Saturday, October 2, 2010

keeping up with the house routines in real life

One of the challenges I'm faced with right now is keeping up with the new cleaning routines that I set forth in summer. We were doing so well when we were all home and not working! Being back at work and school presents many challenges. This week in particular was a hectic one and I pretty much fell off the wagon with my "Flylady" routines. That said, I did go ahead with my "white tornado" today and with that being done, it's a good time to re-commit to keeping things up during the week. Here are some of the rountines that I've been trying to do each day during the work week:

:: keeping up with the morning and evening routines is huge. In the morning I've been doing pretty well. Some important components of the morning routine include getting up on time, and going straight to get dressed and ready (no checking my e-mail first!). Then I wipe down the bathroom counters and swish the toilet (that is directly from Flylady). I go straight to the kitchen and unload the dishwasher and switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. My mornings are fairly easy because I leave so much earlier than everyone else. Keeping the dishwasher empty and unloaded is key because those that are eating breakfast after I have left can throw their dishes directly in. Dishes in the sink drive me absolutely crazy.

:: I decided I have to have an after-work routine too. This one is super challenging because I get home later than anyone else in the family and when I arrive I feel like chaos is already going on and it's hard to collect myself. Here's what I try to have happen: get home, bring everything in from the car, unload my lunch bag and its dishes, put my work bag/purse away, greet everyone, and quickly unload the dishwasher (Ken starts an afternoon load of dishes when he gets home), and fold and put away that load of laundry from the morning. It sounds easy on paper but it's just hard to do all that and connect with the family and respond to the little boys' needs. I'm trying though.

:: there is also an evening routine. I have tried to keep the same one going from summer but for some reason it's been impossible. There always seems to be some circumstance or reason that we can't manage a regular routine. Nonetheless, what absolutely has to happen each night is kitchen clean up, evening tidy up, setting out my clothes for work, making lunches (which takes so very long), cleaning up from making lunches, bedtime for the little boys (reading to them), and starting a load of laundry.

I'm really trying to maintain all this. The downside is that I'm basically exhausted and feel rather crazed. The upside is that in the morning when I get up, or if I get up in the night to get a drink for the boys, everything is so clean and tidy! Love that! Sometimes I feel like I'm killing myself to get all this done, though, and don't really enjoy the benefits of the clean house because when I get home in the afternoon the family is there, using the house, and it's not neat and pretty like I left it the night before. Oh well!!!

I didn't mean this to be a whiny post but rather a little pep talk to myself to get back into my good routines and bring everything together. With having done the weekly white tornado this morning I feel all fresh and ready to go.

Anyone else out there working outside the home? I'd love to hear how you do it!

20 comments:

Bec said...

Well I work in the home but honestly I think its really much the same, well for me it is anyway. It is rare that I end up getting any housework done in between the morning, afternoon and evening routines, which by the way are almost exactly the same as yours!! Plus I believe that my job between, about, 9 and 3 is to focus on 'schooling' rather than housework. Probably the only thing that I do different to you is that I hang my washing out in the morning and try to only use my dryer if its raining. In the evening I also do up a loose plan of activities we are doing the next day. I know what oyu mean about feeling like you are really pushing yourself to make sure you stick the routie out, it does help to stick to it though dont you think? I hate those crazy Sat morning 'we have to clean the entire house!'

BellaBree said...

hey Mary-beth
just a wee encouring response to your post....you are doing an awesome job! and I love reading about your flylady routines....I guess the trick is to remember the routines are to serve you and not you them (as the case I seem to fall into)...I work outside my home sometimes...and those are the days the basics are done and not much else, its alwasy tricky coming into the home when everyone is in the throws of things...and your wee rountines for yourself would be so helpful...I usually decide what needs to be done and have a wee job for each memebr of the family (even my wee ones) and then at least I feel like we are on the same page....good job you!

Mary Beth said...

Oh, you guys are sweet. Thank you so much for your kind responses!

