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Ask the Readers: How Can I Streamline My Household Duties?

Today’s question is from Bobbie:

I am currently 14 weeks pregnant, the mother of a four year old and a night shift nurse. We recently moved and lately, I have noticed that my husband has picked up a lot of my slack. I really want to get back on track and ease his load, so I need to find a way to streamline my household duties, financial duties and menu planning all at once. I am committed to finding a system that I think will work for my family.

I am wondering if any of your readers have suggestions on places to find printables or systems that work for them?

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60 Comments

  • I find that having a base of operation has worked well for me. Mine is the desk in my living room. On it is “calendar of events” as well as my planning guide and “to do list” On my calendar is everything from what bills are due when to what I want to clean that week or day. color code cleaning if you like for instance a pink line on Monday means that is bathroom day and a blue line means laundry. This way too you and your husband can both see what is going on and adjust if needed. Just remember to be realistic working outside the home, and with (soon to be 2) little ones is hard so don’t beat yourself up if things sometimes don’t get done. Grace we all need grace.

  • Jen says:

    Use flylady.net! Don’t have to necessarily follow it exactly, but so many good tips and helps!

    • Leesa says:

      LOL! I was just about to post “google Flylady!”

    • Shelah says:

      I love Flylady too but not her email/online version. Get a book of hers such as Sink Reflections from the library…..she’s so much “saner” to read from her books than the emails/website. And implement strategies that make sense for you. That’s my two cents.

      • J in VA says:

        I agree… alot of her online/email stuff is just too new age-y for me!

        • Jen says:

          I haven’t read her book yet but do have it coming. I only do Flylady Lite and like that because I check my email right away in the morning and love the reminder of the routine.

  • Jen Krausz says:

    Sit down and figure out where you are wasting time. Maybe you are trolling Facebook for an hour every day (like I do). Maybe you are playing games on your phone (I do that too). Or watching TV. Or whatever else you do that you really don’t need to do. Now block out a little bit of time for doing that. Set time limits for yourself. Maybe you can be on Facebook for 15 minutes instead of an hour. I personally need some down time, but maybe not as much as I end up taking when I don’t plan! Then block out the rest of that time for your tasks. I like the base of operations idea too. Maybe you can put this one with that one.

    I like to see how much I can get done in 15 minute increments. Then you can rest in between (since you are pregnant). Don’t overdo it. If you get tired, rest a little and then try to do more.

  • Carrie says:

    Congratulations on your pregnancy. I have five children and I found that I couldn’t function without my organizer/calendar book. I keep all my appts. in it, as well as menus for the week.

    To streamline: I would try to do a major grocery stock up so you are not wasting time going to the store weekly. I would double up as many meals as possible to save time for the nights when you are exhausted.

    For your finances, I would do as many bill payments on line as you can. It is faster. I would also keep a spreadsheet of all your bills so nothing slips through the cracks.

    For the house, I would go through and pack up and declutter as much as you can. Make things as simple as possible.

    • Need A Nap2 says:

      You might call your bill companies and see about “budget” billing or the like where you pay the same amount each month year-round. That would help to streamline some bill paying, you could even set it up automatically in your bill pay program. 🙂

  • I love Flylady.net. She is very encouraging. I love the way you just do a little everyday, but just that little makes such a big difference. It makes it so much easier to get ready for company coming now that I “fly” everyday.

  • Maria says:

    I am also a big fan of Flylady! While it looks overwhelming, you can take it at your own pace and stride. I’ve been using her advice and system on and off for 3-4 years now. She seems to have most of the ‘tried and true’ things in one spot that other sites are sporadic or hit-n-miss on.

    For meal planning, I recommend howdoesshedoit.com Again, this one takes some time and effort to use and adjust, but it’s free and you enter your own recipes into your account, and while you make the menu, the grocery list is created (which you can edit as you need to).

    Both of these sites use lots of time to read, ‘digest,’ adapt, and use, but it’s well worth it since both offer services for free that most other sites charge you for.

  • Shannon says:

    I really like this printable checklist. http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-cleaning-process-and-500-give-away.html I also pinned this one: http://andreadekker.com/10-steps-to-a-clean-home/ Here’s another one: http://www.funcheaporfree.com/2011/12/youre-welcome-wednesday-tip-keep-your.html This isn’t a printable, but a good idea that you could customize to your liking: http://www.meckmom.com/2006/09/25/save-time-make-a-mom-game-plan/ Here’s a link to my pinterest board in case I missed one: http://pinterest.com/shannerliz/organization-cleaning/ Good luck!

