Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Babies and Housework

I have contemplated writing on this topic for quite some time. I actually dreamt about this post last night and what I should write in it! A big part of me hesitated because it's definitely not something that I have down to a "t." But it occurred to me that's probably the point. You don't have to do it all perfectly.
As of the time of my writing this I have dishes in my sink, laundry in my washer and dryer, toys all over the floor and I think that all the floors in my house needs to be either swept/mopped or vacuumed. I'm ignoring that part of my housework right now. I focus instead on the fact that I folded and put away 3 loads of laundry yesterday, I cleaned all my baking pans yesterday, I have a cake in the oven (for my mom's birthday today) and my family is fed and happy (Adam cooked breakfast).
Probably later today, when Caleb is napping, I will spend some time finishing up my laundry (diapers are in the washer so I kind of need those). If he's still napping I might even get up the gumption to clean my kitchen.

I had the HARDEST time getting into a routine when Caleb was first born. Part of it was that I just physically did not have the engery (I was recovering from a c-section and suffered a lot of fatigue) so I spent most of my days napping. I tried very hard not to allow myself to feel guilty about it. I think that it was about 6 months when I noticed that I didn't need to nap every single time Caleb napped. But I also didn't want to spend that precious alone time cleaning house. I found that when I cleaned during his nap, I would resent when he woke up. So I made a deal with myself: I would take 10 minutes to "power clean" and then I gave myself permission to sit down to take some "me time." As he got older and his naps were a little more consistent (and longer) I began to expand that time to 15 min and then 30 min, but I always kept at least half of his nap time for personal time.

Now that Caleb is down to one nap per day I find myself adjusting my housework again. Certain things I can do when he is awake (such as washing dishes with a ltitle helper or vacuuming because he loves the noise) so I spend some time in the morning doing that. Most kids are happiest in the morning after they've eaten breakfast and had a good sleep. Caleb will usually play on his own or help me with whatever I'm doing. When he goes down to nap is the best time to do laundry for me because that way I don't have to fold everything two or three times. But a lot of times when he is napping I've already accomplished a couple of things in the morning. That means I get to take that quiet time to read or cruise the internet or play computer games etc. When he wakes up in the middle of his nap (he's been doing that a lot lately) I can take the time to lay down wih him for half an hour and be able to focus on him instead of everything that I should or could be doing in that time instead.

Whenever I choose to spend time with Caleb over housework I have an inner dialogue with myself. I ask some questions: What do I feel like I should be doing right now? (washing dishes) What will happen if I don't do it? (I'll have to do them later) What does Caleb need from me right now? (love and hugs) What will happen if I don't do that? (he will cry and be cranky) Which is better to do in the longrun? Caleb nearly always wins out.

Like I said, I'm not the perfect housewife. I cook dinner AFTER my husband is in from work (for a couple reasons - he can watch Caleb and he can remind me to cook and tell me what he's hungry for). I only wash my floor once a week (on a good week). I usually only do laundry when Caleb or I have run out of clean clothes to wear. My bathroom doesn't get cleaned every week (*gasp*). But my family still loves me and I get to spend every day feeling like I've accomplished what's important.

My mom always says that people want to see me they are welcome to come by. If people want to see my house they have to make an appointment in advance. I also have had friends say to never apologize for your house or kids.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tessa!

    It sounds like you've thought this through and you're doing it really well.

    I love the idea of power cleaning and then sitting down. So good. I often find I get more done when I give myself a time limit. That way it's not so overwhelming and depressing!

    And believe me--keeping the house clean gets so much easier as they get older. So don't beat yourself up too much.

    He'll remember the time with you far more than the time with the laundry anyway!

    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!