twitter facebook stumble upon rss

When Do You Find Time to Clean?

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

A harried mom desperately needs your help!

 young woman in wash gloves holding a bottle of liquid detergent

Momlogic's Julie: Last night, I came home after a 10-hour work day. My four-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son immediately commanded my attention. My son wanted to show me how he got to a "new level" on his Wii game (whatever that means). My daughter wanted to play American Girl dolls. Luckily, my husband was cooking dinner. But the whole time I was playing with my kids and giving them the first scrap of attention they've gotten from me all day (because I leave for work before they wake up), I was thinking about the mountain of clothes that needed to be folded on the couch and the stacks of papers I needed to clean off of the dining room table. I chose to play with my kids for another thirty minutes and tried to just ignore the mess.

After dinner, homework, baths, pajamas, and storytime, it was nearly 9:30 PM, and I'd been up since 5:30 AM. I was exhausted. I knew my husband and I should spend some time doing the mountain of dishes in the sink and folding those clothes I mentioned earlier ('cause they weren't going to fold themselves), but I was too damn tired. We crawled into bed with a guilty feeling, knowing the house was a pit.

Is there a solution? One parenting expert says to give kids 15 minutes of your undivided attention when you get home, then start multi-tasking again. But don't the kids get screwed in that scenario? I've just given my employer 10 hours of my undivided attention, and my kids get a lousy 15 minutes? That just doesn't seem fair.

Others have told me to "make cleaning a game." My kids do chores and they do help out, but they don't want to play "scrub the plates" or "fold the T-shirts" every day, especially when they haven't seen Mommy all day ... and I don't blame them. Yet, I don't want them to grow up in a pigsty either.

My question to working moms is: When do you find time to clean? Because, during the week, I just can't seem to. And then my weekends are spent doing household chores, which isn't exactly my favorite way to spend a Saturday. Short of getting a housekeeper (which I just can't afford), what's the solution? I'm all ears!


next: Update: Nie Nie is Out of Her Coma
10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Linney5680 November 13, 2008, 8:56 AM

i think finding the balance is the hard part, especially as a working mother. lucky for me, my husband does the laundry, cooks, and takes care of the outside. i cook on days he works late. the deal is whoever cooks the other does the dishes….it works for us because i hate to cook and hates to do dishes. the house is my responsibility. i clean one room a night, but “pick up” every room everynight. which if you do it everynight it doesn’t take more than 45 minutes to get everything done. i usually do dishes after the kids go to sleep or first thing when i get home from work if i didn’t do it the night before. and the 45 minutes is his tv time for the day.

Barb November 13, 2008, 11:44 AM

I hear ya on this problem! I’ve found that if you spend 15 minutes a night, you can get an incredible amount done. That may not cover scrubbing the floors (a rare occurrence in my house, too) but it means most things are picked up and there’s no obvious huge messes. It also helps me organize the next day. And if you and your hubby can both dedicate 15 minutes, then you’re golden! One can vacuum while the other does dishes, and together you can fold the laundry (I usually fold laundry while I watch TV… TV is my way of relaxing once the kids are in bed).

But mostly, I don’t think it matters if things are somewhat dirty. You’ve heard that term “clean enough”? That’ll do for now (at least for my family!). Just remember what’s important — family!

Shanna November 13, 2008, 11:58 AM

You have to pick and choose your battles. I absolutely do not clean during the week. I do take care of the dishes and try to do some laundry if I have the time, but other than that I don’t do anything else. I vow to get as much done on the weekend, but I know I can’t do it all, as my kids get older they are inheriting chores which helps out a lot. Surprisingly my house stays pretty neat for having 3 boys. I watch “my shows” on Sunday night and I fold clothes for those couple of hours. It doesn’t take that much time to wash and dry the laundry, so it gets done throughout the weekend.

Anonymous November 14, 2008, 11:28 AM

I know some SAHMs (NOT all of them) that can’t find time to clean their house. WTF! you’re home all day.

Melissa January 24, 2009, 2:06 AM

I can’t do it, I just can’t. I was married for 20 years (we married at 20 and basically grew up together) I thought I had it bad, hmm, at least he really did help out with cleaning, washing clothes etc. Now with just the kids and me I live in a pig pen all week (all the neighborhood kids migrate to my house) probably because I never get mad when they mess up or paint the floor, LOL. To me it is just too important to spend that little bit of time I have each day after work and before bed with them. I tried and I have literally stayed up all night and gone to work but the next day I crashed, so I gave up. I am remarried now and we have a housekeeper twice a week so the house is clean twice a week. I make sure the house is not “dirty” as in nasty gross, but if it is cluttered or toys all over the floor , so what? I clean the bathrooms and do dishes that is about it during the week

Sheila January 24, 2009, 11:01 AM

To “Anonymous” that posted this rude comment: “I know some SAHMs (NOT all of them) that can’t find time to clean their house. WTF! you’re home all day.”