  • Jo says:

    I think paring down at home is helpful. I’m a purger (not always a good thing – sometimes I get rid of things I shouldn’t!) but my sister-in-law is a hoarder. It’s a lot easier to tidy up my house than hers because everything has a place/home and it doesn’t take much time to whip through and put stuff away, run the vacuum around, etc. I use excel for my checkbook and have the budget set up with due dates in it projecting where the money is going and when (as well as projecting when the paychecks land). I log in and make sure bills are paid each paycheck. And maybe during this season, letting your husband pick up a little more of the work at home is okay since you are busy growing a baby and working and being a mama.

  • tonya says:

    I found myself almost in the same situation! It’s been me, my husband and my son. After 12 years of having just one child I got pregnant and now we have a 18 month running all over the place. The tasks that were once a breeze seem to be a struggle now and it seems so very hard to work, go to school, be a wife and mom and give everyone and EVERYTHING my attention. First off God blessed me with a mentor. She helps me with my budget, my planning…everything! She is the reason I found this site. I had to get myself on a schedule. I suggest reading Time Management 101. I started off with doing a day to day schedule for myself then one for my son. This schedule consisted of to-do’s and cleaning. It is broken down into 30 intervals from 5pm-9pm. By the time I get home from work and pick my daughter up it’s just about 5pm. From there it’s on! My menu planning goes around this schedule because I go to school twice a week at night. I plan my menu for the week and I make sure I have a easy meal planned for my husband while he is watching the kids. (he does not cook very well!) For example: Sunday is the big meal day, Monday I do a basic meal of baked chicken, rice veg… Tues & Wed is easy night for my husband maybe fish sticks and French fries. Thursday is a basic meal like Monday. Friday I meet with my mentor so that’s another quickie like tuna helper or turkey helper, salad… Saturday is like Monday and Thursday! If you are running behind schedule look to see what you can hold off on until the next day or even the weekend! I have a step by step chore and to-do list for my son that way I don’t get interrupted and he knows everything he has to do! I also have a budget list that I look over and balance every day. I keep my receipts and every dollar has a name! I suggest you get Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace also!! That is a very good investment. Good luck!

  • Amy R says:

    Please make sure your expectations are realistic. It may just be that while you’re pregnant, it’s ok for dh to pitch in a little more than usual, or maybe you just need to be content with whatever you get done. With that said, I’m very type A. Everything needs to be scheduled for me to function. Once a week (I like to do this on Saturday morning for the upcoming week), sit down, with your computer or pen and paper and make a list of EVERYTHING you need to accomplish that week. Then, schedule it, trying to multi-task as often as possible. For instance, I love to make my kids lunches for school and set up the coffee pot for the next day while dinner is cooking. That way, once the dinner mess is picked up, the kitchen can stay clean until morning. (except for dh’s midnight bowl of ice cream!)

    Most of all, I agree with what was said before. Above all, give yourself grace!

  • Schedule schedule schedule! I have a schedule I follow for all household tasks. It changes, as needed. (It just recently changed because my son’s nap schedule changed.) Figure out what tasks would best be done on what days, then stick to it. I meal plan on Sunday evenings. I keep a Martha Stewart 7-day calendar on my fridge. (It’s one of those sticky-ish things that peels off without leaving any sticky stuff behind.) I write in my meals for the week on that with a wet-erase marker. Each Sunday, I wipe it clean and start over. I tailor our meals to my cleaning schedule, so that a meal that takes little prep time is made on the days I do a long cleaning task. I don’t use any printables or anything; I just have a general idea of our favorite meals and work from that and/or what we have in the fridge and pantry that needs to be used.

    Of course, having a job and being in the early stages of pregnancy may make things a little harder for you. I know you probably feel bad that your husband is picking up the slack for you, but your body is working extraordinarily hard right now to grow a person, so give yourself some grace and understand that your husband probably wants to help you right now.

