Today’s Reader Question asks what my housewife routine looks like.
Although I routinely answer questions on my Facebook page, sometimes a question requires a more in-depth answer.
I’m a new wife, and since losing my job I’m now a housewife. I really want to be good at it, but there’s so much to do! We don’t have kids, and yet I feel like I’m struggling more than some moms I know just trying to keep our house clean all the time. Your printable chore charts and all your explanations are helping, but I have to ask how you manage it. I always feel like it’s not right to stop cleaning until the house is finished but it’s NEVER finished.
How do you fit it all in on your schedule?
Karlie Is Going Krazy!
Dear Karlie (and everyone else),
I hate to burst your bubble, but there is a world of difference between writing a blog about how to make housework easier and actually coming up with a workable housewife routine. Like everyone else, I have high-energy days… and days when just changing TV channels seems like a lot of work. Add in a busy pre-teen who’s involved in a number of extra-curricular activities, two rambunctious cats, and a husband being treated for brain cancer and there is NO WAY my house could be perfectly spotless even if I cleaned 24/7.
Nor should you expect yours to be that way, either! The goal of Housewife How-To’s is to empower you to do your housework based on the schedule you’re most comfortable with. I think sometimes we read words like “weekly cleaning routine” and think that means we absolutely must clean the living room on, say, Monday and the bathrooms on Tuesday, etc.
That’s not how I work. In fact, every time I’ve tried assigning specific chores to specific days something has come up to derail my plans. The result? I get frustrated, throw up my hands, and blow it all off until the house is in such disarray that I can’t possibly tolerate it one more day.
My housewife routine involves “zones” of time. What I mean is, while I don’t necessarily do certain things on certain days, I do certain types of things around the same time each day. Maybe it would be easiest to explain by giving you an example of my “typical” day.
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- 6:30-7:30 am: Wake up, drink coffee, feed my son (usually one of these make-ahead school day breakfasts). Usually this is when I do the kitchen part of the daily house tidy routine.
- Morning: Start some laundry, depending on which compartment in the laundry sorter is overflowing. Then I catch up on email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for an hour or so.
- Early afternoon: Back to the daily cleaning routine. Switch the laundry. Make some lunch. Then it’s on to whatever weekly cleaning routine I’m doing that day. If I happen to have a little extra time before I need to pick up my son, I try to squeeze in a few one minute chores.
- Late afternoon: Oversee homework, spend some time with my husband, then make dinner, which is at 6:30. After that, I relax while my husband and son do the dinner dishes.
- Evening: Check email and social media for the final time, then I usually read or take a long bath. (Or both.) I’m in bed most nights by 9:30, although I usually read more then, too. Hey, I love reading!
I don’t want you to get the impression that my life is like this every single day. Nothing could be further from the truth! I have low-energy days when I do nothing at all, and I refuse feel guilty about it. Hey, people who work outside of the home get to take days off, so why can’t housewives?
The trick is, when you hit those low-energy days, don’t berate yourself. Give yourself permission to enjoy them. If a slew of low-energy days completely derails your life, that’s okay, too. It happens to ALL of us. (You think my house was spotless at any point the month after my husband’s surgery? Oh heck no.) You can get back on track with some crisis cleaning (even if you aren’t expecting company), then re-start your daily cleaning routine before deciding which rooms need more attention. Eventually, if you keep at it more often than not, it will all come together.
But above all, remember this: your life is about more than just cleaning. Much, MUCH more, hopefully. So keep all of this housework in perspective. Do what needs to be done, and then stop. No one expects you to keep your house perfectly spotless every day. The goal is to make your home a comfortable, livable place not just for your husband, but for YOU as well. Housekeeping, like life, isn’t about being perfect — sometimes it’s just about being okay with just being. Okay?