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Time Management as a "SAHM"


Alezia

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I'm currently a "SAHM" as I am on maternity leave for a year from work.

I'm mostly looking for advice on how to manage my time between the kids, cleaning and my personal activities. I refuse to let my personal activities drop as they don't make me feel like a SAHM and ward away depression. I attend the gym somewhat regularly. I try to go twice a week. I recently registered my toddler to the babysitting service two days ago at the gym, so I can attend and give my partner a break while I do workout.

 

I am following an online project management class to get further ahead for my career (keep the studying/working mode going and not get lazy) as well as a makeup artistry interest class (attend a community college physically) which I've always wanted to do. I really love the makeup artistry class, and I get really little work to do with this one outside the class. Simply reading 2-3 pages a week and building a portfolio project that lasts the entire semester.

The project management class is a lot more work than I anticipated considering I have a toddler and a newborn, but I find it really worthwhile. I need to read a good 30-40 pages a week on top of assignments.

 

If I only had my newborn, I could do this so easily with my hands down. My toddler however is more demanding and seems to be bored all the time. He gets jealous if I clean the dishes (we have no dishwasher) etc... Any ideas on how to keep him occupied (which is not the TV)?

I also do most of the meals for my family (the partner puts himself the occasional pizza in the oven when I am gone to my makeup artistry class).

 

My toddler takes a one to two hour nap during the afternoon. As my newborn is not much trouble, it's pretty much time off. I don't want to neglect my kids as a result of my interests, and my partner feels like because these activities where my choice that he should not have to do more around the house as he is "working" full-time. (I won't get too much into this but his days are not stressful - aka does nothing almost, comes in late, arrives early and does not enjoy his work because its not challenging and he has nothing to do, and offers no career advancement for now...which is mostly the strong point.) He does help with the cleaning on the weekend but very rarely during the week. Sometimes he does offer to do the dishes, but not for that specific timeframe ex: "I will do them tomorrow night" but I am personally not interested in cooking and living the whole day in a very dirty kitchen so I end up doing them anyways while he does personal projects on the computer.

 

I'm starting to think that I should cut on cleaning so much as my toddler messes everything back up anyways to give me more time. Does that sound reasonable or should I cut elsewhere? I'm not at the point of exhaustion where I'd consider dropping my classes or the gym, but just looking for advice on time management etc...

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My toddler however is more demanding and seems to be bored all the time. He gets jealous if I clean the dishes (we have no dishwasher) etc... Any ideas on how to keep him occupied (which is not the TV)?

 

 

I wish I knew!

 

I think it is reasonable to lower your standard of "clean" if you are pressed for time, as long as the bathroom(s) and kitchen are clean. Sometimes life is easier if you dust less and leave beds unmaid.

 

One thing that has really helped me is to hire a "mom's helper". I have a 14 year-old that comes to my house once a week. She charges $5.00 an hour. She plays with my son and I get my house cleaning done then. I have her come in the morning and she stays until his naptime. If you are taking an online course maybe a mom's helper could be an option for you to just play with the kids so you can focus on what you need to do.

 

He gets jealous if I clean the dishes (we have no dishwasher

 

This might not be popular with the whole "go green" initiative- but when I have no time I break out my paper plates and cups. (and I have a dishwasher lol)

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I'm taking a time management class my community college right now, and I also have a 2 year old. In my house, my daughter takes her nap at 12 every day, sleeps until 2, then watches a movie she gets to pick out immediately after her nap. That gives me a good four hour gap to go into my room (with the door open) and get my chapters read. As far as the gym, maybe you could try alternatives, like living room pilates, and get your tot to do it with you, he'll have fun copying mommy. Also try just walking down the street with your stroller, I do that every evening, and it sets the tone great for our bedtime routine. Long walk, bathtime with lavender, reading two books, then shes out like a light by 8! Then I stay up until about 11 or 12 doing more homework.

 

Honestly it sounds like your partner needs to recognize how much you're going through. Even though the classes were for your personal interests, you're completely entitled to that. If he's being lazy, its your duty to set him straight, especially if you consider his full time employment enough to be put into quotation marks. lol.

