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
By James (Guest Post) 10/12/2006
I'm a "stay-at-home" husband my self. I also have some of the problems you have Celeste. My wife expects everything to be done by the time she gets home from work, just so she can make it messy again. It's like a never ending cycle. We have no kids yet, but we do have one on the way. She wanted a puppy soooo bad when we had gotten married, but by the looks of it, I'm the main care-taker of the smelly dog now. To me the dog is just a wast of money. Yeah, Yeah...I know about all the responsibilities that a spouse must do, but give me a break! She likes to leave her close in-side-out when she takes them off after work. I got tired of fixing them, so after a while I started to wash them that way. I even folded them that way too. She complained about it a week later. I told her if she didn't like it, then she should wash and fold her own clothes, needless to say she started to flip the shirts right-side-out after she took them off. There was another problem too, she had a habit of leaving her drawers open. I got tired of bumping into them and closing them for her. So I started to ask her nicely to please close your drawer and if she didn't close it within an hour I threw out all of the close that were in it. And on top of that, if she didn't clean up the mess within a week, I would throw away her clothes in the trash. Yeah there was arguing, but it payed off. It took about a month tho. She now closes everything. I'm not too sure about your laundry problem. 20 loads huh? If I ever had 20 loads I would set a date on a weekend for my wife and I to go to the laundry-mat/washateria and wash ALL DAY. I like to do laundry once every 2-3 days or once the basket gets full. I think when she has the baby things are gonna get worse. For your husbands sock problem, you should just leave his socks there until he complains that there are no clean socks to wear. Then tell that if he wants something to be cleaned it MUST go into the hamper. And for the motivation....hobbies are a must for me, I love to work on my car, play racing games on-line, watch movies, and most of all, playing on the turn-tables 1200's! I would tell my self as I'm waking up(7:30am)....start with one load in the washer 27min to wash, within that 27min I must complete the bedroom and walk the dog. Put load into dryer 1hr time. I will do the kitchen in 1hr. wash dishes, sweep, mop, etc. during this time I'll feed the dog as well. Drying done time to put another load to wash, while that's going 27min I fold clothes. Then put load into dryer 1hr. Time to clean windows and start on lunch for the wife. Drying done, time to fold. Meet with wife...back at home. Walk the dog / feed too and DONE!!!(12:30pm) TIME TO PLAY!!!....until she gets home (4:30pm). Then she starts on dinner, but doesn't clean a thing!!!!! Eat, shower, sleep, and starts all over. WOW i can't believe how much i just rambled on.....I hope this sorta helps you a little bit. Take care Celeste and hang in there.
-James from Dallas
Leave your husbands socks where he dumps them. He'll soon learn after he has no clean socks. My partner used to leave his in the bathroom all the time so that's what I did to him. It worked. As for the 5 year old, you've got me stumped there!! Maybe encourage him to tidy up after himself. Once he realises what a pain it is to tidy up all the time he might not be so messy.
Thanks for the response so far. I'm just in a bad overwhelmed place right now, if ya can tell, lol...
Sounds like a good plan James, I'll have to try to get a routine going that I can live with. Hard part is just getting caught upo from all the slacking I have been doing...
Laundromat for a day would be nice. lol. Get it all done, then just maintain it at home...
You sound like a great candidate for FLYLADY.NET. I'd check it out right away. I think you'll feel better. It'll get you out of your slump in babysteps. Good luck and take care!
Celeste, I can relate to your issue about your husband's socks....it 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.
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...
By jojo (Guest Post) 10/14/2006
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, mids...you 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 :)
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...
By Rebecca (Guest Post) 10/16/2006
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.
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.
By Gale (Guest Post) 01/08/2007
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.
By Sarah (Guest Post) 04/12/2008
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. :)
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.
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!
I'm a Grandmother who raised two kids and know how hard it is. Look around your home and you will probably see that your family has too much stuff. Stuff makes/means work. I visited my Daughter one time when she was sick and I could not believe how a family of 4 could have so much laundry. I've sure they were wearing clothes and using towels once. I was there to help her but what she didn't know was I picked up ever peace of clothing, looked for stains and dirt and did a good smell.
A lot of the stuff was folded and put away never hitting the washing machine. Neither she or her husband never new the difference. I use a bath towel more than once and if my clothes don't look dirty or smell I hang them up and wear them again. If your husband refuses to pick up his socks put the things back in the dresser where he found them and I bet he'll never know the difference. I bath every day and what I just mentioned does not mean I'm dirty, neither will you. Your utility bills will decrease like you won't believe. You have a hard job so make it easy on yourself or you'll become sick and bitter.