Bec--yes, I do agree that even though I have to push myself to stick to the routines it is so worth it. I push myself and then I do see the benefits.

BellaBree--thank you! And that is a very good point about letting the others help out. One thing I want to do soon is have a tiny daily chore for the little boys.

Michele said...

recently returned to work 3 days a week (mon-wed) with an hour and a half each way so leave at 7 and not home til 6.30

Still trying to figure it all out and at the moment it is the reall essentials each night (eg dinner and lunches for next day and maybe a load of washing) then a bit on Th but usually not much as I am exhausted an trying to play catch up/spend time with the children (who are only 3 and 5) and then a big clean up on Sat or Sun which I dont like as it cuts into family time.
Ideally would love a clean kitchen to start the day and so more time through the week to keep on top of everything so weekend not wasted with housework and can just get up and go and do something fun as a family.

Hmmmmm and then theres the lawns and the weeding and the general outside maintenance aaarrrgh it is never ending

Joy said...

I work outside the house too (well, I actually work from home but I have set hours so it's not much different except I can use my lunch break to get stuff done at home unless I have errands) I try to utilize my kids alot in the evenings. The last 5 min before showers are pickup time for them. The only thing I do in the morning is finish getting lunches together (I have 2 that eat a hot lunch out of a thermos almost every day) and empty the dishwasher. While I'm making dinner, I refill it with lunchbox dishes, and when the kids go to bed, my hubby finishes the kitchen while I fold laundry or something like that. Then I make lunches. I try to be done with all of that by 8:30-9 so that I have a few minutes to unwind and knit. Good luck finding a new routine that works during the school year!

Erin said...

I too love reading about routines. After hearing about flylady from your blog I got the book from the library. It has inspired me to keep up somewhat of a routine. It is amazing how just a few small changes can make such a difference. I have also been thinking about setting a job/chore chart for my little boys. They sometimes resist a job when I mention it but I've noticed that once they start they can make it fun for themselves.

Carrie said...

Once again I am amazed at your energy level. It must be those two beautiful boys! And I've said it before, even with just two adults in the house, I find new routines and even old routines that should be habit are hard to maintain when everyone is in full blown work mode. We have three day weekends, and I can get to the routines on two of those days. Or on all three days but then not again for the next three weeks. As always, your efforts to make your home cozy and comfortable are soundly applauded (standing ovation included)!

muffinmoon said...

Mary Beth I think everyone feels like this and I really undertsand that contrast of "can't be bothered, I'm too tired" in the evening and then the "oh, how tidy and fresh it all looks" in the morning. I have taken to doing a mini frenzied clean up with a podcast of a really interesting radio show on my i.pod dock playing to me as I work. That way I feel I am doing something for myslef too.

Gabi said...

Just this weekend I was wondering how everybody keeps their houses in shape... I work almost full-time, after work I have to check my son's homework, cook dinner, clean the kitchen load a machine of laundry... it's like crazy somedays. I just decided this has to stop! I do agree with you on the morning routine, this one is so important. Also the evening routine... An after-work routin would be great. My biggest problem is discipline. I really have to push myself forward to do the things that have to be done. STill hoping that my family will start to help some day...

Denise C. said...

I don't work outside the home. I run my home, & get to be a stay-at-home-mom to my 2 little kids (4, & 2). When it was just me & my husband, I kept a pretty clean house. After kids, well that is a whole different story. I am finding it hard to vacuum more than once a week (that drives me nuts). Like you I cannot stand dirty dishes in my sink, though I'll admit right now, I don't always clean up at night, I'll do so in the morning. My dishwasher is a workhorse, & I usually do 2 loads a day (more if I am on a cooking spree), I try to empty that baby out so it's ready for the next load of dishes.

You are doing a great job, you always put your family first, & that is what counts. :)

Chris said...

