I know, I know… this post is almost laughable! Just hear me out! As a mama of a needy three month old daughter, I know first hand just how hard it can be to get a handle on keeping the house at least passably tidy. Time management with a new baby is anything but easy. When you’ve been up at least three times during the night, the baby is fussy because she’s teething (first tooth coming in here, yikes!), & the biggest coffee mug in the house isn’t coming close to touching your level of tired… cleaning the house is the last thing on your mama mind. So here are some tips & tricks I’ve found to be helpful in keeping the house at least somewhat tidy even on those days where you feel like you’re dragging!
Get Up & Going!
Yeah, I know. This part seems pretty obvious, but it’s actually the hardest part! Let’s be honest… when I’m actually able to lay the baby down for a nap (& she stays asleep!!), the last thing I want to do in my precious free time is get up and do housework… but I know it’s my responsibility as a SAHM. Yes, my husband helps out (thank goodness!), but I consider keeping our space tidy mainly my responsibility because he works outside in the hot Florida heat all day. In essence, it’s my self-proclaimed job! So when I want to just plop back on the couch rather than tackle the pile of laundry, I remind myself that I wouldn’t ignore my duties at a 9 to 5 job and make myself get into #momboss mode!
Make a Schedule
When I know I’m on a limited time crunch (like trying to work around a baby, for example), I find it’s so much easier to get more done when I have a written schedule & task list. It may seem counterproductive to sit down & write out a schedule rather than just jumping right in, but 1.) when you can quickly glance at what needs to get done, you’re able to move right on to the next task rather than stopping to figure out what needs to be done next every time you finish something, and 2.) as moms, especially moms of infants, you can use the time you’d normally use on your social media (hello nursing at 2 AM) to prepare for the next day or week!
I personally write my cleaning schedule in my bullet journal (which I haven’t completely finished, thanks parenthood!), but it just as easily can be a quick list typed up in the notes on your phone! As long as it can be easily seen, it will work!
Set Aside a Specific Time to Clean
While some moms do get lucky with babies who actually nap during the day, we don’t all get that lucky! In fact, if my Facebook mom groups tell me anything, most of us don’t get that lucky. That’s why it’s important to plan your cleaning schedule during the time your baby will let you put them down! For me, it’s the morning from about 7 AM until around 11 AM. That’s when my sweet girl takes her second long sleep stretch & she does this every single day, so I know I’m able to use that stretch of time to get things done.
Clean Smarter, Not Harder
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try or plan, we just can’t get it all done. That’s why I’ve tried to find little ways to keep the house tidy as I go through the day. I keep a batch of disinfectant wipes in the bathroom cabinet to wipe down the counters, shower surfaces, & the toilet seat & handle. Now that doesn’t replace a good, ole-fashioned scrub down, but it does help keep it from getting crusty & gross until you’re able to clean it properly. I also wipe down the kitchen counters daily!
When getting clothes out of the dryer, I’ll do a “quick fold” as I’m putting them in the basket. This just means rather than making a big pile, I pull out one item at a time and do two quick flips to tri-fold them. I’ve found by doing this, even if I’m not able to put the clothes away immediately, they still look half decent and you’re able to find things easier in the basket (like clean underwear… sorry babe!).
I do try to keep up with the dishes if nothing else! Something about crusted up food and gelled condiments on plates gross me out… However often times I can’t get to them right away! I usually wash the dishes after I get E.K. down at night, but I try to lessen the load by rinsing dishes throughout the day as I finish with them. Even if I can’t fully wash them immediately, rinsing gets rid of the remnants and makes them easier to wash later.
Phone a Friend
If you find that there’s never a moment for you to put baby down & your baby hates being in a wrap (like mine…), then don’t hesitate to call someone to come help out! Call your mom, your sister, your BFF… anyone you trust! They get some baby snuggles & you get some housework done along with some adult conversation! It’s a win/win/win! I have asked my mom to watch E.K. several times when I really became overwhelmed with how much I needed to get done and she didn’t hesitate to hurry over for some grandbaby time! The people who love you want to help! Use those resources if they are available to you!
Don’t Stress Over it Too Much
At the end of the day, if you didn’t meet your cleaning goals, if the house still looks messy, & you feel unaccomplished… it’s okay! Things rarely go to plan, even small things such as cleaning the bathroom on a certain day. If you wasn’t able to get to wash every load of laundry because baby needed extra cuddles, don’t stress about it! Because those baby cuddles are infinitely more important than how many loads of laundry you got done that day.
I thoroughly know just how easy it is to get caught up on stressing over how the house looks, but when I look down at my precious daughter, I realize that she’ll only be this little for a moment, then it’ll be gone. That’s why balance is so important in motherhood! And we’ll continually be learning along with our babies!