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363110 tn?1340920419

Tips on managing housework?

This may be an odd post but I am just now getting into the full role as homemaker.

Hubby and I just moved into our first house, a 3 bed 2 bath and almost 2000 sq. ft. . The last place we had by ourselves was a 1 bedroom apartment and then we moved into the house that I got injured in. Since injuring my back almost 2 years ago I hadn't done too much housework other than cleaning our bedroom and bathroom and picking up occasionally around the house. there were so many ppl there and if I had tried to keep it cleaned I'd have never caught up. my younger siblings had chores but rarely did them so the place was a mess.

Now that we are in this new place and it's just me and hubby I know it's my responsibility to keep the house clean and watch our boys, and I WANT to keep it clean because I was sick of living in the mess we had at the other house, but with my back pain I'm finding it kind of hard to get the chores done. We've only been here 3 days and I'm making sure I clean as I do things like cook or do baths but I want to make sure I keep up on all of this because if I get too behind on housework my back pain will keep me from getting everything done.

Right now my back pain is treated with Norco (1x4hrs), neurontin 300mg 3x day and heat and Lidoderm patches but none of those helps too much once my pain gets to a certain level and cleaning or physical labor tends to jack up my pain levels ALOT.  a big plus about this house is it's all 1 level, no stairs and there is a really big tub in our bathroom which is GREAT for soaking in.

Does anyone have tips on managing my back pain on worse days so that I can get the house cleaning done?  hiring someone outside is not an option.

Tuck, I know you deal with alot of pain. What do you do?


I'm only 23, and we have a 19 month old and an almost 4 month old. I hate hurting so much day in and day out and even though I've learned how to manage my back pain most days it's just not enough.
14 Responses
356518 tn?1322263642
I had to learn this... Do what you can!
I am a perfectionist and want everything perfect and I was literally killing myself to get it done. I now do what I can and it bothers me alot but I had to learn to let some of it go.
My hubby works from 4am until 7or 8 pm so I do the house the yard the kids and manage the business'. It is alot of work plus I am home schooling my girls 6 and 7.
I do give them chores such a loading the dishwasher and dusting and they have to keep their room clean. I would suggest starting early with your young ones as far as implementing small chores and always make them pick up behind themselves such a toys.
I used to do it all until I got to the point where I was overwhelmed and I then made my girls start helping and cleaning up behind themselves and it was hard as I used to do it all for them. I wish I had started early.
It is a job handling the home the yard and the kids. But just pace yourself and do what you can:)
655875 tn?1295695107
I leave the housework undone.  I'm a stay at home mother of three young girls.  There is nothing I can do.  It's not worth going into unbearable pain to keep the house clean.  It's impossible to do.  

I do what I can and that is it, which is about two things in a day!  I don't stress out what I can't do.  My husband does ALL of the shopping and taking the kids to their activities.  My oldest daughter will sometimes pick up what I can't do.  

I try and ride the stationary bike for a few minutes at a time.  I was walking for a while, but it was just too hard on my neck.  I went too far and had a flare up with unbearable pain for weeks.

I'm very lucky to have such an understanding husband.  He picks up the slack for me.
Avatar universal
Like the others, about the best advice I can give is to only do what you can comfortably do.  Some days that will be more than others.  The important thing is to not do too much on a day that you are feeling a little less pain in the hopes of "getting caught up" on the housework.  All it will end up doing is letting your pain "get caught up" with you!!!  I've learned this lesson the hard way after many years of chronic pain issues.

Another tip that I've learned is to do whatever I possibly can sitting down.  Of course, sitting does not get rid of the pain, but at times it certainly beats standing up (one of my pain issues is severe arthritis that is going to require double knee replacements in the very near future).  Pull a chair up next to the tub when you're bathing the children - sit at the kitchen table or counter (if they're low enough) to chop or peel or preparing food, sit on the couch or bed to fold laundry.  Even sit down to change diapers.

Your children are quite young, but there are little things you could ask the older one to help you with - bringing you a diaper for the baby, etc.  it may not seem like much, but when you have those times that you're juggling a crying baby in one arm, a bottle in the other and maybe some laundry here or there and you JUST sit down to change a poopy diaper when you realize that you've gotten the baby and the poopy diaper, but have forgotten the wipes and the CLEAN diaper -- believe me, just that little task will seem like a godsend for your child to do for you.  And it also helps make them feel important having  "job" to help mommy.

