Does both parents working full time always equal chaos at home?(60 Posts)
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.
Single parent & much the same as you. Time for my clean organised house (or not!) when the kids are grown!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
you know; being organised.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
DH and I work FT and have a toddler. We have ways to appear tidy - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
We have three dc, 11,9 and 2.
The older two do their own rooms, lunches, put laundry way, wash up, etc.
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.
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
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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
FLYlady. Ignoring the bits I don't care for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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.
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.
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.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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.
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.
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.
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 who prefer it that way)
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?!!!
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.
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.
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!!!
Lone parent here and prioritising is my saviour. I use a dlow cooker a lot, I have massively reduced my laundry mountain by making jeans, fleeces etc have 2 or 3 wears before washing. Decluttering toys/paperwork etc helps massively. I have my own routine in the evenings so I have a list of things in my head.
Could you perhaps dedicate 2 hours on a Saturday morning when you all focus on housework ? I find that if Ido s big clean every week, it's easier then to give bathrooms a quick wipe every other day or whizz a mop around reslly quickly. I iron virtuallynothing apart from school shirts.
Add message | Report | Message poster 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?!!!
It should have been 15 not 16 . That is also just weekdays, weekends I have mostly free apart from about 5 hours.
At the moment I am pregnant so am not doing anything other than working and an hour or so with the children, I just don't have the energy and am feeling quite frustrated at not really pulling my weight.
I start work at 7am, sometimes at 6am at home and leave at 6pm. I will them do a few hours at home, that is fairly standard.
When not pregnant I manage to do some housework during the the day as well as time with the children.
One day a week I will leave work at 4pm, that day I have the luxury of just working about a 12 hour day.
We both work full time and our house is lovely. This is entirely due to my dh rather than me though. He starts work early so is home by 4pm. He does an hour of housework, prepares dinner and gets the kids to do their homework before I arrive home at 6. He will then do a couple of hours of housework/ DIY at the weekend. I think we would struggle if we both worked conventional office hours or if he had my work ethic as I hate housework and loathe cooking from scratch.
Dh and I work full time although I am on ML with dc2.
When I worked we only had 1 dc and we were able to keep on top of housework as well as engage in outside activities including voluntary work and mentoring.
Being outside the house for 10 hours a day meant no constant tidying up.
Dd does not attend after school club
Take out yours and dcs clothes/bags the night before
Do a big clean on a Saturday morning
Make daily 'to do' lists
Do not allow washing to pile up-put on a load daily
Do not sit down for the evening (unless to eat) until you have done all you need to do. I stick by this rule however tired.
dh is convinced I am a machine.
am smiling at how many of us are getting the kids to do chores, batch cooking, etc.
We have a cleaner (Â£20 a week) which means I know the bathrooms and kitchen have been properly done at least once in the last 7 days and weekends are freer for fun stuff. Plus a good tidy weekly is easier than missing a week cos you're away one weekend and then trying to catch up ...
OH is resigning today and hoping to be on garden leave for 3 months, mainly to catch up on DIY
Both work full time albeit close to home so little commuting time, and we stagger our hours so that one of us is always home with the DC.
We’ve found the key is getting ultra organised.
So every night the kitchen is cleaned and wiped down, all dirty dishes away etc and prep done for next day if necessary. The lounge is left tidy (the DC do this).
Every Friday night we do a more thorough clean of the kitchen. Then Saturday morning, one of us takes the DC swimming and the other blitzes the house as much as possible. The DC come home and tidy their own rooms. Means by Saturday lunch we’ve “done” housework so can enjoy the rest of the weekend. Because we’re keeping on top of it it doesn’t seem too bad.
We also menu plan each week and shop for what we need. Have a stock of meals that take a max of half an hour (or preprepare). Every night we put in a load of washing, hang it to dry in the morning, then put away at night. Only takes a few minutes each time so doesn’t seem so bad.
We also make the DC (10 and 8) responsible for as much as they can be – so they sort their own rooms, bags for school, tidy up after themselves, organise their own homework (we will help if necessary).
We also have after school clubs 3 nights a week so there is a lot of logistics round working out who gets where when.
My friend works, I don't, and her house is bloody immaculate. I honestly have no idea how they do it. I know that in part it's down to them generally being tidier and more organised than we are- like taking cups to the kitchen after use, not leaving things on the stairs to take up etc- but I still don't understand how there are enough hours in the day for her to look after a toddler, go to work, come home, look after toddler, clean, tidy, get dinner ready, put toddler to bed and still have a little time to herself.
When my 2 were younger it seemed I was living in a constant state of chaos - I get anxious when things like housework start to slide, and once I've lost the edge it seems to spiral so for me it was non-negotiable to keep on top of things (my husband would be quite happy to live in a shit pit).
For me, the compromise was 'public rooms tidy at all times' and this is still the rule now - so at the end of every day the living room/kitchen would be tidy so that I could actually sit down with a coffee when the kids had gone to bed without furtively looking round at stuff and shit and getting edgy.
Now the boys are 8 & 11 they are responsible for their own stuff (rooms/school bags etc) and this is done every day, and we still have a tidy round every night. Every Saturday morning was my 'cleaning day' and because I didn't let clutter accumulate over the week it only took an hour or so for a clean - however, it would only take 2 days of letting the odd thing slide for everything to be chaos so it felt like a constant losing battle!
Now I'm lucky to be able to afford a cleaner on a Friday morning, so we still keep things tidy every day but when I get home from work on a Friday, the weekend is ours with no housework - this has been bliss!
I think if you both work FT, then you can never have the perfect house unless you are prepared to sacrifice everything else at the altar of clean - which would be rubbish!
You cannot win, unfortunately
Oh, and washing - NEVER let it build up.
I recently got so hacked off with great piles of washing and ironing I got rid of everyone's washing baskets and got one for all of us (with the lights/darks divider in it). This means it gets fuller quicker and it is one load when it is full, so the washing doesn't get 'overlooked' anymore - this has been a revelation for me and I should have done it years ago!!
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