I agree with letting the chores slide for now. If your kids can help and you can manage to get them to help out without feeling like you've turned into a drill sergeant (easy to do so close to the birth), absolutely let them help. But mostly, I wouldn't expect anything but basic, basic stuff right now.
Regarding pioneer women... ugh. I stopped comparing myself to them when I realized they had basic cooking equipment and easy to clean furniture so there was less to take care of. Laundry's pretty easy when you only have 3-4 dresses in your wardrobe and nothing else (except underthings). Plus, from what I remember our ancestors had a habit of hanging up clothes that weren't that dirty so they could be worn again before wash day.
As for cooking, simplify. Pioneer women weren't expected to make elaborate meals everyday and neither should I! I make very simple dishes that are easy enough the kids can help me. Between that and the crock-pot, we survive. Barely sometimes, but we survive.
Back to cleaning... ironically, after each of our kids (I have 7) I learned that there were only two chores that had to be done every day or the whole house fell apart: laundry... and dishes.
The kids can help with both of those while you supervise (I haven't met a two-year-old yet who doesn't love putting away silverware). I've even heard of families where the older kids (like heading into puberty older) were responsible for their own laundry, start to finish. The mom rebelled, taught them the basics so they couldn't say she hadn't tried, and refused to pick it up again, even if the kid put it off so there was nothing for him/her to wear. I'm trying a more graded approach so it's not that much of a shock.
So anyway, if only dishes and laundry got done, I celebrated because that's often a huge accomplishment when you're post-partum. Anything else was optional and streamlined. And if you're curious about those optional chores, I will elaborate.
For the living room, I kept a box or basket and just threw whatever happened to be on the floor into the basket (except for trash which went into a grocery bag looped on my wrist). And I made sure I only worked for 5 min. at that and made at least a walkable path. Then, I would take a 15 min. break and play with my baby or just rest. For my older kids, if they left their stuff on the floor, I would confiscate it and they had to earn it back. Only a few items were ever earned back because the kid would decide it just wasn't worth the effort. So, we would end up inadvertently decluttering.
I learned bathrooms are really fast to clean if you take care of them every day, so I gathered up my "bathroom cleaning supplies" in one of those caddies you see maids carry and make sure the sink, toilet and tub get shined up (and toilet bowl is swished). Once a week I clean the glass, the floors and the baseboards. Anything else gets ignored until my baby's older. Once again, I take a 15 min. break after working 5 min.
The kids are responsible for their rooms. I've been teaching them how to break the job down and that seems to help but I do not make their beds past the age of four. And only in rare instances do I pick up their rooms, and then never when I'm recovering from anything. Because I practically hibernate in my room after a birth, I make a point of trying to clean up my own for 5 min. a day with a 15 min. break afterward.
As for the kitchen, I just pick up as I go along and the kids wipe down counters and tables. We all take turns sweeping. The kids dust because they throw tantrums when I won't let them, and two of them can vacuum their room with supervision. I found a big key in getting my kids to help is to let them when they offer (they're still young enough that this works). Letting them work on their schedule tends to make them more amenable when I do have pull them into my schedule. When my husband isn't exhausted from work, he'll help too.
This is the most house-cleaning I do until the kid is 6 months old. In fact, it's often just laundry and dishes.
You have just brought one of God's spirit children into this world. It's not a small thing. It takes a lot of energy and adjustment. Go easy on yourself.
Finally, I found making sure I ate nutrient-dense foods helped a lot in recovering from childbirth. Wheatgrass was a big help (I recommend powdered if you find chewing the fresh juice is too much). Alfalfa sprouts, spinach and other greens, whole grains and legumes, etc. helped me keep from feeling like I was dying. I also fell in love with juicing and found that helps as well. Raw foods give me energy. And laughing. I've been searching for something wholesome to laugh about each day. There are days I can't find a single thing, but the looking helps by itself.
I hope this helps. The most important thing right now is your health and your baby. Make that your priority and everything else will settle into place eventually.
I was the oldest of five so I'm sorry if I've come across as overbearing. Just thought some practical suggestions based on my experience might help.
I'm quietly basking in the truthiness of wikiality.