Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When do you "get things done?" poll

A couple of weeks ago, I outed myself as an underachiever when it comes to housework. My current rule is that I don't do any housework (except making meals/snacks and emergency clean ups from spills) after noon. I have things to do and housework is not one of them. I'm totally fine with this, except when my mom comes in town. Then I clean.

The person I mentioned this to replied, "Really?!" I responded, "Yeah. I've got things to do!" We then talked about when people around us get things done. It seems that "after the kids are in bed" is a popular option- some people stay up until 2am doing things! Personally, I need that time for winding down and sleeping so I can go running in the mornings before McKay goes to work. I have high sleep requirements.

Yesterday was a "do things throughout the day" kind of day. After breakfast I watched a lecture for my organic chemistry class. Then I read a book I promised to the kids. Then I watched another lecture. Then I started the laundry and nursed the baby to sleep. Then I worked on 5 or so homework problems. Then I nursed the waking baby again. Then I worked on a couple more homework problems. Then I had to feed the kids lunch. Then I did half a homework problem before remembering to check the laundry. Then I nursed a baby to sleep again. Then I finished the previous homework problem. Oh, and I was also keeping up with email, ordering museum tickets,  diapering, etc. Nothing gets done all at once, but it happened.

We recently hired a mother's helper to come once a week for a whole day to do things like hold the baby so I can pee or fix lunch. Last week, the two older kids spent most of the day with a friend, so it was just us and Linda. She mopped our dining room hands-and-knees style! Score! This week I plan on using her to wrangle kids on the bus while I go downtown to register Linda's SSN and sign Margaret up for a bus pass. And maybe for kid watching while I get some knitting design work done.

So tell me, parents: when do you get things done? "Things" can include, but are not limited to, working at home, household chores, errands, dates, social events, hobbies: anything you can't do with small kids. Don't forget to elaborate in the comments.


  1. Hahaha! Get things done?

    My perspective is slightly different because I have two older kids (11 and 9) that are (supposed to be) more independent. The key, I've found, is mobilizing them, setting up a good routine, then putting out fires when they pop up.

    I'm up and ready before anyone else is up (usually.) I start or move laundry first thing in the morning. The girls are in charge of kitchen clean up in the morning after breakfast, then again after dinner. I spend the day juggling school stuff with my girls, lessons and music practicing. I plan meals a week at a time, and make dinner right after lunch is over so I can put it together quickly after I'm done teaching for the day.

    We grocery shop on Saturdays, fold and put away laundry when there's a few minutes, do a big cleaning blitz once or twice a week. But relaly, what I've learned with four kids at home all the time is that I have to be willing to put up with a certain level of chaos. If you come to see my house, come at 9am, right after the morning chores are done.

    I also do very little after the kids go to bed, for the same reasons as you, although there are times I'll spend an hour or two at the computer catching up on emails or paperwork.

    1. I look forward to older children! I don't remember my parent's house being a mess, but I mostly remember the years when I was older and had chores and played with toys less. I have no memory of the house when I was the age my kids are now.

  2. We do a babysitting co-op with 3 other moms. Each mom opens up their home to kids one day a week. The result is that we each get one day on, three days off guilt-free! I love it and my kids get plenty of playtime

  3. I love hearing how other people manage their lives! I get things done when I get a chance throughout the day. I have a 5-year old and a 2-1/2-year old, so they are pretty good at entertaining each other and themselves. The best thing we ever decided was to have a dedicated toy room--I clean it once a week, but other than that the kids can do what they want in that room.

    I also have a daily routine to keep up with housework--a laundry day, kitchen day, bathroom day, office/sewing room/playroom day, and a bedroom day. I try really hard to keep up my routine during the week, but if it falls apart by Wednesday, I just forget it until the next week. Daily housework (other than dishes, dinner) only takes me 30-45 minutes a day this way.

    I like your "no housework after noon policy, though! I definitely need unwinding time after kids go to bed, and very rarely do I do any cleaning after 7 pm...that's my time for sewing, reading, watching tv.

    I try to stay off the internet during the day (as much as possible) or just play online while my kids are playing somewhere else so that I don't have that huge time-suck during the day.

    I will never have a show-room house (did that a few months ago when we were selling our house--never again!) but I do have a house where we are comfortable, and that works for me.

