One of the questions I get a lot as a mama business owner – especially one that works from home – is, “how do you keep up with the household tasks as a WAHM (work-at-home mama) AND manage to run a business at the same time…”. So, today I’m giving you an inside look into what’s worked for me as well as what hasn’t. Welcome to real life. Let’s get started.
Links for This Episode
- FREE Clean the House Checklist
- Mama Business Strategy Session
- Website Audit & Design Services
- Instagram: @sarahlbrumley
- More Info & Podcast Transcript
Podcast Episode Recommendations
- #27: Are You Saying Yes When You Should Say No?
- #23: How To Use Your To-Do List to Achieve Your Goals
- #5: Simple Strategies to Help Maximize Your Time as a Busy Mom
How to Keep Up With Household Chores as a WAHM
Well, hey there and welcome to another episode of the Mama Business podcast. I’m Sarah and I’m excited to discuss this topic today.
And the funniest thing happened as I was putting together my notes for this episode. No joke, I’m standing at the kitchen counter with my iPad while my little one – he’s 18 months – decides the best idea is to spill the cat’s water all over the floor around him. So, I’m down on the floor with a towel and the actual thought going through my head is, “well, at least this area of the floor is going to be really clean.”.
Yep. So, before you hold me up on a pedestal as someone who has it ALL together, know that sometimes the floor gets clean because water got spilled.
But, in all seriousness, I prioritize having a clean and tidy home. That started early on in my marriage to Justin (we’ve been married over 16 years) and has continued on from that point .
So, how does it all get done? Well, I’m going to share three strategies we’ve implemented over the years that work for us.
I want to reiterate right now that you should take what you want from this episodes and leave what you don’t. In no way am I saying that if you aren’t doing all of these things – or any of these things – then you are a failure.
YOU DO YOU.
The worst thing you can do is compare your situation to mine. Because not only are we completely different people, but our spouses, our children, our living arrangements – all are different. So, use what you can and leave behind what you don’t need at this time.
Can we agree to that?
Before we jump into the things that do work for us, I want to start by sharing two things that didn’t work – and we learned the hard way.
Didn’t Work: Doing it All Myself
First, it didn’t work for me to take responsibility for all of the household tasks, even though I’m home all day.
I think there’s a lot of merit for preserving the energy of a sole provider. Absolutely. When Justin and I got married – that’s exactly what the situation looked like. He was the sole provider and my income was a “bonus” depending on where we were and what the options were for me to be able to have a job. Then, as the girls came into our lives, I spent most of my time taking care of household tasks and the kids. And that worked great.
What didn’t work was to try to keep that same division of responsibilities as my business took off. At that point, we revisited our household responsibilities person by person to make sure that there was a more even split based on how much we were also taking care of outside of the home.
Didn’t Work: Hiring a Cleaning Service
The second thing that didn’t work for us was hiring a cleaning service. And, before anyone jumps on me for this one – YES…it’s amazing to have someone come in and clean.
But…it’s not the solution for day-to-day keeping a place tidy OR staying on top of the laundry. Plus, we found that we really had to tidy up prior to their arrival or spend a lot more to have them do so, and it made the best sense to leave the house while they cleaned which wasn’t always feasible.
So, a perk to have a cleaning crew – absolutely! But…definitely not something that works if you are looking for a system that you can stay on top of in day-to-day family life.
And that’s really where we found ourselves.
How We Keep Up With Chores as a WAHM
Okay… so now that you know what hasn’t worked for us, we can shift into what we have found to be successful. And once again, I have to say that just because it works for us – doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing for you. So, take what you need and leave what you don’t.
And…if you want the exact list of household task and cleaning responsibilities I use, you can find that at sarahbrumley.com/resources.
Did Work: Everyone Takes Responsibility
The first thing that we’ve found to be successful for us is having a master list of tasks that need to happen in our home each week in order to stay on top of things and then breaking that big list down by day and person.
This is two steps because it just doesn’t help to just have that big to-do list. That’s overwhelming. So, instead of dealing with that overwhelm, we put together a weekly responsibility chart for each member of our household.
