Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Children and cleaning.... a lesson I've learned

I learned something.  Right now it is 12:33am and a bit ago I got back up out of bed because I couldn't sleep.  I was upset about something and well I decided that since I wasn't sleeping anyway I should tackle the disaster that is currently my kitchen while everyone else was asleep and the house was peaceful.  To tell you the truth though it felt creepy more than peaceful at this time of night. lol  Anyway while bustling about the kitchen unloading the dishwasher and re-loading it I was thinking about how frustrated and burnt out I felt tonight when KOJ got home.

I've spent the last three days cleaning and organizing.  On Sunday I started a giant re-organization project that touched EVERY room of the house but the bathroom.  So by the time we went to bed Sunday night the house was in shambles.  I've spent the last two days working diligently at putting everything back together only better.  No worries a post with pics to come later this week... maybe next week.  Soon. 

In my cleaning frenzy I've been trying to get the kids to occupy themselves, using the tv as a babysitter more than I like, and just getting really annoyed at having to go back and re-do something I just did because there's a 16 mo old in the house.

She's totally cute (see her first pig tails!) but she's a trouble maker by nature.

Anyway I was pondering in the kitchen about WHY I've been so burnt out.  And I realized that I hadn't been feeling burnt out the last week or two because I'd gotten into a routine of sharing the burden with the kids.  We had gotten into a rhythm of the kids helping.  It isn't always consistent.  It's not always the same task or the same time of day but when things needed to get done I would have the kids help.  They are learning responsibility and it's leaving ME less burnt out.  Only I hadn't realized that yet.  Until tonight.  Now I know.

I know that it is more important for me to spend my time with my children and include them in these things.  Even though it will take longer, not be done as perfectly, and there will often be whining.  I need to let go of the ideal I have in my head of the perfectly clean and organized home.  I need to continue to do the best I can but not lose sight of the fact that it's the kids that are my main priority.  Having an orderly home is for their benefit.  Not the benefit of others.  And if there are cheerios on the floor even though I just swept the dining room for the third time today, oh well.  And if the living room only gets vacuumed once a week we'll live.  I don't want to be a lazy slob anymore but I also don't want to be neurotic about how clean the house is either.  As with just about every area of life and parenting the key is balance.  If someone finds the key let me know, I'd love a copy!


  1. It is so tricky to find the balance!! I know I struggle with keeping the house clean or going overboard.

  2. The busier you keep those kids helping, the less time they'll have to destroy the house. They will be less bored with their toys, because the toys will be more of a luxury. You will be able to praise them more for doing well, instead of tearing down for doing wrong. The entire dynamic of your house could change drastically by implementing this change, even if it does come with whining at first. The positive attention you give them will draw them to want to help, and give them an outlet for receiving attention rather than doing wrong.

    I hope this works for you and can't wait to read about how it goes!

  3. Oh, girl. This is something I struggle with. I constantly question myself. IMHO there is a fine line between them helping and them becoming slaves, KWIM? I admire you for finding that balance for your family. I have yet to do that. I had it down before we met a family whose children did everything and they did NOTHING. It made me ill. Now I question myself more. Keep up the good work momma. You're inspiring!

  4. Hand those kids some wipies and a small vaccuum! TRUST me! My kids fight each other over a sweeper vac and a dirt devil hand hel vacuum... and they LOVE to fight over who gets to spray and who gets to wipe with all purpose cleaner on the table, floor, chairs, whatever! If they are willing, I love to get their help. They really do enjoy it.

    Good for you for recognizing that you need to get them in on the action for your sanity. :)