    I imagine as my kids get older/we add more kids, things will have to change, but this system has been working for me for 3 years now. :)

    1. I try systems, but fail at them. We just signed up for Asana, though, and now I can assign jobs to me or my husband, especially stuff we forget about: dusting baseboards and such.

  4. We have a huge, awesomne playroom in our finished attic. It lets me get tons of stuff done--anything from reading to sewing to working on the computer to, at times, just lying down and resting. WE have all the kids' toys up there, plus an old couch (called the "jumping couch"), an old twin mattress on the floor (the "jumping bed" aka a makeshift trampoline), a foosball table, and a pool table. Also in the same room is my sewing area, on the other side of the staircase so it's out of the way of the kids. We also have a swing, a rope ladder, and a set of gymnastic rings hanging from the ceiling. The kids love playing up there for hours, and I can work mostly undisturbed while they play.

    Meal cleanup: I try to do this right away after every meal. If I don't, it's so much more work later on. The kids are expected to help clear and load their own dishes. They love (fight over) putting soap in the dishwasher and turning it on.

    Still working on training the kids to pick up their toys when they're done playing, put their clothes away every day, etc...

    1. We've considered turning our "office" into a toy room. Or I might just send my kids over to your house (post your babymoon, of course!) You've got a great set up!

    2. I am really hoping when we move soon we can get a house with a basement to turn into a play room like yours. I would have loved that as a kid.

  5. Oh, wow, this is fascinating.

    So I work full-time but my husband, toddler, mother and I all live together, so it's a different situation. I'll share anyway:
    Toddler and I go to bed at 7, she nurses to sleep for an hour and I read, so it's my 'alone' and relaxing time.
    I get up a little after five and do laundry and put away dishes if necessary. (My mom loads the dishwasher and I unload it.) I get my lunch ready for work. I make sure we have dinner plans and that the food is ready to cook that evening (thawing things out, putting things in the crockpot, whatever is needed).
    Toddler wakes up around 6 and nurses, some days for a few minutes, some days for a long time. She loooooves to go downstairs to help with laundry, so sometimes we have to go downstairs even if we don't need to. (Our stair gate is a closet door on its side, on rollers. She can't unlock it, so it's safe.) Somewhere in here, before she's awake or while she's nursing, I read on the iPad and drink decaf coffee. Depending on my hypoglycemic blood sugar, I either eat breakfast at 5 or in the car at 7:30.
    Toddler helps me get dressed and I leave for work at 7:30, usually feeling very accomplished with all things I've gotten done already.

    I get home at 3:45 and nurse the toddler as soon as I walk in the door. (A meeting ran late yesterday and I didn't get home til 5 and she was pretty upset.)

    When she's done nursing, I do dinner. Jeopardy! comes on at 4:30 and that's my favorite show, so I only do cooking during the commercials. :) Depending on what dinner is and how long it takes to cook, we eat around 5 or 5:30.
    I do chores as needed - Toddler loooooves to 'help' me fold and put away laundry. I shower while she plays on the iPad. If she's not occupied, she climbs on the bathroom sink and stands there, emptying the cupboards.

    And then we go to bed at 7pm again. :)

    It's different in my situation because my mom is practically my co-parent. My husband is autistic and cannot watch the toddler alone. When she was littler, he could barely watch her for as long as it took me to shower.
    He takes care of the cars, cleaning the cats' litter box and mowing the yard.
    I unload the dishwasher, my mom loads it. We clean up after each meal, usually right away.
    I do 90% of the cooking, my mom cooks certain meals.
    I do the carrying, sorting, washing, drying, folding and putting away of 95% of the laundry. My mom mostly puts hers away. My husband once tried to 'help' me do laundry by putting a red king-sized quilt in the washer...with an entire load of dark blue towels. So it's really just easier for me for him to NOT touch the laundry. I don't even like him carrying the loads up or down the stairs because he thinks it's fine to clean the cat box and then touch a load of clean laundry.

    had to split into two messages!

    betttina on twitter

  6. second message:

