I Gave Up on Trying to Be Superwoman

I wrote a post on MomLife today on how I Gave Up on Trying to Be Superwoman. Here’s a snippet:

Recently, I was at a mom’s get-together. I don’t remember what we were talking about but, in the middle of the conversation, one of the moms said sheepishly, “Well, actually I have a cleaning lady who comes every other week.”

She looked ashamed to even admit this audibly, but I quickly set her at ease by looking directly in her eyes and saying, “Good for you!”

We women tend to think that unless we’re doing every little thing to run our homes we are failures. We beat ourselves up if we can’t do it all. We feel guilty for even considering bringing in a little outside help on occasion.

Read the full post.

While you’re over on MomLife, don’t forget to enter to win a free ticket to MomLife Bootcamp. I’m so excited about this event in March. I’ll be speaking on how dealing with exhaustion and how to stay refreshed and energized instead of being overwhelmed and exhausted by long to-do lists and busy schedules. I’d love to meet you there!

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Comments

    • Denaye says

      Good question! I’ve been wondering this too… Babysitters are so expensive when you’re trying to keep a tight budget, but just a older helper would be AWESOME! But I’m afraid to ask anyone without knowing what kind of price tag to expect to be attached…

      • Meegan says

        I think if you are not trying to hire an adult, you can pretty much name your price tag. I would aim for students in 9th or 10th grade who are ineligible to work in the workplace but are dying for some extra cash.

    • Melanie says

      Probably depends on where you live and the number and ages of your kids, but I’d guess $15-20 for a three-hour block of time would be reasonable. (Assuming your helper is a tween or teen.)

      I had a part-time nanny for $10/hr when I had a newborn and a toddler, but she was an adult with CPR certification and sometimes I left her alone with one or both kids. Kind of expensive but less expensive than therapy for post-partum depression.

      • HokieKate says

        I pay a mature 13 year old $15 to come over 3-4 hours after school to help with my baby. She just plays with the baby, though, and doesn’t do cleaning or laundry.

        • Alissa DeLucio says

          At least that would free you up for a little to clean as you want to. I would find that just as helpful as a maid some days. that is great.

  1. says

    Thank you. I needed this in the worst way as I’ll admit to even comparing myself to you many times. I’m a newbie at staying home with my three children (4, 2, 2 months). And still trying to get the hang of it (i’m failing most every day). It’s satan convincing me that I can’t do it…. so frustrating. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Jessica

    • says

      I have a very strong suspicion that you are not failing in any stretch of the imagination! Are your children being fed, have clothes to wear, have a safe place to live, and a loving mother? Then you are doing great! I remember having my third and feeling the same way! It is a rough season of life, I’m not going to lie. Exhaustion physically, mentally and emotionally can do so much to a person! I love this post from gypsy mom http://thegypsymama.com/2011/04/the-best-ways-not-to-help-a-new-mom/ and I wrote this post here on the first 2 weeks home with a newborn, but I think it might still be relevant for the first few months (especially when you have more than one child)!

      Keep your head up! Love those babies! And ask for help! :)

    • Wendy says

      I am sure you are doing a great job! The biggest thing is to stop comparing yourself the others. The stage you’re in is challenging. It is really hard to get anything done with a baby around, but this is just a short season in your life. They grow so quickly and won’t need you as much. You’ll have time to do everything you want to do and more. Then you’ll wish you could go back to when they were little again. I know…..

    • :) says

      I was in the same boat 2 years ago. My oldest was 2, and my middle child was 14 months old when I brought home my third baby from the hospital. I had worked full time up until my third was born, so it was a big change to all of the sudden be home all the time and with three kids in diapers. But I agree with what everyone else has said: if your kids are alive and well, then you are not failing!! It is really tough to do what you are doing, I had so many days when I thought I just wasn’t going to make it. But I trusted in the Lord and He helped me through the every day. Now my kids are 4, 3, and almost 2, they sleep through the night, I have only 1 in diapers, and things are a lot easier. And I can’t believe how fast it all went!! I never thought the diapers would ever end, but it’s just around the corner. I never thought I’d EVER sleep for more than 4 hours straight, but now I do. It does get easier, there are still lots of challenges, but you learn to deal. :) Be encouraged, lean on the Lord, He will give you the strength, this season of your life will be over before you know it, so enjoy those little babies and soak up every minute of their sweetness that you can.

    • Kate B says

      Jessica,
      Don’t lose heart. As long as your babies are fed, warm, safe and alive when you tuck them in at night, you did your “job.” Don’t worry about the dirty dishes, or untidy house. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Even if it just so you can take a shower without “help.”
      Although, I have been a mother for 21 years, and still have yet to use the bathroom with out interuption from a child, or a fur baby… ;)

    • says

      I have to say, now that my kids are 9, 9 and 12, staying home was the BEST decision I have made as a mom. Even on those days when I felt very marginal, it was a good call. My kids are the ones who tell me what a good mom I am (totally unprompted, lol!) so I feel good about it.

