Housekeeping With A New Baby

Let's face it - even the most expert housekeeper must reevaluate when a baby enters the picture. And I'm not an expert housekeeper in the first place.

But I'm also a perfectionist, and it's hard for me to deal with a house that's not perfectly in order. I started to get better at being more laid-back with this, and then Wyatt was born.

If I hadn't completely come to grips with the fact that my house wouldn't always be perfect before, I have now. Not without some all-out emotional breakdowns (thank you postpartum hormones), but that's beside the point.

I mean, let's face it, when you're trying to recover from having a baby and other injuries, taking care of a newborn around the clock, sneaking in some sleep, and otherwise attempting to take care of yourself and your newly expanded family while maintaining some kind of order in the household, you have to know what to prioritize or you'll go insane.

Here are some things that have helped me to cope.

Focus on the critical areas.

For me, this is my kitchen and bathroom. If my kitchen and bathroom are dirty, I feel like the house is dirty. On the other hand, there can be two weeks worth of laundry piling up, clutter in the living room, mail on the table, and shoes scattered on the floor, but if the kitchen and bathroom are clean, I feel so much better about the house in general. Figure out which areas are most important to you, and make sure those places are kept clean.

Embrace the baby mess.

If you have a new baby, there are going to be swings, bouncer seats, play mats, blankets, and toys scattered around your house. It's just the way it is. In fact, I'd be a bit worried if that wasn't the case. This is a short phase in your life - there won't always be such obvious evidence of the presence of children in your house, and your babies won't be little forever. Try to enjoy it and not freak out because your house no longer looks like a show home - this is a special time in life. Enjoy all the baby paraphernalia.


There may be baby stuff around, but that doesn't mean it can't be organized. A swing, bouncer seat, and activity mat have been permanently inhabiting our common living space since Wyatt was born, but each of these items has a particular place that it resides in our house. Keep the blankets folded and the toys stored in the designated spot when not in use.

When I was stuck on the couch for six weeks after my knee injury, I couldn't really de-clutter, because I couldn't carry things and walk at the same time. I had alot anxiety and started feeling out of control during that time, and I think those feelings were mostly related to the clutter. Once I could walk again, Derek and I straightened up the house together, and I instantly felt better about life again.

Clutter equals chaos. You don't need more chaos right now. So rein in the clutter.

Invest in new cleaning products that will make your life easier.

My blogging friend Anna, mentioned Clorox disinfecting wipes to me in a comment over a year ago, but I didn't try them until after I had Wyatt. I wish I had bought some of these sooner! Sure, you may have to spend a little more, but it's so much easier to keep my critical areas clean if I can just pull out a wipe and give everything a once over. It takes about 30 seconds, and it keeps things manageable between deep cleanings.

Products I want to try? The Swiffer Sweeper (maybe it'll work on that old linoleum in the bathroom?), and a feather duster. I think these items would also simplify the cleaning process for me.

Things I haven't figured out:

-How to keep junk from accumulating in the car. When you've got a purse, a diaper bag, a car seat, and other miscellaneous items to bring into the house when you arrive home, picking up the trash is the last thing on your mind.

-The weekly meal plan. Most times we end up having easy (aka: boring) dinners or eating out right now. I would love to get better at planning meals out for the week and making better meals for my hubby, but between everything else that has to be juggled so far, I haven't figured out how to balance this out.

How about you? Any housekeeping tips to add or advice to give?

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Anna said...

I love that picture of you and Wyatt. Your skirt is so pretty.

I like how you prioritize the kitchen and bathroom. When those areas are clean, the whole house is more sanitary, that's for sure.

I've learned to mentally compartmentalize having toys around. To me, if the house is tidy but there are toys everywhere, I still feel like it's tidy, as long as I pick them up when Christian goes to bed. I also sometimes pick them up at his naptimes and before A.J. comes home to keep ahead of the mess.

And clutter = chaos = anxiety is SO true. I think it's a balance between surrendering lack of control to the Lord and just giving up and living in a mess. It's so hard to walk that line for me, but I think I've grown a lot in that area since Christian was born. I went through the same thing you described during my first trimester with this pregnancy, though.

I'm glad the Clorox wipes are working for you! I'd like to try a Swiffer.

Wow, long comment. This was a great post!

Lauren said...

Great tips! I'm OCD about the clutter in my house right now so know that will be an adjustment when the baby arrives. I love the idea of the disinfecting wipes! Such a great thought!

Emily Powell said...

I'm totally OCD so I never rest and my house is always really that doesn't help much I'm sure.

Ashley said...

Good post! I'll have to keep these things in mind when we have a baby - and I think I already agree with you about the kitchen and the bathroom, they make the rest of the house seem clean if they are clean! (or dirty..)

Well, I have found that keeping the car clean is just about picking up every item that you accumulated that trip in the car. That way you aren't overwhelmed picking up stuff that has been in there for a while, just stuff you had in there for the day. Whatever you bring in, take it out when you get out out. (Still have to remember this...)

Jessica Elyse @ Memoirs of a Mommy said...

Love your blog by the way! For the trash in the car, I have found that having a trash can in the garage, immediately as I open my car door helps me to quickly throw away unwanted trash before I even think about piling on the purse, etc.

Claire said...