  • Aubrey says:

    I actually assign tasks to certain days of the week and find that really helps me stay on top of managing the house. I clean on Mondays and Tuesdays, do laundry on Wednesdays (although when it’s nice and I can hang the wash outside the laundry day can shift depending on the weather), take care of bills/paperwork on Thursdays, and run errands on Fridays. I can get the cleaning and bills/paperwork done while my kids are sleeping in the afternoon so typically plan easy suppers or leftovers for those days, and make bigger/more involved meals on the other days of the week and do the prep during nap time. I try not to plan too much “work” for the weekends so we can have family time, but I do my menu planning/shopping list making for the week on Sundays using the ads from the paper.
    What a blessing to have a husband who steps up and helps you out! My husband was such a wonderful help around the house when I was pregnant and had newborns in the house.

  • LeahB says:

    We have a family member recovering from surgery, and I’ve been going task by task to improve my efficiency. Examples: I make sure all dishes are done and put away before I go to bed, so that the next day I have an empty dishwasher and can put things directly in there, and never have dishes in the sink. I’ve started the “handle once” method of dealing with paperwork: when I get the mail or empty my son’s backpack, I’m at my desk and all of the ‘junk’ goes straight in the trash. Items are written on the calendar, etc. Remaining papers go into a “to do” or “to file” folder. For lunches, I make batches of pre-packaged items so most lunch items can be grabbed quickly. I have a 4-year-old and I’ve been discovering that he can help out a lot more than I thought. He actually LIKES sweeping up the floor after we eat, setting and clearing the table, making a game of matching and folding socks and pajamas, etc.

    Don’t feel bad about asking others for help, both now and after the new baby arrives! I’ve found that I have many friends willing to pitch in, but they need a specific request. Good luck to you!

  • Shannon says:

    I make myself weekly to-do lists of all of the responsibilities I would like to complete. The way that my particular lists work for me is that I list specific time blocks for each day all day. It takes me about 1 hour to complete my entire week list but it is worth it for me since I am driven by lists and I become accountable by the actual time being attached to the chore, etc. I cross things off through the day. Even if I do not stick to each exact item since things come up, I am motivated to complete it when I visually see it associated with a time block. Here is an example of the remainder of my list for today:
    Wed. April 17
    4:00-5:00 Make dinner
    5:00-6:00 Family Dinner
    6:00-8:00 Clean kitchen, baby bath, bills, prepare day for tomorrow
    8:00-10:00 Baby bed, Put away laundry while watching movie with hubby

  • amy says:

    I found a great binder plan at http://WWW.organizinghome.com. she has an amazing amount of choices, find what works for you, good luck.

  • Jamie says:

    I recently bought the Motivated Moms app. I am pregnant too, and have a 2-yr-old and a 1-yr-old. I definitely needed something to tell me what to do for my home each day. It has been a lifesaver for me! It lists things that should be done every day, as well as weekly and seasonal things. It also has personal items, such as exercising, reading to your children, and giving yourself some quiet time. I highly recommend it! You can download a free two-week trial to see if it would work for you.

  • Hollie says:

    The book Large Family Logistics was a God-send for helping me streamline my home. Good luck to you, Bobbie!

    • Rachael says:

      I love this book! I’m struggling with keeping up with stuff, and I have only 1 child and none on the way. This book has helped me think through so much.

      • Hollie says:

        I think it’s a great book for families of all sizes, despite the title. We are a family of five and, as I said, it’s been a wonderful resource for us in this area.

  • C says:

    Why is it a bad thing that your husband has taken on more responsibility around the house? It sounds like he’s willing to share the responsibility with you (and he should– you work, are pregnant and have another child!) so whatever system you’re looking to implement, make sure that he feels a part of the decision. You guys are a team and don’t push away his help just because you feel that for some reason you need to “run the household.” Work together. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s a blessing he wants to be an equal partner!

    • Haila says:

      I agree!

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, yes, yes! It’s perfectly fine for your DH to be helping. When I was pregnant with our youngest, I was so exhausted sometimes that I just couldn’t get up to make dinner. DH gladly did it, even though he’d worked all day. That was the season of life we were in. Now he’s traveling for work and I find myself picking up the slack on some of “his” jobs. We work together as a team. Be thankful that you have such a man, and thank him for his help.