      I remember questioning if cleaning up spit-up and changing diapers was what I really wanted to do on my last day on earth (you know how they tell you to live each day as if it was your last?), but, in the end, when my husband asked me what I would miss most if I died suddenly (cheery conversations I know, but a good thought starter), and I realized that it would be all that mundane stuff that I do every day for my family.

      Our church (I am Catholic) is fond of reminding mothers that every action they do for their families is a form of prayer and I really like thinking about it that way. Making meals, cleaning up, doing laundry, it is all God’s work as it is necessary to grow your family.

      Hang in there and realize that you are NOT failing, but you are growing into your new role. That will often require a few bumps in the road. And, remember, you have to shift your own mindset, which can take some time as well.

      Good luck and congrats on making this wonderful and life-changing choice!

    • says

      My kids are the exact same ages as yours!

      I often feel like I’m stinking in the mom department but every night when everyone is tucked into bed (except for the baby who is attached to me 24/7) I look back on the day and say to myself “well everyone is still alive and the house hasn’t burned own so I did something right”.

      Also, during the day instead of getting upset with everything that I haven’t done I am grateful for what I have gotten done. If the baby lets me put her down for a few minutes and I get breakfast cleaned up it’s score one for mommy! Basically right now I am content with just treading water and doing the bare minimum- if anyone who visits my home has a problem with that then they can scrub the shower or mop my floors for me!

      • Alissa DeLucio says

        AMEN! I have seen a wall hanging that fits appropriately to this…my house was clean yesterday, sorry you missed it. Lol I agree if they have a problem with my house jot being pristine they can help me get out there, I am busy playing with and caring for my family when I am not working (i work FT).

    • Monica @ OurPerfectSeven says

      Wow….I can totally relate. I have five kids. My third was 21 months old when my twins were born. It was ROUGH! I told my husband that I counted it a successful day if no one got listed on ebay! :) Hang in there. I stayed home last year and went back to my job teaching this year. But guess what…I miss it and am already working it out to be back home in another year. It is a tough season, a lonely, thankless, season…did I mention lonely? I thought that everyone else in the world was surely getting a manicure while I was wiping poop and catching spit up (x2). But guess what, 20 months later…my house is quiet and I won’t hear a peep until at least 6:30 am. God’s richest blessing on your day. I’m sure you are doing an amazing job!

  2. Mrs. R says

    needed this!!! I’m a mother to an almost 22 month old, a 5 month old and found out yesterday that #3 is on it’s way!!! LOL

      • amy says

        We have three very close together…13months apart and 15 months apart. It does get easier, but we sure read a lot of books while nursing the babies and ate very easy meals. Now that they’re 5, 4 and almost 3 we have so much fun together and they are best friends.

    • Lana says

      Our last three were 15 and 16 months apart and they always got along so well that I wilshed we had spaced all 5 that way. Those three are 20, 22, amd 23 now and still good friends. It was a blast when those 3 were teens!

    • says

      Everyone told me it would be easier when I had 4 children. Well, my children are close together like yours (I have 6; my oldest JUST turned 10 and I am expecting #7 in a few months) and it took having 6 for it to get a bit easier . (My oldest was old enough to be a HUGE help at that point). At the age yours are at now, it’s almost completely on you (your oldest can help pick up a few toys with your help).

      Do what you can. Keep the number of toys low (rotate toys if neccessary). Call if great if everyone is fed and diapers are changed for the day.

      I had 3 at a time in diapers for many, many years, and I spent a large part of my day just changing diapers. It’s okay. You’re serving your children.

      Thankfully little children eat simple meals; cheese, crackers, bread, fresh fruit. It makes meals easier!

  3. Teresa says

    I find myself in the same boat, but I know I am over my head and want help. My husband does not understand and refuses to see that I am really doing my best and that getting help is not wrong.
    We had a arguement last night about this. But homeschooling 5 and taking care of the house is more than I can do all the time. So what if the floor is not mopped completely every week. I clean up spills and sweep as needed in daily. The laundry and dishes are done every day and I do my best to make sure everything is neat and clean before he gets home with a hot meal waiting for him. He just can’t understand why I can’t always get it done the way he wants me to.
    Sorry I am complaining, I know. I am just so over tired and really I guess I should be mopping that floor instead of typing this.

    • Meredith says

      Tell your husband to do your job for a few days, even one day, and he’ll learn really fast!!! Don’t beat yourself up…. you’re doing a great job. It really seems like he needs to pitch in more. It doesn’t matter that he ‘works outside the home.’ You guys have a family and a house and it’s both of your responsibility!

    • says

      Oh, Theresa, my heart goes out to you. With 5 kids I know you’ve been at this mothering thing for a while (we recently found out we’re expecting our 5th). My husband was never much of a helper, but with the fourth one here and another on the way he has started helping out way more than before. I can’t imagine your husband expecting you to teach full time AND keeping the house in tip top shape. I pray the Lord will send help your way.

