Some things that helped me get caught up:
- Teamwork (taking a night to work with my husband; having the kids help pick up, too)
- A friend offering to watch the kids for a few hours, so I could have some focused work time (my now 3-year old stayed with me, and I gave him a microfiber cloth and a bottle of Basic-H spray, which is non-toxic, and he helped me spray and wipe. "There's a spot, Mommy! There's some spots!..." Yes, lots of spots.)
- Simple meals and clean-up (time for paper plates!) (A friend who knew my predicament ordered pizza for us one day so that I wouldn't have to make lunch. Bless her!)
- Focusing on two rooms to clean well, instead of picking around in multiple rooms and continuing to feel overwhelmed at the lack of overall, measurable progress. After two rooms were cleaned quite well (kitchen and living room), I chose to do the best I could with the time I had left in the rest of the rooms
I think we judge ourselves and others' expectations more harshly than what the reality is. I was expecting to feel embarrassed. Yet, I was wrong. I was putting undo pressure on myself. Family and friends understand we can't do it all, and they don't expect us to. People are often much more merciful (and willing to help) than we think they may be.
Now that things are somewhat caught up, it takes discipline to keep them that way. Put things away where they belong right away. Keep pickup routines in place. Stay caught up on the laundry. Stay off the computer!