I am a SAHM…the “M” meaning MOM not MAID. Just because I have the title of Stay At Home Mom does NOT mean I actually stay home all day and sit on my butt. I have five children, ages 4, 8, 13, 14 & 17. One is in preschool (2 days per week 12:45pm to 3:00pm), one in grade school (8:35am to 2:55pm), two in middle school (9:00am to 3:30pm) and one in high school (8:00am to 2:20pm). I drive my children to school every day and pick them up every day (look at the times, do the math on how long I am in the car just driving). Let’s also not forget the activities: volleyball, football, basketball, baseball, tennis, music lessons/concerts/recitals (cello player, piano, guitar), and then the various programs, book fairs, parent/teacher conferences, school carnivals, classroom volunteer, etc. that we always attend at the kids’ schools. I am also responsible for taking the kids to their doctor/dentist appointments (four boys…we visit the doc often, lol), do the grocery shopping, haircuts every month (four boys require monthly haircuts)…and any other errands that need to be done. When I am home, I spend a lot of time playing with my youngest son. He enjoys it when I sit on the floor and play Star Wars and Legos with him, or sit and read a couple books with him. When the kids get home from school, I make sure they have a good healthy snack, work with them on homework and talk about their day. Then I must start dinner, a big family requires a big meal. Daddy usually gets home while dinner is cooking. After dinner I don’t immediately rush to do the dishes, this is when I take my “me” time. Hubby spends time with the kids while I take my time out. Then we start the bedtime routine of baths, brushing teeth, reading (yes, again), tucking in the ones that still want to be tucked in by mom and dad, and then I will rock my 4 year old to sleep (YES, I still rock my baby…he enjoys it and so do I). Now, during all this activity throughout my day I somehow manage to make sure the toilet is clean, run the Swiffer over the hardwood floors every day, throw dishes in the dishwasher, put a load of laundry in the washer/dryer (well, three loads per day), fold/put away one load at a time, pick up toys and throw them into the closest bin (basically it’s 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there doing housework throughout the day)…and if I’m lucky I will get a shower in at some point during the day. My house is NOT “dirty”, it smells nice and clean, but if you were to walk in at any given time during the day it would be “messy”. I get up early, before the kids, so that I may enjoy my coffee and play on the computer or read a book. I’m certainly not going to “clean” at 5:00am…it would wake everyone up! And for the record…I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. It’s busy, hectic and oftentimes chaotic…I LOVE IT!!!

I’m very sorry for the LONG post, but Anonymous’ comment really ticked me off.

All you working moms and SAHM moms…have a WONDERFUL day!!!

Sheila January 24, 2009, 11:10 AM

Sorry about this, apparantly my post was too long and it cut off the last part so here is the continuation…..Now, during all this activity throughout my day I somehow manage to make sure the toilet is clean, run the Swiffer over the hardwood floors every day, throw dishes in the dishwasher, put a load of laundry in the washer/dryer (well, three loads per day), fold/put away one load at a time, pick up toys and throw them into the closest bin (basically it’s 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there doing housework throughout the day)…and if I’m lucky I will get a shower in at some point during the day. My house is NOT “dirty”, it smells nice and clean, but if you were to walk in at any given time during the day it would be “messy”. I get up early, before the kids, so that I may enjoy my coffee and play on the computer or read a book. I’m certainly not going to “clean” at 5:00am…it would wake everyone up! And for the record…I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. It’s busy, hectic and oftentimes chaotic…I LOVE IT!!!

I’m very sorry for the LONG post, but Anonymous’ comment really ticked me off.

All you working moms and SAHM moms…have a WONDERFUL day!!!

Anonymous January 25, 2009, 10:36 AM

Don’t be too hard on yourself, you cannot do it all, I am surprised by women that claim to work full time, have a gleaming house,perfect kids etc.It sounds to me as though you are a great Mum!!!

Brandi January 27, 2009, 5:30 PM

I am a stay at home mother of five also. So I am here to back the other mother with five kids…It is very hard. I do most of what she said she does, but my kids are younger than her’s. 4 girls and a baby boy…13,9,7,5,1. So that’s 1 in middle school 2 in ele. school and 2 that stay at home with me. I also take my kids to school and pick them up. It is very, very hard when you have a large family. I also have my in-laws with me, so I have 9 people in my home. My house is not dirty it is just crowded and packed to the rim. I have been trying for months to have a garage sale… but I don’t even have time to go through things to do that. Keep all the good work up, it’s hard but all us mom’s can do it! I am trying to come up with a chore chart for my kids so if anyone knows of any good web sites that can help me out with that I would greatly appreciate it. I know what chore’s I need them to do I just don’t know how to lay it out on paper. Like I said before I have younger one’s so I need something that they can read and understand. So if you can post any idea’s! Thanks!

mary May 10, 2011, 11:55 AM

As a recent convert to stay at home mom. Let me just say. If you can’t keep things clean when you are working. That there is no way in heck that you can do it as a stay at home. Cause the kids aren’t in daycare or aftercare, they are in your house, your yard, your kitchen, eating on your dishes, wiping food on your furniture, etc. When I worked, we had a maid and that is how you do it when you work. If you can’t do that, you might rethink how much benefit your job is really contributing. Facts and figures speaking it isn’t suppose to be logical to work unless you get paid more than the break even point of $15 an hour. Re-evaluate your finances and see what is going where to find the cash!


Back to top >>
advertisement