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As far as the gym, maybe you could try alternatives, like living room pilates, and get your tot to do it with you, he'll have fun copying mommy.

 

So many moms have told me this too . I tried it twice with my son- the first time he cried and the second time he actually took a tantrum and attempted to swat me. It is worth a try though.

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Haha, I liked your idea about the mommy helper though, that sounds like it would work really great. When my daughter starts to get bored, I call her uncle to come over. My brother isnt even that exciting, she just loves to see the change in company. They have a blast.

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The gym time is actually not bad. Its a bit more time consuming to drive there but at least my son does not get in the way so I hit him or whatever else while trying to exercice. It also gives him a chance to interact with other kids.

 

The gym is actually the few of the items that give me an all-round pro. (asides from cost)

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Your partner, whether is working full time or not has equal duty. It may not always be perfect in sharing the load but it sounds like you're having to do EVERYTHING. That's going to stress out any mother who has the hardest job in the world by far.

 

And you mentioned your partner doesn't do anything at work? I can somewhat understand if the work involved physical labor 80 hrs a week and is too exhausted to even help you around the house.

 

So I'm not claiming to be the best daddy here, but when I get home, usually after taking care of my business, it's straight to doing dishes and helping my wife with dinner or I'm cooking. If it's not too busy I'll entertain our daughter and we've been cutting internet until bed time. From picking up the toys, cleaning the floors (we have a dog), it's an everyday thing. And trust me it's not perfect everyday, some days we are too exhausted. I respect any parents that have two kids or more and do this everyday!

 

You guys are family It's a support system really...if one cannot support their partner soon or later somewhere or something will start to fall apart. Give each other some free time...we do that with our hectic schedule.

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When I was married, if he worked and I stayed home, I took care of the house. I mean, taking care of my son was way easier than my previous job! If I was working also, we split the work. It was better when I did all the work as there was no resentment and everything was done correctly. When I went back to work he still wanted five-course-dinners made from scratch, a spotless house, and lots of sex. He never did his share of the housework at this point, or if he did it, I had to do it over. I realize men do things to their own specifications, but he would deliberately do a bad job and then ask me to "fix" it. A lot of my friends' husbands did the same thing. I do not know what that is all about.

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When I was married, if he worked and I stayed home, I took care of the house. I mean, taking care of my son was way easier than my previous job! If I was working also, we split the work. It was better when I did all the work as there was no resentment and everything was done correctly. When I went back to work he still wanted five-course-dinners made from scratch, a spotless house, and lots of sex. He never did his share of the housework at this point, or if he did it, I had to do it over. I realize men do things to their own specifications, but he would deliberately do a bad job and then ask me to "fix" it. A lot of my friends' husbands did the same thing. I do not know what that is all about.

 

Not sharing the load unfortunately. I think many some have the mentality if you work full time you don't need to do a single thing around the house...especially guys. Then people expect sex on top of it wonder why you're not getting it!

 

At least for me even caring for our daughter some days if my wife is out is really hard work. I understood why my wife was completely exhausted by the time I got home most of the days. It does help with overall mood in the house, better communication, more time later in the evening when things just get done around the house. Not an easy thing everyday by any means, sometimes the dishes get stacked up when it could be put in the dishwasher in matter of minutes and the floors picked up.

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No he's not cruel in the way that he does things in a bad way for me to purposely fix it. He will clean and do it correctly, although he never cooks. He just claims to be very tired and will become irritated if I ask for help on the week days.

He tends to not be consistent with house work... he will neglect it for a few days, then all of a sudden he'll go on a cleaning mood rage (mostly on weekends). Everyone has to pickup and fast fast fast! (Can't become lazy like he does to me...)

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I've been the primary caregiver for our baby for about 6 months now (the first month he was there much of the time; I hate the term SAHM because it sounds too passive) and I have no concern that I'll feel lazy or depressed if this is my sole job. It's a great job despite being hard!

