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Working Moms: How Do You Manage Housework?

A schedule helps keep me on track

by Melanie (Modern Mami)  |  23612 views  |  11 comments  |        Rate this now! 

As a full-time working mom, it’s very hard for me to keep up with the household duties. I’ve written before about the expectations - false no doubt - that I’ve set for myself.

Elizabeth over at Career & Kids touched on the subject recently, when a friend of hers realized there’s not enough time in the week. As she mentions, when you’re working all week, you want to use the weekend to spend time with the family. That is when I’d like to take a trip to the zoo, the park, or sometimes it’s just a matter of the “must” trips - like grocery shopping that needs to be done.
What can working moms do to manage the housework?

I’m not sure I have the answer just yet, but I AM trying something new.

I’ve set up a weekly chore schedule and broken down the housework to a little each day - there’s even a day off!

Here’s my schedule:
  • Sunday: clean bathrooms
  • Monday: wash laundry
  • Tuesday: fold laundry
  • Wednesday: sweep & mop
  • Thursday: vacuum
  • Friday: OFF day
  • Saturday: change bed sheets

Plus, every day is de-clutter day, since this can be done simultaneously with the other chores. That means, putting away toys, clearing the day’s mail, and other small tasks. The chores scheduled on the weekend can be done quickly in the morning before heading out for the day. ;)

To keep track of my schedule, I’ve printed out Hannah Keeley’s Total Mom Chore Chart, but any calendar will do.

I’m hoping this will help keep me on track and make things a bit more manageable. I’ve just made my list this week, so I’m only starting to put it into practice.

How do you manage your housework?

About the Author

Melanie is a full-time (outside the home) working mom and has been married for 5 years. Her and her husband have a beautiful, yet very active 2 year old daughter. Melanie writes as Modern Mami at

Read more by Melanie (Modern Mami)

11 comments so far...

  • Life is too short for this. Put aside some of your discretionary money and hire a cleaning service. You work, your husband works...something has to give. My kids are old enough to do chores and in addition to the weekly cleaning service they must clean up after themselves or they lose privileges and allowance. I'm a human being too!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by CreditMom on 15th September 2008

  • @ Mama Maggie: I have the same issue, when the house starts to get too cluttered, it's all I can think of and can't relax.

    @ oceans mom: I do dishes every night after dinner, or on the spot when something gets dirty, so I normally don't have to do a big clean the kitchen ritual.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Melanie (Modern Mami) on 7th May 2008

  • That sounds good but where's "Clean the Kitchen"? That's the big job. We just decided to hire someone to come and do the indepth cleaning. We don't have a ton of money but the time we save is more than worth it. It gives us more family time. I highly recommend this to all working moms.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by oceans mom on 6th May 2008

  • I could not agree more. The problem with "don't expect so much of yourself" is that when you have to live in a messy unorganized house, your mind gets affected and I can't relax. I'm considering going the maid route as well but with two kids in daycare, a mortgage etc.etc. it just feels like a luxury I'm not sure is reasonable right now. I might just attempt your chart! :-) Thanks!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mama Maggie on 6th May 2008

  • Hi all, thanks for your great comments! I want to clarify that this list and schedule of chores is actually shared by my husband and I. ;) I don't do it all myself, but he works full-time also and deals with the same issues that us working moms do. Thanks!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Melanie (Modern Mami) on 4th May 2008

  • Rather than come up with a schedule of all the chores that you do, maybe you should talk to your husband about which ones he is going to do. While your 2-year old can't do much yet, I have my 2-year old help with picking up toys in the living room. My girls, who are a little older have a whole list of chores and that makes life easier for all of us (well, not them). And lower your standards for what has to be done every day or even every week.

    Having it all doesn't mean you have to be stuck with all the crap jobs at home too.

    Mom to 3

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by AmyE on 3rd May 2008

  • I was just looking around at my house today and saying...something needs to change. Thanks for the tips!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by mamajama on 30th April 2008

  • Great suggestions. I try to do it piecemeal, but on an as-needed basis rather than by a schedule. I find that breaking it down into manageable steps is a huge help.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 23rd April 2008

  • I've tried that - doing a little bit each day. And I go GREAT for a while. And then I have that day where I come home and don't want to even do a little bit, and it throws me completely out of whack.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Miss Britt on 22nd April 2008

  • I know not everyone can, but we've hired someone to come in 2x a month and do the heavy lifting of bathrooms, dusting, and floors. She also does the fridge, for which I am constantly gratefull. If you can swing it, I think it's worth it in time spent with family instead of cleaning.
    It took my husband some time to get used to the idea, but he's come around.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by bsazama on 22nd April 2008

  • I totally agree with everything you said! I am in the same boat and prefer quality time over an apartment you can run white gloves over. Thanks for the ideas. Having a visual cue (and reminder) makes it seem less overwhelming and keeps it in perspective. I would love to do all my cleaning at once but I am not superwoman. I am printing out the chart and look forward to an organized clean week!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Walk On the Moon on 22nd April 2008