    • Heather says

      Wow! Sounds like he needs some “homeschooling.”
      If possible, arrange a day or two where you are out of town and he is in charge. Or I would say to fake being terribly sick and bed-ridden, but that wouldn’t be honest . . . .

      • Wendy Jahns says

        Oh My! I love this idea Heather. You know what, I totally can say this one will def. WORK!

    • Emily says

      I agree with Meredith. He may work “outside the home” but you work inside the home with homeschooling 5 kids. That, to me, seems like it would be a full time job itself. How could you possibly get everything else done everyday when you’re concentrating on educating your kids? Please try to give yourself some slack! If it makes you feel any better, my kitchen floor gets a complete mopping about once a month if I’m lucky, so I think you’re doing pretty darn good!

    • Sarah says

      Keep up the good work, Teresa! If your dishes and laundry are done every day and you have a hot meal prepared, you are doing awesome! Praying you will be encouraged and for your husband’s heart to be softened to recognize the challenges you face and appreciate what you do.

    • Kimberly says

      My husband still feels he could do what I do in a heartbeat. He is home (out of work for 4+ years now), our 4.5 year old is in preschool 3 days a week and yet I still have to do all of the coupon clipping, grocery shopping, meal planning/making, laundry, dishes, housework, sewing, accounting, planning…… not to mention work a fulltime job that takes me out of the home a minimum of 10 hours a day. He says (I think out of anger/frustration over his situaiton) that he could do what I do and have time left over. Ha! My resolution for 2012 is to finally take time for me (even though it is at 5am). I joined a gym and vowed to work off this excess weight I have gained over the last 5 years.
      I agree with Meredith: Tell him to do your job for a few days. My friend is a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids and home schooling. Her husband would be upset that she wasn’t doing more until this past November when she took 1 of the 4 to an athletic event for 4 days and wow did he change his mind!

      • Jen says

        It sounds like you should go on “strike”. Stop doing everything for 1 week, and see if he changes his mind. :)

        • Jen Knox says

          I agree with this! If it’s so easy, and you’re working all day, why isn’t he already doing it? I normally don’t like Dr. Phil, but I agree with him on one thing that he always says, “You teach people how to treat you” meaning some of the reason people may act that way is because we (and I was guilty of it too) let it go on without a real consequence to make it stop. It doesn’t mean that we are 100% responsible for how someone acts toward us, because everyone is responsible for their own actions, but if we let someone treat us a certain way with no repercussions, it’s eventually on us to do something about it. A strike sounds like a great idea if all other methods of negotiation fail. But try to negotiate first, of course. Just my opinion…..

      • Jessica says

        What is he doing that makes him feel like you should work 10 hours AND care for the house with no assistance? I think you should follow Meredith’s suggestion too!

    • Lana says

      I homeschooled 5 children too. Do make a chores list and have your children do a chore every morning before school. I believe that children being homeschooled is a priviledge for them and they need to help Mom out. I did the laundry and all the cooking but my children did most of the cleaning chores, especially as they got older. They may not do jobs perfectly but they will be done. I did not allow them to start school in the morning unless their job was done and since children are naturally competitive they don’t want to be the last one to start on their school work. I did check after them because if I didn’t them they did not do a thorough enough job and if it was too bad I sent them back to finish. Even a 3 year old can do things like run a dust cloth on the baseboards or bring small trashcans to the kitchen for you to empty them. It may take some time to get a system worked out and the kids working on chores but it will be worth it in the long run and it is character building for the children. I hope this sounds like I am trying to help you and not that I am preaching at you, I mean it to be kind words of encouragement. :)

      • Alissa DeLucio says

        I am not in a position right now to homeschool but I am taking away the idea of morning chores once my kids (and future babies) are old enough :)

    • Catherine says

      It will be done the way he wants when he does it. Until then, it will be done when and if you get around to it. I think it is worth remembering that the house you see when you go to someone else’s house has been cleaned for company. Their house does not look like that every day. Also, anyone who has a problem or is critical because there is a spot on the floor or the pillows aren’t just so, does not need to come over again.

    • Wendy says

      My friend explained it to me this way. Homeschooling is like a part-time job that you don’t get paid for. It helped me see it in a different way. If I actually had a paying part-time job, I would be out of the house from 8-2 each day and unable to get anything done. Why should he expect you to get things done just because you’re home?

    • says

      I homeschool 6 children, 10 and under. I don’t know what your children are doing to help you, but I love this quote from Cheri Logan, a homeschooling mother of 11:

      “If your children are school-aged and still doing the housework, YOU’VE MISSED YOUR PROMOTION!”

      As Reed Benson (homeschool dad of 9) says, “The whole family messes the place up; the whole family can help clean the place up!”

      I love the book Managers of Their Chores (on Titus2.com). It really opened my eyes about the Biblical principle of work, and the importance of teaching our children to work. It helped me see how much more even little children are capable of helping in a family. (You can see some of their sample chores for different ages for free on their site, so even if you can’t afford the book it can give you ideas).

