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.

Deliaskis Sun 08-Dec-13 10:47:24

I know what you mean. We have a cleaner I'm afraid but for us it's twenty pounds a week and really helps. She cleans or irons, so whatever is at critical mass on a Tuesday morning gets done. Agree with slow cooker and meal planning. We're doing Jamie's 15 min meals at the moment and it has got us out of our rut with weeknight meals.

Agree with only worrying about things that you need to worry about. I know with the cleaner, bathrooms are always done and kitchen is done after cooking most nights, so we do just accept that nothing actual bad will happen if there is a pile of ironing that is left for weeks.

Preciousbane Sun 08-Dec-13 10:47:43

Sorry was posting when you revealed age of dc. Your 11 year old should be able to help quite a bit. My 12 year old DS packs and unpacks dishwasher and is responsible for his own room and cleaning his lunchbox every day and putting his own laundry away.

Philoslothy Sun 08-Dec-13 10:47:57

I don't think it has to be chaos but it will be exhausting. We are a larger family and DH and I work about 130 hours a week between us. We do an hour a day before work and them probably about 30 mins each evening .

I am investigating a roomba

Idreamofsunshine Sun 08-Dec-13 10:50:11

I dropped a day so I don't work on a Wednesday. Yes I miss the money but i feel happier and more on top of things by getting jobs done then.
Also having a day off in the middle of the week means its not long until Saturday and a quick clean up Saturday morning with everyone chipping in and then we can enjoy the weekend

HankyScore Sun 08-Dec-13 10:50:17

We have three dc, 11,9 and 2.

The older two do their own rooms, lunches, put laundry way, wash up, etc.

annieorangutan Sun 08-Dec-13 11:13:22

We both work full time and I was doing 50 hours over summer. You just get used to it after a while. I hoover at least every other day, dh does all washing up etc when he gets in etc. We have little clutter and everything has a place.

Gluezilla Sun 08-Dec-13 11:28:14

No
Im like Preciousbane I find Im much more organised while working fulltime than when I worked part time .
Plus we all have our set jobs - mine is shopping, cooking and laundry smile

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 08-Dec-13 12:57:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Philoslothy Sun 08-Dec-13 13:19:54

I think there is a difference between someone who works school hours and full time. I work at least 13-15 hours a day, my husband works about 9 hours a way, running a house on top of that is difficult

DoctorWhom Sun 08-Dec-13 13:23:26

FLYlady. Ignoring the bits I don't care for.

redexpat Sun 08-Dec-13 13:31:35

I read a book called how to do everything and be happy. Our house looks a bit better now. It's tough. Don't beat your self up about it.

MrsDeVere Sun 08-Dec-13 13:37:30

Work out what matters to you.
If the clothes not being put away drive you insane you proritise them.
If grubby windows don't' bother you, leave them.

We don't work full time but we both work and OH is disabled as is DS2. I have two other younger ones at home so I feel your pain.

The only way to go is to be organised and do something every day.

I made a series of lists.
Daily
weekly
monthly
seasonal jobs.

I wrote them on A4 and put them in a plastic folder. They go on the fridge.
That way if I have five minutes I can pick a job and get it done rather than feeling overwhelmed at all I have to do.
If OH has the energy he can do the same.

The kids have their jobs. DS can manage to strip the beds now. Its taken a long time but he now understands what to do.
DS3 can tidy up the art cupboard and put toys away. DS4 can tidy up too.

I find it helps to have a day for stripping the beds, a day for high level dusting (or whatever) etc so you are not trying to do everything in one go.

I have a bit of a 'thing' so I hoover and dust everyday but its probably not necessary. It depends on how you feel about that stuff.
Putting laundry away every day is a good idea though. Clothes lying around the place leads to more work and they always make the place look untidy.

So.
Prioritise
Make lists
Pick a separate day for each biggish job (hoovering, dusting, ironing or whatever)
Make sure there is somewhere to put everything (you can't tidy if there is nowhere for stuff to go)
Keep the kids involved.
Don't beat yourself up. There are only so many hours in the day.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 08-Dec-13 13:42:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

annieorangutan Sun 08-Dec-13 14:18:51

I would classify 8-4 as part time as well. Its less than the time most people would be actually at work nevermind about pick ups, drop offs, kids clubs etc.

