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Updated in 42 and 43 -

 

I am feeling seriously overwhelmed today. I don't know how to accomplish everything. I should also add that while DH and I have a wonderful relationship, he has a lower thresh-hold (sp?) for stress and so I take on more of the division of labor. Currently, he works 5 - 6 days a week at a high stress job. When he comes home, he usually hangs out at our second house (which is next door and has been converted into a man cave of sorts) for a couple of hours to unwind and then comes in for dinner. After dinner, he hangs out with the girls either helping with school work, watching a movie or just talking. He goes to bed around 8:30. On week-ends, he spends a lot of time with the girls (which makes up for things he doesn't do around the house in my opinion). He also makes breakfast everyday if I have the items pre-cooked and wakes the girls up (which gives me an extra hour to sleep in). So, solutions of "Have DH do more" won't work (in my opinion).

 

I can't seem to keep the basics down. I can do schoolwork and do it well and completely but then I scramble for dinner and laundry piles up. If I do housework (and we have a housekeeper come in once a week) then schoolwork seems to slide. We need gluten free meals three times a day. If I try to advance cook, I can't do the planning for school or laundry falls apart.

 

The complications are: gluten free household, autistic oldest daughter who needs a lot of personal care (baths, teeth and such take about 1 1/2 hours a day) and still soils the bed at night about half the time, two households to manage (the second house is older and family property - no getting rid of it), lots of extracurriculars (and I'm not willing to drop them, they are important), kids who are slobs (honestly - if they try, it's not so bad, but if I stay on top of them, something else slides). I handle the bills and general maintenance (I pay someone to take care of our lawns). I keep up with family birthdays and holidays. Every other week-end, my husband has a friend of his come over to cut the lawn and then several friends over on that Sunday (I feed them all). A decent grocery store is a 2 hour round trip. I try to work with my oldest daughter on her academics to keep things moving forward at school and to help her with independence. Dealing with my husband's overly generous nature (he volunteered us to send meals to a family at his work who is having difficulty). Helping my MIL with her husband's medical problems (and her legal ones). (I won't even go into the fact that I complained to the school board about a former teacher of my oldest daughter and she had an attorney send me a cease and desist letter ordering me to retract my complaint. I had to get an attorney to send a letter back explaining that I have every right to complain about her behavior and I think she was disciplined by the school board. But, yes, stress since she has threatened to sue me.)

 

For the next three weeks, we have doctor visits on two to three days a week which will kill school for the day. (All of our doctors are an hour away - one way). I can't re-schedule. We have an emergency ortho (and second opinion), follow up for appendectomy, follow up for UTI, dental check ups, etc. I've had to cancel my last two personal doctor appointments because something always comes up.

 

I can find a routine that works for every single thing, but there's not enough days to put my routines in place all at once. I find that I need about 3 - 4 hours on Sunday to put together schoolwork for the week - make assignments, grade papers, pull books, print whatever needs printing. If I have that, my week typically goes great. But I also need about 6 - 8 hours during the week-end to pre-cook breakfast items and plan/freeze meals (plus DH takes salads to work every day and I cook chicken for that and prep veggies). That doesn't count the three - four hours needed to go to the store. I emerge from my week-ends to find the house a wreck on Monday. If I don't have a doctor's appointment, we can usually clean the house on Monday but school is a wash. (Housekeeper comes on Wednesdays). I need more days in the week.

 

I keep thinking I should be able to balance things, but I can't seem to get organized. And heaven forbid if I take the time to watch a movie or read a book.

 

The kids go to bed between 8 and 9 (our oldest goes to bed first, she puts herself to bed after her bath although she's welcome to stay up later). They wake around 6:30.

 

Any suggestions? I just started crockpot freezer cooking and I think that will be a good thing for us, but I still struggle with some sides and salads.

Edited by Slipper
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:grouphug: I'm there with you in exhaustion territory.

 

Suggestions based on what my kids could do at these ages:

 

If you have a washing machine with a timer - have your 11 year old load it every night with a load to wash. Set it to wash in the morning.

 

Right after breakfast (depending on the timing) have your 7 year old put the wet stuff in the dryer.

 

Have the 11 year old put in a new load.

 

At lunch break, put your dry load into a basket ready for folding. Have the 7 year old put the wet load into the dryer.

 

Shoot for 2 loads of laundry a day.

 

Your job would be folding and putting away the laundry every day or every couple of days have a laundry folding party. (My kids like those).

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Washing clothes is really the least time-consuming thing. Sort it well at the beginning by using a good sorting system. Wash one load every night. Dry in the mornin. Have kids find all their thing and put away. Have them also put all towels away. You are left with your and your husband's.

 

Find some crockpot meals for dinner. Have a meal plan for each week. Plan simple dinners. Cubed steak, boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli take so little time. Cubed steak cooks in crockpot during the day. Fish, rice and a veggie is a 30-minute meal to prepare.

 

Your husband should be completely responsible for maintaining his man cave, and he should be helping when entertaining his friends.

 

It sounds like you already have a lot of help with cleaning and lawn maintenance.

 

Have your kids help with breakfast and lunch -- your 11 year old should be able to do most of it or at least cutting fruit and veggies, serving hummus, etc. Our 12 year old scrambles eggs, cooks bacon, makes toast and tea.

 

I also use my summers to photocopy as much as I can ahead of time.

Edited by nestof3
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What is contributing most to the mess on Monday? At the end of the day, and throughout, have people put things back in their homes. Have your -- year old sweep and vacuum. If your husband is making the mess, tell him he will need to clean up after himself or you'll have the waning crew come twice a week.

 

I like to start the morning withy house being fresh. It keeps me sane.

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What is contributing most to the mess on Monday? At the end of the day, and throughout, have people put things back in their homes. Have your -- year old sweep and vacuum. If your husband is making the mess, tell him he will need to clean up after himself or you'll have the waning crew come twice a week.

 

I like to start the morning withy house being fresh. It keeps me sane.

:iagree:

 

Can you not make a list each morning for every child to check off chores? I have a daily list that is the same each day of the week. So every monday I am doing a b and c and each of my children does x and y every monday morning. And before anyone had "fun" stuff, there would be tidy time. I'd get everyone to clean up 15 minutes before leaving for extracurriculars. you'd be amazed at how neat your house can be if everyone works intensely for just 15 minutes a couple times a day.

