September 18, 2010

Sharing Saturday - your questions

Alright!  We have some great questions to answer today.  I'm really excited to read through your answers because you guys always have lots of great ideas and tips to share.  This whole Sharing Saturday thing has become one of my favorite parts of this blog.  Thank you for being willing to help each other out.  Here we go:

1) How do other mothers balance housework with caring for their children? I think that doing a little each day is the best way to get things done but I just can't seem to find/make a routine that works for me.


2) What are some things to do for girls get together time?
3) I'd really love to know how other moms determine if they are succeeding or failing at parenting their little ones. I'm completely torn apart by it.

I've been thinking about that third question all day.  I'm heading off to answer these myself.  Thank you so much for sharing.


iammommahearmeroar said...

1) Here's a link that might help. She made a cute chart for herself for the week. I usually tackle what's the worst. I've tried a lot of different things, but like you I'm still figuring it out. Anyhow here's the link:

2) I'm excited to read the answers to this question. It's tough when you're trying not to spend money because that rules out shopping. I love the dollar theater, crafting together, finding events I want to go to and then planning the girls' night out to be on that date.

3) This one's going to be a long one. Just warning you.

I feel like I've done some hard things in my life and I feel like I've had the chance to do some big things. However, motherhood tops them all because it's bigger and harder than anything I've ever done and will ever do. Part of that is because I think it's so important. I was entrusted to bring another life into this world and to teach that child what is right.

Needless to say, it has stretched me in a billion ways. I'm the type of person who likes to accomplish things, cross things off the list, and see my progress. Motherhood isn't like that at all. Maybe you could create a checklist for the physical things....feeding him, vaccinations, napping him. However, the important things are ongoing...teaching him honesty, teaching him to see the good in everything, teaching him to love and be loved.

So how do I know how I'm doing? The first thing that I look at is the most important to me. Does he know beyond all question that I love him undconditionally? I tell me boys that about fifty times a day. I think that if they can truly feel that love, then teaching him all those principles is more possible.

The other way I gauge my success is through prayer. That's my time to talk with God and feel how I'm doing. In those silent, honest moments on my knees I feel like He lets me know where I stand. He lets me know how I can improve. He gives me strength to try again when I feel like I'm failing. His love and His trust in me take me farther.

I don't know if my answer helps, but it's such a big crucial subject that I felt the need to pour my heart out. I also think it's important to not be too hard on yourself.

Kris @ said...

My best friend and I try to go out once a week, sometimes i have to bring my 18 month old if my husband is traveling, but she helps me out with him. Her and I do dinner and then a trip to a craft store or a fun discount store like big lots or tj maxx. Before i had my son we used to get together and craft once a week and we are trying to get that one going again. we bounce quilting, sewing, crafting ideas off each other and help pick out fabrics for projects. and we keep each other in check with our budgets. <3 my best friend :)

Leslie@leserleeslovesandhobbies said...

1. My DH pays me for each chore I do. The money becomes my budget for the next month. So right now I'm earning my money for October. We decided together what chores need to be on the list, how much each one earns (mostly based on degree of difficulty), and how often it needs to get done (1x/month, 3x/week, etc.). The only schedule I've committed to is laundry every Wednesday. I just do laundry all day Wednesday, and get it all done (we only have two kids, so that helps) that day, so I can relax and not worry about it for another week.

3. If my kids and husband are happy, then I feel that I'm succeeding. As long as they are learning and growing, and becoming good people, I think I'm doing a good job. Sure, I could spend more time playing with them and teaching them, but I don't stress about it, because a stressed mom isn't going to be a good mom. At least IMHO.

D & H said...

1.) I have a 7-month old baby. Here's the schedule I follow during the week. I've been using it for a few months now and it is really working well for me. Also, check out "Sink Reflections" by Marla Cilley (the fly lady) or her website (google fly lady) for good ideas. Here's what I do:

Monday: Wash, fold, and put away laundry
Tuesday: General housework (clean bathrooms, vacuum, mop, deal with paper clutter, take out trash, dust, and quick clean the other main rooms of the house enough to make them presentable)
Wednesday: Library (storytime), errands, my projects, catch-up on anything I didn't finish earlier in the week
Thursday: Make a grocery list, grocery shopping, budget/pay bills/balance checkbook/check bank accounts
Friday: Baking, any advance dinner preparations for the week, write in my journal & blog
Saturday: in-depth house cleaning, catch up on anything else, errands, projects, yard work

I try to eat breakfast, do yoga, and get myself ready for the day first thing in the morning during the week to make sure I get my exercise in, and then work in my daily tasks throughout the rest of the day during his naps or when he's awake (depending on the job).