  • Dianna says:

    I don’t like using others’ systems because every family is different. I wrote here about coming up with your own system (and a pretty printable for writing it all down):
    http://homemakerschallenge.com/2013/04/create-a-custom-homemaking-schedule/

  • Ellen says:

    I am curious about the idea of your husband picking up your slack. Do you mean he’s doing more around the house than he used to before you were pregnant/had a child/etc. or do you truly think you’re slacking? Is your goal to handle all of the household, financial, and menu chores yourself? Is your husband voicing concerns about how much he’s doing or are you just noticing the difference?

    The reason I ask is because I’ve found that my husband and I have had to be flexible with our chore division, especially when I’ve been pregnant or nursing. With each successive child (we have three kids — 5, 3, and 1), my husband has had to do more work around the house. It hasn’t always been an easy transition. I’ve worked myself to the point of burnout and resentment at times, and we have had some heated discussions about division of labor. We are in a good place now, and I think part of it is our both realizing a family is HARD work and we won’t be recapturing our single or childless schedules any time soon!

    I just throw this out there because maybe you don’t necessarily need to pick up any slack. Being pregnant is an energy-zapper, and moving is hard work. I’d encourage you to enjoy his help and let him know you thoroughly appreciate it. You’ll get back on track when you have the time and energy.

  • sam says:

    I feel like I can relate as I have a toddler, work full time and try to share the load with my husband. I keep my meal planning simple and predictable. Before I hit the store, I will make a loose meal plan. At the store, I buy what is on sale and adjust the meal plan accordingly. Our meals are basic-meat, vegetables and starch (for my husband). I keep a store of rice, pastas, and quinoa. It takes a whole 5 minutes to plan the week’s dinners–Monday, pork chops; Tuesday, Lasagna; Wednesday-Grilled Chicken, etc. I’ll buy items specifically for lunch and take them to work on Monday (nuts, bag of salad, hard boiled eggs, Greek yogurts, etc.)

    I have been having a lot of luck with Crystal’s cleaning challenge it has helped me keep the house work kept up, although not always as clean as I would like. You work nights and probably long shifts–is there anything you can outsource? Like if you hate cleaning, can you hire someone to deep clean 1x/month and just do the basic cleaning yourself?

    I also pay bills and balance the checkbook. I pay bills on the 1st and 15th only. We use cash for our basic spending money, so there isn’t too much balancing to do. Can you automize your finances to have major bills deducted from your checking account? Or have your paycheck direct deposit into your checking, savings and investment accounts? That would save a ton of time on financial related transactions.

    Lastly, give yourself a break. You are working unusual shifts, taking care of the whole home and are pregnant–that is a lot to maintain! I remember being exhausted at 14 weeks pregnant.

  • Christy says:

    http://mommyedwards.com/muh-bill-book/
    This is where I got my idea for my bill paying system. It doesn’t involve any filing and there are also some great links to free printables 🙂 I do my meal planning on a magnetic white calendar board that goes on my fridge. At the beginning of each month I sit down and plan all my suppers, write them on the white calendar board, and then I go shopping once/week for groceries. I do not write down my lunches or brkfasts though. Remember that you are pregnant and it’s good to relax and let your man help out too! As far as cleaning goes…with 2 little ones I find that no schedule is kinda my cleaning schedule. I just do what I can each day and realize that sometimes it’s better to have a messy house and clean, happy kids 🙂

  • me says:

    This probably won’t go over well with this crowd, but maybe your husband needed to pick up some of the slack. It sounds like you’re overwhelmed as it is.

    But that wasn’t your question. I’ve been working 60-80 hours and he’s been going to school and working part-time, looking for full-time. We’ve been planning a lot.

    He does laundry on his days off–doing it all once (we live in an apartment building with multiple w/d). Most of our budget/bill paying is tied to my checks, so it is either automated or gets paid when I get paid.

    Our grocery shopping is orgnainzed on a spreadsheet. When I go through the fliers, I type in on the ss, price, coupon, etc. and then print it out. It helps him either stop at one store and do it himself or when we go on our weekly trip.

    We spent a lot of time decluttering, cleaning and organizing last year. It has helped our cleaning, where making it easier to just trash/dust/floors.

    On Sunday afternoons, we cook a chicken, shred it and use it for a couple of meals already made (takes us about 30 minutes to make 3 dinners, 2 lunches). He makes his gatorade/teas for week, I make my quiona salads.

