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less than ideal housewife

Last post 12-23-2009 3:49 PM by Anna Marie. 21 replies.
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  • 12-17-2009 11:50 AM

    • cm1030
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 12-17-2009
    • Posts 1

    less than ideal housewife

    Hi.  I am a working mom.  I live with my 4 year old, my husband and my in-laws.  My question is how do I get organized and tend house after work.  I know this sounds like a stupid question, but I have always been bad with being a pack rat and being lazy.  My husband has been tolerant, but is annoyed with my being less than the ideal housewife.  So any tips to reprogram my lazy brain would be greatly appreciated.  Big Smile

  • 12-17-2009 11:58 AM In reply to

    Re: less than ideal housewife

     Take 1 room at a time.  Clean out closets/drawers/cabintets etc.  Throw away/give away/sell anything that you have not used in the past year.  Get rid of multiples.  Organize the closet/drawer/cabinet as you go.  Add shelves (homemade from boards are inexpensive and very easy) pegboar with hooks etc.  If your family is like mine, you will need a labeler also.

    You teach people how to treat you -- Dr Phil
  • 12-17-2009 11:59 AM In reply to

    • Edey
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-10-2007
    • Los Angeles County, CA
    • Posts 3,869

    Re: less than ideal housewife

     One of the best tips that I can give you is to go to Flylady.com and thoroughly read thru the site and begin with Beginner Baby Steps. There is a treasure trove of help there for getting going on organizing and cleaning up.  It's a system that I always go back to whenever I start to get behind on things and need to do better.  

    Here's the link:


    Take it one step at a time like she says, following each step, and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in only 15 minutes of time. 


    Edey's Vintage and Current Needlework Blog

    Life is like a quilt - it is made beautiful from all the little pieces stitched together.

    Use a HandCranked tool, it doesn't need to be plugged in or charged up!

    Treadle sewing machines. Get a workout and save electricity all at the same time. Plus it can go anywhere, even outdoors!

    READ THE ARCHIVES! It'll do you good.
  • 12-17-2009 12:06 PM In reply to

    • gayla50
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 09-24-2007
    • Western North Carolina
    • Posts 8,491

    Re: less than ideal housewife

    I second the flylady it .idea.    


    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Frugal Food and Cooking and in Slow Cooker Foods

    Purpose is what gives life a meaning
  • 12-17-2009 12:08 PM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: less than ideal housewife

    I am a stay at home mom but with homeschooling, I am not able to really clean all day but before or after schooling so I find a god plan helps to keep me on track.

     I like to somewhat follow Flylady's plan. I don't subscribe to the e-mails.

    What I do find helpful is focusing on one room a week for deep cleaning and real decluttering. In the morning, I will set the timer for 15 minutes and go through the house spotting things that are out of place and pick it up, sweep, wipe down any surfaces that need cleaning like breakfast crumbs on the kitchen counter. I put anything that belongs to the kids in each a pile for them and they pick their stuff up.

    Before we begin our lessons, I set the timer again for 15 minutes and we work on picking things up in the zone room. 

    After schooling if I have time before dinner I do Kelly's mission cleaning. If I am out of time and need to begin dinner then I just skip it.

    On Saturday and Sunday I do the reguar house cleaning of bathroom scrubbing, mopping and all that. If our weekend schedule permits then I do as many chores on the zone list as I can in that focus room. 

    Breaking cleaning down into 15 minute segments really helps me to stay on track and actually accomplish things. Even if I don't get all the decluttering or deep cleaning done, it's an improvement to have done something.  

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  • 12-17-2009 12:32 PM In reply to

    Re: less than ideal housewife

    I work outside the home and have 2 boys (ages 5 and 3) and a third baby due soon. I understand feeling streched to accomplish it "all" in one day.

    I agree with the PP about flylady. Her books and the Side-tracked Home Executive book are great resources and can be found at the library. I didn't follow everything to the letter but the general ideas were so very helpful. Tackling small projects at a time, setting the timer for 15 minutes to focus on one task, picking up and putting away 5 things, focusing on one area of the house only (like bathrooms).

    Also, it helps that my husband does not expect me to be the "ideal housewife" (whatever that is) and has taken on some of the duties as well like grocery shopping, picking up the boys from school (we alternate), starting dinner (he is great at making salads and loves to grill) and taking care of our dog's needs. We also alternate doing bedtime for our boys. Whoever takes care of bath/bed duty for the boys, the other spouse doing another task like folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, or sorting the mail mountain, etc. (I like to fold laundry or iron b/c I can sneak some TV watching in!, DH likes to go through our mail and watch ESPN). We alternate making dinner (well, I do most of the cooking b/c I like to cook) but whoever does the cooking doesn't do the dishes. Soon, our oldest son will help us more in that area (clean up, not cooking, LOL).

    TV watching is saved for after bedtime, like 9 p.m., or weekends. We record what we can't watch instantly. If I sit and watch TV from 7 to 9, nothing gets done.