 

With the exercise, what I do is one of two things - I put him in the baby bjorn (carrier) and I do back leg lifts for 20 minutes with enough force to work up a good sweat/get cardio in and/or I take him to the park at the jogging path and I walk briskly with the stroller for 30-45 minutes. I try to do this 4-5 times/week. It is how I lost the last 10 or so pounds of baby weight and how I have kept it off -- also great for my sanity as I've been doing some form of working out for the last 27 years.

 

 

I do most of the house cleaning (mostly by choice) and we really don't cook much but my husband takes care of the garbage, anything that needs fixing or tweaking, etc. He also does a good part of the food shopping. I have a cleaning person twice a month but not for the baby's stuff.

 

I do my best to get the laundry done during the day and any other household chores that the baby can't "undo".

 

I make to do lists because that makes me feel more productive. I also try to end all work by 10pm (baby goes to sleep between 8-8:30) so that I have at least an hour to wind down and spend with my husband. I don't think he should have to do more than he does because he works extremely hard, often 7 days a week although a nice part of that is from home.

 

It sounds like you need more than taking care of your children and your home - I can understand that - and it's good that you know that about yourself so that you don't build up resentment. I think the suggestion to get a mother's helper is great (I was one once!) -- and could you possibly afford someone to come in and clean once a month at least?

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We don't have the extra income for cleaning help right now.. or much extra income at all since we are buying our first home. Everyone is already sucking us up dry for money... =) Once the move is done, our appliances, taxes, utilities etc... are paid then I could maybe see if we can fit something like that in.

 

I think what I could do is making myself a weekly schedule and allocate myself time blocks for different activities. Let's say I schedule 2x 1 hour blocks for cleaning, once that time is elapsed, it's done. I won't go cleaning after baby around the house in circles (seems like its one that can go on forever), I just need to let it be until the next "cleaning block".

His nap and "post-nap" movie time could be the time for me to do my homeworks. Obviously, it won't be perfect! It's just that I think I go crazy trying to multitask everything at once to get everything done fast instead of doing one thing after the other. I think that the first way makes me go insane.

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Yes, that reminds me - there are certain tasks - like doing our dishes (as opposed to bottle washing) that I don't do until after the baby goes to sleep - and that is also when I wipe down counters, etc (unless there is some particularly bad mess during the day).

 

Good luck with the new house!!

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I realize men do things to their own specifications, but he would deliberately do a bad job and then ask me to "fix" it. A lot of my friends' husbands did the same thing. I do not know what that is all about.

 

they hope that if they do it bad enough this time, you won't ask them to do it next time. that's what a friend told me about her boyfriend. he honestly hoped that she would get tired of fixing what he did wrong that she would just eventually stop asking him to do it all together.

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Encouragement helps a lot, at least for us guys even a big thank you and not nagging because 'it has to be done' just does not motivate us.

 

Time blocks are good. As much as it sounds like a routine, it's eithat that or it doesn't happen. Between 3:30-5:00 before we start cooking dinner, it's usually cleaning and picking up. Friday nights as much as is the worst time to clean, it's usually the last minute catch up on cleaning before the weekends. It's just nice to be able to sleep in a bit and wake up to a clean house.

 

The hardest part was (and is sometimes still) is that my wife used to house clean for wealthy clients so her expectation of cleaning sometimes is beyond my capability. One sweep and she can pick up every little dust. Well, I'm not that technical in that area so one sweep, I'll leave everything behind. Certain things I'm literally barred from doing (like folding laundry YIPEEEEEEE) so I do other things around the house.

 

I think it's the big picture each partner has to see, the less one has to do or I should say a couple does together, the less stress and pressure to keep the house clean.

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I find time management for home to be a juggle of changing priorities. It changes as the day changes, sometimes the hour. Now that my son is older and he has set schedules for everything and he is at school for hours a day when I am not working I can do house work and things like that easily. My husband the few days he is home a year is really not into cleaning at all. He does cook when he is home and puts away laundry, but if he cleans anything I have to redo it. I do not say anything about redoing it, I just do it. Sometimes men and women do not have the same standards of clean.

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