Wednesday, February 15, 2012

SAHM does not equal Housewife

I know that I am a great mom. I love my kid, I take great care of my kid, and I sometimes lose track of time simply because I am chasing after those precious baby smiles and giggles. A great use of time in my book. My husband and I both agree that being a mom is the most important part of my job right now. And probably forever.

Buuuuuut, part of this whole staying at home thing was the understanding between me and my husband that we would be rearranging some of the chores - and that I would be taking the majority of them. Now, we still have a pretty equal division of responsibilities once he gets home, and don't get me wrong I am super not in the habit of judging any other partnership agreements. Just work out some sort of agreement of expectations that works for you.

The thing is, it's harder than even I originally thought to get stuff done. And I went into this knowing how much my SAHM friends struggled with timing. Apparently I still thought that being a stay at home mom would automatically equal being a good housewife, er, housekeeper. Untrue.

It's not that I don't know how to do chores. My mom definitely taught me to clean. But, besides the occasional picking up before Evelyn arrived, generally "cleaning" would be a full day affair, at the end of which I could wipe my hands clean and enjoy a clean home until the next time. Now though, there is no "big day" of cleaning. At first I tried to stick with that, because it was what I had always done. 

Pretty quickly I realized that there was no longer time for that..."big" blocks of time no longer exist. Except on the weekends when Daddy is home to play the hand off game, and then we certainly don't want to be cleaning. We want to be out having fun as a family!

Because I didn't have that large block of time to set aside, it was like a mental block for me. If I didn't have the time to get it done - how could I start anything? I hate leaving half done projects. So, I didn't get a lot done in those first few weeks, er, months. I did what I had to to survive - washed dirty diapers, cooked dinner, cleaned Ev's room. And I played with that baby. And I loved her, and fed her and enjoyed every damn minute. But other things slipped. The dusting, the vacuuming, the bathrooms...

Now I know, I know. "Babies don't keep." And believe me, I love every single word of that hallowed poem. In case you haven't seen it, this is my ultimate framework for being a stay at home mom.

Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek - peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Then one day I came across this:
wash on Monday
iron on Tuesday
mend on Wednesday
churn on Thursday
clean on Friday
bake on Saturday
rest on Sunday 

from Little House in the Big Woods

I loved the Laura Ingalls books growing up. And this, this made sense to me. Maybe I could do both. After all, "the cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow," but you can't put it off forever. That's how people end up on Hoarders. Amirite?

As a life long procrastinator, I need deadlines to be productive...and with the newfound sense of freedom and lack thereof of deadlines that staying at home afforded me, my productivity was not so great. My trips to Target on the other hand...they were EPIC.

So, with both of these little poems in hand, I started constructing a framework for my day. This went hand in hand with sleep training. Therefore, my schedule concentrates on maximizing nap time.

Since I posted about our sleep schedule yesterday I won't rehash too much, but here's the general outline...

 7:00 - Wake up, get dressed, breakfast, playtime
 9:00 - Morning nap
10:30 - Errands and playtime
 1:00 - Afternoon Nap
 2:30 - Walk, Playtime, Errands (if we didn't get out in the morning)
 4:30 - Daddy comes home - playtime with Daddy!
 5:00 - Cooking, Dinner, Dishes
 7:00 - Bedtime routine

With that being said, during naps, I hopefully have about 3 hours of chore time every day during naps. I try to get some "zone" duties done during the morning nap, which includes dusting and vacuuming and general picking up. The afternoon nap time is (ideally) for me to play around on Facebook, talk to some friends on gchat, or do a little blogging. More often it is taking care of phone calls, the few bills I am in charge of, etc. 

My "zones" as I have taken to calling them are:

Sunday - I try to do some meal planning for the week.
Monday - Our Bedroom, Ev's Bedroom, Upstairs Hallway
Tuesday - Bathrooms and Laundry Day
Wednesday - Living Room, Dining Room, Guest Room
Thursday - Kitchen and Laundry Room
Friday - Free Day! (or catch up day)

The time gets eaten up pretty quickly, but I have found that my little zones really do help accomplish things so that we can have quality family time without feeling like I am living in a disaster zone.

Do they happen every day? Nope. And I am more than ok with that. But, having it in writing does help me to stay motivated and get a lot more done than I used to...

When I am not busy tickling my baby, that is.

Evelyn Rae is seven months old

...and I have been taking photos today for the Day in the Life post tomorrow...and Ev has slept for 2.5 hours this morning. What the heck. Apparently the girl loves to perform?


  1. Laura! Somehow I lost your post, so I am reposting and replying and hoping you see it!

    "I used to clean the same way (before kids) by taking a full day to do some pretty good deep cleaning. I really like your "zone" idea. That certainly makes things seem less overwhelming. "

    It really has made things more manageable, though I wont lie, 't is hard sometimes to be enthusiastic about cleaning