In our case, those priorities come down to two to three chores per person per day.
So, how does that actually play out if you want to follow this strategy?
Well, it starts by listing each and every room in your home. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Don’t leave off your master bathroom or the laundry room just because no one ever sees it. YOU SEE IT. And that’s enough of a reason to make it a priority.
Once you have that list in place, you are going to divvy it out across each person in your home over the course of the week. Leave one of the weekend days empty because I’m going to chat about that in a moment.
You’ll need to determine frequency of the cleaning of each room as well. In our case, because the kitchen is the hub of our home and we frequently have people into our home during the week and over the weekends, the kitchen is on the list each and every day. That alternates between the individuals in our home, but it happens each and every day.
Once you’ve completed that – then it’s time to factor in laundry. In our case, our laundry room is in the middle of our house. Between our main living are and our guest bathroom. That means if someone stops by, they walk directly through our laundry room and any mess that’s piled up. So…we just don’t allow things to collect in that space. Each person in our home has a laundry day assigned to them. In addition, there’s one day assigned to towels, bedding, and other misc. things, like the cloth diapers we are currently using.
For the teenagers and my husband, I like to have them do their laundry over the weekend because they are home and able to manage it themselves, which means that I’m responsible for one load of laundry each of the other days of the week.
No matter where the laundry fits, though – you should find that you have about 2-3 responsibilities per week per person.
Once again…if you want the list I use, you can find that at sarahbrumley.com/resources.
Did Work: Clean the House Day
The second thing that we’ve found to be successful for us is a “clean the house” day. We actually refer to it as that in our home and everyone knows that it means that we will take an hour or two on Saturday morning and knock out a deep clean of the place.
We use the same master list I already talked about and break it down into individual responsibilities. Then, everyone pitches in. Not only does this allow us to have a totally clean home from top to bottom, but we start the next week off with the ability to keep it clean rather than having to focus on actually getting it clean.
And you probably know what I mean. Wiping a bathroom counter and replacing the toilet paper on a weekday doesn’t take a long time. But if you have to scrub the floors, bathtub and toilet as well, that’s a lot of time involved. So, Saturday morning is for the full scrub, plus anything you didn’t get to during the week.
Personally, I like to wipe down the doorknobs and light switches, for example, especially during sickness season. For you, it might be cleaning out the fridge or washing windows.
Those are not my priorities. Haha.
But you do you. Because, like I said before, we are not the same people and we will have different needs and desires for our home.
Did Work: 15-Minute Clean Sweep
Okay – the last thing we find to be super effective in keeping up with the home is a clean sweep each evening. Our son goes to bed pretty early, so the rest of us chip in for 10 to 15 minutes after he’s down and just do a quick tidy. Everything gets back to it’s place and all cups, plates and everything else go into the dishwasher. That way, we ca start the following morning with a fresh feeling.
It’s not always perfect. Some days we miss that clean sweep, but I can tell you that we definitely notice the difference the next day because even routine chores take longer to complete.
Now, mama if you are really the only person taking care of things around the home, I want you to give yourself SOOOO much grace in this.
Take Action: How Will You Keep Up with Chores as a WAHM?
Alright – normally this is where I tell you to take some action. Why? Because action is where dreams turn into reality and it might seem a little odd to think about the idea of taking action in your household chores helping you achieve your dreams. And yet, I know for a fact that when I’m better able to manage thing at home, then that carries through into my business as well. Plus, one of my dreams is to have people sho up at any point and always feel welcome. I don’t always feel welcoming when my place is a mess.
So, today I’d just love for you to consider your own household management routines. If you are feeling overwhelmed because nothing ever seems to get done – maybe one of the strategies I provided can help. Or, if you are doing it all without any help – then it might be time to give yourself more grace. Set your schedule with 2-3 responsibilities per day and let the rest go.
I know from personal experience that I am more likely to accomplish what I set out to do if I am accountable to someone. So DM me on Instagram and let me know how you manage all of the household task so that I can cheer you on throughout the process. Because, mama, I am cheering you on.