I just started back to work - but I teach, so a great deal of my work has to be done at home, in between things, so I haven't come up with a good housework schedule either. Usually I wait till the kids are in bed, then do a quick tidy up (dishes, floors, etc.) and try to have that done by 9, so I can prep for the next day's class.
the lunchbox tends to get thrown together in the morning, but I only have one to do and hubby has to make his own! The bathroom gets cleaned with the little one is in the bathtub, and sometimes I use my prep time to do other tasks. Still, the house could use a thorough cleaning. I am just too tired. (I have to admit, most double income families I know have a housekeeper come in once a week.)

jenny miller said...

Thanks so much for your post, Mary-Beth. We homeschool and I struggle with keeping a routine. We have a small farm, and sometimes I think there is twice as much dirt as another home! Thank God for hardwood floors. I appreciate your tips. Blessings.

Deb said...

Hi Beth, I love this post its so real. I used to be a flylady and long time ago, but I fell off the wagon when I had my son with special needs, lol! but the things that remain for me are the morning, get dressed, put your shoes on thing and the last thing at night sweep of the mess. It's so much better to get up to a semi-tidy house! The other night I wasn't going to, (and the place was a real mess) but I made myself get off the couch and do it. I'm so glad I did because that was the night of the earthquake and it would have been much worse to come out to an already messy house with all the other things that fell down!

Sarah said...

Leigh and I are trying Flyladay too. I can totally emphathize with you. I love the order the routines bring. I even enjoy doing the routines, but with a toddler clinging to my legs and zero personal time after working a full day, its tough!

Toby E. said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have been working out of the home for almost a year after almost 7 staying home with the kids.
I have recently gotten on a huge grrr streak about the family chipping in and doing more chores around the house. I feel no matter how I approach it, nicely or on a bit of a rampage or anywhere in between, I am getting no where with them.
Your post has made me decide to try a new routine that might help us all out. Having a work schedule that changes daily doesn't make it easy to set up a steady routine, but I am going to look for something that might work a little better for all of us and will keep Mom in a better mood.
Thank you!

sk said...

I work outside the home-- but I don't have kids yet, so it's not the same as your situation! My partner is home much more than me, though, and even though I do the dishes in the morning, the sink seems to be full again when I get home in the evenings. Ugh. I am interested in your FlyLady system, though. I wonder if I could keep on top of something like that.... I will have to look into it.
Thanks for this post!

Andrea said...

Thanks to you, I've given Fly Lady a second chance, and I do find the routines helpful (I put my alarm clock in the bathroom so I get up right away, get ready for work, wipe the bathroom, make my breakfast and lunches...I still leave later than I'd like, but can't imagine getting up at 5:00); When I remember to do my nighttime routine, it makes morning go smoothly, but sometimes I go to bed later than my husband and don't get my clothes together, etc.; I started a one-hour houseclean (I call it the Bewitching Hour) on Sat. a.m., but I can't do the sheets until everyone's out of bed, and have to break in the middle to eat breakfast, and I need to get it all done before we leave for soccer and the kids drive me crazy with "where are my shin guards?" "can you tie my cleats?" etc. I still find myself spending all day Sunday cleaning, trying to get each area of the house completely clean and I spend 15 minutes each night working on the basement, which is a wreck, so yes, basically I feel like I spend all my time cleaning (even though I leave the dishes and most of the laundry to my husband) and cooking, which is how I felt before, too, but at least now my house actually looks clean-ish!! Sorry for the long comment!

SL said...

Great post! One of the things I love best about your blog, especially compared to other crafty mama blogs, is that you work outside the home. I do as well (I work full-time, and have a 17 month old son), and you are inspiring to me, and relatable as well.

As far as routines go, during the week we mostly try and stay on top of cooking and cleaning up the kitchen. Then we do laundry and deep cleaning on the weekends. I wish my home were as clean as it used to be before we had kids, but I just accept that this is the way it is now and we're doing the best we can as a family.

Cynthia said...

