How Working Moms Handle House Cleaning

I work full-time so every weekday feels like a mad dash to get things done.  Chores always fall to the back burner. Cleaning the house feels impossible.

We wake up at 6 am, go through the whole morning routine; make lunches, pack bags, fill water bottles, doggie daycare drop off, then daycare drop off, and finally, drive frantically to work.

And for some reason, I’m still always late. 🙄

I usually have an errand or two to do on my lunch break. Then it’s another mad dash to pick everyone up on time. Around 5:15 pm we all finally land back home, get cleaned up, eat dinner, prep for tomorrow, wrestle with bedtime, my husband and I try to relax for an hour, aaaaand rinse and repeat.

During the week we’re so super busy and on the weekends, I just Don’t. Want. To Clean. I don’t want to do anything except relax and spend time with my family.

You’re Not Alone!

We recently moved into a house and still have lots of organizing & decorating to do. I was starting to feel like we were taking too long to get everything done but then someone told me that they had been in their house a little over a year and were *just* starting to feel settled. ::queue big sigh of relief::

Thank God, it’s not just me!

Anyway, with our already crazy daily routines and weekends that are reserved for catching up on sleep and being with family, it’s like I barely have time to breathe never mind clean the house. I used to wonder how the heck do working moms get it all done?? Do they not relax? Do they not watch shows? (I will not give up my shows!) Do they have elves?!

I need my recovery time at night and on the weekend or I’m useless. I can’t just go, go, go all the time. Being a full time working mom is *no joke*.

After neglecting housework, feeling like a failure, and arguing with my husband about which one of us already does more (spoiler alert: we contribute equally and placing blame don’t help!), I developed a system that helps us keep our house clean without having to give up our weekends, yayay!

Here’s what we do every day to stay on top of chores and save weekends for fun.

Empty and Load Dishwasher Daily

My husband is one of those people who believes (or used to..) that the dishwasher should be completely full before it gets started. Yea, sorry, nope. No time for that. I cannot purposely pile up dishes. If it is the end of the night and the dishwasher is only half full, it gets started anyway so we don’t break our system. We need the dishes to be clean for the next morning so we can put them away and start that day with a fully emptied dishwasher. If you don’t do this, you might have more dishes than will fit in there and those will end up sitting in the sink (unless you’re a hand-washer, which neither of us are. Again, no time.) Once you skip a step the whole process breaks down.

This is our 2-step system to cycling through dishes:

  1. Whoever makes dinner empties the dishwasher before they start cooking and puts all used dishes in the dishwasher as they go.
  2. Whoever doesn’t make dinner clears the table when everyone’s done and puts used dishes in the dishwasher, (including any remaining pans from dinner after wrapping up leftovers), and starts it immediately. Then they wipe down the table and counters.

Doing this same thing every single day, regardless of the volume of dishes in the dishwasher, makes it so our kitchen is always clean. One chore done. ✔️

Do At Least One Load of Laundry

The easiest way to get in one load of laundry every day is to have your laundry already sorted. Have a basket for whites, colors/darks, and towels. Those are the only loads I do.

If it’s a ‘delicate’, or ‘handwash’ item, I don’t own it because I don’t have time for that in my life right now.

When we get home we take off shoes, empty coolers and lunch boxes, wash our hands and face (because germs) and change into pjs.

If I run downstairs immediately after I’ve changed out of my work clothes and into my jammies, I can get a load into the wash before I start dinner and then have it dried before bed time.

Since I’ve been doing this, I haven’t lost a Saturday to laundry yet! I used to absolutely *dread* those weekends full of washing, drying, and folding, so this schedule has been really nice and it keeps the piles of clothes off the floor (which makes vacuuming and sweeping that much easier!)

Do One Extra Chore

I’m sure by now you’re thinking, “Joscelyn, I am already an overwhelmed full time working mom, I literally cannot fit all of this into my life”, but trust me, mama, you can!

It eventually becomes a habit and you’ll start to realize the little things you do now make the chores you have to do later that much faster!

Now, when I say do one chore, I don’t mean you have to clean and sanitize your whole bathroom. To be perfectly transparent, I don’t ever do that. I have a cleaning lady that comes once a month to deep clean bathrooms bc I hate doing it. So what I do mean, is clear off the bathroom sink, spray some cleaner, and wipe it down. Boom, one chore done. ✔️

When you get ready in the morning, empty the trash in the bathroom, another chore done. ✔️

Get yourself a Dustbuster or other handheld vacuum with an attachment and avoid lugging out your big vacuum. Spot clean your rugs and keep dust bunnies from forming on hard surfaces. Chore done ✔️

We *always* have the Dustbuster out and I can’t even remember the last time we needed to take out the big vacuum. The whole thing can be a huge pain in the ass, the long cord, the attachments that constantly fall off, the big canister that needs emptying. Blah!

Small handheld vacuums have small canisters, no cords and they’re lightweight, so it’s like the easiest chore I do.

Assign Responsibilities Accordingly

My daughter is two, so the extent of her responsibilities are organizing her shoes and putting her stuffed animals in a basket. But it helps! I mean that’s 5 more minutes added to my time, right? So make sure you’re assigning responsibilities accordingly.

If you have a spouse, they should also do one chore daily and you’ll get twice as much done. Make a list of age-appropriate chores for the kids to do daily as well.

Remember, it’s not all on *you* to keep the house clean so make sure your expectations are clear and everyone is doing their part.

Drop a comment below and let me know your tips for getting it all done!

And for another time-saving idea, check out how we handle meal planning and grocery shopping, in this post!

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