WT 124: Managing the Homefront
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Question 1: I’m a stay at home mom with two kids (2 and 4), and a baby on the way. I’m struggling with trying to figure out how much help I can/should expect from my husband. I have high standards for myself and I desire to serve my husband by doing everything (all of the coping, cleaning, housework, chores, laundry, etc). I can usually manage it but sometimes I just get tired and then I start doing these things with a bad attitude and resentful heart. When I get to that place, I try to stop and check my heart - I always end up getting my heart back to doing the housework with joy because I know it’s a way to love and serve my husband and to free him up to do other things. But sometimes I wonder: is this normal? Is this a struggle most moms go through? Do most women do all, or the majority of, the housework? Or should I be asking for my husband to help out?
Karen's Answer: Ugh yes!!!! I think most moms struggle in this area. It is not that cooking, cleaning, housework, laundry is hard work, because you are doing it indoors, with AC or heat, but it is a service type of job. I think with any job you do, if you are in the service industry, the job starts to weigh on you, because you are giving all the time and no one is giving back to you, just taking. I’m proud of you that you can recognize when you are developing a bad attitude and you can rein it back in, that is awesome! Is it wrong to ask for help? NO. I think you just need to watch your expectations and make sure you aren’t expecting help, so that when you don’t get it, you are angry. I always found that weekends were the best time for Greg to pitch in and help. Usually he was happy to do it. My suggestion is to keep short accounts and to lower your standard for the next two years while you adjust to baby number 3. Three children under 4 years is no joke, so try to breathe and if you get everyone dressed and fed during the day, you are doing great. If you get them dressed, fed and do some laundry, that is awesome!
Question 2: I am a stay at home mom of 3. My 5 year old never wants to eat at home . She is in pre-k and they eat breakfast, lunch, and snack at school. Her teacher says she eats everything on her plate there and often asks for seconds. But when I make dinner she refuses to eat it. I have done the, “you eat and this is all you get.” The other day it took her 2 hrs to eat 3 chicken nuggets and she ended up throwing up the nuggets in the end. Now I will say, “this is all you get” and she says, “that okay I’ll just eat at school.” I have talked with the pediatrician and they said let her eat whatever and don’t give any attention to it, my husband agrees with the doctor. My problem now is I’m angry with her. At dinner time she starts talking about not eating or will say she doesn’t like it. I try to ignore her, but I get so mad and frustrated with her. I am started to treat her differently because I’m so angry over this no eating situation. Hoping you can give me some helpful advice!
Karen's Answer: Eating can be a control issue. I agree with your husband/pediatrician and I would not make a big deal about it at all. I would offer the food, and if she doesn’t eat it, then do not give snacks, desserts or anything until morning. Sometimes with these types of situations the child is just trying to push your buttons and show you “who” is in control. I have been known to make a great dessert or a snack after dinner while watching a movie, and not allow the one child to have any until their dinner was finished. Don’t do that every night, but it’s a thought. Try not to let your emotions get away from you and realize she’s just a child and she’s being childish. Very normal! Let it go!
Question 3: We have a 2 1/2 year old and another one on the way due in a month. My husband and I both currently work full-time. My work is more flexible but my husband works a corporate job. He typically works 10-12 hours a day and gets home around 7 at night. Because my work schedule is more flexible, I already get our child ready for daycare, take her to daycare and pick her up. As we anticipate this next season of life with 2 children under 3, I can't help but wonder how we will navigate this next stage of life. How will all of our housework, dinner, etc. get done each night? My husband helps as much as he can but there are only so many hours in a day. He doesn't see an issue with us both working full-time jobs and knows I love my job, but I feel the pull. This is a constant discussion in our household and my husband is supportive with either outcome. When did you know was the right time to step away from work and be there for your family?
Karen's Answer: You know, the struggle is REAL!!! It is hard to give advice on questions like these because it is so subjective. But, for me, I knew it was time when I was more stressed about going to work than enjoying my work or when I started to see my work effect the children. Sometimes it’s just too hard with multiple children. I know a lot of people do it, and do it well, I just think it depends on the individual mom. I would pray and ask God to give you wisdom on what is right for you and your family. Ask God to give you peace and to bring your husband and yourself to the same page. If you decide to keep working, I would for sure get a maid to clean the house, that will help you tremendously. And I would think about meal planning on the weekends, to help with that BIG dilemma everyday. Pray and keep an open mind.
Question 4: Do you have any great tips or hacks for keeping the house tidy? I honestly don’t even need it to be clean, I just am so tired of the STUFF everywhere!
Karen's Answer: I LOVE this question, because it is SO me!!! Yes! Baskets are the key to being tidy. ☺ Seriously, they will change your life. You can get a cubby station, or just have baskets in every room, where the toys and stuff go. When my children were young, I had a basket that sat on the stairs, and every night when the kids went upstairs, they had to get their stuff out of the basket and take it to their room. Throughout the day, I would just put stuff in the basket as I picked up. Plus I had a basket in the den for toys, multiple ones in the playroom, and it was wonderful! Go get some baskets!
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