One other thing that I've had to learn the hard way -- NEVER, EVER be afraid or ashamed to ask for help!!  I know hiring outside is out of the question (it is for many of us), but perhaps you have a friend or neighbor or relative that maybe you can call on once in a while - if nothing else to watch your children for maybe like an hour so you can take advantage of that wonderful soaking tub to help ease your pain.  If this isn't possible during the day, try asking your husband to watch them in the evening for a while so you can do this.  If you're having a bad day and can't manage to wash all the dishes that have accumulated during the day - leave them and ask your husband to help you in the evening.

I know it's hard to do, but try to remember, it's very, very important to take care of YOU so that you can take care of your family.

I'm glad to hear that your new place is all on one level - for me, moving into a new apartment (last September) was one major thing that I did for myself.  Stairs are definitely NOT my friends at all and I try to avoid them at all costs.

Best of luck and take it slow!
363110 tn?1340920419
Sandee~ Thanks for replying. When my kids are old enough and big enough to start helping I plan on giving them chores to do. I started doing a daily chore when I was 6 years old. I don't agree with just letting my kids do what they want to and cleaning up after them all the time once they are old enough to help because they'll just end up spoiled lol.

RunningMom~ You are lucky to have such an understanding husband. My husband is very understanding also but I know that when he comes home to a filthy house it just stresses him out which isn't good for either one of us. He already helps out so much. As soon as he gets off work at 2:30 and comes home he doesn't rest. He takes one of the boys the moment he walks in the door and plays with him, then at dinner time he usually will clean up since I am the one that cooks. I can probably get him to watch the boys for an hour while I take a long bath.

Geminigirl~  if my older son could walk or crawl I'd ask him for help lol. TJ may be 19 months old but developmentally he's at about an 8 or 9 month level. He has down syndrome and by the time he was 6 months old had spent 4 months immobile in the hospital..
I'm not willing to ask any of my family for help because part of the reason we moved was due to them, my mom especially, holding stuff over hubby and my's heads.

I do have a friend I can ask if I really need to. I was just hoping that some of you might have techniques that I hadn't tried yet.
1152183 tn?1273011695
I bet you are relieved having more space! Congratulations!

I have found that rotating between activities helps. On days when I work at home, I will type for a while, then go perform part of a project, like cleaning a bathroom, moving laundry around-ever so gently- or other things that can be broken into smaller tasks. I might add some crochet in there so that, when I take a break int a room I am working on, I don't have to work up the energy to walk clear back to that room. I just stop while in that room, for about 30 minutes, then slowly get started again!
363110 tn?1340920419
Thanks. I hadn't thought of that actually. I'll give it a try tomorrow when I'm cleaning. :)
Avatar universal
are you supposed to clean your house???????
363110 tn?1340920419
Yes I am supposed to clean my house, lol.   This morning I got quite a bit done, the dishes and kitchen floor, and I got all except my bedroom and bathroom picked up and wiped down.

I tried wiping off, then sat down and played with the boys and then did the dishes and sat down again and had a snack and then I swiffered the floor. my back isn't killing me but it is hurting pretty bad. :(  it doesn't help that I'm going on about 2 hrs of sleep.
Avatar universal
Ugh, I think Vacuuming is the worst task. To bad there is no ride on vacuum. Imagine being on your own?
Be thankful you have kids you can dole out the chores. My back always feel completely awful afterwards.  I wish it were fantasia and the chores, stupid ;aundry and dishes (maybe I can not eat hah) would do itself :/
547368 tn?1440541785
Sorry I am late to your post. I have been out of town.

Our members have offered some great suggestions. Obviously when I was still employed I hired a cleaning lady to come in and keep the big things done. I still have her in every month or two. She is inexpensive and it is worth every penny I pay her. So give that some thought. If you look you may find someone you can afford....even a younger relative or teen neighbor may come in for a smaller charge than a professional cleaning service.

I am not the perfectionist that Sandee is....bless her heart I don't know how she does it all. You will not find dishes stacked at my house but you may find carpets in need of vacuuming.  Thank goodness my house is all one level also.

I have been told by several physicians that I cannot vacuum, sweep, carry laundry or empty a dishwasher and other similar things. Thankfully I have a husband that helps. I do things in stages. Many times I do the things I have been told I can't do because of necessity but I break it up. I organize my cleaning and set priorities.

It may take me six hours to get the vacuuming done. I do it in sections a half hour after I take my pain med. And I do it well so the next time my husband can get the center. I rest between each section.  I  may have to wait till my second pain med dose is do to finish it but that's ok. I do every thing that way. I have to or it will not get done. I do mopping the same way. I use a swiffer wet jet most of the time and actually "mop" about every three weeks....I wait for a good day.

Understand that there are more important things than a spotlessly clean house.  I've learned to make my steps count. When ever I must go to one part of the house for anything I look around to see if there is something that needs to be taken with me. I try to do double duty....if that makes sense.