      I wash 4 loads of laundry a day. BUT, I DON’T fold them or hang them up (except for mine and my husband’s shirts). My 10-year old hangs up the clothes (the 4 girls wear dresses every day, or blouses and jumpers, so there is a lot to hang). My 8-year-old and 6-year-old fold towels, pants, pajamas, match socks, etc. My 5-year-old and 3-year-old fold the washcloths, cleaning rags, and all of the cloth napkins. Everyone puts away his own clothing, and if they fold the 1-year-old’s clothing or parents’ clothing they put it in the right rooms.

      It takes them 15 minutes on average, and it really cuts down on the work for me. They do laundry every day before breakfast (it’s one of their morning chores).

      The two oldest take turns sweeping after meals (the other washes the dishes; I do the big things that have to be washed by hand).

      We have several clean-up times every day (before each meal). Everyone has specific chores during that time. My two oldest wipe down their bathrooms (mirror, sink, counter, toliet inside and out). The littler ones pick up the living room and library. The two oldest get the table set and water poured.

      We have another clean-up time in the evening before dad comes up (and before dinner). Again, everyone has a specific place to clean up (including their room). My 3-year-old sets the table with napkins and silverware. My 5-year-old dusts. My 10-year-old straightens and vacuums the living room. The little ones pick up the library again.

      It’s not perfect. But, it is SO much better with their help.

      • Ac says

        Brandy, great points as always! Our soon-to-be two year old has to pick up his room and put toys back in the bin and our four year old sets the kids portion of the table, clears their plates (all plastic :-)), and helps with other chores. The thing that has been so cool about it is that they LOVE being a helper and being independent. It isn’t viewed as drudgery to them and it sure helps us out. I always had chores and think it is good and healthy.

      • Alissa DeLucio says

        How many cloth napkins do you have/use? I have about 20 I think…trying to get an idea of whether I have enough. Trying to save money wherever I can in hopes of becoming a SAHM in the near future. Any other tips to offer?

        • says

          I don’t know exactly how many we have, but I know it’s more a lot more than 20, because we use 21 each day. They were all purchased at garage sales. I like dark-colored ones (they don’t require using stain remover, even if you’ve had spaghetti) that are a polyester blend so that they don’t need to be ironed.

          I have a lot of shop cloths that I use for cleaning bathrooms and wiping up spills on the floor. They are white; they get washed with white washcloths on a sanitizing wash with bleach (they are not perfectly white, as bleach changes their dyed white nature, but I can wash kitchen washcloths and cleaning rags together on a super hot, long wash load with bleach and know that they are clean).

          I keep 2 buckets on top of my washing machine; one is labeled washcloths and rags, and the other is labeled napkins and bibs. That’s where I keep the dirty ones after meals and cleaning until it’s time to wash them.

          If you can sew, you can also make your own cloth napkins; a cotton/poly broadcloth would work great (that’s what my napkins are made from) and you can most likely get that on sale at Joann’s for 40% or 50% off a yard; it’s not very expensive, and mapkins are pretty fast and simple.

    • Melissa says

      Hey Teresa, it sounds like you’re doing a great job doing more than I could handle, that’s for sure! Sorry your husband is not being more understanding, hope he comes around soon! (((Teresa)))

    • Margaret says

      Teresa,
      I will be praying for you. You sound like you are doing a wonderful job. I wish your husband and mine could talk together. My husband is a pastor and we have 8 children. Although my husband is very busy in his work, he never thinks twice in pitching in to help around the house. Raising a family and all that goes into keeping up a house is a job husband and wives are in together. The Biblical way is to honor and love one another — not to tear down. If you think your husband would like to talk with another Christian man, just let me know.

  4. Meredith says

    The first thing I’ll be adding to the budget when it lightens up a bit is a cleaning lady!!!! I don’t feel guilty in the least:)

    • amom says

      But what about cleaning before the cleaning lady comes. I think I’d rather just clean it myself, on my own time. :-)

      • amom says

        Remember ladies, servants abounded in history. We are probably the only few generations that have had to “do it all” ourselves. Even now, the rich have servants (different word of course) and don’t bat an eye about it. Why are we made to feel guilty?

    • Jessica says

      Just refer to her as the Marriage Counselor. She’ll look like a real bargain. I’m kidding, but only a little. When we were first married and both in full time stressful jobs, cleaning was the one thing we fought quite a bit about. After a year or 2 of this, I finally I hired the problem away. Argument gone and 9 years later happily married, with a cleaning lady 2 times a month :o). She is also like a clutter personal trainer for me. The night before she comes, I spend as much time as I need decluttering and putting things away so that it’s neat when she arrives. It really keeps me in check.

      • says

        You are so right about the Marriage Counselor. We, too, argued over housework early in our marriage (when both worked full time) and when the kids were little. We hired help. It was awesome. And cheaper than divorce. Now that my kids are older (13, 11, 8), we manage it on our own. I am in no way a great house keeper but it’s clean enough to keep us all happy.

