Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mamma chores

We bought our house a few months before I gave birth to the twins, and moved in about two weeks before they were born, right after we started major renovations.  It was insane.  The house was from the 50's, and appeared to have been remodeled at least somewhat during the 70's.  The exterior walls were uncovered cinder-block and it appeared from the street to be something of a cold war bunker.  It had three bedrooms, two baths, no laundry room, and a strange one-car-garage-carport combo.  It also had horrible finishing materials - linoleum, cheap laminate flooring, and old dirty carpet.  It was situated right in the middle of its oddly-shaped lot, pretty far back from the street, and didn't have a fence separating it from one of its backyard neighbors.  It also had no working irrigation system and a pool that was decades old and, as we found, not worth updating.  Essentially, it had a ton of work that needed to be done to make it into the pretty darn nice house it is today.  (That might make you wonder why we even bought it, but the reason was the size and location of the property).

Because of some of the limitations the house had, we didn't have a ton of options in the remodeling process.  Since our great room is right in the middle, and we needed to add bedrooms, bathrooms, and a laundry room, these needed to be added to the far ends of the house (since you can't really stick your master bedroom in front of the entry!).  This makes our house appear really large from the street, since it is essentially just long and narrow.  It also makes the master bedroom extremely far from the front door, although it doesn't look unbalanced from the outside, since we have the garages on the other end of the house.

Practically speaking, though, some of these limitations make life a little harder, mostly having to do with noise levels and getting work done while people are sleeping.  We have a beautiful great room more or less at the center of the house, with the kitchen being at the end where the bedrooms branch off.  Since our kids sleep with the bedroom door open, and it's just down the hall from the kitchen, it's difficult to do much in the early morning when I get up for fear of waking them.  Unloading the dishwasher, washing leftover dishes from the night before, or prepping food tend to be chores that are too noisy for me to do when I'm up early.  This morning I was planning to finish making and canning tomato sauce, but when I got out my machine that peels and seeds the tomatoes, I remembered that it makes a sort of thwapping sound every time I turn the handle, and it would probably be too loud for a house that is otherwise completely silent.  Darn it!

Another issue is that since we had no laundry room, and there was no room to add it where we added the guest room (which is sort of by itself between the great room and garage), we had to add it where we added the master bedroom.  The washer and dryer are against the same wall that the head of our bed is against, on opposite sides, of course.  While my husband is a pretty sound sleeper, it would still be pretty mean of me to try to run any loads of laundry while he's trying to sleep in the morning.  I know I can't fall asleep at night if the dryer is still running when I go to bed.  So the two rooms in the house that are sort of the "workhorses" can't be used when I'm up early and able to tackle chores.  It's really inconvenient.

Another issue is that the office, a room that might eventually become a third kid bedroom, shares a wall with the kitchen.  I know from experience when I've been working in there that it's practically like being IN the kitchen as far as noise levels.  That wall is where our stove is, and also a lot of large drawers where we store big heavy things like pots and pans.  It can get really noisy if anyone is cooking or putting dishes away.  Not to mention talking or listening to music.  So that might be a problem in the future.

Right now, I use the guest bedroom for my sewing (whenever I actually get around to doing sewing projects, anyway).  If/when we have an au pair in there, that won't be possible anymore, so that's going to be another issue.  Hopefully I can get our office cleaned up to the point where I could set up to sew in there - with the door closed, I could probably manage to that in the early morning while kids are sleeping. Although with the new baby coming, I don't know when I'll have time.

What this teaches me is that I need to better organize my chores so I do my loud ones during the day while everyone is awake, and my quieter ones late at night or early morning while others are sleeping - I guess this would be folding laundry, paying bills, computer work, etc.  And that maybe I need to find some crochet projects instead of sewing ones for a while - that might work while I'm nursing, too!

I titled this post "Mamma chores" because this really only pertains to me.  At the moment, my husband doesn't have much in the way of chores, and neither do the kids, but I hope to change that a bit.  I'm realizing how much work it's going to take on my part to actually get anyone in this house to help me with just about anything.  I also am realizing how much work it's going to take to get this household more organized - with everyone's papers, laundry, other belongings, activities, schedules, school and work, errands, and chores, I'm understanding now why SAHM's are considered to be CEOs.  Our lives this summer have been chaotic and our house has been in shambles and I'm wondering how we'll add a baby to the mix unless I get on top of things somehow, ASAP.  And with the kids home for the summer, and in school only a few hours a day this fall, plus a bunch of actual work coming up for me, I don't know how it's all going to happen.  Which is why I'm slowly working on all kinds of organizational projects.  I'll try to talk more about those in some upcoming posts.  Maybe just so I can laugh at my past self sometime down the road!

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