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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I am trying to catch up on paperwork and get some medical files today, so the girls have 'homeschool lite' today (not horrible, but it's not what I want for them).

 

I am trying to write out a schedule for them to do. Every time I write it out, they do it for a few weeks, but then it slides when my attention goes elsewhere.

 

To clarify, my 12 yr old can do very little in the way of chores. We are trying to teach her to put dirty clothes in the basket (but she cannot sort yet). Her autism is such that when I say her personal care takes about an hour and a half, it's because I'm washing her hair and her body. I am brushing her teeth. She isn't able to cook, we sometimes have to feed her.

 

However, my 11 yr old is very good at things. I won't let her use the stove (personal fear of fire after being in a fire when I was young at my grandparents house - my grandmother walked away from the stove and the pan caught on fire which then spread), but I do let her use the oven. She is able to prepare simple meals but our extra-curriculars are at night Mon-Thurs and some Saturday evenings. She loves school and has taken over teaching history (SOTW) to my 7 yr old. She is a huge help (when she wants to be) but the trade off is that she gets lots of extra-curriculars. (She's highly competitive and tests as gifted).

 

My 7 yr old is getting better at helping but her anxiety has been high lately (for various reasons - she gets stomach aches/vomiting when she's excited or upset).

 

My main stability is my husband waking them up in the morning and breakfast being taken care of when I wake up. (I usually then get my oldest ready and take her to school). I like the idea of having the girls take care of breakfast dishes while I drive my oldest to school (it's about 30 minutes round trip). They could also do laundry of some sort at that point.

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Have you seen the gluten free crockpot blog? Maybe someone can find it and post the link, if not, it's in one of my gluten free threads.

 

No clue on laundry advice. There are only 3 of us and i can never keep a good flow. I fail at getting it all put away, so we've always got clean clothes, you just have to dig through the pile.

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What is contributing most to the mess on Monday? At the end of the day, and throughout, have people put things back in their homes. Have your -- year old sweep and vacuum. If your husband is making the mess, tell him he will need to clean up after himself or you'll have the waning crew come twice a week.

 

I like to start the morning withy house being fresh. It keeps me sane.

 

The week-end makes the mess. I spend most of my week-end planning a menu that works for the week (taking into consideration a lot of different diets and schedules), shopping, prepping, cooking, and planning school for the week. (I write out assignments for each day and put them in a binder. It works perfectly for me but it takes some time).

 

DH sometimes takes the girls next door to play games but sometimes he's at work. If I'm busy shopping or cooking, (and if I'm really busy, I don't like them helping me) they are left to their own amusement. My optimistic description of them is that they are very creative and their creativity lingers all over the house (paper, glue, scissors, crafts, etc). The bathroom at the end of the night is a disaster. I bathe my oldest dd first, then the other two fight over who showers next and by the time teeth are brushed, there are towels everywhere, toilet paper on the floor, tubes are missing caps sometimes toothbrushes are in the sink,........and they are fast asleep.

 

I hate waking up to a mess. If everything is clean, I feel at peace with myself.

 

At the end of the evening, the dinner dishes need to be done and I'm exhausted. I typically go to bed around 11 or 12 once I have things straightened up, but I need 8 hours of sleep or I'm drained the next day.

 

The kids are the problem on the week-ends and DH is not often around to help. (Part of that is not his fault and part of it is his fault.)

 

(Sorry for the disjointed reply. I'm tired and stressed with their current medical stuff.)

 

Oh and yes, we do have help. The lawn is completely taken care of. The housekeeper is for three hours and she either cleans if the house is a wreck or does floors, bathrooms, windows, etc. She is here today which means that tomorrow is our best day to start fresh with a new cleaning schedule.

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Have you seen the gluten free crockpot blog? Maybe someone can find it and post the link, if not, it's in one of my gluten free threads.

 

No clue on laundry advice. There are only 3 of us and i can never keep a good flow. I fail at getting it all put away, so we've always got clean clothes, you just have to dig through the pile.

 

I think so. I saw someone posting about it recently and followed it and fell in love. I have all my meals ready through Saturday, waiting in my freezer. I also have salad material prepped and veggies already chopped to be steamed. All I do at night is either make potatoes or rice and iced tea.

 

This is my first week doing it so some of the recipes are hit/miss. But I think it's going to be grea for us.

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I'm sorry...but if you're struggling with being overwhelmed, your husband shouldn't be spending a "couple of hours" in his man-cave each day. He should rearrange his day so that his "unwinding" hours are while your children are asleep. What time does your husband get up each morning? You mentioned that he goes to sleep at 8:30, which seems very early for an adult (obviously depending on what time he gets up). How many hours of sleep is he getting?

 

What time are your kids getting up each day? What time are YOU going to sleep and getting up each day?

 

Is there any way to consolidate doctors appointments so that you can do multiple visits in one day? It sounds like you live far from things. To maximize time, you'll need to spend less time driving back and forth.

 

I agree with previous posters who talk about starting a load of laundry each night (or morning, whichever works best for you). It has really enabled me to stay on top of our laundry.

 

:grouphug:

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could your dh do grocery shopping with the girls on the weekends? That would give you a couple hours to do schoolwork alone.

 

Or if he's unwilling to do it long-term, would he be willing to do it for just the next few weeks until life settles down?

 

No. I can send him for a few things, but my lists are typically long and sometimes the gluten free ingredients are complicated. I can send him for 5 or 6 things. I think he would die of sticker shock if he knew what stuff actually cost.

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Can the 12 year old follow a basic picture schedule? Can she do anything independent, consistently?

 

I know you said that cutting back on outside activities is out, but is there anything you can do? What activities do you have? How long each night?

 

I used to do martial arts and I loved it. I went twice a week. But, it was an hour there and back, plus two hours for class. I would come home exhausted to a dirty kitchen and house. I tried various things (including only hot dogs on my nights out), but then realized that everything was slipping on those nights - homework, baths for eldest dd (she's at an age where DH is not comfortable bathing her), so I gave it up. There's nothing local, not even classes on flower arranging, etc.

