1. Set simple goals.
I don't kick myself if I don't do any laundry. Depending on how sick I am, I don't even let myself feel guilty if I don't cook supper. That's what peanut butter sandwiches and cereal are for.
2.Focus only on basic needs.
Feed the kids and change their diapers. Don't feel like you have to do any more than that.
3. Try to think of simple things to feed the kids that are easy to clean up.
Peanut butter sandwiches aren't bad; all you need to do is put away the peanut butter, jelly, and bread and put the plates in the dishwasher when they're done. No mess created; not too terribly difficult for momma. You may also want to have some stuff on hand that they can get out completely independently. We like GoGo Squeez fruit at our house.
4. Keep the kids in one room as much as possible.
I put the kids in one of their bedrooms where they can play with toys. I sit in the chair or lay on my son's bed while they play. If I try to go to sleep in my own bedroom, they'll be all over the house doing who-knows-what. If I keep them in one room, they aren't able to be (terribly) destructive.
5. Keep special activities on hand that they only get to play with when you really need them to stay occupied.
By doing these things, I am able to keep the kids from creating horrible messes that my husband will have to clean up when he comes home. It also helps keep me from getting depressed about having a messy house on top of being physically sick.
(You may also like the post “How to Survive When You're in Survival Mode“)
I never, ever, ever thought that we would not be done potty training Little Bear by now. He 3 years and 3 months old, and he started showing an interest right around age 2. That's over a year we've been at this thing. Every time I sit him on the potty, he's ready to get right back down because he's bored. I make him sit there for a while, but he won't go. Then, of course, he goes in his diaper, pull-up, underwear (I've tried them all) right after that. He really doesn't care if he walks around in a wet or dirty diaper, pull-up, or underwear. He doesn't tell mommy before or after he goes, even though he knows he's going to get in trouble. The cold shower thing – miserable during the experience, but he forgets all too quickly the next time. I've read everything, asked everybody, and tried all of it, but nothing's working.
You know what's sad? After a year of this, I finally realized that this is not something I have prayed about. God knows what it is that will help Little Bear “get it”. But I haven't asked Him for wisdom. I haven't asked him to help Little Bear understand and be willing to stop playing long enough to tell mommy he needs to go potty.
That's going to change. This will be on my prayer list now, and I will wait for answers from the Lord.
Update: Jan. 2018. After many more years of experience on this topic, I wrote a post called “What to do when potty training is not working.”
I could have saved myself a lot of stress if I had known then what I know now.
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