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im wasting these precious days, i need help to get out ouf this rut.

(19 Posts)
Booooooooooyhoo Wed 21-Oct-09 21:54:40

i am half way through my maternity leave and i have really disappointed myself. ive got into a rut of planning my days around what chores need done in the house, not getting all the chores done, getting annoyed with myself, taking it out on dcs, spending even more time trying to catch up on chores and continuing the cycle.

my house is a tip at the minute but tbh it doesnt ever seem to be much better no matter how much time i spend cleaning. so i'm realising that i'm spending my children's early years cleaning, to no avail. so why bother when i could be doing things with my kids and not losing the rag with them because the house is a tip.

so, im going to spend the next four days getting the house into a basicly manageable state. and then from monday onwards i want to focus on my children. i want to arrange my days according to them. i want to do things with them that they will create heppy memories of a mother who wanted to be with them rather than a mother who considered them an inconvenience (as i feel my mother did).

i need suggestions. i have general ideas, like the library, swimming, park, walks, crafty things, meeting other mums and kids. but i want to know what you all do with your children.

i really want to make the most of the rest of my maternity leave because if i really enjoy it i might take a career break instead of going back to work, but at the minute, i might aswell go back now for all the use i am to my children. they would benefit more from being at a nursery or childminders.

i dont know if i'm explaining myself very well, but i hope my aim is clear enough for you all.

all suggestions/ideas welcome. im writing them down


Booooooooooyhoo Wed 21-Oct-09 21:55:48

sorry, i forgot to say. my children are both boys aged 4 years and 5 months

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 21-Oct-09 22:52:18

Hi Booooooooooyhoo, don't beat yourself up - it's hard to fit everything in with little kids. However, it sounds like you have a great plan in place - 4 days of blitzing - fab. Will someone look after you kids during that time to help you out? I am currently mid spring clean and the kids (aged 4 and 2) are slightly driving me batty as they create lots of mess whilst i am absorbed with scrubbing the bathroom tiles etc.

Anyhoo, the things my dds like doing are basically anything with me giving my full attention so cooking is always a big hit (but be prepared for mess). Paper mache over a balloon to make pigs. Drawing/painting etc but again this is all messy stuff. Just taking the dog for a walk in the park and feeding the ducks, even a trip to the supermarket where they 'help'. It doesn't have to be expensive or complicated just as long as I have the right attitude iyswim - I treat it as fun rather than a chore.

diddle Wed 21-Oct-09 23:11:07

you sound just like me about 2 months ago. have 3 boys, 3, 2 and 6 months. I hit an all time low, i hated the house being a tip and never had time to sort it, which made me irritable and a shouty mom. I hated myself for it. couldn't stop crying at the slightest thing. Us moms put far too much pressure on ourselves to be "perfect"

You have already made the first step by realising you need to get out of this rut.
I ended up chatting to friends about my feelings and even visited the doctor i was that low, and just talking made a difference. she reminded me i needed to make time for myself, as well as my family. 3 times a week she recommended i just did something for me. such as having the evening to myself with a bath and a good book. or a morning in a coffee shop reading a magazine.

You need to do the same with your family. Choose a day where you will always be able to take the kids out, visit soft play, take them to the park, most libraries do a singing session once or twice a week. There are so many things you can do.

For me to truly relax though i needed to get the house in order and i've only managed that in the last 2 weeks, and i feel like a weight has been lifted.

you'll get there, and you're nowhere near the only one who feels this way.

Booooooooooyhoo Wed 21-Oct-09 23:12:57

well, ds1 is at preschool for 3 hours tomorrow and friday and then at his nan's for 4 hours on sat. he might stay with my mum after visit to nan's so he would be there til sunday evening. and ds2 is easy, he is besotted with his fingers at the minute. grin

yes, im trying to change my attitude. ive noticed that i tend to 'hurry' ds even to get ready to go for a walk because i have set a specific amount of time in which to do it so i can get back and do more imporatnt things i.e; clean. its ridiculous, poor child.

so a shift in attitude to make the walk the focus rather than fitting it in round my agenda. i need to relax and enjoy my children and enjoy the mess and take 2 hours to do the 5 minute walk to the shop.

good suggestions btw

meltedmarsbars Wed 21-Oct-09 23:16:22

Rather than blitz the house for 4 days, (after 4 more you wont be able to tell you did it!) why not just attack a different room for an hour each day - maybe during favourite tv programme time?