 

Yes, dd can follow a picture schedule and she is bright and sweet-tempered. She loves to help me cook, but the only thing I've ever had her do consistently is prep asparagus (breaking the stems off) or shelling peas, etc. She can't use knives. She can set the table with help. The other two girls love to teach her things but it's typically dance moves, fist bumps and imitating "Roll Tide". (She's functionally non-verbal). We're trying to teach her to soap herself off, but she lacks a lot of hand strength (she doesn't like to firmly grip things which makes cutting, brushing, bathing, hair difficult).

 

She can fold towels that are perfectly square (like washcloths) but she can't tell the difference between bath and kitchen so we have to go back through behind her.

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No. I can send him for a few things, but my lists are typically long and sometimes the gluten free ingredients are complicated. I can send him for 5 or 6 things. I think he would die of sticker shock if he knew what stuff actually cost.

ok. I get that.

 

My dh is kind of similar.

 

So here's what I would do. sit down with dh and tell him that the next few weeks are going to be brutal. How are the TWO of you going to handle this? I get high stress jobs and needing to unwind, but you have some serious stress going on too. He needs to at least be able to come through for you while thing are out of the ordinary. I'd have a list of 6-8 things that he could do every night to help you out and let him pick 4.

 

This could be straightening the bathroom once the kids are done, dinner dishes (or cooking), folding a load of laundry. etc. They don't have to be big things but they will make a big difference to you.

 

Also, laundry is simplified if I wash EVERYONE's clothing separately on their laundry day. That way there are no little piles to carry all over the house. The laundry person simply carries their basket of laundry to the bedroom and puts it away. (even my 4 yo can do this.)

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I'm sorry...but if you're struggling with being overwhelmed, your husband shouldn't be spending a "couple of hours" in his man-cave each day. He should rearrange his day so that his "unwinding" hours are while your children are asleep. What time does your husband get up each morning? You mentioned that he goes to sleep at 8:30, which seems very early for an adult (obviously depending on what time he gets up). How many hours of sleep is he getting?

 

What time are your kids getting up each day? What time are YOU going to sleep and getting up each day?

 

Is there any way to consolidate doctors appointments so that you can do multiple visits in one day? It sounds like you live far from things. To maximize time, you'll need to spend less time driving back and forth.

 

I agree with previous posters who talk about starting a load of laundry each night (or morning, whichever works best for you). It has really enabled me to stay on top of our laundry.

 

:grouphug:

 

DH has anxiety and OCD. Things were under control until his best friend (of over 25 years) was arrested for a child related crime. DH and his friend worked together and after the arrest, DH had to assume more work. This was not quite a year ago and really, DH hasn't been the same since (and won't seek counseling). (For the record, after investigation our children were not involved but we had several months of questioning by law enforcement over concerns that they might have been involved. This was very stressful for all of us.) I think DH feels betrayed by his friend. His new job duties are more stressful and he wants to quit his job. He comes home and unwinds next door.

 

It was at that point that he started going to bed early. He wakes up around 5:00 am and goes next door (he has his computers linked to his job) to trouble-shoot problems before going to work. He comes back at 6:00 and starts making his lunch for he day and breakfast for the girls. He gets them up and fed (and medicine for my oldest) and leaves for work at 7:00. (He has an hour drive in).

 

I might be able to consolidate doctor appointmens and will try to do that. I might even see if I can rearrange some that are coming up. The biggest problem is that my oldest is in public school from 7:30 - 2:30. It takes an hour to get to doctor appointments, so it's a tight squeeze to drop her off, do the appoinments and make it back on time.

 

I go to bed around 11 or 12 (closer to 12 and sometimes later, depending) and I wake at 7:00.

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ok. I get that.

 

My dh is kind of similar.

 

So here's what I would do. sit down with dh and tell him that the next few weeks are going to be brutal. How are the TWO of you going to handle this? I get high stress jobs and needing to unwind, but you have some serious stress going on too. He needs to at least be able to come through for you while thing are out of the ordinary. I'd have a list of 6-8 things that he could do every night to help you out and let him pick 4.

 

This could be straightening the bathroom once the kids are done, dinner dishes (or cooking), folding a load of laundry. etc. They don't have to be big things but they will make a big difference to you.

 

Also, laundry is simplified if I wash EVERYONE's clothing separately on their laundry day.

 

Thanks, I'll try both suggestions. I do wash DH's laundry separately because he keeps his work clothes simple - it's basically 5 pants, shirts, socks, underwear. That might work out for the girls and I as well.

 

Sheets can be brutal if oldest dd isn't feeling well. Sometimes she can soil sheets multiple times a night (it's anxiety related). We keep a separate mattress on the floor in her room to make this easier.

 

I'll pick out some chores and ask him for help. His stress level is such that he can't do much more, but I do think he could do more on the week-ends.

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Is she in night diapers? Do you use washable and/or disposable bed pads? You can double make the bed for ease at night; mattresses protector, disposable pad, sheet, disposable pad, sheet. This way if there is a night problem, you just strip one layer of sheet and pad to the clean set. Keep multiple layers to protect the mattress. If she's not in night diapers, have you considered it? It really does help.

 

What tools do you use to teach the oldest?

 

I understand that dh is uncomfortable bathing oldest because of age, but can he look at from a medical or business perspective? What happens if you get sick? Someone has to contunie her care.

 

As for the bathroom mess between the next two- unacceptable. First you bathe oldest, then youngest takes a shower because youngest should go to bed sooner, then middle child goes last. Hang up a schedule for step by step bathroom usage. Your 7 can absolutely pick up after a shower.

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Let your husband handle the meals he has promised to the family in need. He can buy stuff ready-made (on the way to their place) or provide simple stuff that the family can heat up. He can also serve store-bought snacks or carry-out to his men-friends on the weekends.

 

He should take care of his man-cave. If that means having a maid come in an extra time, so be it.

 

Don't let the kids have any screen time until they have done a reasonable share of domestic upkeep each day.

 

Try to get some schoolwork done in the car / at the docs' offices when you are on the road a lot. My kids do memory work, spelling drill, reading, and some mental math in the car most days. (We also eat in the car often.) It's necessary given our very busy schedule.

 

Is it possible to cut down on laundry? Try to re-use more and give things more time between washings. With sheets, towels, etc., wash and re-use right away to save the trouble of folding. Let the kids sleep in their clothes where possible.

 

Can you plan for the occasional "picnic lunch" or "picnic dinner" that requires practically no prep or clean-up?