    Most importantly, we are done with house stuff by 6pm on Sundays, picked up put away, the whole bit. We make homemade pizza and watch Game of Thrones and Mad Men. No internet and just us. Who cares if the house is dirty at that point when you’ve had uninterrupted time with your husband?

  • Congratulations! I am 12 weeks along with my 4th child in 5 1/2 years ;-0 So, I totally know how you feel (well, minus the night shift, which I can imagine would be difficult!). During different times throughout the last few years, the way in which we’ve done things has shifted and changed. I think that will always be the case, so be adaptable and willing to try new things at various times. For a while, my husband completely took care of the laundry (he does like doing laundry, so he didn’t mind at all!). Just knowing that there was ONE thing I didn’t need to take care of at any time was a HUGE help to me mentally. I often would pick 1 day a week to do some of the bigger jobs (like changing all the bed sheets, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.). Since I knew I would get to those things on Wednesdays, it helped me put them out of my mind the rest of the week. The rest of the week I would do minor, everyday cleaning stuff, throughout the day when I had time. Those days were more relaxing since I didn’t have any “big” cleaning looming over my head. Hope that helps a bit!

  • Lana says:

    I have everything scheduled. I have charts inside my kitchen cabinet doors that I refer to daily so that I know what I need to do today. All of my cleaning chores are on those charts and I rarely spent more than 30 minutes per day doing chores. Laundry has been the same schedule for 30 years and I don’t need that written down anymore! I make my menus on a wall calender. I try to do most of a month at one time. Menus that I do not use for some reason are circled and moved forward. I can refer back to previous months for ideas and I save the previous years calendar for at least 6 months into the new year as a cheat sheet. If I did not have these schedules I would just do nothing. Also, on Sunday I make a list of other things that need to be done for each day of the upcoming week. I include everything form extra chores that need to be done to haircut appointments. These lists and charts really help me to stay on track.

  • Jennifer says:

    For meal planning (which I HATE), try emeals.com. I just got a Groupon for 1/2 off. They email you recipes and a menu for the week, and the best part….a shopping list. The ladies that recommended Flylady.net are right on too for housecleaning.

  • Guest says:

    This doesn’t answer the question you asked (sorry about that!) but I would encourage you to work with your husband to divide the responsibilities. You don’t say in your note why you feel you need to lighten his load so maybe it really isn’t fair. Just don’t feel like you have to do it all. There will always be more than enough for everyone to contribute. 🙂

    I wish I had focused less on making everything “easier” for my husband and focused more on creating a system that was fair and balanced. Unfortunately we’re now (after 10 years of marriage) having to figure out what that looks like and I am trying to let go of hurt feelings and resentment about doing it all.

    Just something to consider.

  • Bobbi says:

    I can totally relate! I have an 18 mo. old and I’m 13 weeks pregnant and I work full time. My husband does so much around the house already, and the last few months he has done almost everything! I’m FINALLY starting to have more energy so I need to start helping out a little more too. (o:

    One thing that I did awhile ago was to make a board that I found on Pinterest. http://www.girllovesglam.com/2012/03/organization-board-tutorial.html
    It has really helped my husband and I keep up with cleaning and we really appreciate that we have a place to write out our menu for the week. (We don’t use the calendar much, as I have a planner I use for work and that’s where I keep my important dates and I did make my own cleaning list, since the one she used did not fit our life! But that’s what I like about this idea, you can customize it to how you want it and it didn’t cost much to make!)

  • Megan says:

    I’m probably going to get bashed for this but let him pick up the slack……I have a 2 year old and 6 year old and I am a complicated mix of stay at home and working mom. I actually work about 30 hours a week for my husband’s company (he owns it) and also do all the duties a regular stay-at-home mom would do plus I do many of the traditionally “manly” chores. My 2 year old is in half day preschool 3 days a week and my 6 year old is in 4 day a week kindergarten at the same location. I am completely overwhelmed with everything and it is causing tremendous stress/strain on our marriage (at least from my perspective—he is happy because he sits on his hiney every night while I still work on whatever needs to get done that day). I do all of the cooking, most of the cleaning, all of the parenting, extracurricular, transportation, yard work, meal prep, laundry, etc. If your husband has picked up the slack without complaint, let him. He loves you and is trying to ease your burden…you are growing another human inside you! Your job is about to get tremendously harder with a newborn. I would also get your 4 year old involved and teach him to help out. There is no reason he can’t bring you the trashcans on the evening before trash pick up. Get him involved too.

