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Hilary
Hilary, Doctor
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  pediatrician and mother
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I have a 9yr old and a 16mo old and I cant seem to keep up

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I have a 9yr old and a 16mo old and I can't seem to keep up with them. My house constantly looks like something in a third world country. For a long time I tried to motivate myself every morning to getting everything spic and span, but it would still look like I haven't cleaned in a month by the evening. I tried following my kids around nagging to pick up after themselves, and picking up after them, but that just became stressful and frustrating. I tried doing my clean up routine at night after dinner so I could wake up the next day and not feel like I was spending my entire day cleaning up after the previous day, but I still didn't feel like I was getting anywhere. I've started paying my 9yr old an allowance to help, but it still gets messy so fast. I'm to a point where I've mostly given up, and it's embarrassing. I'm afraid to let other parents in my house. Everyone else seems to be able to do it. How can I do this so it isn't the ONLY thing I ever do? (it feels that way now)
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Hilary replied 6 years ago.
You really have to give up on perfection. Make a chore list for the 9 year old and have her help with one or 2 chores per day. When the 16 month old sleeps and the 9 year old is in school, pick one room to clean per day. Make a schedule to clean one room per day including dusting and vacuuming. Other than that just do the everyday cleaning like the dishes and garbage and the toys. But try not to worry about the entire mess everyday or nothing with ever get done because it is just too overwhelming. I dont know about your money situation, but consider hiring a cleaning lady at least once to clean the house top to bottom with you, so that at least you are starting with a fresh start and wont be too overwhelmed. It is more important to be a great mom that have a perfect home.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
That's great advice. Part of my problem is that my everyday chores are overwhelming and end up taking up most of my day. I do a lot of home cooking so my kitchen counters and dishes are considerably "messed" everyday. My 16mo old eats every ~4hrs, and so I have to clean her eating area multiple times/day. She likes to throw food on the floor, so we put down rubber matts under her chair so it doesn't get on the carpet (which it does anyway, although less) and have to be cleaned everyday. That also puts vaccuming on my list everyday. It may not sound like much, written, but it really does often take up an entire day just cooking and cleaning up afterward. I'm also trying to get back into shape and work a workout routine into my day. While the baby naps my choices are: clean house/ get a shower/ or workout. By the time my husband gets home from work, I look like a battered, frumpy, food covered, and pathetically drained individual. I didn't assume there would be an easy answer and I'm sure your advice is as good as it can get. Do you have any other ideas that might reduce my workload such as feeding my family over a compost pile so there isn't any clean up? (ha ha) Just kidding about that, but seriously, any tricks? By the way, we do pretty well financially, but we also have high fixed expenses, so, unfortunately I can't have a maid. :(
Expert:  Hilary replied 6 years ago.
just try to give your self a break. definately get in some exercise. try cooking enough for multiple meals to reduce the dirty pots. clean the baby area once per day, not after every meal. try to consolidate if you can, so it is not constant.
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