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Is she in night diapers? Do you use washable and/or disposable bed pads? You can double make the bed for ease at night; mattresses protector, disposable pad, sheet, disposable pad, sheet. This way if there is a night problem, you just strip one layer of sheet and pad to the clean set. Keep multiple layers to protect the mattress. If she's not in night diapers, have you considered it? It really does help.

 

What tools do you use to teach the oldest?

 

I understand that dh is uncomfortable bathing oldest because of age, but can he look at from a medical or business perspective? What happens if you get sick? Someone has to contunie her care.

 

As for the bathroom mess between the next two- unacceptable. First you bathe oldest, then youngest takes a shower because youngest should go to bed sooner, then middle child goes last. Hang up a schedule for step by step bathroom usage. Your 7 can absolutely pick up after a shower.

 

No, she started tearing apart diapers so we discontinued those altogether. Her night-time is okay unless she is sick or stressed. It tends to come in waves. Right now, we're in a wave where she wets the bed 1 - 2 times a night. I move her from one bed to the mattress on the floor and then in the morning I change the sheets on both beds and wash. I have used multiple layers on the bed and it does help. When things get really bad, we go back to that since I may not have time to make up the other bed (during the night, I will put off many things until morning unless it's an emergency). We use waterproof plastic covers with a soft top to protect the mattress. I have about five of them (one for each set of sheets). Also plastic and cloth covers for the pillows.

 

I'm not sure what you mean about tools? We use reading milestones to work on reading (teaching a non-verbal child to read is difficult and took a bit to start and continue encouraging the public school teachers who are very good once they realized she could read). We use PECS for communication and she is a whiz at it. We cannot afford voice output devices and they aren't covered by insurance (she isn't on public anything). She has trouble answering questions and the only thing she is consistent about is answering "How are you?" (I am mad, sad or happy for answers). If we ask her to point to her nose she has trouble. She does better if we show her things and is very compliant once she realizes what she needs to do, even if she doesn't like it. She's considered very bright, all things considered. She is not expected to ever live independently.

 

The other girls have stepped in before to help bathe her, but the last time I was gone (DD11 appendicitis - hospital 5 days), oldest dd wasn't bathed. My youngest daughter wiped her down with a washcloth. DH said he forgot to bathe them. (Not sure if that's the truth). If he had to, I think he would, but bathing includes washing hair, washing her face and eyes (she gets eye infections) and medicating her eyes, using special soap on her eczema spots (and then medicating), brushing teeth (she now has braces on some of her teeth) including flossing and fluoride (she can't spit). Occasionally, we clean ears (she covers her ears so dirt and food are trapped in them at times), cut nails and do random inspections of moles, looking for weird bruises or scratches, ec. He can't take over that job. It's very time consuming. Since he does breakfast, he doesn't feel like he should have to do dinner dishes. (After bath time, I just wish the kitchen would blow up and go away).

 

I agree about the bathroom. It's absolutely ridiculous. I just haven't taken the time to completely address it. I'm glad they are attending to personal care, but it's unbelievable how it looks. (I tidy before they go in while oldest dd is soaking in the tub). I'm making that list today for them.

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A couple thoughts.

 

I don't really understand why the bathroom is such a wreck. Your girls are old enough to hang towels, put them in a hamper, put caps on toothpaste. It seems to me that you are bring treated like a maid. I understand you have one with severe autism, so I'm not referring to her. If I see my son leave something out, I just tell him to put it back. If you don't hang towels and reuse them (which I think you should given your struggle with laundry), have the last person who showers wipe down the sink and floor with the towel and tidy the sink. My kids were able to put things back where they belonged way before six. Same goes for their hobbies. I'm all for creativity, but no one moves onto another activity until she has cleaned up the first or at least at clean-up times.

 

Second.

Gluten-free doesn't have to be that time-consuming. My mom has celiac and I was gluten-free for months. If you bake bread, make a basic mix. Make use of rice and potatoes. I try to keep my dinners simple and at 30 minutes. Come up with 7 or 14 dinners they are easy and good. Write them on index cards, one meal on each. Each weekend, choose 7, shop for ingredients, then you are prepared. Personally, I find the whole cooking ahead thing to be a pain. I will make extra of something that might and freeze -- spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. That gives me backup dinners. Choose crockpot meals in activity night.

 

Honestly, I don't care how fabulous and gifting and deserving a child, I would never have activities four nights a week.

 

Tell your daughters to unload the dishwasher. Put them in the dishwasher as soon as you are finished with them. If your girls slack, tell them to put them in. Do not clean up after them. They catch on.

 

I cannot remember, and it's hard to scroll on an iPhone, but can your husband take your daughter to school?

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Since he does breakfast, he doesn't feel like he should have to do dinner dishes. (After bath time, I just wish the kitchen would blow up and go away).

 

.

So who does the breakfast dishes? Since he cooks ONE freaking meal a day he never has to wash dishes? hmmm...

 

I honestly think you could be close to a breakdown. And you need more than household help. Your man needs counseling and you both probably need marriage counseling.

 

I am so sorry, I am sure you realize that you have serious problems here. Geting good routines might help you out in the short term, but I still think that you are going to have major issues for a long time.

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Diapers and night wetting is the story if my life, so thats why i keep going back here...

 

Take a pair of footie pajamas, or anything else one-piece (feet cut off) and put it on her backwards. Cut the front neck a little. She can't get access to the diaper. It reduces night stress, and laundry.

 

I'll be back for more, have to run out.

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Two more thoughts. Yes, I think your younger kids are getting away with too much. And yes, your husband either needs to help once you get your kids to do their part or he needs to pay for extra cleaning.

 

The reason I give this order is b/c I complained one time about my husband not helping enough, and he asked how much the boys were doing compared to their free time. He was spot-on. I wasn't holding them to their chores. There is no reason for me to try to do it all and then complain to my husband.

 

It's my job to make sure the kids are contributing to the family. So, they:

 

Clean toilet, bathtub, sink, shower

Windex front and back doors

Sweep deck and walkway

Clean baseboards

Unload dishwasher when I tell them (I usually just make my bed and unload it while my morning coffe is brewing)

Set table and help clean up

Pick up their own toys

Fold their own laundry and put it away along with towels

Clean hallway wall

Clean fronts of oven, dishwasher and refrigerator

 

I vacuum at night, toss anything lying around into a pile and call the boys to put it away. Anything not in its home gets put sway then. This takes 15 minutes.