  • L says:

    I think it helps to have “days” for certain things. I like to clean my house towards the weekend so it appears clean in case company stops over. I usually vacuum and dust on Thursday evenings. I scrub and clean bathrooms on Friday evenings. I sweep, do dishes and laundry every day. Grocery shopping and paying bills are done sometime on the weekend. Lists can be good but they also can be stressful 🙂 I do not have too many time wasters. I do not subscribe to magazines, have Facebook, etc. I do not watch too much TV although I do like to watch movies, which is usually saved for family time on the weekend.

    If your husband is willing to help, by all means let him. You will get more tired as you are pregnant and will want his help when you have the baby!

  • Joan says:

    It might be helpful to start doubling at least one meal a week to freeze for later. I did a little bit of that when I was expecting last summer, and it helped quite a bit as I got closer to my due date and cooking became more of a challenge.

    • L says:

      Ditto! I do this as often as I can. It usually only adds about five extra minutes to triple a casserole and put it in freezer-type casserole dishes. I am just finishing some caramel bars for a friend get together and made two pans, one to freeze for us. Only a few extra minutes to mix up the ingredients.

      If I am doing really good, I try to get the crockpot ready to go and refrigerate the night before. Just take it out in the morning. It is so awesome to have the next evening’s meal ready when you get home from work (For some reason this takes a little more planning for me, though…but even once a week makes that night’s supper so easy!)

  • First thing that I want to say is that you can’t do it all so please don’t try as you’ll only make yourself and your family unhappy. As a mother who works outside the home you simply cannot do it all. Assuming that as a team you and your husband decided you should work outside the home, you and your husband need to split the household and child raising chores fairly (not necessarily evenly – fairly). From experience when I was younger I felt I needed to do it all and I gave my husband a pass. Not anymore 🙂

    Here are a few things I would recommend.

    1. Keep meals simple. The next few years with small children will be tough, don’t feel like you need to have Martha Stewart meals
    2. Make sure your older child is being given chores. There’s no reason that he can’t start doing simple chores (loading the dishwasher, “dusting”, etc)
    3. Divide chores by what each of you enjoy doing. My husband does the majority of the laundry because he doesn’t mind that but he hates scrubbing toilets. We do laundry daily to keep ourselves from being overwhelmed with clothes. This also allows us to buy less clothes, towels, etc because we wash more often. Less clothes clutter.
    4. If possible, hire help. I know this is easier than it sounds but having someone come in once or twice a month to scrub toilets would free you from stressing over that. Is there a vice (Starbucks, eating lunch out, etc) that you could give up to help pay for some help.
    5. Declutter and institute nightly pickups if you aren’t already. As a family we pick up nightly so the house is rarely overwhelmingly messy.
    6. Have a separate account for bills and have everything coming out of that account automated. If there are no other bills coming out of that account you should rarely have to monitor it.

    Lastly, please enjoy this time that your kids are little as the next time you look at them they’ll be going off to college. I was so stressed and worried about doing it all that I don’t think I enjoyed my kids the way I should have.

    Congratulations and good luck – this is such an exciting time in your life!

  • Jo Lynn says:

    I absolutely LOVE plantoeat.com for meal planning. You enter in your own recipes or capture them from off the internet and import super quickly. You can then automatically make a shopping list by category based on your meal plan. Saves me so much time. I have a special needs son who requires A LOT of time (but is an amazing blessing so I don’t mind the time he takes). Anyway we are very frugal in lots of ways and don’t splurge on a lot so one of the things we do splurge on is having someone clean our house once a month. Helps so much. For laundry I use a tip I got from Davonne Parks 28 days to timeliness book, we each have our own clean clothes basket. That way if laundry doesn’t get put away it can live in the clean clothes basket and you don’t have to dig through everyone’s clothes to get to a particular persons. For mail I have to FORCE myself to do it everyday, it piles up so quickly. Anyway these are just a few of the things we have found that works for us. Best of luck to you as you find what works for you as well!