MrsDeVere Sun 08-Dec-13 14:22:46

8-4 is NOT part time.
It may be less than some people's hours but that doesn't make it part time.

Lets not get all competitive about who works the hardest.

Some people who do no work outside the home work harder than those doing a 50hr week in an office.

The OP has asked for help regarding her situation.

annieorangutan Sun 08-Dec-13 14:27:01

It is part time though school hours positions are. Its a fact. Op you will get used to.it I used to moan and be unorganised when I did 25 hours ans had 1 child no I realise I was just extremely unorganised. Its because you have only just started it after a while it becomes second nature, but it does take time.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 08-Dec-13 14:37:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Philoslothy Sun 08-Dec-13 15:25:48

I am not going to get competitive about who works the hardest, I will always lose that one, working long hours does not mean working hard. I also don't work 13 weeks of the year.

However during those weeks when I am working , running a house is more of a challenge than it would be than if I worked school hours.

UsedToBeNDP Sun 08-Dec-13 15:42:50

We both work FT (DH in a job that takes him away much of the week) and are between cleaners at the mo. We are both relative tidy freaks. Like others we manage by running laundry and dishwasher loads before we head out in the morning and transfer to dryer/hanging thing or put dishes away when we get in in the evening. We wipe down the kitchen after every meal, keeps on top of that.

DH and I split the housework/cleaning on a weekend morning. He does the ground floor, I do the others. I have more sq ft but his is dirtier/more high traffic. Kids do their own rooms and animals.

Shopping and whatnot, we do on the day. If DH is around whichever of us is home first will do the supermarket & start dinner. Sometimes it's from scratch, other times it's a defrosted batch cooked meal.

It takes a lot more organisation and we couldn't do it if both H and I weren't equally prepared to muck in.

I do feel like I don't sit down until 9pm every night though and every weekend is spent "doing" but it's fine. Busy is good and there's still time for individual wind down stuff for each of us.

Yama Sun 08-Dec-13 15:53:04

We both work full time and are mainly on top of things. We just get things done in the evening between getting home and putting the kids to bed. I suppose it helps that we both get home reasonably early.

We only have two children though and only one who is old enough for clubs and sports.

kitsmummy Sun 08-Dec-13 15:57:21

In answer to your question, I think yes, two parents full time = stress and chaos and is not the optimum way for family living. I do however appreciate that for many people there is no choice (and indeed there are some weirdos grin who prefer it that way)

usuallyright Sun 08-Dec-13 15:57:23

fucking hell, working 13-16 hours a day? So you're basically working and sleeping, surely there's no time for anything else after a 13-16 hour working day?!!!

DirtyDancingCleanLiving Sun 08-Dec-13 16:14:24

We both work full time and it's fine but we are lucky with shifts.

Df works 8-6, 5 days a week (50 hour week but can't be avoided due to job type) and is off on Mondays and Sundays. I work a compressed shift so do 8-6 but only 4 days (40 hours) and am off Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So one or both of us is home all day every Friday - Monday. On a Tue, Wed and Thursday the kids are in school at 7.45 for breakfast club and go to a cm for 2.5 hours afterwards. We both work close so we're normally all home by 6.15 on those 3 days...the kids will have already had dinner at the cms and will go to bed at 7.30 so we just cook for the 2 of us.

We make sure there are no activities on the 3 days we're both in work, and we do all housework between us on our days off. The house generally stays pretty clean on a Tue-Thurs as there's no one in it most of the day and no big family meal to cook (frequently df and I will make do with soup/sandwich/tuna salad for ease).

I do feel lucky with the way things have fallen for us though, I would hate to have to do our Tue-Thurs routine for 5 days because there's next to no time to relax or do things with the kids.

costumething Sun 08-Dec-13 18:28:23

We both work & DH is away with work most weeks. We have 3 DC. The thing that stops it all falling apart is that we do not have after school activities for DC unless they are on school premises directly after school and the childminder can collect afterwards.
Ferrying children around in the evenings would make it all too much.

PiratePanda Sun 08-Dec-13 18:32:39

No suggestions I'm aftaid - we're exactly the same. We just about manage to keep on top of tidying, cooking and washing. It's exhausting!!!

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