Good housekeeping

Let me preface this with it is okay if the answer is that there is no good answer. I have a three-year-old and 8 month old, and I work part time at a job that demands more brain power than I generally have. Though I enjoy cleaning, I’m rather messy by nature, but I keep the house pretty picked up, thanks to my very Type-A husband who never adds to the mess and complains when things are not to his standards. He has learned to lower those standards quite a bit since our first child, but they still seem to be far beyond my reach. Our house is easily cleaner than any friend or family we visit who also has kids. The only homes that are equally clean or cleaner have a cleaning service. Hiring a cleaner is not an option for us. Before returning to work, I would clean late at night after everyone was in bed, but I can’t do that anymore and function at work. I want to believe that my husband is just unreasonable to expect more in this season, but what if he’s not? Are there parents out there who have the house picked up and dinner made on time daily, who do laundry regularly enough that no one ever runs out of clothes, who vacuum and clean bathrooms more than once a month (if I’m lucky), and who still manage to sleep and function reasonably well? What is your system? Type-A moms out there, I want to learn from you. Working moms especially (but not only), please share your tips and tricks.

  • Shelby
    Nov 04

    What you’re describing does not seem like a fair arrangement. What is he doing while you are doing manual labor? Sleeping? Whatever it is, it’s not manual labor. I think he should give you a break. My house is a mess, and I only have a 6 month old. I work full time, and I use a cleaning service about once a month. They’re much cheaper than I thought. It’s about $100 a session, and I feel like I can’t afford to not have them.

  • Tamara
    Nov 04

    To be fair, he pretty much is always working himself. He works close to 12 hours a day during the week, and on the weekends, he is usually first up in the house doing yard work, gardening, or house maintenance of some kind. And he often has to take the kids out for me on weekends to give me time to grade papers. He is a very hard worker by nature. It is one of the things I love best about him, but it’s also where part of his judgement comes from. He expects me to be equally industrious, and I’m just not as efficient as he is. Much of my work doesn’t look a lot like work, like when I’m sitting nursing the baby, or planning the grocery list, etc. The way he works for our family makes me want to rise to his expectations; I just feel like I’m already doing all I can, and I’m wondering if I can somehow do it better.

  • Kathleen
    Nov 05

    It sounds like your doing all you can and then some. Just because his expectations and energy level is so high does not mean you need to meet that. You have your own areas you excel and I’m sure are just and probably more important than having a clean house. Let him know you love and appreciate him. If you don’t already or when you they’re old enough teach your child to clean up by pointing out what’s messy and then celebrating how clean it is. Then letting her enjoy the responsibility & inner gratification. If she makes a mess you can say “are you forgetting anything?” That way at least you’re not feeling like it’s an endless pick up toys game for YOU but the child is involved.

  • Diana
    Nov 06

    Let me start this by saying that this is not what I’m actually doing - our house is a mess 99% of the time. BUT I‘m a big fan of systems and read a bit what works for others to prepare for better times. 😆 Most people say that downsizing the number of possessions is key. Having a rather minimalist, clutter-free home helps with avoiding a mess in the first place. Less furniture means easier vacuuming/sweeping and less dusting. Everything gets a designated place and when you take it out make it a point to put it back as fast as you can. Need to cut something with scissors? Take scissors out, cut, put scissors immediately back. Same principle of cleaning everything right away if at all possible. Had a bowl of cereal? Wash it right after finishing it and put it back in its place (or in the dishwasher). Let go of the believe that everything has to be the same level of clean at the same time. Make a weekly plan where you take care of one room in your house every day, maybe 5 or 10 minutes. That way nothing gets too messy. Do stuff in bursts: Have 2 or 5 minutes? Tidy one room even if it’s super superficially. Dust one surface. Clean the toilet. What I often do is just wiping the bathroom sink clean after brushing my teeth. The cloth is under the sink so it’s easy to do and it looks fresh immediately (very gratifying, too). Laundry: My dream is to have enough space for multiple laundry baskets. My mom has that: She sorts the dirty laundry into different baskets (hot, cold, dark, white - whatever is your system). That way she can just grab the content of a basket and start the machine without having to sort. It kills me that I often have to go through the dirty laundry multiple times because everything is in one basket. Finally I really like this guy‘s approach (he has 6 kids!). He has a couple of articles about decluttering and cleaning, this one‘s a good start imo: https://zenhabits.net/the-minimalists-guide-to-simple-housework/

  • Diana
    Nov 06

    Btw. just outsourcing a few select things (eg window washing) might be worth looking into.

  • Claire
    Nov 06

    I must say you sound like an amazing person, wife and mother they are lucky to have such a thoughtful person in their lives! I also have a similar husband. They don’t know and they will never know what you do and how much. Accept him as he is, tell him who you are and what you need to be happy. We have different energies to start with but nothing is more tiring than caring for others needs especially young children. I tell my husband “this is what I can do, if I force myself to do more I am going to go crazy, get more exhausted and be unhappy. You do your thing, leave me to do mine at my own pace.” I have thought that I am inefficient and lazy at times (I am hard on myself too) but that is me and that’s my happy state. Life is too short to worry about housework. Is there anyone that can help you? Could you get just a few hours of house keeping a month just to do floors and bathrooms? Laundry - I separate adults and kids then light and dark and never mix up this system. I have a guest room stacked with freshly laundered clothes if you are missing something go check the room! Dinners- alternate crock pot fresh, crock pot frozen, take out, salad and rotisserie chicken, microwave stream veg. I just cheat everything as much as I can!! I am sure my husband knows and let’s me have my sneaky ways also he knows not to complain - because I hold a grudge 🤣 Your kids are so young, it will get better but it takes time. I am sure you are doing great don’t make yourself unhappy thinking others have it more together! We are all faking it! Xxx

  • Jess
    Nov 09

    I agree w the daily cleaning tips mentioned! for deep cleaning and decluttering I like to have help... w my LO that is. 1 or 2 days of the week my LO hangs out w her Granny or her Daddy for a couple hours straight so that I can get some deep cleaning done without any interruptions. It’s great bonding time for them and stress free cleaning / meal prepping for me!