2.) My friend is starting a book group, which I'm excited about. If you do books from the library, it can be free!

Emily said...

I'm new - just discovered your blog last week - so i just wanted to start by saying thank you! I love your blog, and have gotten lots of ideas from you!
as for the questions...
I only really have thoughts on #1 - I've tried lots of things, and building a routine for me is hard - my husband works shift work, so we never know what days he'll be here and what days he won't. Making a daily routine is difficult, and we're still not perfect by any stretch. We make sure to get up at the same time every day, and eat breakfast together, but that's the extent of it for now.
I found that there are some days when i can get lots of things done, and other days where nothing is accomplished! What i eventually found worked for me is writing a list of all the household chores that should be done regularly (it's scary, i know!), then i divided it up into daily, weekly, monthly, and "whenever needed" lists. Every day i pick a few things off my lists, depending on my time and energy level, and then i check them off the list. If i'm feeling lazy, i can take five or ten minutes and do one or two of the easier things on the list. If i'm feeling really ambitious, i can check of lots of things to make up for the slower days. That way i don't have a list that says "On fridays, i mop all the floors and clean the bathroom", because if my friday is busy (or i'm just too lazy or exhausted), then that doesn't get done, and i feel guilty. I can allow myself to take a day off and play with my kids a little more (or do some sewing...), and make up in the chore department on another day - so long as my lists are completed by the end of the time period (week, month, etc).
That being said, i STILL don't get EVERYTHING done on ALL my lists. I think that happened once in the last two months actually... oops... but i feel accomplished when i see a list that's MOSTLY completed, and the things that didn't get done the week before are the first things done the next week. I have a bulletin board i decorated where i post the lists, so i can have them in plain sight to remind me what needs to be done.
You also learn a lot about what's reasonable for you - some women feel they need to scrub and wax their homes every day, but for me, it just doesn't work. I'm pretty happy if my bathroom gets scrubbed once a week. And there are some things some people may do every week that i'm satisfied letting go for a month.
My two cents. Sorry it's so long - hope it helps. :)

Tari said...

For #1 I think if you can break down chores and take it just a little at a time. Do you ever find you have a spare 5 minutes between daily activities? Use it to clean the toilet, pick up the toys off the floor, or wash a couple of dishes. It helps me to feel like I'm doing something even if it's one of those days when nothing seems to get done.

#2 Book clubs are fun, but I've been wanting to do a spa night for a while.

#3 It is hard to know if you are being successful as a mom, but if they are healthy and happy I say that's great! It's also great to count the small successes (such as sharing a toy one time etc.) since it is so hard to see the longtime successes.

The Durhams said...

I read somewhere that we spend more time dreading the chore than actually doing the chore.

Think about it...putting away the dishes takes, oh, 10 minutes? But walking by the dishwasher or dish rack that's full of dishes time, after time, after time throughout the day and doing nothing about it only prolongs the agony.

I've tried to implement that idea into small tasks during the day. The overflowing laundry basket in the hallway? Two minutes to start a load in the washer. The plants that haven't been watered for days? My son enjoys watching me hose them down for five minutes.

Instead of visual clues around the house of 'how much' there is to get done (and the hours of the day that I keep passing by those things, putting them off), I take the few moments to deal with them. Poof - all gone!

Now putting away the laundry is another story...:)


Emily S. said...

I, too have problems keeping on top of chores, and trying to space them apart - so I have some time (novel idea, right?) My sister told me about
There I bought a cleaning checklist for the year. This has CHANGED me! All the chores are done usually an hour or less, and I am left with a sparkling house. Top to bottom. I HIGHLY suggest you go there! Happy Cleaning :-)

Jessica Radick said...

you've won an award over at

Go check it out! Thanks

ProcraftinatingPA said...

