Does both parents working full time always equal chaos at home?

(60 Posts)
HankyScore Sun 08-Dec-13 10:18:43

We never seem to get on top of anything.

There is a constant pile of laundry waiting to be put away. We are eating mainly freezer food. No one hoovered for two weeks until I did it on Friday when I was off work feeling ill.

There are piles and piles of stuff waiting to be sorted through. Everyone is exhausted all the time.

Neither of us have any more to give, and there is no money for a cleaner.

Is this just how it is?

I've been working FT out of the house for four months now, DH changed his hours to accommodate school pick up so works from 7am, I get in at 6pm, then we have Cubs, Scouts, music, riding. We are usually asleep on the sofa by 9pm.

We try to keep on top of the house at the weekends but if we go off routine (I was away last weekend for eg) , it all goes to shit.

How do other people do it? We just seem to be exhausted and messy and blah.

Help me.

RedHelenB Sun 08-Dec-13 10:20:27

Single parent & much the same as you. Time for my clean organised house (or not!) when the kids are grown!

MerryMelawen Sun 08-Dec-13 10:21:03

I've got no advice myself but my SIL is uber organised!! She never sits still, puts the rest of us to shame and I dont know his she does it! On thinking about it she just never let's things hang around - she does whatever needs doing when it needs doing. That way it never piles up on her like it does for me!

SilverApples Sun 08-Dec-13 10:23:51

No, but we are very organised with the basics and have fairly low standards when it comes to housework. The children have always had age-appropriate jobs that helped with the smooth running of our household.
Having a child with AS also focused my mind on not having muddle and chaos, as that would have completely thrown him.

RedLondonBus Sun 08-Dec-13 10:24:39

I'm a lone parent to 5.... Just started work in sept

What a shock to my system that was!!

Thankfully, 3 of mine are teens and help out lots. And I had the chance to sort out everything before I started working

My tip is to sort one thing/area everyday. So laundry, paperwork etc. a few hours spent on it then next day do something else

We're in the same boat as you but with teenagers so I get ds1-18 to whizz the hoover over and wash up when he's not working.

I use my slow cooker a lot and love frozen veg to just sling in to steam/boil etc.

I make sure the bathroom and kitchen are cleaned regularly but that's it regarding house work.

Chocotrekkie Sun 08-Dec-13 10:26:22

I pay the kids - if they want money for tuck shop at brownies they have to earn it. Putting away washing, tidying rooms etc

Have got a robot Hoover (roomba) which was my Xmas present last year. Quick 5 minute pick up before we leave in the morning and then set him off while we are at work.

Bathrooms I do while supervising kids showers dd would be in all day if I didn't hurry her along

Washing - I put a load on most morning. DH puts it in tumble dryer as soon as he comes in while dinner is on.

Kitchen - I do a quick tidy up while making a cup of tea before bed time while the kettle is on.

Ironing is Sunday night job -- for DH-- he gets to chose what he watches on tv.

It's really a case of getting on top of it and doing little bits every day.

Queenofknickers Sun 08-Dec-13 10:28:06

Same here I'm afraid - massively lowering all standards helps!! We have cut out some after school activities as all just too knackered. Slow cooker is good idea - especially if you do twice as much and freeze half.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Sun 08-Dec-13 10:28:28

Forget about clean and tidy houses and concentrate on having fun with the DCs while they are young, because they aren't young long and when you both work you don't have a lot if time with them.
Perhaps get them involved in a mammoth clean up session once a month if they are old enough?
But really - housework isn't that important.
As for cooking, again I'd have a mammoth session once a month and freeze stuff. Slow cookers are good too.
It's tough though. We were both knackered all the time for years Shen DDs were small.
Have you considered having an au pair? Cheaper than a cleaner, and it's great having another adult pair if hands around to help.

Orangeanddemons Sun 08-Dec-13 10:31:47

That is what it was like when both dh and I worked full time. I clearly remember that feeling that if I don't of it at the weekend it all falls apart, and backs up.

I would say, if you are doing any ironing stop it, get kids to do their rooms, and fisho fingers never really hurt anyone in the long run

and I'm on here still in my pyjamas when I should be doing stuff grin you know; being organised.

HankyScore Sun 08-Dec-13 10:33:09

Thanks all of you.

No room for an au pair, sadly, the boys already share a room (11 and 2) and the house is too small.

I think I might have to buy a roomba, that may be the answer to the hoovering problem. Ds2 is a pickle with the hoover and it's really tricky to do while he's around (he wants to do it and is in full on stroppy toddler about it).

I don't think I can lower my standards any further, the, we're already waaaaay lax.

HankyScore Sun 08-Dec-13 10:34:36

Tbh not the.

I'm sure we'll find our stride. I was off on Friday and got loads done despite feeling chappy and it made me think that perhaps we need one day off a week to get it all done.

Can't really afford it though.

Jinty64 Sun 08-Dec-13 10:37:50

We have "a place for everything and everything in it's place". It makes tidying up much easier.

I don't iron, clothes get tumble dried and put away. If they have been line dried I tumble for 10 mins to take the creases out.

I have a menu plan with easy meals so that I know exactly what has to be cooked as soon as I get in. If your dh is in after school he could have dinner ready for you coming in. I often cook several meals/part meals on Sunday to have during the week.

We limit evening activities. Ds's 1&2 do orchestra, ds3 does beavers. Everything else is at the weekend.

How old are the dc's, they need to help. Ds1 hovers upstairs and takes laundry upstairs ready for me to sort. Ds2 hovers downstairs and empties the dishwasher. Hoovering involves picking up and putting away. It's not done to my standards but I sort that at the weekend. Ds3 does fetching and carrying.

