I can tell you, figuring out how to do housework with a Little Someone in tow has been a huge adjustment for me. I started out writing this post in a ‘how to’ voice, with three tips I’ve learned, but scrapped it as inauthentic. It gave a false impression of my efficiency and success, and, if this makes sense, I felt it would be more appealing to mothers-to-be who had high hopes of what they could accomplish after having a baby, than it would be encouraging to mothers-now who actually have a baby.
I do get housework done these days, albeit not as much as I used to.
For example, I try to do small bits of cleaning in the bathroom daily, so that if I don’t have time for a weekly cleaning we don’t end up living in filth. What has worked well for me is to get a fresh face cloth each evening to wash my face, then re-use it the following morning to wipe down damp surfaces on the sink and tub (not the toilet, FYI).
I also moved my cleaning kit into the bathroom closet (from under the kitchen sink), because that way I can do some fast bathroom cleaning if I have a minute when I’m already there. Everyone thinks I just brushed my teeth…little did they know I also scrubbed the toilet!
One thing I have found helpful is to do small tasks in passing – when I am already in a certain area, and I can’t hear anyone crying yet from the other room, I capitalise on the current success to do some quick cleaning before I leave. Cleaner people than I probably do this habitually anyway!
One of the biggest kindnesses to myself lately has been something I did before Edith was born: I made a particular effort to arrange the house so that most of the open surfaces were clear. The only objects I allowed out were those which I carefully chose and wanted to look at. For one thing, having clear surfaces makes it easier to dust or to wipe down counters. It also makes tidying quicker because there’s less visual clutter – you really only move a few obviously out-of-place objects and the space is clean again. It’s quick to restore a sense of calm that I find I need even more than I used to. I am home most of the time, and often unable to do much with my environment except stare at things (as I am feeding, playing with or walking the baby), so being able to tidy an area quickly to restore its tranquility has been more of a blessing than I anticipated.
For example, here is our dining table. It looks cluttered occasionally, but I didn’t do anything for this photo other than straighten the chairs – so this is proof that it does look this clear on an average day! When I’m trying to get Edith back to sleep after nighttime feeding, I can see this table from the living room, and having it looking open and inviting always cheers me up.
If anything, our house is actually tidier since having a baby. Turns out most of the mess was a result of my ‘being productive’ and ‘creative’, neither of which I have time for now!