Keep a notebook of funny things they say. You forget them so quickly. Ours is read as a great source of entertainment, and will embarrass them at future weddings grin

Fix playdate with friends who are honest enough not to mind mess - at your house or theirs. They are true friends. I have one friend who's dishwasher I have often unloaded!

What ClaudiaShiffer says rings true: no wonder she always looks so cool smile

Booooooooooyhoo Wed 21-Oct-09 23:22:53

thats a fantastic idea about writing the funny things down. im going to start that tomorrow.

youve just reminded me that i still havent bought a baby record book for ds2, and havent added to ds1's in ages. that must be done soon. thats going on a to do list. i remember finding my baby book as a teenager and felt quite dissapointed that my mum had stopped adding to it around the time of when my dsis was born. always promised i wouldnt do that if i had dcs. sad

claudiaschiffer- very wise

Booooooooooyhoo Wed 21-Oct-09 23:25:08

im not close enough to any of the people i know that have kids that i would invite them round, and even then i would cringe at the state of the house. i will feel better/calmer if its sorted.

TrickOrTrefusis Wed 21-Oct-09 23:29:19

When mine were tiny, I used to alternate housework with playtime. Sometimes they would "help" during housework time, other times they'd be napping or catching a bit of CBeebies.

There are lots of things you can do at home, as well as going out for entertainment. We used to have "discos", where I would put on some music with swirly screensaver lights, and dd1 would dance while baby dd2 sat and watched the lights, and we would bat balloons around. We used to read lots of stories... do lots of arty crafty sticking and modelling... cooking, etc... all interspersed with bits of housework.

Dd1 was old enough to be told: I'm going to wash the dishes now, and then we'll finish your cardboard house. After the house was finished: OK, you play nicely with dolly in your house while I fold these clothes, and when dd2 wakes up we'll go to the park. It sort of told me as well as dd1, IYSWIM - I knew that I would get stuff done, but I was also committing myself to spending time with the girls.

Booooooooooyhoo Wed 21-Oct-09 23:40:55

yes thats the sort of thing im aiming for trick. love the disco idea, ds would love it too.

it sounds silly but i dont really know how to play with my children, my mother never did and ive always worked until now so any free time was housework catch up. how ridiculous that i have to ask for help to play with my children. very sad.

ClaudiaSchiffer Thu 22-Oct-09 04:03:31

Trefusis I love that disco idea, I never get to go dancing these days <sob> so great idea to do it at home.

Boooooooyhoo, try not to get too caught up in the state of your house - obviously if its making you fed up then by all means get it sorted out but I do think the main thing is to enjoy your children. My house is very normal I think, cleanish but pretty messy at times. I had a friend round for coffee once who said "I do admire how you let your house go Claudia" as the kids were doing some play doh or some such. I was shock and angry for ages then I just thought of her as an uptight cow who was giving her kids a miserable childhood as she lived in a spotless show home grin.

I'm by no means perfect though, I work from home so my kids have to get on with their own thing whilst I mumsnet work by no means are we constantly sticking/cooking/dancing etc. I am often shouty and grim. But I think that's pretty normal (hopes).

andgodcreatedwoman Thu 22-Oct-09 06:11:32


I'm remarkably similar to you like this, I've found though that the more often we're out and about, whether at the park, shopping, even going for a drive in crappy weather, the tidier the house stays.

It's when we're in and I'm trying to clean that it gets messy. They are so good at creating mess while my back is turned!!

Booooooooooyhoo Thu 22-Oct-09 09:37:25

yes claudia, your home does sound normal, and while my house is on the same spectrum, its on the wrong end of it. i spend more time shouting and feeling irritated and want to shift to the other. i dont want regrets when my kids are up and away.

andgod, thats so true, the more we go out, the less oportunity for mess. i just need to get the house to a level that is acceptable to walk out and leave and know that i'll be happy to come back to. at the minute its not.