 

I collect clothes, throw them in washer and dry upon waking.

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I skimmed, but it seems like you have a lot going on. To me, that doesn't go with having a perfect house. Any way you can let it go and catch what you can when you can? The day I have a perfect house is the day when all the kids are moved out. When a lot of people are home all day, it creates more work. You also have a special needs child and that always demands a lot of mom's time. I'm not saying live in filth, but clean up as you go and accept less than perfect. And hit the thing or two that bothers you the most each day (or tell the housekeeper to) and don't let anything get too far gone. If I had a housekeeper, I would have her do laundry (if you don't like someone washing your clothes, then at least towels and sheets), clean kitchen and bathrooms, vacuum and dust. That would take a huge load of work off of you. If you fixed meals in bulk (cook a double amount of dinner every other day), then you get a night off dinner every other night.

Edited by Susan C.
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Whether you (or he) want to hear it or not, your husband needs to start doing more. End of discussion.

 

He isn't even making the breakfast - you are PRE-cooking it for him on the weekends. :confused: He's not doing anything special. My 10 and 6 year olds make their own breakfast and I don't pre-cook it for them.

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Oh, and my 11 yo still wears generic pull-ups, and my 12 still wets some. I found the best bed pads on Amazon. I bought four. They each sleep on one, and there is a spare if they need it. They carry their wet stuff in the morning to be washed. I can link you to the pads. They are far better than the junk the stores sell.

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So who does the breakfast dishes? Since he cooks ONE freaking meal a day he never has to wash dishes? hmmm...

 

I honestly think you could be close to a breakdown. And you need more than household help. Your man needs counseling and you both probably need marriage counseling.

 

I am so sorry, I am sure you realize that you have serious problems here. Geting good routines might help you out in the short term, but I still think that you are going to have major issues for a long time.

rereading this, I think it sounds harsh. I am sorry, that was not my intention. You have a lot going on and you need some help.

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

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Two more thoughts. Yes, I think your younger kids are getting away with too much. And yes, your husband either needs to help once you get your kids to do their part or he needs to pay for extra cleaning.

 

The reason I give this order is b/c I complained one time about my husband not helping enough, and he asked how much the boys were doing compared to their free time. He was spot-on. I wasn't holding them to their chores. There is no reason for me to try to do it all and then complain to my husband.

 

It's my job to make sure the kids are contributing to the family. So, they:

 

Clean toilet, bathtub, sink, shower

Windex front and back doors

Sweep deck and walkway

Clean baseboards

Unload dishwasher when I tell them (I usually just make my bed and unload it while my morning coffe is brewing)

Set table and help clean up

Pick up their own toys

Fold their own laundry and put it away along with towels

Clean hallway wall

Clean fronts of oven, dishwasher and refrigerator

 

I vacuum at night, toss anything lying around into a pile and call the boys to put it away. Anything not in its home gets put sway then. This takes 15 minutes.

 

I collect clothes, throw them in washer and dry upon waking.

:iagree: My oldest is only 8, next is 5 but they are expected to help a lot. Between the two of them they:

- take care of the bathrooms- I deep clean the tubs every now and again.

- put their clothes in the washer, help to hang on the line or put in dryer, fold and put away their own clothes.

-Keep their own rooms clean, beds made etc.

-Pick up any of their messes in other rooms.

-Help setting table, unloading dishwasher, washing and clearing tables

- basic meal prep- cooking gf oats for breakfast, dd 5 makes salad- washing and chopping veggies and other things- packing lunches

-feeding animals

-keeping outside toys picked up, deck cleared etc

 

We don't have set chores for the most part but everyone is responsible for their own messes and chips in at various times- ie we all clean up tables together and we have clean up times at various times during the day. There is a lot they can do.

 

We cook gf here as well and also soy free and limited dairy. What works best is a basic menu and simple meals, I've gotten out the habit as I was cooking more complicated recipes but am working on getting back in the groove of that as I have less and less energy getting further along in pregnancy.

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Apparently I don't need to go out...

 

Anyway, look up tranquility diapers and call them. The will send you samples and work to find the best product.

 

I wish i could agree with doing the bare minimum in the house, but with a sn child, especially autism, routine and order make the world spin a little better. My house is faaaaar from perfect, but anytime my ds's behaviors seem to be spiraling again, you can bet the house is out of order (among other things).

 

Does the oldest have to be bathed nightly, or can you do every other night (non-bathing nights she could still sit in a bath, but you could relax, or just clean the bathroom, fold a few items from the laundry)? Ds MUST take a bath every single night for the sake of routine, but he doesn't need to be bathed every single night.

 

I honestly could not ever handle having another adult in the house to take care of! (referring to what i'm reading about your dh) I would resent it every day. I'm single, so everything is physically on me, but it is what it is. He should care for the man cave, period. He should never, ever volunteer your help for a family he knows, and if he has guests, they're 100% his responsibility.

 

Rereading your posts, I'm sorry, but i see dh as a big problem. There's no reason for you to precook food for a grown man to feed to his children! Or his chicken for lunch.

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The week-end makes the mess. I spend most of my week-end planning a menu that works for the week (taking into consideration a lot of different diets and schedules), shopping, prepping, cooking, and planning school for the week. (I write out assignments for each day and put them in a binder. It works perfectly for me but it takes some time).

 

 

 

We had major food allergy issues here for several years, so I know how hard it can be to plan menus. Could you simplify things by doing a one or two week menu plan of rotating meals. I know it's not the most exciting thing, but if you do that, you could have your shopping lists already made out and ready to go for each week. You could change it each season.

 

Sometimes when things are really nutty, you just have to be willing to do things differently than you'd prefer.

 

I know you said that the extra activities are not an option to alter, but if it means the peace of your family you may want to at least consider it. :001_smile:

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Let your husband handle the meals he has promised to the family in need. He can buy stuff ready-made (on the way to their place) or provide simple stuff that the family can heat up. He can also serve store-bought snacks or carry-out to his men-friends on the weekends.

 

He should take care of his man-cave. If that means having a maid come in an extra time, so be it.