  5. Dawn says

    Great article.
    There is a reason why flight attendants instruct parents to put oxygen on themselves first in case of emergency – THEN put the masks on the children. If you are deprived of oxygen, then you cannot care for your kids. This is applicable in everyday life. When I catch myself becoming overwhelmed, it is usually due to not taking care of myself. (not exercising, poor eating, delaying going to the doctor, etc.)
    Sometimes, just delegating a small bit can give you the energy to tackle the big stuff.
    Thank you for being real and letting your readers know that you are human and face the same challenges, fatigue, and sometimes guilt that often comes with motherhood.

  6. says

    I am so thankful that I have a husband who agrees with this! I stress about getting it all done, but he could care less! That balance is what keeps me going most days!

    • Amber says

      YES! I am also lucky to have a husband who understands there is no possible way to have the house look like we have a cleaning lady without actually having a cleaning lady until our 3 little ones get older. One Saturday I went Christmas shopping for about 5 hours and when I got home my husband felt the same way I do every day: totally worked over by the small fries. House: a mess. If we could afford it, the first thing I’d pay for is a cleaning lady but it is what it is. Two quotes to share:
      Sorry about the mess…but we live here!
      My house was clean last week, sorry you missed it!

    • Michele Jones says

      Hi Crystal, Can you elaborate a bit on how you decide what to outsource? I have thought about getting a cleaning lady but I am hesitant about committing the money towards it when I feel like we need to be doing more saving for our sons’ college/future. Our house is really messy a lot of the time. I am working on decluttering and simplifying but I do not think it will be enough.

      • says

        We outsource for two things: yard care and dry cleaning.

        Having someone clean my house just didn’t work for me. I found that I cleaned too much getting ready for her to come and that was silly.

        However, my husband has to wear a shirt and tie every day to work so I do get his pants and shirts cleaned. I spent way too much time ironing and couldn’t get them perfect. So I gave up.

        We get the yard done too and every time the guys show up, I feel so relieved! It takes a team of 3 grown men with fancy equipment 2 hours to do our yard. My husband rarely has two days off in a row, so I hate for his one day off to be spent doing the yard and with a 19 month old…I am not doing it!

        As far as your son is concerned, you are investing in his future by spending that extra time nurturing him so that he will be successful when he grows up!

  7. says

    Perfect. Something most women (or ALL women??) struggle with. I was just talking with my hubby about this last night. A lot of the issue is in how women define “success.” If I feel I have to do everything my best friend does to be successful, then of course I’m going to be discouraged when I don’t measure up!
    Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Melissa says

    Teresa,
    I am praying for you now. Hang in there, Sweetie. God knows all about it and He cares for you. Do you have an older, godly woman you can chat with about this, if your husband won’t listen? Someone who could give you advice? Or maybe your husband would agree to go get counseling with you?

  9. Lela says

    I have a 5,3,1 year old and just gave up cloth diapers, I still believe in them for cutting costs and helping the enviroment but I just needed a break.

  10. amanda says

    Thanks for this post, came at a great time. I’m about to deliver my 4th child and I’m feeling so exhausted and like I need to slow down. I’m struggling with feeling like my house needs to be in perfect order, and that I have so many obligations, but I need to just realize it’s all ok if I accept help, and I go to bed with dishes in the sink.

  11. Momx4 says

    This is sooooo true!! I just had my house cleaned for the first time this week. It’s something that I too felt ashamed of. I have 4 kids (9, 6, 5, 1) and homeschool the oldest 2, plus have an at home business. Life is crazy! My house will now be cleaned once a month and I have a lovely lady at church who is doing my ironing for me once a week! I can’t tell you how good it felt to come home earlier and the house was so nice and my hubby had proper clothes for work hanging in the closet. It’s ok to ask for help. We must remember to be a Mary and not a Martha, at least that’s what I keep telling myself :)

    • says

      Love that! So gonna borrow “Be a Mary, not a Martha.” My church ladies will also enjoy. Thanks for the idea :).

  12. BethB says

    Great post!

    As I’ve mentioned a few times this week we’re in the middle of making some major decisions about our life and my career. A big part of this is deciding what we want and realizing we can’t have it if I continue to work as much as I am now. A hard look at the numbers, both money and time, really opened our eyes and made us realize change wouldn’t be as difficult as we thought. I feel conflicted in that I’m leaving a profession I was once very passionate about but the past few years I’ve been in denial about how much it’s depleting me and directing my energy in the wrong place. Admitting I can’t keep up with this pace, even though many of my colleagues are Moms who work much more than I do, has been incredibly freeing. Choosing to do less because I want more is the exact right decision.

    On another note, not to get into the Comparison thing but I have so much respect for you homeschooling Moms. I don’t know how you do it! I know how hard I work trying to keep our home in order and I’m not planning my kids’ schooling! You all deserve to give yourselves a HUGE pat on the back.