1. I'm not a mother...yet, but I think the best way to keep up with house work is to have a designated time every day to do a little sweeping, laundry, dusting, etc.Perhaps set an alarm/timer and every day maybe after breakfast do 30 minutes of picking up and cleaning, even get the kiddos involved by having them dust or pick up their rooms?

2. Recently I've been getting together with some women every wednesday evening for some bible study, I always leave feeling euphoric and lifted up. It is so wonderful to fellowship with women with similar interests/goals/ and faith as my own. I also just love hanging out, watching some tv with my girls. For a nice treat we all go get pedicures too!!

3. Again I'm not a mom yet, but regardless of how you raise your children you can't compare yourself to anyone else. Every child is different, every family is different, and every mother is different. I'm a strong believe in if you children are happy and respectful then you are doing a great job!

Thanks for hosting!! I love reading all the other responses!

Leigh Anne said...

No great ideas on #1. Still trying to figure that one out myself :)

2. Are the girls that get together crafty? The new book out "Craft Hope" is wonderful. It is full of projects/patterns (mostly sewing) and a charity or organization that is in need of those items. I think it would be so fun to get a group of ladies together, gab & eat, and make something to help someone else out too. The projects are just adorable, too. I've also been to "toenail parties" where everyone brings their favorite party food and nail polish/accessories. Then everyone just jumps in after eating an gives themselves a nice new pedicure :)

3. I think I'm just gonna refer back to Cheri's answer on this one. It said pretty much what I wanted to say in much better terms ;)

Camille @ Camille's Casa said...

1. I have a chore chart and daily chores, dorky I know. I can't turn on the tv or computer until I'm showered, dressed w/ hair and makeup done and the chores are done. (I'll admit, it slips when I'm sick, lol.) It's too easy to get wrapped into a book, craft, blog or tv show, so I get my stuff done first. Lounge time is the reward for having a clean house. And the bonus: you aren't embarrassed with unexpected guests:)

Heather@Simply Mommy said...

1. My boys are old enough to help with the housework (13, 11, & 6) so this isn't too much of an issue for us..They have certain chores they do daily and the rest I do during the day.

2. My best friend is single and has 3 yr old disabled triplets so it makes it difficult to do girls night very often. What we do though is 1-2 nights a week my husband watches our boys and I go to hang out at her house. We have set shows that we watch and she DVR's them so we can watch them together once her kids go to bed...I know not too exciting, but its fun for us :0)

3. I'm stuck on this one myself...I feel I'm doing ok now at parenting...but I got pregnant at 16 with my oldest, and I didn't have a clue then what I was doing...Since then I've learned and lot along the way. There's a lot I would go back and change if I could, but I think they have turned out to be great boys, They are happy (for the most part since 2 are in their teens/, and well adjusted and helpful and I just have to pray that I'm steering them in the right direction.

Sabra at Sew a Straight Line said...

Not that I'm a parenting expert or mother of the year (officially) but here's my thought for #3:

A few years ago I started thinking a lot about kindness. There was a GC talk (Elder Nelson?, but I'm not sure) where mothers were instructed to show thier children kindness. That struck me. The more I thought about it, I realized there were days that would go by without me being kind ot my children. I was providing for them, even hugging them and telling them I loved them, but I wasn't focused on being kind and I could feel it. I started to pray for kindness. Now every night I take inventory of the day: was I kind? I still have to discipline, but do I do it out of anger or out of wanting them to learn to be better behaved? How do I talk to them when I'm busy or preoccupied? It all goes back to kindness. I can't even begin to tell you how it's changed my feelings of adequacy and ability in parenting. Prayer and kindness.

There's always more, but that's what's really helped me recently.

Christian said...

1) I only tackle deep cleaning when my 2 year old is sleeping.. but he loves to help with laundry and his version of helping me with sweeping the floors. My house is always "clean" but only on the surface.. and never tidy during the toddler hours, there really is no point following him around constantly all day long.

2) I haven't figured this one out yet, can't wait for some ideas.