 

Don't let the kids have any screen time until they have done a reasonable share of domestic upkeep each day.

 

Try to get some schoolwork done in the car / at the docs' offices when you are on the road a lot. My kids do memory work, spelling drill, reading, and some mental math in the car most days. (We also eat in the car often.) It's necessary given our very busy schedule.

 

Is it possible to cut down on laundry? Try to re-use more and give things more time between washings. With sheets, towels, etc., wash and re-use right away to save the trouble of folding. Let the kids sleep in their clothes where possible.

 

Can you plan for the occasional "picnic lunch" or "picnic dinner" that requires practically no prep or clean-up?

 

I have a reputation as a great cook. I mostly cook homemade (and around here that automatically puts you in the category of a great cook), so he likes to brag about my cooking. His friends brag that they get to eat here. (Honestly, I consider myself average but I use absolutely fresh ingredients which makes the difference in my opinion). That's why he volunteered me. I'll probably double up on a freezer meal.

 

I am going to turn the man-cave into his project and I'll just pop in once a month or so to make sure it isn't getting too creepy-crawly.

 

Screen-time has become a problem. We haven't been taking anything to doctor's offices other than books, but I can probably change that.

 

I just finished writing a bathroom schedule that will limit them to sharing washcloths, one towel (that will be hung up) per child and sharing a dry cloth for brushing teeth and wiping the sink. That should help immensely. Whenever possible, I already strip beds, wash and remake them.

 

We eat little amounts of things for lunch which the kids make themselves (fruit, cottage cheese, lunchmeat, crackers). I don't know how to do a gluten free picnic type lunch that would be easy. I'm drawing a blank.

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I can't help with your oldest, but your younger two should be able to contribute a LOT to household maintenance and chores. My girls can accomplish a ton and it really helps. I agree with the others who say that your DH has no choice but to step it up. He does need to take his mancave retreat when the kids are sleeping. And the 11 and 7 yos definitely should not be leaving the bathroom a mess. Mine are perfectly capable of taking care of towels and putting clothes in the laundry, and they can brush their teeth and put everything back just fine.

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A couple thoughts.

 

I don't really understand why the bathroom is such a wreck. Your girls are old enough to hang towels, put them in a hamper, put caps on toothpaste. It seems to me that you are bring treated like a maid. I understand you have one with severe autism, so I'm not referring to her. If I see my son leave something out, I just tell him to put it back. If you don't hang towels and reuse them (which I think you should given your struggle with laundry), have the last person who showers wipe down the sink and floor with the towel and tidy the sink. My kids were able to put things back where they belonged way before six. Same goes for their hobbies. I'm all for creativity, but no one moves onto another activity until she has cleaned up the first or at least at clean-up times.

 

Second.

Gluten-free doesn't have to be that time-consuming. My mom has celiac and I was gluten-free for months. If you bake bread, make a basic mix. Make use of rice and potatoes. I try to keep my dinners simple and at 30 minutes. Come up with 7 or 14 dinners they are easy and good. Write them on index cards, one meal on each. Each weekend, choose 7, shop for ingredients, then you are prepared. Personally, I find the whole cooking ahead thing to be a pain. I will make extra of something that might and freeze -- spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. That gives me backup dinners. Choose crockpot meals in activity night.

 

Honestly, I don't care how fabulous and gifting and deserving a child, I would never have activities four nights a week.

 

Tell your daughters to unload the dishwasher. Put them in the dishwasher as soon as you are finished with them. If your girls slack, tell them to put them in. Do not clean up after them. They catch on.

 

I cannot remember, and it's hard to scroll on an iPhone, but can your husband take your daughter to school?

 

The bathroom is completely abuse on their part. I agree. I'm reading and replying one at a time so scroll up for my bathroom thoughts. I just finished writing a bathroom schedule that should make things much better. I usually only notice it after they are asleep.

 

I struggle with gluten free cooking. I can get it right, but then I get bored. I do need a menu rotation with tried n true type recipes. I'm in the middle of a bored phase which is why I'm trying something new (plus, it's helpful to have something ready when we get back).

 

I was worried that i would come across as saying that my snowflake was so brilliant she needed constant stuff. :) I hope it's not sounding like that. She does have a constant drive for activity and learning. She takes karate on Wednesday and a dance class on Monday. We signed her up for cheer because last year, cheer practice was one night a week. This year, the coach decided they needed three nights a week plus game night on Saturday. So, she has cheer practice on Tues/Thurs. (This is our last year for cheer because of it. We skip the Monday cheer practice for dance). She also has piano on Thursday, but that's during the day and right next door to the library so it's easy to arrange. (My other daughter and I go to the library, since we go weekly, and she just walks over after piano). My youngest daughter has dance on Monday and baton on Tuesday. My youngest has low self-confidence so her activities are important to us (actually more important than my middle daughter's activities).

 

My plan was to do school in the morning, unwind in the afternoons and extracurriculars at night.

 

I also just finished a kitchen plan which will have the girls doing dishes for breakfast and dinner.

 

DH might be able to take our oldest to school. I'll check and see if he can arrange his work schedule. That would be awesome. Thanks :)

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We eat little amounts of things for lunch which the kids make themselves (fruit, cottage cheese, lunchmeat, crackers). I don't know how to do a gluten free picnic type lunch that would be easy. I'm drawing a blank.

 

When we pack lunch it is similar things. Last week we had a field trip and took; nitrate free ham, cheese, guacamole, oranges and homemade almond flour bread, plain chips, baby carrots

 

I've also made deviled eggs, homemade tuna salad or salmon patties- w/ homemade crackers, w/ various fresh fruits and veggies

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I struggle with gluten free cooking. I can get it right, but then I get bored. I do need a menu rotation with tried n true type recipes. I'm in the middle of a bored phase which is why I'm trying something new (plus, it's helpful to have something ready when we get back).

 

 

 

I know the bored feeling and hate it. But sometimes such is life. I love cooking and hate when I don't have the time or energy to do fancier recipes but it is much more important that we eat ! I just posted yesterday about menus as I'm in the same phase myself, I've got to go back to more basic cooking but I don't want to but the fact is I've just not got the energy right now to do otherwise!

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I haven't read through all the posts so forgive me if this is a repeat. I have an autistic child also and two with medical issues so we have our share of appts. I will share what has helped me get things under control and maybe there is something you can use.

