Mom to Mom Monday: Housework AND Happy Kids?

Posted by Becca on 12/2/2013 to Mom Madness
It’s tough being a mom. You have a million things to do and you end up multitasking a majority of the time in an effort to get them all done. Then, there are your beautiful kids—the people you gave up everything for—who really need some quality time with you, but don’t always get it and it kills you. It isn’t possible to be everything for everyone, trust me, I’ve tried, but there are some things you can do to help kids,happy,mommake things easier on you as a mom. I work every morning until noon and then come home and get to play stay­at­home­mom to two children and there are some things that definitely fall by the wayside, but I’m surprised at how much I can get done while taking care of two kids, one of which is a five­month­old who demands social time during his every waking hour.

Here are some ways I’ve found to both engage and love on my kids while getting done the things around the house that can’t be ignored:

1) I try to spend at least an hour—not necessarily all at one time—where I’m focusing just on my kids and not doing any work. I used to feel badly that I wasn’t spending one­on­one time with Bunny every day once Baby Bear was born, but now I realize that it’s okay if I spend this time playing with both of them together (though we throw in mommy­daughter dates as often as possible). Both my kids love music and my daughter loves to dance so I lay him in the middle of his bedroom on a blanket and take out the guitar and play and sing for them while my daughter dances, or plays along with a tambourine or a xylophone. It’s great fun for all of us!

2) I fold laundry while Baby Bear is getting blanket time. His sister and I are with him, talking with each other and to him and he seems to feel that his social needs are met. Bunny has the opportunity to feel important by helping me fold easy things such as napkins, towels, and Daddy’s boxers and some days she even earns a little money doing so.

3) I invite Bunny to join in my chores. She especially loves to help me cook and bake, but she also helps with dishes, folding, sweeping, wiping down surfaces, and playing with her little brother.

4) When I’m exhausted, I find no shame in just snuggling down with a movie. No, that’s a lie, I’m a little ashamed of it, but I realize that it’s necessary sometimes. I nurse my son, my daughter watches a movie, and we’re all relaxed and getting the rest we need.

5) Nursing one child provides a great opportunity to engage with the other (at least until the nursling starts doing acrobatics). Bunny and I work on reading and her penmanship workbooks while Baby Bear nurses. Sometimes, I just read our chapter book to her at this time. She also likes to play doctor or hairdresser and allowing her to do that while I nurse is a great way to help her feel included.

6) I find that if I can carry on a conversation with one or both kids while doing my housework, my they are infinitely more pleased with life. Bunny likes it especially when I narrate what she is doing for her little brother. It makes her feel so important!

7) Babywear. You can do almost anything while babywearing. Even nurse discreetly while grocery shopping.

8) When I have lots of work to do in the kitchen, Bunny likes to sit at the counter and either eat her breakfast/lunch, or color while singing to me or telling me stories. Baby Bear is still young for long, self­sustained play, but he will sit in the high chair with a variety of teething toys on the tray and be quite pleased with himself for 5­15 minutes.

9) Naptime is the best time to get chores done, but it’s also a perfect time for napping so I have to prioritize based on how I’m feeling. In my house, we have naps until kindergarten even if the child no longer naps, at which point it becomes quiet time. It’s just better for everyone that the house has 1­2 hours of quiet, alone time each day.

10) It’s okay to make them wait sometimes, but not every time. No matter how big, important, or urgent your “to do” list, if your kids have been waiting for your attention all day and you haven’t been able to give it, it’s time to drop everything and just be with them. They just want to know they are special and loved. They don’t care if the house is clean. When I have lots of work to do and Bunny needs my attention, we’ve tried the timer approach. Instead of saying “Just a minute, honey” and then losing track of time, I’ll say “I’ll take a break and play with you in 5 minutes” and then I set the timer. When it goes off, I stop everything and play with her. Once she gets used to this, she stops bugging me because she knows I have to stop what I’m

11) Take advantage of your hubby! When my husband is home, I ask him to watch the kids for a couple of hours so I can catch up on work uninterrupted. And he does the same thing with me. But we also work hard to drop everything and invest in each other. If you are married, the most important thing in your family’s well­being is a healthy relationship with your spouse. If you don’t take care of that, you won’t be as emotionally healthy as you should be and your children will feel it. Kids feel safer when their parents get along.

mom,kids 12) Wake up early or go to bed late. I get up a full two hours before I need to leave for work so I can get all my ducks in a row before the kids need me. My husband is on call during this time so that if they awaken, he’s the one who will take care of them.

13) Now that Bunny is four years old, it’s nice that I can begin to delegate some things to her. She’s learned to clean her room and she’s great at putting Baby Bear’s toys away too! Her favorite chore is opening a new package of toilet paper and stacking the rolls in the bathroom closet. The more things she can help me with, the more time I have to spend with her and the more important she feels. Besides, it teaches her a much needed lesson in responsibility and working together It’s a win­win situation.

14) Sometimes, you just have to let things go. I’m not a “let things go” kind of person. I like things organized and my house clean, but I’m learning which things can wait and which can’t. A sink full of dishes can definitely wait on a day I’m serving leftovers and a basket full of clean laundry can wait to be folded until I have several more baskets. Cleaning up the toys should only be done once a day, rather than all day long and sometimes it’s best if beds look “slept­in.”