  13. Jennifer says

    Oh yes….I get this..totally! In fact, today….my best laid plans were put to the test when I had to call a neighbor (who is very sweet, older lady) to watch my 3 year old son while I went into my 5 year old daughters class to read. My plan was to have my husband come home from work at lunch to watch my son, I would slip into the school and be home within the hour. Yeah, not so convenient for my hubby…but I am terrible at asking others to help me. My husband called from the road, he was stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it. So, knowing I had to find someone to help me because I couldn’t bring my son to my daughters school, I ran over to my neighbors house and asked her on a whim. She was more than glad to come and watch him….in fact, they played trains together and read books and she offered to help me whenever I needed someone! It all worked out and I realized I need to ask others more for help and not be so stubborn about doing it all myself!

  14. holi says

    Ashamed? Goodness, I would shout it to whoever would listen that I had a housekeeper! We used to have a lady come,when jobs were good, & I loved her. She cleaned way way better than I ever could! And I am not embarrassed to tell anyone that! :)

  15. Heather says

    I love this post! I am lucky to have three men in my life who make my life easier: my husband, who understands that raising kids and keeping up a house isn’t exactly equal or easy…the UPS man, who delivers all my worldly goods like diapers, etc and my Milkman, who delivers the best milk on the planet. Yes, I have caught myself saying to my friends who work who ask me if I have a milkman when they see my box on the porth, “Yes, I do…makes me a lazy stay-at-home-mommy, hu?” And then I just laugh to myself while grinning from ear to ear because after one too many times of running out of milk, I couldn’t take the guilt of that happening more then being embarrassed by having a delivery or box on my porch…so this was a perfect solution for us! (Oh, who are we kidding, me of course!)

  16. says

    I worked part time until my 2nd one was born, and I can tell you for sure, that it is easier to keep a house clean when kids aren’t in it all the time!

    I had this idea that when I became a SAHM, my house would be immaculate, I’d cook delicious meals every night, and the kids would be quietly doing art projects when my husband walked in the door. Ha, Ha, Ha!!

    Fortunately, I am blessed with a wonderful husband who understands that I am home to care for our children. If cleaning gets done, that’s great. If he can tell it hasn’t, he says, “You guys must have been having fun today!”

    Another way to look at it is to think about what you would pay a babysitter or daycare. In our area, an in home sitter charges at least 700.00 a month, and she wouldn’t be doing your laundry without getting something extra! My sister has a nanny, and if she does household tasks she gets extra pay, because her first and primary job is to care for the kiddos.

    Great post, Crystal!

    • Wendy says

      You’re post made me laugh at how disillusioned we can be. We moved into a new home 2 weeks before my first baby was born. I actually thought I’d have lots of time to unpack after he was born. Guess I thought he’d be sleeping all the time. LOL

    • Jessica says

      I thought the same thing!! I said to my friends “They just keep eating all the time!!!”

  17. Jen says

    I work full-time (40 minute commute each way), get up and leave before my husband even gets out of bed and do most of the household chores as well as the administration (bill paying, grocery shopping, etc). I have talked about getting a housekeeper for about a year. My husband’s response – “go for it.” I never did it because I didn’t want the added expense.
    On January 2nd there was a Groupon for 12 2-hour maid sessions. It cost $400. I bought it. I felt guilty about spending the money until I clicked the “submit” button. Now I feel liberated. Yes, it will only be once a month but it will mean that things that weren’t getting done regularly will now be done. I’ll still have to clean bathrooms, do laundry and vacuum, but I can live with that. And, now I might still be able to live with my husband too! :-)

  18. Casey says

    Just a question about homeschooling, I was reading your goals from this year and saw that your oldest is 6 and your goal was to finish 2nd grade and begin 3rd grade and your youngest is 4 and your goal is to finish kindergarten and begin 1st grade. I’m just wondering how this works as their ages do not match up with traditional school.

    • says

      They both started kindergarten at four since they were so interested and ready, so that’s why they are “ahead”. So long as they continue to keep up with the requirements for their grade level, we’re going to let them keep going. They love school and my husband and I are loving teaching them!

    • Wendy says

      Also, as a homeschooling mom, I always tell my kids the only reason you are in a grade is that the state says I have to assign you to one. Grade assignments really don’t mean a lot in homeschooling as a child can be doing work a grade level or two ahead or behind their assigned grade. It really depends on their skill level.

  19. says

    I have 3 kids (17, 4, & 3) and one on the way in March. I am very lucky to have an understanding hubby who helps with some of the weekly cleaning (we usually clean the house together so it makes it more enjoyable and gets it done quicker). I’m also VERY blessed that he cooks dinners!

    I’ve had a housecleaner in the past when I was on bedrest with a previous pregnancy, and I’m considering hiring her again (she did such a great job!) It’s a no-brainer for me to hire a window washer and carpet cleaner 2 x year (in spring and near holidays). We also have a gardener once a week (this allows my husband to instead help me in the house ;-) )

    Not only do these services help with my sanity to keep everything running more smoothly, but I also know that I’m helping another family put food on their table too. And that is something I feel very good about.

  20. says

    That’s all well and good, but I can’t afford to hire anyone.