StealthPolarBear Thu 22-Oct-09 09:41:06

i feel like this too

CookieMonster2 Thu 22-Oct-09 12:32:52

I think I used to be like the op, but instead of focusing on what the house is like I just try to spend a short amount of time each day doing housework etc and then I can say I have done what is reasonably practical and the rest just has to get left. It means your house is never a show house but at least won't look like a total tip. A good idea is to go round to someone elses house with kids the same age as yours and a lot of the houses will be in a worse state than yours which will make you feel better.

I sometimes struggle to think of things to do with the kids, but there are plenty of ideas out there. Does your local council run swimming classes and/or gym classes at the local sports centre. We do both of those and having a class at a fixed time is really good because it means you have to go, no matter how busy you are with the housework.

You could look for a craft/messy play class as well as that gives you ideas for things to do at home as well as going to a class.

Our library has a storytime group for young kids, it might be worth looking for something like that.

Have you seen 'I can cook' on cbeebies? We watch the programmes and then have a go at doing the recipes ourselves. I can never think of things to make so this is good because its child friendly recipes.

To be honest any activity is godd for kids if you build up to it. I say 'I just need to do this bit of cleaning and then we are going to do some making/sticking'. They spend the time I am cleaning thinking about what they can make and planning it.

Good luck!

nomoresleep Thu 22-Oct-09 12:57:48

I've had this too OP - I get easily distracted by the state of the house and think I'm quite chore focussed. My mum never ever played with me as a child and always did housework/gardening/cooking while we amused ourselves, so I'm sort of fighting against this too.

Stuff I'm doing at the moment:

1. However exhausted I am last thing at night, I make myself (and DP) go round the house tidying up, doing the dishwasher, that sort of thing - even just making sure I have the cushions plumped up the night before really helps me start the day with a more positive frame of mind, rather than the sinking feeling you get when you come downstairs first thing and the house is a tip.

2. Have a couple of 'tidy up times' or 'chore times' in the day lasting about 10-20 mins each. DD (4) can choose to help me or play by herself or watch cbeebies during these times and I blitz the house with DS (6mo) in sling or playing on floor. I never set myself goals of what to actually get done any longer, I just do whatever I can in the time available. I ignore the state of the house at all other times.

3. Got a cleaner to do kitchen and bathroom once per week.

4. At weekends I'm trying to get DP to do more of the chores - it's not that he's unwilling, it's more that I kept finding myself thinking 'ooh, everyone's playing happily, i'll just sneak away and put a quick wash on/start lunch etc' and then finding that DP was getting lots of play time whilst I did chores. So now, I try to get DP to do the wash/lunch sometimes.

I know exactly how you feel about wanting to create memories but finding yourself unable to stop focussing on the state of the house!

Booooooooooyhoo Thu 22-Oct-09 21:40:21

well, i did quite well today.

i tidied round downstairs while ds1 was at school and then left upstairs for later so i could walk down to school for ds.

how embarrasing to get home and realise that my dad had popped in to fit a towel rail in my en suite. upstairs was a mess!!! i had stripped my bed so all the pillows and duvet were on the foor and my pile of washing waiting to go into machine. he would have seen it all. ah well, its done now. just a pity he couldnt call in tomorrow after ive done upstairs.

anyway, really tried to focus on ds1 today, where normally i would automatically refuse his requests, today i stopped myself answering until i had actually thought through what he was asking and whether we could reasonably do it. most things we could, so we went an got him a magazine and then met with friends for as lovely relaxed unexpected lunch. was so nice not to have anything planned and just go with the flow and we had a lovely day. think it exhausted ds because he fell asleep earlier on the sofa, he never does that.

thanks all for great advice, ive made a list that i will keep in my bag for inspiration when we cant think of anything to do.

twelveyeargap Thu 22-Oct-09 21:54:38

Your dad is the last person you should be worried about seeing your duvets on the floor!

Thanks for this thread. Am going to try to spend more time doing things with the kids instead of sodding batch cooking and ironing.

Booooooooooyhoo Thu 22-Oct-09 21:56:40

oh i gave up on ironing a loooong time ago.

one day, i might treat the iron to an outing, but not one day soon.

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