It is important that first-time moms know that there is no way they can do it all. Women have been trained to do everything themselves which is often at the root of why they’re unhappy. They do everything, and feel unappreciated, but then they don’t want to ask for help. It’s time to stop doing it all and start asking for the help you need.
Ask your partner
If you need help, decide what you want him to do and be very specific with your requests. Saying "I need more help around the house," is too general and doesn't even give your husband a starting point. Choose quick tasks he can do in the morning before work, such as unloading the dishwasher, and evening chores that match his postwork fatigue like folding laundry in front of the TV for example.
On weekends, he can take one of your kids to the supermarket or supervise toy cleanup. None of these tasks are a huge time drain; hopefully, he'll be willing to sacrifice 10 minutes here and an hour there to make life easier on you.
What you shouldn’t do, is apologize. Say, ‘I need this time, and it will make me a better wife and a better mom. Let’s figure out how we can make it happen.
Ask your kids
Kids should start training on doing chores when they're toddlers. If you wait to give them responsibilities until they’re in school, it’s a big mistake. And while their “helping” may not always be appreciated, keeping their excitement and the habit of helping out alive, should be.
Here are examples for age-appropriate chores for your kids.
- Pick up toys and books.
- Take laundry to the laundry room.
- Help feed pets.
- Help wipe up messes (no bleach).
- Set the table.
- Help empty the dishwasher and put dishes away.
- Clean up toys in their room or playroom.
- Put laundry in the washer or dryer.
- Take care of pets.
- Vacuum and mop.
- Take out trash.
- Fold and put away laundry.
Age 8 and up:
- Take responsibility for keeping their bedroom clean.
- Help prepare simple meals.
- Rake leaves.
- Do a load of laundry
Other important key elements when asking your child for help are:
- If you give your child a big job, like cleaning up his or her room or the playroom, break it down into manageable tasks.
- Keep instructions at a minimal level once you've demonstrated the task.
- Stand back. When your toddler first tries a task on his own, be patient. Jumping in too quickly to lend a hand gives him the message that you don't think he's capable.
- Get everyone into a routine by doing chores at about the same time every day so that it becomes a habit.
- Don't expect perfection.
Ask your friends and family
You can always try and ask a family member or a close friend for help so you can have a night to yourself (or with your partner). You might be surprised at how willing they’ll be to help out. Call your friend and say, ‘I’m burned out, I need a break. Could you help out by taking the kids for a few hours this weekend, and then maybe we can take turns?’”
Remember that one of the fundamental things that makes people feel good is to help somebody else. Though, whether you’re getting support from your partner, your kids, or your friends, make sure to show your appreciation. Let them feel they made a difference in your life.
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