I clean bathrooms and surfaces by allowing the product to do the work for me. Buy good products. For example I use a lot of pump spray ones and let them sit and respray and than clean the area. So I don't have to scrub.

I also use cheap bleach to clean surfaces. I usually have a small pail full of cleaning solution and as I go to areas of the house I take the cleaning rag and wipe surfaces down. When I return I place the rag back into the cleaning water until the next trip that takes me to another part of the house. I don't know if I am making any sense. It may help to know that my personal bathroom and master bedroom is in the back of the house.  

I have small step stools in strategic locations so I don't have to reach. Once I am on the floor to clean out something I do other things that I can do from the floor, again to avoid reaching or bending which absolutely kills me.      

I find that if I do the house in small stages and plan the cleaning it is easier for me than cleaning for an hour or two at a time. Ppl with chronic pain simply cannot clean house like ppl without CP. I use to take a day and clean the entire house and do the wash. I can no longer do that!  As you begin to put your plan into practice you will discover things that make it easier. I call it organized cleaning. I don't clean an entire room in one day. I clean a portion of most rooms everyday so that in several days I have cleaned everything.

I also enlist the help of close friends or young relatives. I have several that will help me do this or that...but I don't ask often and I always reward them with a gift or a dessert or something that I know they enjoy.  

There's a beautiful poem that says in part that what you will not be remembered by how clean your house was or how often you washed your windows but how well you loved and were loved....and I believe that is so true. Given the choice between vacuuming and baking my granddaughter her favorite dessert...the dessert wins out every time. I was blessed to become a grandma at 32. My granddaughter does not say, "Boy grandma's living room needed vacuuming.".she says  "Boy, grandma made some great brownies."  

Chronic pain demands that we make choices in our lives...make good ones.

~Tuck
678449 tn?1263554616
Thank you for bringing this up and to everyone else who shared their experiences.  I am 34 and single.  I cannot keep my small apartment up.  I do the dishes, toilet and when feeling good small sections at a time.  I often feel embarrassed to have friends and family over as they are having a harder time understanding my limitations than I am.  But I have also learned sometimes you HAVE to let people help you.  My mom comes down 3 days a week to offer company, help me shop and often helps me get caught up on cleaning.  

I am hoping to have a family some day, and give my poor mother a break, and you all offer great tips.  Some of which I use now and some to think about in the future.

Most of all these posts reminded me I know what I can do and other are having the same issues.  So, thanks and good luck to us all :)

Michelle
1187071 tn?1279369698
Congrads on your house. I know how you feel we just moved into our first house in December and we went from a 2 bedroom apartment to a 4 bedroom house. I just do what I can that is all I can do. I am lucky cause my husband will do what I can't get done. He is like me and can't stand the house to be dirty. I also gave my kids things to clean and do it is for them to earn some money and for me to get some help with the house work plus they know I deal with pain all the time so they feel good about their selfs when they can help me. Just don't do it all at once you are not super woman and you can't. Baby steps is all you can do.
Jamie
547368 tn?1440541785
Good thought Jamie. I neglected to congratulate Marti on her new home. Sorry, so please accept my congratulations a bit tardy.

My third home was a brand new 4 bedroom, 3 bath 2,400 sq ft home with all the bells and whistles I could hope for. Beautiful, but a multi-level home.  We still owned the lakefront home we currently reside in but the new home was in the city we moved to for about ten years. I thought it was perfect. But it was not perfect for someone that had chronic pain. I was lucky to have this lovely one level when we returned "home."

So congrats and enjoy. Do what you can. Your friends come to see you and not your house.

~Tuck
596605 tn?1369946627
My own pain situation really makes impossible to do any heavy cleaning. The hubby and I really took a good look at our household budget.We made certain changes that have allowed us to have a cleaning person come twice a month for three hours ($60 twice a month).  

We did this by making a bunch of little things that opened up our budget. No more bottled water (we use refillable containers). We drink way less soda and more ice tea. I can't drink alcohol any more so we are not paying for me having 1-2 beers a night. We try to eat healthfully and use more beans and way less meat.

We also looked at how my disability saves us money for certain things ie: I can't drive on the pain meds, so we don't have the expenses for a second car. We no longer pay for that extra car insurance/car note and maintenance,gas etc for a second car.

I'm on Social Security so I have Medicare. Now I have very few medical related co-payments. Just got part D this year and not even paying much for meds now. I have a copy of the Part D formulary and have worked with my docs to get as many meds and SUPPLEMENTS prescribed.

I know that some people might not be able to manage this but it might help someone.
~Horsie
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