Oh girl, I wish I could help but the 2 things that you have trouble with are the exact 2 things that I have troubles with!!! My car is a WRECK... But thanks so much for sharing this and for offering your tips! I'm actually sitting here reading blogs and procrastinating my own de cluttering so this blog was really helpful in giving me a little motivation :) Love your tips!

Mrs. Lukie said...

I just commented on another blog that I follow about the same thing ;)

I use the Motivated Moms Chore Planner ( I have been using it for well over a year now, even though I'm not a Mama for another few months. I spend anywhere from 10-30 minutes a day cleaning my house, and it ALWAYS feels clean to me and I'm never embarrassed should someone stop by unannounced.

I do realize this will change once Baby L makes an appearance, but I'm hoping that my habit of following this system for such a long time will stick with me & I'll find the few minutes each day to complete my chore list.

I loved my Swiffer Sweeper until we bought our new Dyson, which now I use on all of our floors in every room and am seriously in love with. (I find excuses to vacuum--something I typically despise doing!)

Anyway, the Chore Planner is really nice because I printed out the entire years list (yep, the whole YEAR!) and when I'm overwhelmed or too tired to do the chores that day, Mr. Lukie can look at the list for the day & see what needs to be done. It's awesome :)

Diana Hill said...

Good post! We mostly tag-team it when it comes ot cleaning and laundry. Also, I jsut stick Nathan in front pack carrier and that way i have free arms to clean and cook! This really helps in the eveing b/c he gets fussy around dinner time, so I carry him, which calms him down, and make dinner at the same time!

Julie S. said...

I just wrote a post similar to this about how now that it is nice outside, the house stuff is lacking! Ugh! I can't go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink- that's just one of my weird rules. But when Brayden goes to bed and the toys are still out? Doesn't bother me. I know he will just get them back out tomorrow!

My car is the worst, too, and it drives my husband bonkers. In my defense, our garage is NOT attached, so just taking Brayden inside and trying to keep him occupied while making multiple trips is a challenge. PLUS there is just some stuff that can stay- a jacket for Brayden, a half empty bottle of water (you never know when you will need it!), and some extra napkins.

LeAnna said...

Adorable picture of you and your little guy!
Great tips. I grew up in an extremely high-strung home where nothing was ever clean enough for my Mom (she struggled with hyperthyroidism for most of my childhood) so I'm kind of lax. Not dirty, I can't stand filth, but I have to declutter on a weekly basis. Stuff just piles up, it's so annoying. I recently did a major purge when we put our house on the market. It has made it SO much easier to stay on top of things. Less stuff = less mess. Laundry is my downfall. I hate folding and hanging up laundry. I can wash/dry it all the live-long day, but eh. After that it's anyones guess. I definitely agree w/ you about the kitchen though. I always feel better if my floors are swept/vacuumed and the kitchen is clean. Mostly because my kitchen/living/dining areas are all one huge open space.

Baby toys were a struggle for me at first. I'll never forget when my Mom bought Q a tent and tunnel system, and seeing the whole thing set up in my living room literally gave me a momentary panic attack. I had to realize kids toys were going to be around for a while, and that was okay...

Melanie said...

LOVE this post...I hope you do a follow-up with tips from readers!! I've always loved clorox wipes and love them even more now..they make cleaning a bathroom sink a breeze!!! I agree w/you on decluttering..even if its just clearing some mail from a makes me feel so much better!! And don't you just love those postpardom hormonal mood swings?!? I found myself crying over literally nothing right after Makayla was born!

She Said... said...

Thank you for posting this! I am moving right now and my house is driving me insane. It totally is all about the clutter. Whenever there is clutter built up in our house I get stressed. This post makes me realize and feel so much better about it.

I really like what Anna commented as well.

We have used a swiffer and it works great! Especially if you have any pets!

Jeska said...

This is a great post. I'm nervous about being able to take care of everything with a new baby because I like my house tidy. I love the wipes, I use them on my bathroom sink in between cleanings. They also have Dreft wipes that are safe for baby I plan on getting for quickly cleaning the high chair and such. I use the swiffer as well and like it. And yes, if my kitchen is clean it makes me happy, even if the living room is a mess!

Ash said...

Thanks for this post! I have discovered that as soon as one room gets clean and I move onto another, but the time the second room is clean, the first is messy again! It's an endless cycle of stuff...but I too have embraced it and had to learn to not to be such a perfectionist.

Eileen said...

Once a week- on either Saturday or Sunday, while my husband is with the baby, I take five minutes and run through my car... pick up all the trash, random sippy cups, and grab all the toys and blankets that have accumulated in the back seat.

What helped me with meals for my family is to come up with a meal plan for the week, before doing groceries. It really helps grocery shopping and I find I avoid that awful moment in the afternoon where I am hungry and don't know what to make. It can be something super simple, but since I have planned for it- it can be fresh and different.

Unknown said...

Man, it's going to be hard for me in regards to housework when we have kids. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to the house too! Ah! Thanks for your tips though! I will keep them in mind...for whenever that time comes!

Inspired said...

The Swiffer Vac is the way to go! It sucks up stuff on the wood, linoleum, or tile instead of just pushing it around. (Especially good on doggy hair).

It has the swiffer duster on it AND you can also put the wet vac wipes on it and use them on your floor too.

It's the perfect Swiffer product. You only need one instead of 2 or 3...

Thanks for the post!

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