    So, things fall by the way side and I try not to stress about it. Doesn’t mean that I like it much, though.

    • says

      My solution to this: Invite people over for dinner on a day when you husband has off (Saturday night, for instance). Put him in charge of mopping, cleaning the windows (a squeegee and a bucket are huge helps in this; we have huge windows and this makes the job faster and cheaper than spray cleaner and paper towels), etc. Give the children some extra chores that day (sweeping, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, etc.) while you concentrate on the kitchen and the meal (or whatever it is that you feel needs the most work; for me it’s always the kitchen!).

      My husband loves to have people over, but he also knows that it means he needs to help.

      • says

        Actually, my kids and hubby do help on the weekends. The kids say they hate weekends because of all the chores!

        It’s all the extras that seems to fall by the wayside, like baseboards, that I wonder if I’ll ever get to. Oh well. :)

        • says

          I just recently had to let my housecleaner go :(. I decided that I might hire a service to do a deep clean once or twice a year to do all those “big” jobs I don’t have time for on a regular basis. I will time it for a get-together to get as much mileage out of it as I can. Figure it is way cheaper than having someone every other week.

          I always figure that I am doing the best for my kids if the house isn’t exactly immaculate. The other things are more important to me so they are my priority. I will have plenty of time when the kids are gone to have a ship-shape house, sniff, sniff.

        • Heather says

          Baseboards need to be cleaned?!
          Okay, I’ve vacuumed mine once or twice, I’ll admit, but if you’re worrying about that on a regular basis, perhaps lowering your standards might be better. Remember the title of the post.

  21. Tiffany says

    Thank you Crystal. This is JUST what I needed today. I’ve always been the anal retentive superwoman too. THEN….I had a baby. :) She’s 8 months old -and I’ve really been struggling with “mom guilt”. I also appreciate your honestly about PPD. I’ve followed you since 2008 and I never knew that. I’ve never been depressed in my life – couldn’t even fathom it – and then after I had my daughter – BOOM – it hit me and it was the hardest thing to go through – especially as a go-getter. So simply – thank you Crystal. I love your heart, and your blog and your honesty.

  22. Diane says

    Great article! I had antenatal depression (I was depressed my entire first pregnancy) and have been depressed many other times as well. I appreciate your mentioning it because it is so common yet so under discussed.
    You can run a marathon someday! I know you can! It does take time and the long runs can be exhausting but it’s completely within reach. Oh, and most people walk at least a little during a marathon, too :)

    Thanks for all you do!

  23. Laurie says

    I have never tried to be superwoman. I Am a mom who requires a lot of sleep,so I sleep when my kids sleep. I have no guilt about how clean or not clean my house is. I know one thing for sure that my girls are loved and the quality time we spend together daily is all we need. Yes we cut corners and do not have a full meal on the table every night,but we all are different. I also do not have a husband whom I have to prove anything to. There is no arguing or fighting about who should pull their fare share of daily tasks and raising children. God has chosen the perfect life for us and we are truly blessed.

  24. Victoria says

    Great post. I posted this on the site, but just in case you don’t get to see it there. I love your bio that talks about how you wish to run a marathon. I too remember having toddlers and preschoolers and thinking running three continuous miles on a regular basis was impossible. Well, now those toddlers and preschoolers are tweeners and teenagers, and guess what I have not only ran the marathon I have done it twice and am signed up for a third, and now one of those toddlers I use to chase and barely catch, wants to run one with me! Time flies so fast, a goal that can’t happen in one season of life, can quickly happen in the next.

  25. says

    As others stated, encouraging and timely as well…in this new year, when many are focusing on yearly goals(with much guidance from you!), I think this really helps so many of us decide what our priorities are and reassess how we plan to reach our goals. Thank you, as always, for being so open and generous with your advice and sharing your experiences.

  26. says

    Thanks for the article Crystal. I don’t know if it is a 3rd child thing, but I went through the same thing after having my 3rd. Depression, then found out I had a gluten allergy and had to change my entire diet, running a blog, being a mommy and wife (a good one like I wanted to be), left me so exhausted and sick….. I too hired on a lot of help, and now can relax and take weekends off and be a real person again. Thanks for always being so open and honest!

  27. Brandy says

    Any suggestions for when you can’t afford help (cleaning or babysitter) and you have no one in your family or friend who can help or swap time? I tried hiring someone to clean, but it is $70 per cleaning session in our area, which is more than my weekly grocery budget.

    • says

      Have you looked into possibly hiring an older woman or teenager or college student who is looking for some extra work. It would be much less expensive than a cleaning service. Many times (especially in the case of a mother’s helper who is in her early teens) it’s fair to pay $6-$8 per hour, depending upon what you’re having them do. Finding a few things in your budget to cut (if you can) in exchange for a few hours of help every other week can be a huge sanity saver and well worth the expense!

  28. says

    Try cleaning while the kids are busy. I find that I finish eating in half the time that it takes the kids. You can load or unload the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, clean out the fridge all while they eat. You can still talk to them while you do that.

