To not have any idea how to cope?(83 Posts)
I'm currently a SAHM although all three dc are at school, I have very poor mental health and have managed to stabilise it over the last few months by carefully factoring in A LOT of downtime. Dont get me wrong, I'm not sitting on my arse all day, but DH basically does the evening shift at home and picks up quite a lot of slack at the weekends.
His job is quite senior and they have a huge project due in the next six months. He has been 'asked' to work overtime to implement this. He already does a bit, like three hours on a Sat/Sun from home (he gets up early to do this), but he's now keen to, and basically has to do six hours both weekend days (he'll work 6am-12pm) and an extra couple of hours per day.
He has asked me if I can let him abdicate all housework responsibility while the overtime is needed. I am of course very happy to do this, in theory, but I'm panicking a bit about how I'm actually going to do it.
I currently manage to keep the house and kids ticking over, although we are constantly on the back foot with things like washing and there is always something to do. He currently does things like the bins, the garden, baths the youngest, cooks when I can't, does bedtime when I need to go to bed early, runs the hoover round at the weekend, stuff like that.
I'm probably being a bit pathetic but I'm panicking now about how it's going to work. I have my moments where I clean the entire house and get through a weeks washing in two days, but they are few and far between. More normal is doing the breakfast dishes after the school run and then having a nap until lunchtime . I also rely on him a lot to remember appointments and help with homework, and he won't really be available for this.
Are we fucked? I hate that I'm so fucking useless but we had a good system that worked. I need to entirely rethink stuff.
Please give me any advice you can, or just tell me to woman the fuck up (kindly though or I'll cry).
You just need a new system
Is there any chance you can get an au pair or someone in to help a bit?
Have you thought about outsourcing some of the work? It would cost, of course, but your health is worth it!
Could you get a bit of help e.g. a cleaner? Also how old are your DC? Depending on their ages they could be given some responsibilities too?
An au pair would be amazing but we don't have a spare room.
And a cleaner or any extra help would feel very wrong to me (purely my own issue) as he will be working a 60+ hour week and I'm at home on my own for 6 hours every day. I can't justify spending money on help tbh.
Well, first off it's far from an impossible task - there are thousands and thousands of single parents doing this all day, every day, so that's something to think about, even those with poor mental health, stuff just has to get done. You need to find your non-negotiable and work out how to get those done - uniforms washed, lunches made, teeth brushed, that sort of thing.
The teenagers do help, they alternate washing up in the evenings and keep their rooms vaguely liveable. Ds2 is 5 so no help at all...
I think your mental health is worth more to your husband than paying for help. If you have a total breakdown then presumably he'd have to pick up the lot so try and think of it as an investment.
What about making a list of the essential things housework wise that have to be done and commit to say, spending 1 hour a day on them? I don't have much experience of MH issues so forgive me if that sound stupid, I just mean, think ok, I need to do x, y and z, I will commit (say, 10-11am) each day doing it. I think a list of the essentials would help and like I say, while your D.C. Should in no way be carers, they can be given small tasks to help.
Batch cook and freeze dinners and lunches in portions.
Sort laundry into carrier bags of colours and then make everyone use them so all you have to do is tip the bag into the machine, put soap in and press the button.
Children can even do this/hang out washing. My not yet 2 year old helps so certainly a school age child can do a little.
Get children to help washing up, plastic bowls to minimise smashability.
Avoid ironing where possible, if absolutely necessary put on a film you love while ironing and when finished sit and watch rest of film with hot drink.
I'm not completely discounting having help, obviously if I end up hospitalised then everyone suffers, but I want to try and deal with the new reality first. Dh is very good at gauging my MH these days and I'm sure if it does come to it he'll arrange a cleaner or whatever.
I need strategies though. I think, it's only six months, I'm sure I can run the house properly for that time.
Look at it differently, if you can afford it I don't see why you can't outsource some of the hours he would otherwise have helped to a cleaner. What's wrong with that, it's of benefit to both of you?