3)I just go with my personal instinct. I was a member on when I was pregnant with my first born, which now most of the ladies I met on that site are now my friends on facebook. We share stories all of the time, and since all of our kids are the same age, we can compare different techniques. I don't think anyone really "knows" what they are doing, it is learn as you go, but it is very helpful to get and give tips and tricks that work.

Evelin said...

Getting housework done is difficult difficult difficult, but my girls are 4 & 6 and when I start dinner they do chores (folding square laundry, taking out trash & recylcing, emptying the dishwasher). I let them sweep and do windows and use the swiffer wet jet (bought it for them) because even though they do a disasterous job, it will pay in the long run (uh, I hope).

I clean the bathroom when the children are bathing.

The other way I get things done it so have people over often ... got to clean it so as not to be mortified. Very effective strategy!!

And as for success with parenting? Lots of different ways, but what makes me know I'm succeeding is is to see my daughters acting in ways that make me proud:

1)thanking people without being asked
2) treating smaller children & animals with excessive gentleness
3) putting other people's feelings & needs first, even when it is difficult
4)praising each other (and others) for their efforts.

That's not it, of course, but those are some of the big and obvious ways I know my husband & I are succeeding.

Josie said...

1. i had to respond because i am really excited that i have finally found a method that works for me! i take a room every day (since we live in a 5 room apartment). i do it right after breakfast when my youngest goes down for her morning nap. i let my 2 year old help with one or two things and then have quiet play (which basically just means he has to entertain himself)the rest of the time. the nap time lasts about an hour and i always finish with time to spare, which i try to use for organizing something in that room. i think the key to making this system work for me is straightening up periodically throughout the day (for me it's before afternoon naps and before dinner). i used to always clean the whole house at one time, but the reason this method has been so helpful is that it is always on your mind, instead of when you get it all done at once and are tired and don't want to think about cleaning up again for a week and everything piles up!!
2. my friends and i have a book club, which is fabulous. in addition, we get together for a chick flick at least once a month.
3. i think all moms struggle with this one, especially since so much of the fruit of our labor is not seen until years later and there are so many things we will never know the answer to. but, we are called first and foremost to serve the lord and love him with our whole heart, and i have found that as i maintain that focus then i have a much easier time keeping a proper perspective in parenting, as well.

Sarah said...

1) I do best when I have things written out for each day. I read somewhere to set your timer for 15 min and work for 15 min and then give yourself a 15 min break.

2)Lately my sil and I do our Target shopping one evening per week, lol. Yep, I LOVE Target and we've both gotten really into coupons so it is so much more fun to shop WITHOUT our kiddos.

3) Early on I realized I had to stop comparing myself, and my child, to others. My daughter was a high needs baby, turned into a strong willed and slow speaking toddler and nothing has come easy in mothering her. I have to focus on the small things during the day that bring smiles and the small victories that we find.

Mellissa said...

I would totally recommend to help you get cleaning routines down. The lady is awesome and helps you keep your house clean by splitting it into zones and having you do a little bit every day. Definitely check her out. Her website is cheesy, but her system totally works, as long as you take it in babysteps and don't overload yourself right at first.

erin said...

#1 I made myself a chore book. I decided the things that need to be done every day--like dishes, sweeping the dining room, picking up the toys. Then I divided the rest of the chores:
Monday: Laundry
Tuesday: Bathrooms
Wednesday: Dusting
Thursday: LAundry (I have 4 kids)
Friday: Kitchen

Then I have no chores except my daily ones on Saturday and Sunday.

Also, I keep a basket on my counter for when I am tidying up and don't have time to put something away where it belongs. Then, once a day I wander around the house with the basket putting all the lost things away.

#2 We started a Bunco night. Once a month, 12 of us get together and have dinner and play. If you have 12--you only have to host once a month.

#3---Let me know when you figure it out! Really, though. I look at how my children are treating others as my gage.

Melanie@Crafty Cupboard said...

I was thinking about #3 yesterday when I ruined dinner for the third time this week (how does one ruin waffle batter???). I'm a terrible cook. I hate going to the park. I lose interest in playing "princess" really fast. So, does that make me a bad mom?


