrs break on one day. Church on Sunday. I can't take a bath or anything with out being interrupted at least once. I really need some timeoff but can't afford a nanny. I have no one to watch the kids.

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April 12, 20080 found this helpful

I recommend hooking up with other moms and organizing babysitting exchanges or co-ops. A good place to meet them may be at your local public library- they often have free storytimes, and are a great way to meet other stay at home parents. As for making time for yourself, tell your husband or partner that they are going to watch the kids a certain amount of time each week. Be specific. Then, when it's time for you to have your break, get out of the house, or get them out of the house! It'll do you a world of good. :)

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February 21, 20090 found this helpful

Why so much laundry? Do you do a little each day? Do you hang towels up after use? If so, a towel can be used for a week if it can air out. Do jeans get worn more than once? Twenty loads sounds like someone either lets it go for weeks or some in the home throw barely used items in the laundry.

When my 13 yr old had more laundry than anyone else, he was warned to put only truly dirty clothes into the laundry. When he didn't alter his behavior, he ended up doing his own laundry for the rest of his days until he marries.

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February 22, 20100 found this helpful

Wow, I hadn't seen this in a long time, so many good answers!

A lot has changed in the past 3 years, the 5 year old is now 8 and getting better at keeping up with his mess- somewhat. The biggest change is that I am now the income provider and my husband is the stay at home parent. It's complicated, but it's working.

I actually recommend that couples try it for at least a short amount of time- switch places. It helps you to appreciate each other more. My husband now knows how challenging it can be to try to keep up with a household and I now appreciate how stressful it can be to have all the responsibility of trying to bring in enough income.

I've got to give him so much credit- he really does try to take care of all of the household stuff and I appreciate so much not having to come home and keep working after work. I still have things that I help out with, I'm just not having to be in the daily grind of it all, lol.

All in all, I think it's been good for us, I actually miss being a stay at home mom though, lol!

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0 found this helpful
February 10, 2010

I'm 22 with a 3 year old daughter that will be 4 in May, and a 2 year old son that will be 3 in November. I am a stay at home mom and wife. I am in need of some relaxation. Does anyone have some good tips?

By K.Sowders

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February 11, 20100 found this helpful

If it is in your budget, get nature cds. the sounds of waves crashing on shores is very relaxing, as is listening to birds softly chirping. if you can't afford the cds, youtube has several tracks of nature sounds available, you can make a playlist if you have an account and save it, so you don't have to keep running back to the computer every 5-10 mins. An added bonus is that children love the tracks too, it helps them to be calm if you are trying to get them to take naps, and it might spark an interest in finding out which bird makes which sound, or what kinds of animals live in the ocean.

Since you have small children, I wouldn't suggest candles, unless you have somewhere up high to put them and sturdy containers, but incense can add refreshing scents as long as there aren't any allergies to the ingredients or smoke. or you can get a candle warmer, kinda like a hot plate, and that will work to release the scent.

Colors make a difference too. You might not have the budget for a total room make-over, but there are plenty of fabrics to choose from to make slipcovers or pillow shams, and finger paint artwork is a great way to let the kids help, and are easy to make at home. I'm pretty sure i saw a recipe in the archives.

Go for the cooler tones when choosing colors, greens,creams, and blues, and try to stay away from bright colors, especially in the bedrooms. and other websites have wonderful tools to help you pick out coordinating colors, or just look at a color wheel in an art store.

Another thing to remember, to help your overall budget, if you paint a room that you eat in, stay away from reds/oranges/yellows, as these colors stimulate aggression and appetite. Ever wonder why fast food places use those colors in their dinning areas?

Also, if you take showers more often, try to take a bath a couple times a week. I know there are a hundred reasons not too, such as saving water, not having time, etc, etc, but it really does help our mood, especially before bed. soak til the water gets cold, daydream, use organic bath oil/bubbles, or, if you're like me and love to read, use the time to get caught upon your favorite series. just keep a couple extra towels on hand. Our bodies are made up of over 70% water, which is why we need to drink so much of it, and it is the element that most people profess to love.

Finding time to relax can be hard, but when you incorporate a relaxing atmosphere into your daily life, your day becomes less stressful overall, and you won't "have" to take time out for it.

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February 11, 20100 found this helpful

Many years ago, when my kids(now in their 40s) were small, I used nap time to do whatever I wanted to do, whether it was take a nap myself, read, embroidery, sew or what ever. I didn't do any actual house work, that was my time. Also my kids were in bed by 8PM, so I could have quiet time in the evening.

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February 11, 20100 found this helpful

When my daughter was younger, reading and naptime were special quiet times for us. We'd pick out a few books, get comfy and cozy, and read. Then we'd snuggle together, and after a while she'd go to sleep. If I was worn down, heck, I'd nap, too! I didn't nap with her every time, but I did frequently.

If you find yourself particularly frazzled one day, don't be afraid to ask your husband for help. Have him sit and color or play Legos or read with the kids to give you just 10-15 minutes to step away and breathe. You could take a shower to freshen up or lie down in a quiet room. Just that short break can make a difference.

And, to this day, my husband puts her to bed on Friday and Saturday nights. It's nice for me not to have to do it every night, and she considers it a special treat to have Daddy read to her. That would be an excellent time for you to have a soak in the tub.

If Daddy is willing to watch the kids for a couple hours, once in a while you could go meet up with a girlfriend for some coffee or lunch. That's nice, too. It's a change of scenery, no kids, and grown-up conversation. It needn't be expensive. I used to do this maybe once a month with my best friend. It's nice to feel like you have an identity other than Mom/Mommy.

I hope you find something that works well for you. Best of luck!

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February 11, 20100 found this helpful

When my kids & grand ones were that age I would sew,make them some clothes,let them stay in the room with you with tinker toys & etc so you can keep an eye on them,they really did enjoy wearing something new,most of the time I would make something very easy & simple,for the girls just a top to cover them almost like a swim suit top & a pair of short for the boys,as you know you can get patterns from a fabric store. We always took a nap at noon,that saves the day, good luck.

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February 15, 20100 found this helpful

Put them to bed by 8pm the latest and then take a hot candle lit bubble bath with a glass of wine. I'm 30 with 3 boys ages 7,4 and 1 and that's what i do to keep sane. 8pm is my favorite time of the day! Hang in there :)

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February 15, 20100 found this helpful

I like to cook and make crafts, as well. So why my son is sleeping at nap time, or bed time. I cook or craft make soap and lotions or watch a good movie or do my nails things like that.

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0 found this helpful
May 17, 2010

I am a 21 year old, stay at home mom, with a 9 month old daughter. Although we have somewhat of a routine, I am wondering what are other stay at home mom's daily routines. Any advice will be helpful.

By Des from Canaan, ME

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May 19, 20100 found this helpful

If you'd like a direct link, you can find some good sample schedules on Babycenter -  hilds_3657536.bc

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