    Same during bath time. That’s the perfect time to keep the bathroom in shape.

    Keep the laundry separated by person and do one load a day. Then go in that persons room to play while you fold and put the laundry away.

    At least this way works for me!

  29. Julie says

    I’d love to have a post about how you’ve dealt with the tax ramifications of hiring people to help out. Are they independent contractors? Do you pay taxes/SS for them? Without breaching privacy, it would be interesting ot know how to navigate that sticky territory!

    • says

      All but two are independent contractors, so we don’t pay taxes for those, we just 1099 them. But we do have to file quite a number of different things for the two who are MSM employees. Gratefully, my husband had already hired two employees for his law firm by the time I hired on my first full-time employee, so he had figured out all the ropes to navigate and helped set everything up for me.

  30. Cort says

    Love this!
    Being so busy with Dr’s, therapy, and homeschooling my son with special needs as well as taking care of my 16 month old I have been feeling so guilty b/c finally 3 weeks ago I began ordering my groceries online through peapod. Even mentioning this here on this amazing blog that taught me to grocery shop with only forty bucks a week and get the best bang for my buck, its a little embarassing. However, it has made such a DIFFERENCE! I have actually been able to get sooo much more done, it has lifted a weight off my shoulders. I have been able to stay in budget, no eating out, I can do all my shopping while my youngest is napping, slice of heaven. I am rarely home with all that we have to do to take care of my oldest and when I am we are schooling along with everything else. For some reason though I have felt guilty, knowing I could be getting a better deal if only…. or people are going to think I am lazy…. but honestly it just is not realistic for me at this season in life to go crazy with the grocery deals, or even some weeks just make it to the store. So budgeting a little extra or tweaking the meal plan and maybe ordering every two weeks etc. is all worth it to me cause it’s working…. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • says

      Why would you feel guilty for finding a way that is more efficient? I think this is a GREAT idea! And it goes to show how little many moms value their “time”…thinking they are failures for not saving .50 to $1.00 off coupons for saving 1-2 hrs at the grocery store.

      Where I live doesn’t offer grocery delivery, or I’d so do that too!

      Great job for making the most of your time, and finding ways to make things easier :-)

      • Cort says

        Thanks for such a sweet comment! :) I appreciate the encouragement. Guilt is definetly something that I know I personally struggle with which is why this post is so encouraging. I am deeply grateful for my supportive husband who actually convinced me to use peapod, he really is so good to me! He was actually saying to me how much it would cost to replace me and how he could never afford it :) Sometimes Its easy to forget the value in the little things we do.
        Thanks Again! :)

  31. says

    I loved this post! We do not have additional funds to hire a house cleaner or anything like that, so it is up to me. I am not a perfectionist, and as long as my home is clean in a tidy way, I am okay. I can pick up for company in about 20 mins. I have no qualms about leaving dishes for the next day or not completing my to-do’s. There is always the next day.

  32. says

    As soon as I get my Master’s in Education (and I get my Master’s pay raise) I’m getting someone to come and clean my floors/kitchen/bathroom (yes, that’s singular as in “bathroom”). Only 16 months away & I can’t wait!

  33. says

    I like the part in Emilie Barnes’ book when she was caring for 4 kids under four (she was legal guardian to her brother’s 2 small children) and pregnant with her fifth. She said it was all she could do to get them in the backyard to play while she slept on a blanket. If they ate dirt and snails at least she wouldn’t have to feed them lunch.

    Don’t beat yourselves up for not having a pristine home. If you can hire a cleaning lady that’s wonderful but if you can’t then there are other things you can do.

    Ignore the base boards until your oldest is big enough to wipe them for you.

    Maybe you have friends in the same boat and can get together to help each other in the home once a month or so. (just a thought).

    Do your best not to compare your life and home to others.

    As Crystal says there are seasons to life.

  34. Nancy says

    I saw a bumper sticker today that fits perfectly: Motherhood=changing society one diaper at a time. Remember moms the job you do is priceless and the fruits of your labor will endure after you are gone. Having said that, nobody will remember the time it took to wash dishes in your house or if you had dust bunnies. Focus on the important stuff and make peace with the rest.

  35. says

    I actually have some ladies who come one a month while we’re at work and do all the deep cleaning. There are times I’m ashamed of it and times I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t do everything. All I know is that it is my 2nd favorite day of the month. My first favorite is that day after they come because I’m off work and the house is in such great order that I’m really able to enjoy the day at home with the kids.

  36. says

    An honest breath of fresh air is something we all need! Thank you for reminding us that we are all amazing and we don’t have to do it all. I recently started a blog so that I could vent about the realities of my life with 3 little ones. It has been a great outlet for me and I hope it will allow other mommy’s to see that it is ok to ask for help, to let go of things, and to very often, not be very pretty about any of it!! I am so appreciative of your reminders that our instruction book has been written for us in the Bible if we would just let ourselves be open to His amazing coaching.
    http://www.truthfulmommy.blogspot.com