Are you stressed and overwhelmed by your endless list of chores that need to be done around the house? I know I get that way, especially when I am backlogged on my list and the piles of dishes and laundry keep adding up. Our time and energy is limited so doing housework on top of working, taking care of children, helping with homework, cooking meals, and trying to have some personal time really can create distress in our lives.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned to keep the stress level low but also get it all done! And yes, it will get all done…eventually!
Tip #1: Make a list of chores that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. There are plenty of examples on Pinterest or you can make one from scratch. Breaking down each chore into sections and not be looking at them as a whole will feel less overwhelming. You can also go to www.ourthriftideas.com for a printable “Mommy Chore Chart” they created where for just 10 minutes a day you will have a clean home!
Tip #2: Do only what you have to get done each day. Break your day up into segments, for example, chores before breakfast, chores after breakfast, chores during nap, chores before dinner, etc. I suggest not doing anything on your list after a certain time in the evening. My cut-off time is 8pm. After 8pm, it is my time to spend with my husband or for reading, writing, or sleeping!
Tip #3: Prioritize your daily list and take one item at a time. If, for some reason, you don’t get everything done, forgive yourself and add to tomorrow’s list. Your tomorrow list could keep growing and growing, but once you get the hang of an organized daily routine you are comfortable with, then this will not happen as often. Accept that there will be some days that not everything will get done.
Tip #4: Take care of your child’s needs first. Your child’s needs come before dishes, laundry, and toilets. If they are sick or need extra TLC that day, then the chores can wait. There will always be chores and lists to be checked off, but the time you have with your children is limited and priceless. Take advantage of the time you have with them!
Tip #5: Take one room at a time. I find myself cleaning the kitchen on the daily, so I suggest making the kitchen the main priority and then choosing one other room of your choice. That means one bathroom, not all of them. That means one bedroom, not all of them. Each day of the week you can tackle a new room from top to bottom. You could also try taking one major chore at a time like dust the house one day, vacuum the next day, etc!
Tip #6: If you start to feel overwhelmed by your chores and or your endless list of things to do, then take a break. The chores will be there when you are ready. They aren’t going anywhere, but you can! Take your child on a walk outside – fresh air and exercise do wonders for us! Do some deep breathing exercises. Take a shower. Watch a show on TV that will get your mind off your list. When you are ready, you can go back and finish.
Tip #7: Do not take the entire weekend cleaning. The weekend is often the only time we have to clean our home, especially if one or both parents work outside the home. But you also need downtime and family time. So if this is the case for you, plan ahead a few hours to dedicate to cleaning and then don’t do any more for the rest of the weekend! You need to recharge, too! It’s ok to have some time off from responsibility! Take a day trip to the park with your family, go see a movie with your loved ones, or be spontaneous and have fun!
Tip #8: Have your children help! Based on their age, you can create age appropriate tasks for them to do. My toddler is always asking to help, so let them! If they are older, they can have their own sticker chart or allowance they can earn when completing chores.
Tip #9: Be strategic when you clean. The best time to clean is during a child’s naptime or first thing in the morning when you have the most energy and your child is often in the best mood. I am a big advocate for eating at the table together as a family during mealtime, especially dinner, but mealtime is often the only time of the day when your child is contained and you are free to clean! I have found that the best time to clean the kitchen or family room is while my child is eating breakfast and or lunch.
Tip #10: Create craft time around your cleaning schedule. Giving your child an activity will keep them busy for just enough time for you to clean a room or make dinner. Set them up with a project or a craft to work on so it will give you some stress-free cleaning time. My daughter loves to paint, so I’ll put her in her highchair with some paper, watercolor paints, and some water and she is typically content for at least 30 minutes!