Moms: Cut the Chaos - Amy

"My house is in utter chaos," says Amy, who has a 5-year-old, a 2-year-old and an 11-month-old. "Kids running around, screaming and fighting. Looking like I

haven't showered in days ... I don't remember the last time I used the bathroom without somebody in there with me, and I just feel like my needs come last."  Amy says that she takes care of everything in the house. "I entertain the children, nurture, discipline, do the dishes, the laundry, the cooking, the errand running. I do everything," she says. "My husband helps, but he helps from the recliner mostly."


"When I walk in the door it looks crazy in the house. There are clothes everywhere, toys everywhere, dishes everywhere. There's usually mud on the floor, who knows what else on the floor. It's a complete mess," says Amy's husband, Jeremie. "It's frustrating for me because I put 100 percent into my job, but I don't feel like she puts 100 percent into her job at home."


Amy details some of the chaos she encounters with the kids. "One day, my son came running inside from just dropping a fresh pile of poop, because he's being potty trained,

and he somehow managed to get the poop on his hands and his feet and he was smearing it in all over the floor," she says. Another time, her son took out a bottle of dishwashing soap and squeezed it all over the floor. "A good day can be a bad day in a matter of seconds with a 2-year-old running around," she says.


Amy wonders how long much longer she can go through this. "There are a lot times when I wonder, ‘Can I really take care of these three kids and raise them until they go to college?'" she says. 

Jeremie says, "Amy is 100 percent ready to snap. She starts to run around the house screaming. It scares the kids. It scares me. I don't know what's going to happen next. The kids don't know what's going to happen next, and so we all kind of freeze," he explains.

Amy turns to Dr. Phil for help. "There's some days I want to scream and there's some days I do scream."

"What do you predict is going to happen if it continues this way?" Dr. Phil questions.

"I think they're going to be really wild. I'm going to start screaming and yelling more," Amy replies.

"Your husband just isn't really plugged in, right?" Dr. Phil asks.

Amy says that he is starting to plug in a little more. "He hasn't been around for the past five years, because he was in the Navy," she explains. "I get in this little groove and he's like, ‘I don't want to mess up your thing.' That's what happens. I end up doing it all."

Dr. Phil tells Amy, "You've got your rules. You've got your rhythm. You've got your pattern, and he kind of feels like an interloper."
"I'll correct him if he tries to do something," Amy adds. "But I know where everything is, and he doesn't know where anything is, and that frustrates me."

Dr. Phil sent "The Mom Squad," Mary Goulet and Heather Reider, two moms who wrote the book The MomsTown Guide to Getting it All, to surprise Amy and help her get the chaos in her house under control.


"The chaos in my life made me pull my hair out. My kids were running the house and I never had a plan," says Heather, mother of three boys.


"I didn't have a second for myself," explains Mary, mother to two young girls. "One night, I was so desperate, I stayed up all night making a list of ways I could save time."


Heather and Mary got together and figured out a system to make their lives easier, and they decided to help other moms with their techniques. They have a weekly Internet talk radio show called

"MomsTown Reality Radio," and they wrote the book, The MomsTown Guide to Getting it All.


Mary offers a tip for moms. "Kids can help calm the chaos by helping with simple things," she suggests. "They get involved in meal time. I pull chairs up to the chopping block so they can participate."


Heather suggests moms try and find at least 15 minutes a day for their alone time. "We're all in this together," she says. "We empathize with what moms are going through. We also want them to know there's hope, and we want to provide that."

Mary and Heather arrive at Amy's house and  begin their mission in the bedroom. "That's where your day begins," Mary explains, as she straightens up Amy's room. "I have a rule: If it's on the floor, it goes in the hamper."  Heather takes a pile of folded clothes and tells Amy that they should either be in drawers or in the closet.

The bathroom is next. "If your bathroom is a mess, you're going to feel like a mess," says Heather. She and Mary help Amy put all the clutter away so the top of the sink is visible.

The team moves to the downstairs. "We like to say, ‘The river runs through it,' and that is how the energy flows," Mary explains.

"If your living room is free of clutter, it will help your day run smoother," Heather adds. They rearrange Amy's furniture so she can "move more quickly and efficiently" through her home.

The kitchen is the next stop on the house clean-up tour. "The kitchen is the heart of the home, and if the kitchen is messy and cluttered, you're going to feel disorganized," says Mary. They clear the papers stuck to Amy's refrigerator and move the microwave so it's not at an angle, therefore taking up less space. Heather suggests that if Amy doesn't have time to do the dishes, she should at least move them to the sink, freeing up the countertop space.

Mary and Heather tell Amy to keep a small container of age-appropriate activities for each of her children close at hand. When she needs a short break, she should give the box to the kids and say, "It's Mommy time."

Jeremie joins Dr. Phil and Amy onstage. "You get the fact that this is really wearing her to a frazzle," Dr. Phil says to Jeremie.

Jeremie explains that he was in the Navy and just got out in July. He left three days after their oldest daughter was born, came home when his son was 3 months old, and was working 15 hours a day as a recruiter when their youngest daughter was born. "I have no idea how to be a dad," he says. He adds that he has had three vasectomies because they didn't plan to have three kids under t

he age of six.

Dr. Phil offers Amy advice. "You've got to invite him into this situation," he tells her. "You've got to stop complaining and start asking specifically for what you want him to do. And you can begin by identifying some specific things." He also suggests that Jeremie apply himself more when he offers to help Amy. Dr. Phil faces Amy and says, "As you were saying at the break, you're very exacting."

"I'll tell him if he's doing it wrong," Amy admits.

"Wrong means it's not being done exactly, precisely the way you decided it needed to be done," Dr. Phil clarifies. "The truth is, you really do need the help. And when you ask for help, you've got to be willing to let somebody find their own way to getting it done, and allow it." He suggests they set up a calendar of their day and talk about what needs to get done and what tasks Amy would like Jeremie's help with. Noting Jeremie's Navy experience, he adds, "He can bring some real contribution to this for you, because you probably do need some regimentation here. The kids probably need some regimentation and predictability."

"How do I do that without having to sleep on the couch?" Jeremie asks.

"You both have to be willing spirits here," Dr. Phil tells them.  "Talk about it and say, 'This is what we were talking about on the show ... where I feel like my saying this is going to wind me up on the couch' " which might be the best place for you, given the pattern that we have here," he jokes with Jeremie.


He addresses Amy. "You don't have all the answers, so don't set yourself up as an expert judging all of his input," he tells her.


Next, he looks at Jeremie and says, "You don't have all the answers so don't judge what she's doing in your absence." They should approach it as a team, and love every idea for 15 minutes, thinking it through before they disapprove of it.