 

1. multiple medical appts: Try to schedule all your appts in the same month. We have annual and bi annual doctors so we see everyone in December and again in June. We take both of those months completely off from school. That way I have time to also do some school planning, celebrate Christmas the way I want, and in June do some dejunking and organizing.

 

 

2. Accept that this is your life right now. That was a biggie for me, *wanting* things to be a certain way that was not realistic. My family is different and therefore our school/life is going to look different from other families.

 

 

3. Streamline. Streamine EVERYTHING you can including school. We have used audio history cds so the kids just listened in the car and we talked about it, and I would throw in whatever history I could find on Netflix, etc. Was it my dream history currciculum? No but they were still learning. We have also used computer based curriculum so kids could work independantly on some subjects.

Other things we have done to streamline is: cut down on amount of clothing, have a meal plan, and have kids do most of the daily chores with everyone giving the house a clean up on Sat.

 

4. babysitter. My dh watches my kids for the afternoon on his day off so I can do school prep, meal prep, etc. for the week. If your dh is not available for that maybe grandma or a nieghborhood teen. It is amazing what I can accomplish when I am not being constantly interrupted by kids.:glare:

 

It was hard for me to accept that I can't do it all, I just can't. Once I accepted that I started looking for ways to delegate and streamline and that is when our life really started shaping up.

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I have a reputation as a great cook. I mostly cook homemade (and around here that automatically puts you in the category of a great cook), so he likes to brag about my cooking. His friends brag that they get to eat here. (Honestly, I consider myself average but I use absolutely fresh ingredients which makes the difference in my opinion). That's why he volunteered me. I'll probably double up on a freezer meal.

 

 

I recommend that you tell your husband you are too busy to cook for others at this time, and that he has to ask you first before he offers your services. Maybe you're an awesome cook but you are overwhelmed with responsibilities right now. Maybe you could offer to cook one or two meals per month and he can buy the rest.

 

You seem to have a lot of consideration for dh's needs and feelings, but his volunteering your cooking (or any other) services with no consideration for yours is not in balance.

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You might want to consider, too, regarding your fear of letting your 11 year old use the stove . . . at what age will that fear go away? My 10 and 12 year old dd's, because they have severe food allergies and have an entirely separate diet, cook their own food. We did knife skills "class" and stove safety "class", but they've done very well. Dd 12 even handled an event well where someone before her had left a drip in the oven that caught fire when she went to preheat, remembering what she'd been instructed.

 

Dd 10 and 12 also do ALL of the family's laundry here, with ds 6 helping distribute people's stacks. They kind of like this because they are allowed screen time during this :-).

 

Dh does our grocery shopping, and we have GF, allergenic, and "regular" diets here. He does grumble about what he calls "exotics" but he's just learned to do a lot of phoning. We're on a tight budget, and a lot of our money goes to food because you're right it's expensive, but I want him to be aware of those costs for SO many reasons. Our budgeting needs to be based on realism, and GF foods are the reality - other things need to bend, not the food. Your dd 11 could go along and that could be their special time on the weekends. My dh has always taken someone along, and over time my dd's have become the experts on the "exotics", having more patience for all of that ;)

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I am learning so much from this thread, there are so many helpful tips here. Makes me realize my 8 yr old DS could do a bit more around the house. :)

 

We also have very special dietary needs - severe food allergies & I am gluten free (so we are peanut, tree nut, sesame, gluten, banana free, along with limited raw foods due to OAS). Grocery shopping is a chore. Now that I know what our store carries, though, and what is generally safe there, I do all of our shopping online. It is a flat fee, $5, and I place the order online. The store shoppers all know me, and I make notes about which items can be substituted (if any). They do all the shopping, bag it, and have it ready for me. All I do is pull up to the sidewalk, press a button, and they load it in the car. Actually, it's DH who usually does the pick up. For $5, I think this is well worth it! You might check your local grocery stores to see if they offer this service. We love it. We use Harris Teeter, but I know there are other chains that offer the same service.

 

I wish I had more to offer, but that's really all I can add to the wisdom already on this thread.

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Sorry it took so long to reply! A cell tower was damaged nearby and it knocked out my internet and cell until late last night. I’m going to combine replies and thank you all again for helping me out.

 

To update – I made a list (long) of bathroom rules and a bathroom schedule based on suggestions from here. I take care of my oldest first, and tidy up anything that is out of place (nothing big, just tidying). My littlest bathes next and brushes her teeth. She cleans up her mess. My middle daughter inspects after her (and will find me if littlest doesn’t clean properly) and then takes her bath and brushes teeth. Then she wipes down the counter and changes the trash can. I put limits on towel usage. (It was a very long list). It went well last night so I’m hopeful.

I also set up a chore system for the kitchen which has the two girls cleaning after breakfast and dinner (which frees me up to do oldest daughter’s personal care). They also have a list for laundry but that will need some tweaking.

 

Fairfarmhand – I did mention in my first post that DH probably can’t do more. He and I have a good relationship but part of that is because he has space to unwind and demands on him are low. He has his own stress to work through and I don’t want to complicate it. If suggestions are made for things that I see will fit well in his schedule then I will suggest them. I know it may not make sense to many people. Thank you for your concern. I feel overwhelmed but I don’t think I’m about to breakdown.

 

Nestof3 – I spoke with DH and he’s helping look over the chore lists and enforcing it with the kids. He would also be willing to pay for extra cleaning or other help. Once I have my thoughts and systems clear, I don’t mind putting down rules for him to follow (such as cooking his own chicken or looking after his own friends). He’s typically reasonable if he feels that everyone is doing their part. Yes, please link on amazon for bed pads. My oldest occasionally has medicine reactions which cause severe vomiting and diarrhea.

 

Susan C – my house does slide a bit. It makes me a bit crazy though. I can’t seem to think when I’m surrounded by clutter. My family teases me but I cannot cook any meal unless the sink is empty and clean. I have a great housekeeper. She never knows whether she’ll walk into chaos or calm. She does whatever is necessary (which has occasionally included telling me to go to bed and she’ll bring me some soup).

Soror – thanks for the list. It’s helping to see how much others expect of their kids. I worry that I will overwork them. The gf cooking is one of my main problems I think.