Hi Mary Beth! I looove your blog!! I have 5 year old twin boys and have always worked full time out of the home. I own my own company so I have the luxury of making my own schedule and almost always choose a condensed work week-a 3 day/week 12-14 hour day when they were younger and I do a 4 day per week schedule now that they have started Kindergarten. My husband and I are a team which is key to any sucess we do have with our routines. That being said, I DO shoulder most of the work because lets just face it ladies, we are better at multitasking and organization.We ARE regimented.I set out their clothes for the week on Sunday and hang them in a 7 day hanging bin in their closet. I also coordinate at least 3 outfits for the week for me-jewelry included. I cook 6 days per week and cook enough to have leftovers for adult lunches which we pack while cleaning up after dinner. We have pizza night on Fridays-Amy's pizzas for the boys and hubby and a GF pizza for me. I also bake GF bread,muffins etc on the weekend so we have enough for most of the week. I go back to work monday nights after dinner and hubby packs the boys lunches-we use laptop lunch boxes-& throws in some laundry. I do my menu plan and organize coupons on Wednesday night. I grocery shop for the week after dinner on Thursday nights and hubby ususally steam mops all of the floors and cleans the bathrooms while I am gone. The remaining housework and all of the outside work (aaahhh!)is split up on Friday and the weekend. I dry swiffer the floors most days and use the swiffer vac in the kitchen after meals. The boys love doing these tasks!! They also help with drying dishes, emptying the dishwasher and dusting the furniture. One sets the table and the other clears the table. Do I have a perfectly clean, uncluttered house? Absolutely not!! Am I happy with that? No, but there is nothing else I can do about it! :) We do the best we can. Sometimes that just has to be good enough! There IS one item I never let "go" and that is my exercise time. I either walk,pop in a yoga dvd or go on my eliptical trainer 6-7 dyas per week for 40-60 minutes. That keeps me healthy, energized and less stressed.Frankly a better mom, spouse and boss!

Cynthia said...

Hi Mary Beth! I looove your blog!! I have 5 year old twin boys and have always worked full time out of the home. I own my own company so I have the luxury of making my own schedule and almost always choose a condensed work week-a 3 day/week 12-14 hour day when they were younger and I do a 4 day per week schedule now that they have started Kindergarten. My husband and I are a team which is key to any sucess we do have with our routines. That being said, I DO shoulder most of the work because lets just face it ladies, we are better at multitasking and organization.We ARE regimented.I set out their clothes for the week on Sunday and hang them in a 7 day hanging bin in their closet. I also coordinate at least 3 outfits for the week for me-jewelry included. I cook 6 days per week and cook enough to have leftovers for adult lunches which we pack while cleaning up after dinner. We have pizza night on Fridays-Amy's pizzas for the boys and hubby and a GF pizza for me. I also bake GF bread,muffins etc on the weekend so we have enough for most of the week. I go back to work monday nights after dinner and hubby packs the boys lunches-we use laptop lunch boxes-& throws in some laundry. I do my menu plan and organize coupons on Wednesday night. I grocery shop for the week after dinner on Thursday nights and hubby ususally steam mops all of the floors and cleans the bathrooms while I am gone. The remaining housework and all of the outside work (aaahhh!)is split up on Friday and the weekend. I dry swiffer the floors most days and use the swiffer vac in the kitchen after meals. The boys love doing these tasks!! They also help with drying dishes, emptying the dishwasher and dusting the furniture. One sets the table and the other clears the table. Do I have a perfectly clean, uncluttered house? Absolutely not!! Am I happy with that? No, but there is nothing else I can do about it! :) We do the best we can. Sometimes that just has to be good enough! There IS one item I never let "go" and that is my exercise time. I either walk,pop in a yoga dvd or go on my eliptical trainer 6-7 dyas per week for 40-60 minutes. That keeps me healthy, energized and less stressed.Frankly a better mom, spouse and boss!