    My mom does most of the daily tidying around the house. She sweeps and mops the kitchen, she wipes kitchen counters, she vacuums the living room. Partly it's because those things bother her and partly since she's home all day, she has more time.
    We keep most of the toddler's toys out of her reach in the guest room and I rotate a few toys into the living room at a time. I'll leave out her stuffed animals for a few days and then put them away and leave out her blocks for awhile. I leave a puzzle on her desk with the pieces in a pile and she'll come by and put it together, so I'll put out a different one (we just inherited a dozen wood puzzles! It's awesome!). We co-sleep, so all her daily things are in our room. The three of us each have a dresser for our clothes and we each have a bookshelf for our books. Mine is next to our bed and Toddler and I keep a cup of water there too. Water tastes better if it's from Mama's cup. :) Her shelf has several toys and books on it that I also rotate out.
    I take care of all of my husband's clothes and shoes. I checked the back of his closet recently, because he kept complaining that i was hiding his sweaters and I found five loads of laundry that he'd stuffed in there. He'd wear a pair of pants once and they weren't clean enough to hang up but not dirty enough to wash, so he'd stuff them on the floor. He did that for so long that it ended up being five loads of laundry. I reorganized his entire closet and told him, as though I'm his mom, that if I find clothes stuffed in there like that, I'm giving those clothes to Goodwill. If he won't take care of his clothes, he obviously doesn't value them very much and they're going away. Since he's autistic, I often feel more like his mom than his wife or his partner. Like on Sunday, when I woke him up and said, "It's time to get in the shower." He stuck his head under the faucet and was ready to go to church in the same socks and underwear he was already wearing. I said no, you have time, get in the shower. He whined, "You just have to tell me these things." Yes, I know. One summer, I couldn't figure out why he smelled terrible all the time, because he was showering three or four times a day (he goes through stages of either NOT showering or showering CONSTANTLY) - I finally found out that he didn't like the soap that was in the shower, so he wasn't using any soap. Or shampoo. At all. Last year, he was showering (with soap) and then putting on the same dirty socks and underwear.

    We moved to my mom's while I was pregnant and since her household was already established, our kitchen and living things are still in her basement. We gave away a lot of things, but I plan to get rid of more this summer. My mom retired to take care of my baby and her office ended up in the living room, so she's working on sorting through a 44-year-long-career's-worth of paper and books.
    My husband hates having papers in the living room but he's a total hoarder - I was looking for something in the basement the other day and found a huge box containing every single scrap of paper from high school. Like, every note sent home about field trips. Old hall passes, saying he could go to his locker on Tuesday at 9:08 am. Pencil stubs. Bottle caps. A handful of change. I kept the important or fun things, like his report cards, but recycled the rest.

    Um, this is not what you were expecting exactly, but apparently I have a lot of feeeeeelings about this topic. :)

    betttina on twitter

  7. Hi Heather,

    I mostly get things done on weekends or while my son is in school. When my son is with his dad, I get a lot done. I find that taking baby steps and doing little things at a time, makes the time go faster for me.

  8. I try to get all the housework stuff done in the morning like you. There's not a set rule or anything, just how it ends up working. I do general pickup throughout the day though. My schoolwork mostly gets done at night after the girls go to bed, but I sometimes work on it in the car while Peanut is in preschool if Twig falls asleep driving (less and less likely now), occasionally have the grandparents take Twig while Peanut is in preschool and do homework/tests alone, and I spend quite a bit of Sunday day at my in-laws' studying while my husband and they play with the girls. My me-time is mostly at night. I honestly don't get much with school in full swing because that's the priority, unless I have time-sensitive knitting and not much schoolwork due. I do listen to audiobooks when I find a minute throughout the day, but I try not to do it much because I just end up getting frustrated when the kids interrupt it.

  9. I don't do anything after the kids go to bed. In fact, I don't do much of anything after dinner. By that time I'm spent, and I just want to chill with my husband. The only things I'm willing to do after they go to bed is read or crochet. I have always had my best hours in the middle of the day so I usually just try to get little house keeping chores done while the kids play and/or when my oldest is at preschool and the toddler is napping. Everything else I do with them in tow, or wait until my husband is home and he can watch them.

  10. I try to get all the housework done in the morning--I leave the house every day at 2 with my kid and if it's not done by then, it doesn't get done. But really my goal is to be done with housework before 10 am, hopefully by 9. My LO gets up at 6 so that means I have four hours to sort it all out. Usually I can get a lot done in that time. I think it's important to do my housework while my kid is awake, so that he realizes what kind of work goes into keeping a house up. I have him help me, and he can be surprisingly helpful (or surprisingly almost-helpful but not quite) at doing dishes, cleaning floors, scrubbing the toilet and shower, and doing the laundry. I try to make things fun for him because I want him to grow up knowing how to do all the chores and not resenting it when I ask him for help.


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