 

 

Amo mea filiis – yes, she needs order and routine fairly consistently. Her anxiety flares up mostly if I’m not around. She doesn’t have to take a bath nightly, but she’s getting close to 13 and puberty is VERY close (which will change a few things). She has body odor so we can’t skip too much and her skin is starting to break out. Plus, the oil around her eyes causes eczema type reactions which lead to bacterial infections in her eyes. The ointment (after insurance) is $40 (plus 40 for the eye doctor to prescribe it). We have a complicated eye wash routine we do nightly. I agree with you about DH but it is what it is for the moment. I can’t straighten out his stuff until I have things organized here. (And there is a VERY high chance that MIL will be moving onto our property as she is having significant struggles with her husband in the hospital).

 

Continued....

Edited by Slipper
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Heart Mom- thanks. I’m working on a rotation today to simplify things.

 

Mommy2alyns – agreed and I think I have the bathroom solved. :)

Rosetyler – Most of our medical appointment problems are recent crop-ups. Middle daughter had an appendectomy a couple of weeks ago. Her appendix ruptured during removal and we were in the hospital for five days. Oldest daughter was diagnosed with a UTI last week. Dentist told me this week that we must fix middle daughter’s mouth and there’s a strong chance that her permanent teeth are being damaged so I need a second opinion from a different ortho. I haven’t thought about taking off the whole month from school, but that sounds appealing. I need to lower my academic standards and what I want to accomplish in each subject. (To clarify, even with lowering they will be miles above PS, but I like to do extras with them). Hiring a babysitter to come over and help out so I can go shopping would be a lifesaver.

SKL – DH is also diagnosed with narcissism. He feels badly when I point out that he’s been inconsiderate. I spoke to him last night and while I’ll still do the meal, he will consult with me next time prior to volunteering me.

Mamakim – I don’t know. It’s a gas stove and when they are near it, I see them going up in flames in my mind. DD12 can’t use the stove. DD11 has been allowed to stir things on the stove but that’s all. She also can’t reach it very well without a step-stool (she’s very small). She is allowed to use sharp knives and I’m teaching my 7 yr old to use a sharp knife. DD11 can use the oven, a rice cooker, the microwave so she can put together simple meals, but the stove still alarms me. I’ll consider asking DH to do a trial shopping trip (sticker shock and all!). DD11 would love to go with him and she is an expert at picking out her food. I have no qualms sending her anywhere as she can educate people on what she can eat and how to prepare it.

Spryte – no shopping services here or within driving distance. :( I do order special items online from amazon because they are cheaper and easier to purchase. (A decent store is about 45 minutes away – the gf stores are an hour or more. If I can order most of my gf stuff online, then I can go to the store that’s not that far away).

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so glad things are going better. I am sorry. I hope you didn't feel attacked. I do understand that, while you (and all of us) wish that you dh would/could help out more, your reality is the way it is and you have to find a way to operate within your reality.

 

I understand about not being able to think with mess all around. I can't cook with a mess in the kitchen either.

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so glad things are going better. I am sorry. I hope you didn't feel attacked. I do understand that, while you (and all of us) wish that you dh would/could help out more, your reality is the way it is and you have to find a way to operate within your reality.

 

I understand about not being able to think with mess all around. I can't cook with a mess in the kitchen either.

 

Honestly I did at first but felt better with your second post. I have been in counseling before for many things. Something I learned was that I can't control other people, I have to figure out myself first.

 

I'm not opposed to asking him to do more, but it needs to make sense to him. If I can show how I have A, B and C under control but can't get D without his help, he will understand.

 

Thanks again :grouphug:

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Honestly I did at first but felt better with your second post. I have been in counseling before for many things. Something I learned was that I can't control other people, I have to figure out myself first.

 

I'm not opposed to asking him to do more, but it needs to make sense to him. If I can show how I have A, B and C under control but can't get D without his help, he will understand.

 

Thanks again :grouphug:

I am sorry about that. :grouphug: Was not my intention to be hurtful. I wish you luck in juggling all that you have to do. And I pray for good health for your family and strength and wisdom (both physical and emotional) for your and your dh.

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It sounds like you have a good plan in place, I hope it works well for you.

 

Soror – thanks for the list. It’s helping to see how much others expect of their kids. I worry that I will overwork them. The gf cooking is one of my main problems I think.

 

 

Mine are not overworked but we didn't just do this overnight either. I knew we planned to have a large family and those that seemed to work well(without Mom going insane) where those where everyone pitched in. I also highly value not doing things for kids they can do for themselves. I want them to have life skills as well and believe kids can often do more than we give them credit in this day and age.

 

I know I cannot do it all, and right now I especially cannot. So, we work together. All told ds had maybe 45 min total of chores yesterday. Ds cleaned the bathroom-toilet, trash, mopped floor, counter and sink. Fed rabbits. Cleaned room, folded and put away laundry, helped with sleeping and setting and clearing the table. Took out trash. Other little odds and ends here and there.

 

Dd5 was maybe 30 min. She cleaned her room and made her bed. I have her clean her room daily though so it never gets too bad and it is pretty decluttered. She helped pick up the great room and clear the table of her craft mess, folded her clothes and helped to sort everyone's clothes. She helped with setting and clearing the table as well, she often will get and make snacks for dd 2.5, they are stuck together at the hip though and do most everything together.

 

 

The kids sometimes complain about work but then also do things on their own without prompting at times as well. Ds seen the deck was a bit of a mess yesterday and decided it needed to be cleaned up. They don't always enjoy doing the work and neither do I but they appreciate having the place organized and clean.

 

You have to work where you are though. All kids are different. Some things that dd can do well ds doesn't do near as well at 3 yrs older and I'm sure there are other things that he will do better as well. We generally do work all together at the same time as well which I think makes it better for everyone.

 

While the kids were doing their chores Daddy vacuumed the ceiling fan, windows, and couch (I asked him to do the fans ages ago as it would require me standing on a chair and I'm huge and unsteady these days) I guess it finally got bad enough to annoy him yesterday though. He then swept the great room. I swept the whole rest of the house and helped pick up odds and ends with Dd5. I also finished supper prep, and cleaned the kitchen.

 

Dd5 finished her jobs first, then dd8, then me and then dh! Then we all ate and folded laundry!

Edited by soror
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