  • Kimberly C says:

    Congrats on your pregnancy! You’ve gotten a lot of helpful advice. I will just add what I do, as I have a 27 month old and an 8 month old (both boys!) and know all about streamlining! 🙂 First, I have one main housekeeping chore to do per day, that way I don’t get overwhelmed by having to clean the whole house at once. So Monday, I clean all kitchen surfaces and sink. Tuesday is bathrooms. Wednesday is sweep/mop. Etc. Second, I tackle dishes after each meal so they don’t have a chance to build up. Third, I am teaching my 2 year old to “help mommy” clean up his toys before nap time and bed time (so that toys aren’t all over the place all day long). As for meal planning, I HIGHLY recommend freezing meals ahead of time and utilizing the crock pot as much as possible. Both of these save SO MUCH time at meal time. Finally, try to have realistic expectations for yourself and your ability to manage everything during this very physically exhausting phase of pregnancy. It’s ok if things aren’t streamlined perfectly and it’s ok to ask for help, especially from your husband. Give yourself grace as you figure out a system that works for you. Good luck!

  • jennifer says:

    My recommendation is to talk to your hubby about this. Marriage is a partnership. If there is something not working no matter how small it should be discussed. You didn’t say he feels like he is doing too much…..maybe he thinks you do too much.

    My recommendation is to set realistic goals for the season of life you are in. We can have it all but “all” just needs to mean different things sometimes.

    Order pizza for dinner. If you feel guilty use a coupon….life is short. I had 3 kids 2 and under….the definition of doing it well and equally was just different then….it gets easier.

  • Tiffany says:

    Boy, so I feel your pain! I am 30 weeks preggie with our fourth and have felt bad at times about “slacking” too. Amidst all of our advice, please be encouraged that it’s okay to sit back and let someone else take the wheel, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Your body is in the process of reprioritizing to suit the baby’s needs as well as your own. But alas, here are some things that we had to do to help me get “back into the swing of things”:
    1) realize that life will never be exactly as it once was. You are a family of four as of 14 weeks ago and so having the same expectations of yourself and other family members needs to be re-evaluated.
    2) I spent a lot of time and energy every week prepping meals and grocery shopping. Instead, we decided that I would order produce from a local food co-op weekly and shop together for most of the other stuff at Costco monthly. On top of that, I order food in bulk on azurestandard.com, which is also delivered monthly. So, I am keeping out of the stores unless I choose to go for recreation, which is NOT very often. This frees up time for cleaning, bills, play groups for the children, AND NAPS!
    3) downsizing our belongings really helps keep the house clean. The less stuff you have, the less you have to clean. At first, I felt like I was depriving our family of things we “loved” but really, NOT SO. Keep the stuff you need and other things you use a lot. Nix the rest of it…just extra baggage!
    4) having a calendar helps me to keep all of the appointments, deliveries, and due dates in check. I keep mine on a clipboard. I have one weekly calendar for meal planning and one monthly calendar for everything else.

    I hope this helps. Take care of yourself and your little bundles of joy…including hubby. 😉

  • We’ve moved 6 times in the last 6 years, and we have a 3 year old, 2 year old, and 11 week old. I try to do the first things first, and prioritize my to-do list. Keeping your family fed and clothed, and your income coming in should be among your highest priorities. The rest can wait.

    Otherwise, try not to take on too much at a time or you’ll just burn out. Try setting aside just one day each week (or even less often) for menu planning/grocery shopping or for financial duties. Most of the household stuff can be put off. Try freezer cooking so that you don’t have to spend so much time preparing meals each day.

    Unpacking a house can seem like an endless job, so maybe just unpack one box each day. Don’t do too much lifting or hard labor though, because you need to take care of that baby! Growing a baby is hard work even when you’re resting, so give your body a break and don’t try to do too much.

    It’s great that your husband is willing to pitch in. With time you’ll be able to reclaim some or all of your old duties. 🙂

  • Janine says:

    Lemme first relate to you as a full time night shift nurse and mom and wife.

    It is hard!!!

    The constant fatigue and days never consistent to be off are just small interruptions lol

    My first piece of advice is if you aren’t on 12 hr shifts, see if you can. That makes it a little better.

    Next, try and do ethier two shifts in a row or three if you’re brave.

    Your days off get up early with the kids and make one day off your running around day (crockpot meal day) and another day off cleaning and laundry day. Make a meals for the week list and shop weekly.

