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Maternity leave and household chores guilt
29

finlaythecat · 09/06/2019 06:15

My ds is 4 months now. I’m breastfeeding him and he will only nap on me, in the sling or in the pushchair but wakes up as soon as it stops moving.
I absolutely love being his mum and really enjoy it but am feeling quite a lot of guilt about the household jobs which I can never find time to do!
I think it’s because I can never put him down so never just have any time when I can zip around and get everything done while he sleeps.
I imagined that I would have loads of time on maternity leave to go to new places, go on long walks with the dog and go to baby groups but as it is I feel like I could spend a huge part of the day just cleaning/washing/tidying!
Please give me your tips to get through the housework quicker with a baby attached to me or somehow cope with the guilt of not getting stuff done!

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FrowningFlamingo · 09/06/2019 06:27

I don’t really have any tips as I’m in the same position!
I find I can get some bits done while he’s in the sling. He’s just starting to tolerate his bouncer - I attached a Captain Calamari you to it, so I’m hoping he’ll be happy to spend longer times in there.

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loudnoises1 · 09/06/2019 06:30

Have you tried a vibrating rocker chair? That's been my absolute lifesaver

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newcupcake · 09/06/2019 06:31

Just do the basics , dishwasher / washing up, a load of washing everyday , quick hoover and wipe round every so often. This time will go quickly so do the things with your baby you want to do whether that's sitting and having lots of naptime cuddles or a baby group , ignore the housework it'll still be there when they're older

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PirateWeasel · 09/06/2019 06:33

I'm on mat leave and I can just about keep on top of housework but it's the bare minimum. It's so frustrating being at home every day trapped on the sofa with the baby and seeing everything that needs doing that you can't get up to do! Whatever you do, don't compare yourself to the mums who look like they have it all together. They either have loads of help from their mums/cleaners/childminders, or it's a carefully curated illusion!

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AloneLonelyLoner · 09/06/2019 06:34

As above, the vast majority of cleaning isn't necessary to do everyday, certainly while your baby is small. This time goes quickly. The chores will wait. Seriously this time is too short to waste on that stuff.
For your own sanity I'd suggest white noise on YouTube on your phone. It may be too late to try it, but I used it with my last and it was great. You can buy toys with this but youtube is free.

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Blondiecub0109 · 09/06/2019 06:35

No tips just sympathy, 3.5 month old, BF, severe silent reflux, never naps unless it’s in the push chair, then awake as soon as I stop. DH has absolved himself of household/ dog responsibilities because i’m At home and he’s tired Hmm. I’m at the end of my rope and actually considered returning to work early.

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Bumpitybumper · 09/06/2019 06:38

I think you need to acknowledge that all babies are different and some really struggle to nap independently. Of course you can try to encourage this, but ultimately some babies don't play ball and if this is the case then your experience of maternity leave will be radically different than those mothers who have babies that nap alone for big chunks of time. I had two babies that just wouldn't be put down to nap no matter how much we tried (and we tried a lot!).

This just meant that lots of household tasks became infinitely more difficult as crouching down to empty a dishwasher with a heavy baby in a sling or hanging out washing etc used to be seriously challenging and I just wasn't prepared to upset my baby (and me) by putting them down and letting them cry in order to do these chores. It was much easier to wait for DH to come home when one of use could hold the baby whilst the other could blast through jobs unencumbered. This was loads more efficient and led to a happier household. I had been working FT before going on maternity leave so this wasn't a huge shift from what we were doing before anyway.

I think the big thing here is we need as a society to get away from the idea that maternity leave is a form of holiday where a new mother will have loads of extra time to focus on household chores. Some women have that experience, but many don't and I think it can create a pressure and expectation for new mothers to be some domestic goddess whilst also wrangling a difficult baby. Really the focus of maternity leave should be on making sure you recover from pregnancy/birth and maintain your physical/mental well-being and to build a relationship with your new baby, to nurture and stimulate them so that they can develop and grow. This is all infinitely more important than making sure the washing up is done!

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moleeye · 09/06/2019 06:40

Yep, me too!

Have a 3 month old and a 4 year old and THE MESS! 😱😱

I'm on top of the washing, it's the putting it away I'm struggling with. Cleaning and tidying has well and truly taken a back seat. The OH does more than his fair share but it is never ending.

