Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How To Beat Housewife Fatigue

Being a housewife is not all soap operas and bonbons. This job takes patience, concentration, and organization. It's easy to become overwhelmed or fatigued. Your family comes home and messes up what you just cleaned. Or they forget that you like to go out and take a break from time to time. Here are some tips to keep from burning out. 

One Room Rule

Only commit to cleaning one room a day. Everything else should be maintenance. So on Monday's I clean the kitchen from top to bottom. The rest of the day is the usual vaccuming, bathroom sink touch up, coffee table rangling and baby toy round up. That leaves plenty of time for me to do other things, preferably outside of the house. 


The easiest way to tackle your work load is to delegate it to others. You don't need a chore wheel. You just need people to do what you say. If I tell my husband to take the trash out when it's full, it will never be taken out. He will simply shove the trash down further and further despite the smell, and tell me there's still room. Instead, I pull a Peggy Hill from King of the Hill. I hand him the smelly bag of trash and he takes it out. With my son, I take all of the toys off of the floor in his room and put them in a trash bag. I then set that bag at his bedroom door. I tell him, "These are the toys that are going to the trash if you don't put them away withing the next hour." It's amazing how fast his room gets clean. 

Time Limits

Sometimes it's hard not to feel pressured to clean the whole house all in one swoop. If you can't fight the urge to behave like the Tazmanian Devil, set a time limit to it. Set a timer for 1 hour. Then, like a hurricane, clean as much as you can in the house. Start with the most important things like the dishes or the toilets. This will train you to clean quickly and to start with what's important. This leaves the entire day. If you find that your house is messy again by the end of the day, give yourself another 1 hour time limit and go for it. When the timer dings, stop. No exceptions.

Schedule It

I actually have my housework on a schedule. For example. Tomorrow, I have a meeting from 9:30 am to 12:30pm. So from  7:15am to 7:30am I will be in the kitchen cleaning up that morning's dishes. From 1:30pm to 2:30pm is my hurricane hour. I will be vaccuming, straightening up the living room and putting away the laundry. I keep to this schedule. I still feel busy but not overwhelmed. 

Skip It

Yes, being a housewife is a job. Especially if your spouse is out working for pay. You have a responsibility to keep the other half of your lives as worry free as your financial life is. But sometimes you just can't do it. Everyone is entitled to a vacation or sick day. My son goes on Thanksgiving vacation next week. I will be on vacation as well. That means, everyone will clean up after themselves. My husband however, will be working overtime so we made a compromise. I will take my vacation the week after Thanksgiving in exchange for working the week of Thanksgiving. This means my husband is taking over at home and giving me time to get my hair done, get some sleep, get my nails done, have some wine etc. In the end he is grateful since he benefits from my happiness. Husbands will do anything to keep you in the mood.  

Get Rid of It

Maybe you're overwhelmed with housework because you have too much to begin with. Just last week I realized I was ALWAYS doing dishes. There were always so many dishes. Then I realized something when I was reorganizing my cupboards. I had too many dishes. There are only 4 of us in the home. I have a complete set of dishes for a family of four. I didn't need the other three sets. The fact is, no one will wash out their dishes if there is another bowl in the cupboard. They will simply pile the dishes higher in the sink and keep grabbing new ones. But if there are no bowls after breakfast and lunch has come around, your family will actually have to wash out their dishes, thus making less work for you. Even if the chore falls on you, it's one set of dishes or pans to clean rather than four. The same goes for laundry. You don't need five little black dresses. You only need the one that makes your husband drool and your friends jealous. Get rid of clothes you never wear no matter how cute they are. You shouldn't have more than two complete towel sets per person in your home. You'll save time and money on laundry.

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