But, yes, if I take my eye off the ball it can all fall apart.

Artandco Sun 08-Dec-13 10:37:56

We both work. X2 toddlers. About 100 hours a week between us sometimes more.

- we don't wash every item. Jumper/ jeans etc are worn again if clean

- easy food. Ie seabass in pan takes 2 mins, new potatoes cut in half and steam some brocoli . 15mins max

- organisation. Have 3 laundry baskets, whites, dark, delicates. Even toddlers know difference between the white and dark basket and put clothes in.

- minimalism. We have no dust collecting ornaments, no clutter etc. so when we clean its quick as nothing really to move. Especially important in kitchen and bathroom.

- childrens toys. Less is more. For every new toy, we donate an old one. If they don't fit in one of the 8 baskets we have in cupboard then we don't have.

- everyone helps. Even 2 year old. So at say 7pm 2 year old will put Lego away, just 4 year old will tidy craft bits, I will pick up any other toy bits/ stuff that has accumulated that day and dh will put a load of washing on and finish dinner prep. If anyone has a drink or snack they put cup/ etc straight in dishwasher/ or above

- we also have a washer/ dryer. All washing apart from delicates goes in dirty, is washed, dryed in same cycle and we just take out, fold and put away. So washing in at 7pm will come out dry at 9.30pm and be folded and in cupboards straight away. No time to hang about and wait 2 days to dry

- the children have a later bedtime than most at 9pm so we all have time together in eve and aren't so rushed.

KnappShappeyShipwright Sun 08-Dec-13 10:39:04

We both work full-time, this week we'll have done nearly 100 hours between us at work. We work opposing shifts so whilst there's no childcare in the mix, one of us is always trying to sleep! The house is a constant battle and we aren't at all fastidious. I'm very lucky that my DH takes an absolute equal share in everything so if it looks like the lounge needs a tidy, he'll get on with. The DCs are late primary & early secondary age and are taking on more chores - eg, the dishwasher is their pocket money, they all know how to put a load of washing on and can all change their own sheets. DD1 is learning to cook meals which takes a lot of pressure off, whilst she cooks one of us tidies the kitchen or does the ironing so we're in the same room as her. If we have guests coming, there is a full-on panic to get the house looking like normal people live here.

whereiseveryone Sun 08-Dec-13 10:39:49

It's chaotic without kids so you have my sympathies.

Both working full time just makes me miserable. Other than trying to do a bit every day I have nothing else to suggest.

Then you get idiots like Jamie Oliver telling us we should all be shopping at the local market and cooking from scratch... hmm

Marcelinewhyareyousomean Sun 08-Dec-13 10:40:22

I've lowered my standards massively and don't worry.

Kitchen and bathroom are a priority and we both muck in.

We have millions of diy jobs and no time to do them.

I batch cook at the weekend and most dinners last two nights.

fairylightsatchristmas Sun 08-Dec-13 10:41:10

its hard. We hate eating freezer food so try to cook stuff at the weekend that can be pulled out on the worst late finish days (chilli etc). I iron in front of the TV about 8pm (and I always do iron, hate creased stuff). Its not easy, but at the weekends we each have a couple of hours to do stuff like paperwork or sorting out the garage or whatever. We teach, so a lot gets left to the holidays and then blitzed.

Shaky Sun 08-Dec-13 10:41:13

I shower ds with me in the morning to make the evenings a bit easier.

Like others I use my slow cooker a lot.

We have a washer/dryer is I chuck a load of washing in before work and it is done when I get home.

I pay for an ironing lady, she charges £12 per week and it is the best money I have ever spent.

We have wooden floors and they are constantly dirty, I just can't keep on top of keeping them clean. I am getting a steam mop after Xmas.

Jinty64 Sun 08-Dec-13 10:42:04

OMG! I would love a roomba!

Preciousbane Sun 08-Dec-13 10:43:34

I actually found that when we both worked FT the house was at its best. I'm not really sure why and I almost think being short of time made me extra efficient whereas now being at home I'm not as efficient.

Dc have always had to help and though they did some activities I think some parents flog themselves and literally give up their lives to accommodate extra curricular activities. How many dc do you have and what ages?

formerbabe Sun 08-Dec-13 10:43:57

When I was a working mum (it didn't last long). I found the housework the hardest part. Every Friday night once I put my son to bed, I spent my entire evening cleaning! I hated it. The washing/ironing alone is like a fulltime job in my house!

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Sun 08-Dec-13 10:44:19

DH and I work FT and have a toddler. We have ways to appear tidy grin - our Bedroom is the dumping ground 'staging areas'. All paperwork, laundry, coats, shoes, christmas shopping, etc, goes in there, and the lounge, hall, kitchen and bathroom are kept nice. When we get time, we both go in and purge the bedroom.

This way, its always semi decent for guests and for us to relax in, however for about three weeks in four we only have a walkway around the bed and pick our clothes out of the Clean pile, before we get round to sortibg it.

KnappShappeyShipwright Sun 08-Dec-13 10:45:28

Oh, and I'm totally with Artandco. We had a massive declutter in the summer and I made the DCs remove anything they didn't play with or want any more, all the art stuff was streamlined (300 felt-tip pens, really?!), the kitchen had all unnecessary pans, gadgets and cutlery removed. Having definite places for everything is life changing. And it took me 15 years of having my own home to finally get the hang of it!

We even have the 7pm shutdown, all PCs, TVs etc are off and we shower, bring down washing, tidy round and have a game of cards / Pictionary etc if there is time before bedtime.

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