Currently establishing a nap routine so I have more structure to the day to do stuff. But what with baby classes, nursery drop off and pick up and seeing to the baby I'm not sure where my time is going!!

The only thing I'm clinging on to is it does improve when they start napping for longer chunks at a time in their bed!!

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MarthasGinYard · 09/06/2019 06:42

Encourage dc to take naps independently perhaps.

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randomsabreuse · 09/06/2019 07:04

The worst thing is when weaning starts. Fml all I do is feed, express for my precious freedom days at work, school/nursery run, cook food for us/4yo, cook/chop food for 7 mo, feed 7mo, tidy up debris field after 7mo fed, nappies and help 3yo wipe bottom.

It's relentless but does get better as they get big/strong enough to go in a Jumperoo while you do things or are interested enough in rolling/trying to crawl that you can put them on the floor.

It's so hard trying to relax cuddling the baby when all you can see is things you haven't done!

I'm desperate to master back carries in the sling so I can wash up with 7mo attached!

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Cookit · 09/06/2019 07:09

I agree that you just need to do what is necessary and make the most of this time with the baby.

Personally I wouldn’t be forcing a baby to sleep independently. It’s very normal for a baby to need you to sleep and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

I can do a fair amount in the house with the baby in the sling.

Also it will get easier as the baby gets older. My son when crawling and sitting could get involved with say putting washing in the washing machine as a sort of game. Similarly you can put things away when the baby is crawling as obviously you can put them down. This then frees up time for other chores when they are in the sling etc. Also I got a lot better at making dinner ready for the end of the day once the baby was weaning because you can put them in the high chair and hand them odd bits of food to chew on.

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Bumpitybumper · 09/06/2019 07:20

Another thing I would add is that it isn't necessarily a good idea to get into the routine of you doing all the domestic chores in the daytime. Assuming you're going back to work, then it can be easy for a family to come to rely on the mother doing all the chores during this time. This obviously can cause all kinds of problems when the woman goes back to work and it can be difficult to rebalance the domestic load. On too many occasions this can lead to the woman taking on more than their fair share which is something we should be looking to avoid.

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Preggosaurus9 · 09/06/2019 07:27

It's called maternity leave not cleaning leave!

Sorry OP. I had the same fantasy of finally getting on top of it all and having the spotless magazine ready home I dreamed of. Reality is different Grin I focused on keeping the living room tidy as that's where I spent the bulk of my time with baby. Can close the door on the rest of it. I wish I hadn't got so stressed about chores early on and given up much sooner.

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Lotsalotsagiggles · 09/06/2019 07:32

We booked a cleaner for two hours very week and really helped

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Celebelly · 09/06/2019 07:35

My DP is still doing the majority of the housework four months in! Some days we (me and DD) are out for almost the whole day anyway at various classes, meeting people for lunch, etc. so there isn't really a huge amount of time when I'm not feeding her to get stuff done during the day. I'd rather go out and about with her than hoover, so we just do the best we can.

I've started putting her down in her cot for naps the last couple of weeks though so I do get some baby-free time during the day. Although sometimes I just use that to watch Netflix and eat cakeBlushShe goes to bed at 7 so there is some time to get odds and ends done after then. She also has a little sit me up chair that she will stay in happily for 20 mins or so while I whizz around and do stuff.

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Cyw2018 · 09/06/2019 07:38

My ndn DS was a nightmare sleeper, they got hold of a rocking device which the pushchair could be parked on, said that it saved them! Might be worth investigating.

My DD has always been an excellent napper (not great at night though) and having my naptimes to do housework, gardening or just drinking tea and watch TV has kept me sane. It must be really tough not have that brief respite each day.

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Celebelly · 09/06/2019 07:40

Oh yes, buy a RockIt. Ours is great, I use it a lot in cafes etc to keep my DD asleep Grin

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Wheresmrlion · 09/06/2019 09:56

I feel your pain. Clingy 4 month old and a 2 year old here. Most stuff gets done when DH is around. My role during the day is to keep the children alive and if by some miracle I manage some housework then that’s a bonus.

I put a wash on a timer overnight so I can hang it up/put the tumble dryer on before he leaves for work. DH empties the dishwasher before he leaves for work so I can stack stuff in it during the day (or if baby is super clingy it just builds up on the side and one of us can quickly stack it when he gets home). Baby will sit in her chair and watch me fold washing if I waft it about excitedly for her entertainment.

