How to get housework done with a baby

How to get housework done with a baby

Helen Druitt

Just like the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, having an organised and tidy home is also something that doesn’t just happen. It’s ongoing, it’s constant and daily! As someone who has been through the baby phase three times, some in ridiculously small and difficult living circumstances, there are some tricks that I thought I might share with you all.

  • Adjust your expectations There is rarely going to be a time when your house is as tidy and organised as it might have been pre-kids. It’s time to let that one expectation go. As a general observation, I’ve noticed there are clean people and there are organised people, they are rarely both these things at the same time. Personally, I am more on the clean side of things than the organised side. My house may look clean and tidy, just don’t open the cupboards!
  • Babies and small children need a high turnover of numerous paraphernalia, so although there might be more clutter, there is an opportunity to purge those things that don’t need to be in your house at this very moment in time. I said goodbye to my coffee table a long time ago because, with the baby bouncer and the other toys, I couldn’t deal with the extra thing to keep clean and clutter free. There are times when your house will be a mess especially during the first year, and that’s ok. Babies and small children are your main priority now, housework is not.
  • Rule of 5 -  Prioritise 5 jobs a day. It can change from day to day depending on what needs doing most. Use a to-do list and keep it beside your bed so you can jot down anything keeping you awake, as well as anything else in your to-do list. For me, it’s mostly: - Meals - Dishes - Laundry - Floors - Bathrooms In that order. As you can see, bed-making, ironing and dusting are not my thing.
  • Incorporating 2 jobs in one is a mum’s best-kept secret. Have a baby in the bath? Use that time to clean the bathroom while keeping them at arm’s reach at all times. Going to the park after a visit to the grocery store. This is only possible by using a great product like a BuggyCart which allows you to convert your favourite pram into a shopping trolley.
  • Keep one laundry basket. Why? Because then you will never acquire more than one load of washing to sort and put away. You’ll just have to put that load of washing away to be able to use that washing basket again for the next load.
  • Again, babies particularly need a high turnover of equipment, but rarely all at once. If you’re tight on space, perhaps holding off on purchasing a highchair, until they are at least four months old. At the same time as the highchair moves in, the bassinet and other newborn things can move out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help Not everyone is always going to be sick, stressed and struggling with a particularly hard week all at the same time.
  • Keep good friends and family close. If they are not, be sure to involve yourself in a playgroup or mother’s group early. I can’t recommend these groups enough and the friends I made during this time were extremely valuable when times were tough and could do with an extra hand. It’s important to support each other in this way. Single mum I know has a neighbour that happily mows her backyard after he does his lawn. Maybe you have a neighbour who has an older child that could do with a bit of pocket money? Keep them in mind if and when the going gets tough especially just after you’ve had a baby.
  • Get a meal roster happening for the first week after giving birth. Meal rosters are especially valuable to the new mum. It’s one less thing to be thinking about after the baby arrives and meals need to be regular and nutritious. So, if your friends or family ask what they can bring or do or buy you? Ask for a frozen meal.
  • Prioritise sleep You know what’s the best cure for an untidy house? Closing your eyes. Be kind to yourself, particularly when your body is in the recovery stage after giving birth. You will need time to heal, so if you need to put your feet up if and when the baby sleeps.
  • Do it. Keep them busy while you do it Babies will love the simple things like being outside. Incorporate some outside time while you do some gardening or hang the clothes out. My mum told me a good trick to keep them entertained is by hanging a balloon out on the tree or the clothesline, my babies loved watching it blow around in the breeze, and squeal in excitement. Toddlers love to “help”. Get a spray bottle of water and a cloth for them to “help” you clean. You’ll be amazed at the amount of time a toddler can spend spraying the floor and wiping it while you have uninterrupted cleaning time.

So there you go! I'm still learning how to keep a house perfectly clean and organised so if you have any secrets I would love to hear them. 

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