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Good Housekeeping

How do women juggle motherhood and housework?


I'm going to level with you here, my house is rarely spotless.

More than likely, if you were to stop by my home unannounced, chances are that dirty dishes were quickly shoved into the oven and unfolded laundry tossed into the bathtub a mere moment before you knocked on the door.

I find it almost comical that the roll of housekeeping has fallen on my shoulders because the discipline of keeping a tidy home is not in my nature.

I'd much rather hide under a clean load of laundry while playing hide and seek with my children than actually take a moment to fold those clothes. 

My house may not be spotless, but it's full of activity, that's for sure. Yet, despite my lack of talent in the cleaning department, I know that it's my job to set an example for my kids and keep a tidy home. 

It can be overwhelming when the housework piles up and I feel pulled in every direction. Between keeping up with my boys, cooking dinner, vacuuming the house, folding laundry, and the million other unfinished items on my "to do" list, the little voice inside my head tells me I'll never get caught up on my chores.

I see other moms who seem to easily balance the demands of motherhood and housekeeping and can't help but wonder how they do it.

Athens mom Lili Hill shared her secret for keeping a clean home. "We share household duties in our house. I cook, my husband loads and unloads the  dishwasher. I put clothes in the washer and dryer, he folds all and irons his own," Hill said. "He gives our son a bath every night, I read books and tuck him in. It evolved out of necessity. We both know neither of us can 'do it all' so we split it up."

Hill's husband may be onto something, a study found that men who help with household duties actually see more action in the bedroom because their wives  have feelings of sexual interest and affection for husbands who participate in housework (now might be a good time to print this story out and secretly tuck it under your husband's pillow).

Another local mom, Jessica Rothrock, has a handle on household chores and attributes it to her perspective on being a stay-at-home mom. "I traded a high stress and fast-paced job for housewifedom after my son was born because I wanted to be at home," Rothrock said. "So this is where I redirect that energy to, I treat house work like a job and work it as such."

Other moms turn to the Internet for tips and techniques. Athens mom Lisa Myers often enlists the guidance of the website FlyLady, an online support system that is "all about establishing little habits that string together into simple routines to help your day run on automatic pilot."  Myers also looks to Pinterest for cleaning tips and suggested schedules. 

Despite the recources found online, Myers is honest about the challenge of keeping a tidy home. "Listen, don't ask me," she said. "I'm terrible at housework. I try to do one thing a day to keep it in control but I'll still end up doing five loads of laundry today." 

At least I'm not alone.

How do you balance motherhood and household chores? What sort of cleaning tips do you have for domestically challenged moms like myself? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Leigh Hewett October 26, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Funny you should say that, we've really started making our boys tidy up the living room before bed. It is helping.
Leigh Hewett October 26, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I guess that cleaning up just has to be worked into your day. It takes 3 weeks to make a habit, right?
Leigh Hewett October 26, 2012 at 01:10 AM
I agree!
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Risa Haynes October 31, 2012 at 03:31 AM
I actually enjoy most of the house cleaning except the bathroom. I hate scrubbing the shower and the toilet. I try to do things like vacuum my downstairs while my daughters in the tub so I can keep an eye on her. I refuse to use her entire nap time to do some big chore unless its totally overwhelming me and i cant enjoy my book. I also try not to set my personal standards of cleanliness too outrageously high. My house will never look like that crazy OCD friend's or like my friends that have a housekeeper come during the month (most of those folks pick up for their housekeeper also!). I throw things away constantly and donate a lot to goodwill, etc. I only have one kid, 2.5, and I've been asking her to pick up aft herself since she started carrying her stuff all over my house. I figure if she can haul it out, she can haul it back. I use a modified Montessori style approach for her toys too, with rolling storage drawers assigned for a type of toy, like instruments in one, cars/balls in another, etc. we constantly reinforce picking up before moving on, which is a whole other job in itself. But hey, her back is young and mine is tired of picking up tiny things off the floor! I employ Linda's "on the go" idea too and really try to group like tasks together so I'm not doing the same thing 10 times. I think it helps that I have a job and my child still takes naps. The job gives me a finite amount of time to complete my tasks and the naps give me time to myself.

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