In the evenings when DH is home I go upstairs to run the toddlers bath and during that ten minutes I put clean clothes away and have a quick scoot around upstairs. Then I feed baby to sleep then come downstairs and have a quick tidy up while DH puts toddler to bed. It’s good for my mental health to have a reasonably tidy home by evening so I can relax a bit without jobs whirling around in my head.

That keeps on top of the day to day stuff. At weekends we have one fun day designated no chores and one domestic day where we can tag team childcare while the other does bigger jobs like gardening, batch cooking etc.

Massive key is we have a cleaner for four hours a week, she changes beds, deep cleans the kitchen and bathroom and does all the floors. It was my caveat for having a second baby Smile

It is hard, especially when you’re the one sat stuck on the sofa thinking about everything that you’d like to do but can’t.

I find getting dinner ready a struggle, any tips there appreciated!

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FrowningFlamingo · 09/06/2019 11:25

@wheresmrlion my DH is still doing the vast majority of the cooking but some days I do a tray bake. I get it ready in the morning when DS is usually in a less clingy mood then pop it back in the fridge. I sometimes have the dish in the fridge most of the day and just add an element in every couple of hours! But then I just need to shove it in the oven in the evening when DS is inseparable.

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6dogsandababy · 10/06/2019 14:13

So glad other people are in the same boat!! DS is just over 3 months and will not sleep anywhere other then on me or DH! I can sit him in his pushchair but have to wheel him round with me but means I can run hoover round, do dishwasher, washibg machine etc without him hurting my back by being in a sling, but he has to be able to see me and I only get about 10 mins before he gets bored, DH has him when he gets in from work and on weekends so I can get on top of housework and they get some father son time I try and get most of it done on a Friday night/ Saturday so Sunday can be mor e of a family chill day though, but if the house is a bit messy it's not the end of the world! So long as family is happy x

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Puddingsmummy · 10/06/2019 15:38

I'm exactly the same, I started to stress until my DH pointed out that I'm on maternity leave to look after the baby and not do housework.

When I get a rare half an hour hands free then I run around doing everything I can, otherwise I'll wear baby in a sling around the house. Failing that I let DH do it when he's home 😂

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MBM18 · 10/06/2019 15:59

I was exactly the same! I used to hold my DD for every single nap but she's 9 months now and easily settles for her naps in bed (I still breastfeed her to sleep then slip away).
I actually miss sitting on the settee holding her for her naps! Although I do get much more done now. Just hang in there it will happen sooner than you think.

How about when he's awake? I used to put mine in a bouncer in front of the tv for an hour so I could whizz round doing the most needed jobs.

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peachgreen · 10/06/2019 16:08

I had the same problem. DD was pretty happy sitting in her BabyBjorn or high chair watching me clean in 20 minutes bursts as long as I kept chatting to her, and once she was big enough for the jumperoo she'd stay in that for up to an hour!

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homemadegin · 10/06/2019 16:11

Another one the same here, seven months old.

I try to stay one step ahead on little things. Make up dogs next feed as soon as they eat. Put dirty clothes straight into machine. Fill kettle, dishwasher powder as soon as empty. Run steriliser and refill straight away. Make next meal in advance, so lay out baby breakfast night before, make her dinner at lunch etc. The first thing I do when I get home is fill baby bag up again.

Big things don't get done very often, or one a day. One bed changed, one floor mopped. I'm itching to clean house from top to bottom but it's impossible.

I wipe bathroom when running bath. Hoover when dh is here.

It's hard though, baby still won't happily be put down, really hard.

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Ditto22 · 11/06/2019 23:21

I have felt exactly like this, and still do sometimes. I found little things like loading up the washing machine at night, and then putting it on when DP gets home (so one of us can hang it up and put away last dry load) to be helpful. Try to do 20 mins at night and let DP look after baby. Get DP to take charge of cleaning kitchen / dishwashing/ sterilising in evening. Make bed (well throw covers over neatly!) as soon as you get up. Once a week, hoover /bathroom when DP home (or get him to do it). And lower you standards. Mine are too high and I find it strangely liberating just to try and be less of a perfectionist!

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