If you have money to throw at the problem, why not? You didn't choose to have mental health issues, far better to realise it's going to be too much and take measures to stop you from getting worse before it happens rather than afterwards.
X posted. This is what I need! Basic advice. I am a failure at adulting and have got out of the habit.
Can you plan in little and often, so you do one wash every day or second day and sort the washing on alternate days for example rather than letting it pile up.
As a strategy though, my suggestion would be to have a set weekly routine of daily tasks, spreading bigger jobs out across the week e.g. Beds Monday, bathrooms Tuesday, kitchen Weds, kids tidy bedrooms and clean Friday , etc etc... washing one load everyday, dishwasher twice a day.
Meal plan and eat out more!!
I think I probably need to have a rota. And keep it simple. I might get the kids to do a bit more (not loads!) like strip their own beds and maybe sort out their own uniform on a Sunday.
Little and often is key. My Fitbit buzzes at me every hour if I haven't moved so I'll start using that to do a burst of something on my list.
Pay for a cleaner.
Pay for after school club.
Try not to worry, it will all be OK
Agree that paying for help and protecting your mental health is more important to your husband than you seeming lazy. A cleaner would take a lot of pressure off you. Definitely get a gardener unless you enjoy gardening.
Have a schedule. So you nap in the mornings, that's fine, so when you get up make a lunch that will have leftovers you can freeze for a bad day. Then in the afternoon plan manageable household tasks. Break the jobs down. Cleaning the kitchen can be too big and daunting when you're unwell so split it up: do dishes/load dishwasher, wipe down counters, sweep and mop the floor, empty the bin, clean the sink etc
Make the most of it when you're doing well and prepare for the bad days. Batch cook (if you don't want to pay a cleaner spend the money on a freezer if you don't have much freezer space currently). Bolognese, chilli, curry, stews etc are really easy to do double quantities of and freeze well.
Have a big family planner stuck up on the fridge that shows all your appointments, extra curricular activities, homework deadlines etc. Get the kids involved and to be responsible for their own stuff (to an age appropriate level).
Having got MH issues myself although I know you haven't specified how so could be very different m, don't rely on your DH to notice when you are deteriorating and organise a cleaner - be proactive as you can as I'm sure it weighs heavy on you burdening him.
The rota is an excellent idea, can you factor in some help to do the necessary but painful stuff like kitchen/bathroom once a week? Sure teenagers too could push a hoover around. That leaves you to coordinate the admin/logistics/groceries etx
Yes, get a planner or diary and write all the appointments down in it.
If you possibly can, you should pay for help.
If you have a MH condition, maintaining it is like a job. Nothing you can do will be more beneficial for the family than you working to keep yourself on an even keel. Don't be a martyr. Believe me, your contribution will be much greater if you have a realistic idea of your capabilities, than if you try to manage everything and get overwhelmed.
Delegate whatever you can afford. Concentrate your efforts where they are most needed. There are no prizes for burning yourself out.
Make a timetable of housework. Meal plan (including freezer shite once a week and sandwiches/wraps another day). Get a slow cooker.
As your husband will be doing overtime I would definitely think about having a cleaner and possibly outsourcing essential ironing. Ask friends for recommendations for trustworthy cleaners.
As for the cooking that your husband is currently doing, have you ever tried Gousto or Fresh boxes? They come delivered to your door with all of the ingredients and recipes ready to cook.
If you can ease the pressure where you can, would it work for you to have a weekly timetable of things to do? Change kids beds one day, wash towels another, online grocery order another etc to make it more predictable and hopefully more manageable?
You need to do whatever it takes to stay well. I'm sure that your family will be far happier having you at home with some outside help than the alternative.
Extra pocket money for the children in exchange for tasks? My 10yr old has been responsible for the bins for a couple of years now. Lower your standards a bit? Kids to strip their beds every other week?
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