Okay, I’ll admit it—and everyone who knows me will confirm—I am a NEAT FREAK. So much so, that I find cleaning therapeutic. I know…not everyone can relate. ?
Sadly, my children do not share my love for cleaning. They more so enjoy jumping in piles of clean laundry that need to be folded, using five dishes for one meal or dripping glue all over the craft table. Even my husband grumbles that we ‘live in a museum’ on days when my need for cleaning reaches a *certain* threshold.
Though cleaning may or may not be your thing, I’m willing to bet you are painfully familiar with the concept of trying to clean while your kids make a game out of following you around from room-to-room undoing your hard work. This seems to happen at my house on a regular basis.
Smudges on freshly cleaned windows and mirrors? Check.
Spilling flour related to an impromptu kitchen experiment after the counters have just been cleaned with granite sealant? Yep.
Dumping ALL the Legos in the middle of the living room floor after I just finished vacuuming? “But moooooom, you’ve already vacuumed, so we can play here now!”
Knocking over a pile of perfectly folded laundry because they’re “helping.” Been there.
Asking (very nicely, of course) for them to not touch the cleaning solution spray bottles as you try to scrub the bathroom. 100%.
Or my personal favorite—wearing an outfit for *literally* 15 minutes around the house, then deciding it’s not the right “look” and throwing everything into the laundry bin. (Seriously?!)
I could honestly keep going for days.
Bottom line: Cleaning with kids can be maddening and can push even the strongest mama over the edge. (No wonder there are so many memes on the subject! ?)
Some days I get so frustrated, I question whether there is even a point. I often think that maybe I should just give up cleaning until my kids leave for college…
But eventually, I get a grip and take a deep breath. Because I know myself. I know that clutter makes me anxious and I know I’m happier when my house looks clean. (Yay for self-awareness!) So I often get into my daily zen space and spend 15 minutes tidying up after they go to bed. Sometimes this just works best.
But let me hit you with the real talk.
While I happen to enjoy cleaning, I also realize that I’m ‘mom,’ not ‘maid’ to my children. To keep my sanity (and also to prepare my girls for the real world where others will not be cleaning up after them), I have transferred ownership of various age-appropriate chores to my little ladies.
They are expected to make their beds in the morning, load and unload the dishwasher, help fold and put away their clean laundry, to name a few tasks. (They are six and nine.) They groan and grumble. And the eye rolls! They could win Oscars for best dramatic performance with those.
But when it all gets to be a bit much, I put on the Trolls soundtrack, and we dance while we fold laundry together. Voila! Instant fun and quality time with your kids. ?
And while everyone (reluctantly) participates in keeping our home reasonably clean, I must say—I really look forward to Wednesdays every other week when my amazing cleaning lady transforms our house into a clean, lavender-scented retreat. I get to revel in the joy of a spotless house for two blissful hours before my cute little Ambassadors of Mess arrive.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve had to work on striking a balance between my high standards for cleanliness and the rest of my families’ lower standards. Because my kids are exploring and creating and playing and, well...being kids.
Kids don’t seem to see messes—they see opportunities for fun!
They don’t always see piles of things—they see more things to take out!
They don’t necessarily see the tidiness as we do—they just see their home. The place where they feel safe and comfortable and happy to play in.
To this day, maintaining cleanliness for longer than just a few hours seems impossible with kids. But there are lots of things that seem impossible as moms, right? And yet, we power through and find a way to rise to the challenge to get the task done.
And hey, if all else fails, it’s also *totally* okay to watch an episode of Hoarders just to feel like your house is spotless in comparison! We won’t tell. ?