Like I said, I’m not great at this—letting cobwebs be and dust sleep while rocking my babies, I mean. I work hard and struggle every day to find a balance between my task­ oriented nature and putting my relationships with my babies and my husband first. Some days are great because the house is clean and my children are happy and I feel like I was a good mom. Other days, not so much because I raised my voice or said “just a minute, honey” one too many times. But as long as they feel loved and supported, kids are easy to forgive your downfalls. The other day, Bear was having a ridiculous fit of fussy crying and my nerves were shot so I decided we’d go on a drive. I asked Bunny to get her shoes and she went into her room, turned on her music, and started dancing instead while I ran around trying to gather everything while the baby screamed. Frazzled and shoeless myself, I found her in there having made no progress and I lost it. “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING???” I yelled, “YOU NEED TO GET YOUR SHOES ON NOW!!! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT WHEN YOU’RE BROTHER IS CRYING AND WE HAVE TO LEAVE?!?!” And her face fell as she shamefacedly did what I asked while I stomped around getting ready. When we were in the car and both of us had calmed down, I apologized. “Bunny, I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have screamed at you. I wish you would have obeyed me more quickly, but it was wrong of me to yell at you. Do you forgive me?” She did, of course, without hesitation. I, however, couldn’t forgive myself and not ten minutes later, worried about her little heart and how badly I’d scarred it, apologized again. “Mommy!” she said in an exaggerated tone, “You already said that!” I smiled to myself, thankful at her eagerness to forgive my indiscretion and move on with life and I tried hard to forgive myself. Then, we continued our lovely drive, pointing out Christmas light displays and singing songs together while Baby Bear slept, easily lulled to sleep by the motion of the car. Being a mom is tough, but with some multitasking strategies, organization, and a good dose of forgiveness, it’s not impossible.

Comments

Date 12/2/2013
fulufhelo gladness khorommbi
Good to be reminded about giving those little ones the attention and love they deserve, i love point number 14.well said
Date 12/2/2013
Melissa Paul Crawford
This is just what I needed as I start my week. Aa try to balance being a SAHM/WAHM and working outside the home as well it gets tough to balance my 6 month old twins & almost 5 year old.
Date 12/2/2013
Demitra McCabe
I've finally learned some of these lessons as we go into pregnancy #4! Lol sometimes ppl will stop by unexpectedly and for a second I'll panic that the house is messy but then I'll remind myself "you have 3 boys and your house is never filthy just a little ruffled" I love number 11 and practice it often, if I can spend time enjoying my husband we do I learned along time ago the dishes will still be there! Haha
Date 12/2/2013
Kelly Hutslar
I loved this blog. I just had my first baby and he is such a momma's boy I'm worried to have another.
Date 12/3/2013
Mary S
Thanks for this post. I get frustrated at times when I'm trying to get things done and my son needs something. I have to remind myself that his needs come first. I'm really curious how I'll handle two little ones!
Date 12/3/2013
Shanna Bethards
I'm glad I'm not alone. I swear each day is another day to learn. I try #11, but DH is more likely to snap at our toddler... so instead he tries to help with easy chores. Just makes me feel like I can't catch a break to go to the gym like I love to do, and like he doesn't get enough quality time with either of our kids 1 on 1.
Date 12/3/2013
Jessi Leger
Sometimes you just have to remember that the housework can wait, if its not disgusting and attracting bugs you can leave it for a bit to spend time with your family :) Always nice to see a reminder
Date 12/3/2013
Kaitie D.
Great tips! I will definitely keep these in mind.
Date 12/3/2013
Whitney
It seems like hours just fly by and nothing ever gets done. :) Great read!!
Date 12/5/2013
Kim H
Sooo true! I feel like there is always more housework, no matter how much you've done, so that helps me justify hanging with the kids more! I have found my almost 2 year old can now do more & more work with me such as dishes, cooking, & laundry, which gives us time together while working. I also use the Moby or the swing with my newborn to help give me some time to work.
Date 12/5/2013
cassie m
This is so true. I find myself trekking those same words at my 3 yr old when the 6month old is crying. I an thankful that i am humble enough to realize when I'm wrong and apologize and thankful she is sweet enough to forgive me. I think it rescues them so much when their parents can also admit to wrongdoings
Date 12/5/2013
Caitlin Beiermann
THis post is so true. I always have so much to do around the house, but need to remember that spending time with my 4 yr old is more important than finishing all my house work.
Date 12/6/2013
Maggie Martin
I've all but given up on my house ever being clean. it's not filthy/gross just messy especially since we don't have a toy room so the toys are all over the living room all day. It definitely helps when I try and include my boys in helping me clean. I'll figure out how to manage the house and raise kids at the same time someday. lol
Date 12/6/2013
Leela R.
Great post. Over Thanksgiving weekend I had hopes of cleaning house and getting things in order when DH and my 9 MO got sick. The weekend was spent keeping LO out of DH's hair so he could recuperate. I got nothing done but rather than try and dwell on that I just focused on the fact that I got to spend 4 good days with the baby when normally I get an hour or two a day due to work.
Date 12/7/2013
Caitlin Gramley
Getting things done and balancing playing with my kids is something I struggle with. This blog is helpful.
Date 12/7/2013
Charity B
Awesome post! This is something I have been struggling with lately. I work part-time as well, and it is really hard some days to walk into the house and be hit with little one needing/wanting attention, a sink of dirty dishes, and piles of laundry. So refreshing to read that other moms feel the same way!
Date 12/8/2013
Christy
Great advice! Thank you for your honest post!
Date 12/12/2013
Danitra Smith
This is a good read. Im a new SAHM and learning how to balance a new marriage, a 7 yo and a 2 month old has been interesting, especially when they all need/want your attention.
Date 12/15/2013
Melissa McCarty
good advice for when we decide to have our second child. #11 is good since I'm a sahm and it's hard to get chores done with even one child when I'm alone.

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