Most WAHMs admit they are overwhelmed by housekeeping and have no idea how to schedule chores into their daily routine. If you are feeling overwhelmed by housework, or if you have no idea how to fit it in to everything else you need to do, read on for some help:
Get the Family Involved
Every family member, no matter how young, should have a chore to accomplish daily. Toddlers can put away their own toys. Preschoolers can make their beds. Tweens can clean the kitchen. Teens can mow the lawn. Dads can make dinner. The house belongs to everyone, so everyone should chip in with keeping the house tidy. Moreover, it doesn't have to be perfectly done to your specifications, it just needs to get done. Let go of the control, and make others responsible for their chores!
Do a Chore on Your Break
If you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, it might actually help to get up and do a chore as a break. If you are waiting for something to download, vacuum the rug. If you have been working for hours at a stretch, spend 15 minutes cleaning a bathroom. Then, of course, get back to work. By using chores as breaks, you get moving, but you also give yourself a finite amount of time to get the job done.
The key to successful multitasking is to do something brainless at the same time you are doing something intellectual. So, let's say you are having a long phone conversation. What brainless chore can you do while you're on the phone? Perhaps you could clean a glass, or even fold some laundry.
Lower Your Expectations
Most WAHMs are either single parents, or part of a double-income family. That means that housekeeping is not your primary job. Therefore, your house doesn't have to look like a magazine. Allow yourself some flexibility. Ask yourself what really matters. Are you comfortable if things get cluttered? Can you live with a little extra dust?
Keep Up with the Basics
There are basic chores that need to be accomplished daily for your own health and safety. Cleaning the kitchen, taking out the trash, cleaning up after pets, etc--if these jobs aren't done regularly, things start getting icky. Make these jobs the priority, and save other jobs (like reorganizing the closets) for a rainy weekend.
If you are overextended and just feel like you can't handle everything, you might want to look into hiring domestic help. For some WAHMs, the cost of hiring a maid service is less than their own hourly wage, and maids may be able to do the job faster. If you can't afford a maid service, but still need help, check websites like Craigslist. You might be able to hire a teenager to mow the lawn, or arrange for someone to run your errands.
The drudgery of household chores is simply a part of life. But, you don't have to be the only one responsible for it, ask for help! Find creative ways to get things done, even as you work. By delegating responsibilities and working on cleaning a little at a time, you can schedule your household chores and get things under control.______________________________
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.