I might not feed my kids the yummiest food or play with them all day long but they know I love them and they know I love God. I really had to remind myself that motherly success is not based on our creativity, pre-school activity planning, or playgrouping. It is on love, teaching principles of honesty and charity and kindness, and friendship.

Jaya Pratheesh said...

hi, I came to this blog from moda bakeshop and LOVE your knotdress!

I have 3 kids and the only way I finish housework is, do a little bit at a time. I follow the flylady emails, set a timer for 15 minutes and finish one task. then, after only 15 mins( no more, no less) I stop and go play(with the kids/ with the computer/with the tv), no guilt.

if the task is not finished, i go back and do another 15 minutes after the break.

i clean the house one room a day, not all together.

visit , i'm sure you'll pick up something from the site.

yes, this sounds like a plug, but i really like the site, it helps me a lot. said...

1. I see several have mentioned the flylady. I get her emails and I tried and tried but it didn't work for me. I do my best to daily make sure everything is picked up before naps and bedtime. I clean up the kitchen after every meal. The rest waits until a nap or we are getting company :)

a good friend of mine told that I need to consider my home a "working home". She meant that my home is always in use as a playground, preschool, daycare, dining center, etc. It never closes, so thing will always be a bit dirty, cluttered, etc.

2. Hmm I don't get out much. I do a lot with my playgroup. I have a husband who travels and I hate always getting a sitter. This week I am hosting dinner for myself and 4 other moms with husbands out of town.

3. My kids are fed, clothed, and know that we love them & God loves them. It's a start. I'm trying. I sure hope I'm doing a good job!

Anonymous said...

1. This was my question....and WOW!! What wonderful answers!! I'm going to try the 15 minutes thing as well as doing a room a day (I already make lists...but limiting myself to chores in just one room will be good). I really like what Camille said about not letting herself turn on the TV or computer until she's dressed and the chores are done. All too often, I start wasting time before I'm ready for the day. I'm definitely going to aim to get things done BEFORE I relax. Thank you to everyone for the great suggestions!!

2. Shopping is one of my favorite girly time activities, even if I'm just window shopping.

3. This is a hard one because I often don't know if I'm succeeding or failing either. My son is only 15 months old so even though I am constantly trying to teach him about the world around him and how to behave in it, I'm not sure if he's really learning anything. I know that as he gets older and begins talking, I'll have a better idea of whether or not I'm succeeding.

Otherwise, I know that he is a happy, healthy, loving and playful little boy. So far, so good.

S said...

#1 is the only thing between me and total squalor most days. Although my DH is great to pitch in!

#2 a cup of coffee together after the kids go to bed is usually enough for a good girl's night!

#3 I find that I do the best job of parenting when I'm well-rested and have taken care of myself. The days I feel like I really blow it as a parent are the days I'm tired, emotionally drained, and disconnected from others & God. I parent out of what I have, and if I'm empty, I just don't have much to give. A phone call to a friend, a Bible study, a good night's sleep - all these things make me a better parent.

Brookie said...

#2 some one mentioned having people over often. I like to have parties and then my house is clean. Dinner parties, scentsy, mary kay, usborn...whatever will get people to my house for just an hour or so really helps the house! Plus this is a good way to have some girl time and help a momma trying to earn some extra cash for her family!

Nopinkertons said...

I have only an answer for #1, as I have finally found something that works for me. I divide the week up, with a room/chore per day: Monday is laundry, Tuesday the kitchen, Wednesday the baby's room or sweeping/vacuuming the floors in any room, Thursday more laundry (if necessary) and the bathrooms. Friday, I rest :-).

Then, here's the key: each day, I do something in the assigned room/chore, but I do only the thing(s) I want to do. So, this week in the kitchen, I might clean the stove top, and next week I'll mop the floor. This results in me actually feeling like I *get* to clean, and makes me more motivated to do it.

I realize for some people not mopping the kitchen floor every week is atrocious, but that is not us :-). I usually clean something when it starts to bug me, but prior to coming up with this system, it seemed everything would start to bug me at the same time, and I would be faced with having to clean the whole house all at once, which led to further procrastination. This way, believe it or not, things actually get done right when I feel they need to get done, and they don't hang over me accusingly.


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