The pile of laundry is completely out of control, you’re feeling overwhelmed and defeated by how much you have to clean. I bet you’re wondering, how the hell do other moms actually clean their house?
I’m going to fess up completely to this. The first few months of motherhood were really fucking hard. From sleep deprivation, cleaning up so many bodily functions, latching problems, healing, raging hormones, guilt, crying (both of us), oh and trying to keep a spotless house.
Let me say first, that I love my son more than anything that there ever was.
But that doesn’t mean that I love every second of motherhood.
I’m sure you’ve been there, sitting through mom groups and play dates wondering what the hell we’re missing? How could all these moms just sit there, smiling, not talking about the war zone they were living in? Did they all have it under control? Did they have live in maids?
I highly doubt it.
Of all the advice I was given about “keeping a clean house with a baby” my favourite was when a friend told me to lower my expectations and then lower them some more.
We have kids, we don’t live in a show home. It’s ok to snuggle your little turkey nugget longer and get the dishes tomorrow. Of course your baby’s health and safety is #1, but you clearly already know that.
so how do you do housework with a baby / toddler?
Boundaries – set limits for acceptable behaviour aka you decide
This was hard for me, but once I accepted that in order to feel some balance during this hectic time of my life, I would have to take charge and set some mom boundaries, life drastically improved. I felt like I had more control and I wasn’t wasting my energy.
- saying no: Get down to basics and practice saying no to anything that isn’t serving you. All your “shoulds” (I should go to Jessica’s shower, I should let all 37 of my friends come visit the day we get home from the hospital). Get on that no train mama, because every time you say yes to something you don’t want to do, you’re saying no to the option of doing anything else.
- asking for help: Let go of the dream of doing everything by yourself, we all need help. Your family and friends want to help you, but you might have to be specific. Try keeping a list on the fridge of items visitors can help you with (sweeping, folding clothes, wiping counters) or our cleaning checklist (printable below). Especially with a newborn, visitors should “pay” for their baby visit with some cut fruit, a meal for the freezer, folding some laundry, etc. But you have to set that boundary and then ask for it mama.
- start small: By starting small, we feel more success and can gradually increase the amount of time AFTER we develop the habit. What time frame for cleaning feels doable, everyday? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Start there.
Daily vs Weekly – the entire house will not get cleaned everyday
Massive mindset switch for me. I had this belief that the entire house needed to be spotless, all the time, or everyone would judge me as being a bad mom.
I’m sure you can relate.
Of course, we know that this is clearly untrue, but at the time I really struggled with this, and is exactly why I created our cleaning schedule.
- daily: make beds, wipe counters, sweep, dishes, laundry (1 load)
- weekly: mop, vacuum, bathroom, empty garbage + wash sheets, kitchen cabinets
- CUTE PRINTABLE PDF CLEANING SCHEDULE (4 STYLES):
Get Yours Now
Time Management – making time for yourself
So many mamas I work with are seriously lacking self care time in their schedule, or working without a schedule at all. Every single detail of your day doesn’t need to be scheduled, and I use it as an outline for our day/week it’s NOT set in stone.
- the schedule: There are about a million ways to schedule, I LOVE time blocking. If you’re a visual learner, this is for you. Time blocking is batching all your similar activities together and blocking out the time you need to do it. For example: grocery shopping once for the whole week, cooking double portion sizes for freezer, cleaning, errands, planning, scheduling, self care, and so on. Being able to physically see where I have free time, when my partner is working, projects and deadlines I have coming up, etc, is essential for me. Google calendar is amazing, I can check it from my phone and it sends reminders. *I have a new blog post coming out soon about our schedule, so sign up to our VIP list below to get notified when it’s live*
- weekend/evenings: Tends to be the best time for me to squeeze in my cleaning blocks, as this is when I have help from my partner. Find the time that works for you, remember it’s about consistent action, even if it’s small, like making a bed.
- reward yourself: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, self care isn’t selfish. It is ESSENTIAL, especially as a busy mom, to recharge your batteries. Being a mom is hard, having a 15 minute bath, by yourself, can literally make you feel human again after cluster feeds, or toddler tantrums. Every single week I write my reward on the cleaning schedule, so everyone in the house knows that a) we don’t have cleaning fairies and b) I’m treating myself to self care, as motivation to clean.
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed about the state of your house with a child/children is a negative thought that plays over in your mind a million times, everyday. Each time you see those dishes, or laundry pile, the negative self talk starts. Our thoughts become our feeling and behaviours, so those negative thoughts will make you feel worse, and that’s when our behaviour will change, becoming distant, depressed, or angry.
AKA mean mommy.
By setting up boundaries, making a plan and asking for help, I now feel at ease with doing housework with a baby. This is exactly how I clean my house and love my home environment, even with a wild toddler. (As with the schedule, not everything happens every single day/week, this is about progress NOT perfection.)
What are your best tips for doing housework with a baby? Comment below that’s where the conversation happens!