    On the weekends, I generally like to tackle a small cleaning project on Saturday morning (bathrooms, for example) and DH may take care of yard work. I then do something else in the afternoon like vacuuming and dusting while DH does grocery shopping or takes recycling to the center. I don't spend my whole day cleaning as we like to do something as a family but try and do 2 common projects so I'm not getting out all sorts of equipment/cleaners. If I do bathrooms, I do all the bathrooms and nothing else that morning. If I vacuum, I vacuum the whole house at that time. I feel some accomplishment that way.

    I also make sure I do some laundry-related chore every single night. I either wash, dry, fold or put away. I have to do this to keep up or else I have a mountain. If I have more than 2 baskets of clean laundry, I cannot wash more until those baskets are folded and put away--my personal rule. I don't like mountains of laundry, clean or dirty, LOL! DH is good at the washing and drying part but folding and putting away are not his strong suits. So we balance that way.

    It's a balance and yes, there are some nights when I get home from work and am just exhausted and not much gets done except I feed my family and maybe unload the dishwasher. But that's not every night and I can catch up on the weekends. Taking small steps will help keep you motivated. I've never told myself that I have to clean the whole house at once. I would give up! I tell myself "I can clean this bathroom" or "I can clean the kitchen." Good luck!

  • 12-17-2009 12:34 PM In reply to

    Re: less than ideal housewife

     I like that, Brandy! :) I've been wondering, too, how a homeschooling mom would get those things done since you're essentially teaching during the same hours as a woman working outside the home.

     Thanks, everybody! And to cm1030 for asking the question.


    Actually, I just realized I have a page on my site that might lend tips for cleaning. It's http://www.naturalfrugality.com/sheltertips/cleanhome.htm.

  • 12-17-2009 1:24 PM In reply to

    Re: less than ideal housewife

    From what I can tell, there are several issues going on here and will try to address each one. Thank you for trusting us enough to share your problem, its a big step. I'm known for asking tough questions so I apologize in advance because I know they can sound harsh. Nothing personal, just trying to get you to think beyond the mechanics of housekeeping.
    I know this sounds like a stupid question, but I have always been bad with being a pack rat and being lazy.
    Not everyone grows up being taught how to keep house. As adults we sometimes model what we've grown up with. If you're parents were laid back in housekeeping, they passed on those habits to you. Being a "pack rat" can morph into "Hoarding". There is a psychological aspect where people feel the need to "hang on" to objects due to some life trauma. If this sounds familiar to you, then you need to explore where your behavior comes from. In addition it may not be laziness but rather, you're so overwhelmed that you don't know where to begin ... so you don't. Do you have "issues" when someone "touches your stuff"? This type of behavior can be changed but it requires understanding and support. You may need help from outsiders to help you clear out the clutter.
    I am a working mom.  I live with my 4 year old, my husband and my in-laws.
    You don't say whether your in-laws live with you or you live with your in-laws. Are they elderly or disabled? Are you the one making the biggest mess in the house? Sometimes its tricky enough to get two adults to work together on housekeeping so adding in-laws does play into it as well. It could be that you're feeling conflicted. Is it possible that you want to do everything perfect to impress but don't know how ... so you don't do anything at all? Are you afraid you'll be criticized or told you're doing something the wrong way?
    My husband has been tolerant, but is annoyed with my being less than the ideal housewife.
    What is the ideal housewife? Did his mother work outside the home when he was growing up? (expectations from his own upbringing) What standards are we talking about here? Its hard to keep things neat if you are the one expected to do all the work. Does he or his parents offer assistance? Do you accept assistance or are you declining their offers? Do you feel its "your duty" to maintain the house in addition to working outside the home? Have you asked for their help?
    So any tips to reprogram my lazy brain would be greatly appreciated.
    Please think about these questions carefully. Other members have offered valuable tips and they are worth exploring. Good Luck and welcome to the forums.
    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Stages of Life
  • 12-17-2009 2:18 PM In reply to

    • Nancy B.
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-20-2009
    • MD...soon...FL.
    • Posts 26

    Re: less than ideal housewife

    Hi CM, I too was a pack rat and it got to a point where it was not working for me either. I saw value injust about everything, the old yard sale item I just knew I could repair and use someday......the clothes that would fit again someday......magazines to review again someday......family items I felt honor bound to take care of whether I liked them or not and stuff that came in the mail that I would get to someday. After a while I realized my someday things were stealing my todays....odd way to put it maybe but I knew things had to change. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd attempts were very hard as I wanted to find new homes for my treasures........then I got tough with myself and finally felt a new freedom as items were disposed of.  You asked for tips to reprogram your lazy brain.....I just wanted you to know you are not alone, that others have the same problem and once, perhaps after many false starts, you do address this issue you will be happier.  Good Luck!









  • 12-17-2009 2:29 PM In reply to

    Re: less than ideal housewife

    Nancy B.:
    Hi CM, I too was a pack rat and it got to a point where it was not working for me either.
    Nancy B.:
    .I just wanted you to know you are not alone, that others have the same problem and once, perhaps after many false starts, you do address this issue you will be happier.  Good Luck!
    Nancy B - Thank you for sharing your insight and offering support.
    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Stages of Life
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