    That’s how I do it. Is my house still messy? Yes. Lol

  • Kari says:

    I want to echo what several people have already asked and that is why do you feel like you’re slacking off? Being a mom, a nurse and pregnant would be hard enough work without putting undue pressure on yourself. Is your husband complaining about having to do too much around the house? If not I wouldn’t feel guilty about it, but would sit down together and figure out who wants to be in charge of what in the house. Most of our bills are automated and we have an account just for the house that money automatically gets deposited in with each pay check. It makes life very easy.
    I agree about flylady.net if you’ve never checked it out. The times in my life that I am following FlyLady’s program life is so much easier! One of my favorite sections on the site is the “What Kind of FlyBaby Are You?” You can find tips from women who are in your situation. There is a section for flying while pregnant, flying while working outside the home, flying with preschoolers, etc. It’s awesome!! I’m not legalistic about it but I’ve learned great things from that site!
    Also, I love Cozi, http://www.cozi.com. I have the app on my phone and my Kindle. Everyone gets assigned a color and appointments show up color coded. You can make shopping lists, cleaning lists (in fact, there is a FlyLady aspect that will add her cleaning schedule for you which is really nice!!). Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can look at the calender. If they don’t have one they can have the weekly calender emailed to them. It also syncs up with Outlook so if your husband uses Outlook at work it can be put on the Cozi calender too. It is awesome! Love it!!
    Good luck on the rest of your pregnancy. As the mom of 4 I totally understand where you are right now!

  • Meghan says:

    I’m in a VERY similar boat here. I have a 5 year old, 1 year old, I’m pregnant with #3 and I work full-time with half of my shifts at night. Often I get home at 2 am and I’m awake again at 7:30am when my husband has to leave for work. This includes getting up with a baby during the middle of the night. It’s completely exhausting and my husband willingly and graciously helps me with housework. We are both working and parenting, and I’m pregnant!! We have a wonderful system where we both understand that it takes a lot of work, we seem to have settled into each of us doing our own set of chores and neither one of us is resentful towards to other. I’m so glad we’re in this together and I’m not doing everything on my own.

  • Erin says:

    Another flylady fan here… I like the book “sink reflections” but not all the online stuff. But at this season of your life, be sure to give yourself some grace and be willing to accept help. Its not unusual for a husband to need to help out more during a pregnancy! Hopefully, he has been happy to pitch in, but perhaps if you are both feeling stress and overwhelmed about your workloads, it’s time for a good talk and maybe considering bringing in some outside help for some of those responsibilities.

    • Emily says:

      I have been a stay-at-home mom who works from home at night for 6 and a half years and I have never had a good schedule! I regret not setting up one from the start, but a friend did give me her cleaning schedule which has been helpful.

      Everyone seems to love Flylady.net but I don’t have time for all those emails, not to mention that sitting down on the computer, phone, etc. to check my tasks for the day only leads to a full morning of Facebooking. Not to mention if you’re home is a disaster, simply shining your sink for the first day ain’t gonna cut it. I have started Crystals housecleaning challenge too, which has been great!

      I second the Motivated Moms app!

      • Alecia says:

        I satruggle in this area too, but I keep trying, and making some, or slow, progress is better than making none. Above all, pray for God to show you a system that works best for you. One book I recommend is: managers of their Homes. It teaches you how to make a schedule for your family that’s flexible, and easily changed, and tweaked. Also, here’s a link to a home management notebook how to site: http://home.yourway.net/using-a-home-management-notebook-the-ultimate-guide/
        There are lots of links for printables to put in it. There’s a quote that says something like, “He who wants to climb to great heights will not get there by leaps, but by small steps.” Start new good habits, and repeat them over and over until it’s an unconscious act. That makes life easier. Eat a lot of veggies, nix the processed foods, refined grains, and sugar, up the whole fruit intake–and walk–so you can think clearly for all the tasks you have to do and organize, and to help you bounce back from night shifts. 🙂

  • Kelly Hess says:

    First of all, you do not have to be superwoman! If there is something that you just do not have time for and you can afford it, have someone else do it. I am a full-time working Mom of 3 and I have no time to clean. I have a cleaning lady come every other week. It is a lifesaver and it gives me my weekends with my kids!

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