Monday, April 26, 2010

clean house vs. stimulated kids

So you may remember me commenting a little while back about my lack of cleaning skills......

I'd say that from the moment my firstborn started to crawl I have had this dilemma and feel it will be a dilemma till they are all teenagers and no longer want me to play with them :)

Here's my dilemma. How does one clean a house and keep cleaning and tidying it up all day while also being the full-time carer of active, inquisitive and adventurous children?

Here's what happens in my house: a) While I clean or tidy up one section of the home, the children are pulling out things and leaving a trail of mess in the other parts of the house; b) the children fight and someone inevitably gets hurt; or c) I put the tv on and let them sit there like zombies while I get some things done. All 3 options leave me cranky, guilty and particularly in the first 2 cases 'the scream' comes a-visiting. So what do I do instead?

For the past 4.5 years I have ignored as much as possible, played all day and gone out to lots of interesting places. Now please don't imagine a filthy home with piles of stuff everywhere all the time. Yes, on some days there is a fair bit of mess, but generally I am quite tidy. What annoys me is that I seem to tidy all the time (yes, I know that's a given being a SAHMof 2) and don't seem to get to the deep cleaning.......

Now I don't profess myself to be the best mother in the world - far from it in fact. I also don't condemn those that do have clean houses and think that you must all neglect your children. Not at all.
I am aware of my talents and weaknesses. My biggest weakness is time-management. Something which I aim to improve everyday. Sometimes I do well. Sometimes not so well.

So here's my question: Is it possible to have an immaculate house and stimulate your children all day? Or, is it a case of each taking it's turn.

I have the following quote on my wall:

If you are in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scatttered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will - to your surprise - miss them profoundly (President Monson, Ensign, Nov 2008, 84-87).

It is why I try to play with them as much as I can and create memories of fun outings but......... just sometimes I wish I could have both.............

If you have any tips for doing both, let me know!


  1. I haven't met a mum yet who has both down pat. I believe one of the biggest things we face as Mothers is what a couple of my friends and I call 'Mother's Guilt'. It rips through us like a disease. I can write a long list about all the things that I feel guilty about with regards to raising my children. That's why quotes like the one you mention are treasured by us and if its from a prophet of the Lord then it is gospel as far as I am concerned.
    For the first time I had a moment of wow my children are growing up way fast when I watched old videos. I really felt like even though I still have my children, the child that existed then is gone forever. How am I going to feel when they are fully grown?

    I have been planning on writing a roster of chores up. My aunty does that and she says its mentally freeing because you only have to concentrate on that day. You dont have to feel guilty for not cleaning the floor on Wednesday because the roster says its due for Friday. My problem is I wanted to make a fancy roster and so I haven't started it. I better just write it on a piece of paper and get to it.
    Sorry long comment... I had a crazy day and I think I have PMT :)

  2. I DO not know how people do it. My house is messy Bev. I will admit it. It is clean from 8pm till 6am shame no one visits at that time.

    I see these perfect houses on blogs and think how how?? but american houses are bigger and have more room to have stuff. I have my office in my loungeroom.. how is it possible to be clean??

    I am also a messy cook and always have a messy floor in the kitchen.. but then hey atleast I am cooking and we rarely eat take out.

    Some people are anal about cleaning. I hear stories of cleaning up after professional cleaners, cleaning from when the kids go to sleep till almost midnight!! (I dont clean after 7pm personally)

    Live in the mess and enjoy it.

    Was talking to a lady I visit teach tonight who worked in Bountiful Utah at a doctors and she said she quit because of all the ladies on Prozac. She said they all have to have perfect houses, lives, immaculate.. that it is doing their heads in. She quit because she said there was actually nothing wrong with most of these people and that they just needed to make a mess and embrace their inner hippy.. lol lol

    anyway I am passionate about this probably only because we are messy! lol lol

  3. fly lady does that. only one or two things to focus on each day. I too only do surface cleaning. But I am lucky as Ken is my deep cleaner. On his easter holidays he took everything out of the bathroom and our bedroom and I mean EVERYTHING and started with empty rooms washing walls and dusting etc.. so get elliot to do it for you :)

    I have no answers Beverley. Every Day I throw out a big bag of rubbish. I think where does it all come from!!arrrggg... well it must enter the house some how!!

  4. If I feel like the mess is making me nuts I generally clean one room and then hang out in there for a while. The kids and I have been hanging out in Emmas bedroom for a couple of days now. I bought them a play kitchen, set it up,cleaned the room, and now we live there. :)

  5. Here's what I've done with 3 little ones:

    *Accept the fact that things will be messy (not dirty just untidy) but it's temporary. My children are not temporary and their happiness is more important than a pristine house.

    *Engage my children in helping to clean up, give them a squirty bottle with a bit of water in it and a square of paper towel and ask them to clean the fronts of the kitchen cupboards. Use a washing basket and make a game out of how quickly we can fill it with things to put away then drive it like a car to each room and pop items away like a delivery service.

    *Write a list of what I MUST get done and stick to it.

    *Send them out to play in the back yard while I get the essentials done.

    *Do a trade with a girlfriend that she will watch your kids for 3 hours so you can get that deep clean done and you'll do the same for her once a month.

    *Have ago appropriate expectations for your children and their behaviour.

    *Realise that everyday you have success and despite the monotony of cleaning your teaching your children to take pride in their home.

    If all that fails employ a cleaning lady once a week as a treat to self!


  6. I have this problem and I only have one child...what am I going to do when I have more. I must admit that I did have one goal for this year and that was to have the toilet and bathroom always clean/tidy enough for drop in visitors. I can cope with the rest of the house if those to places are acceptable. So far I am not doing to bad at it... but my boy is still in nappies ;0)

  7. I started writing a long answer to this Bev, and then was concerned that maybe you didn't really want that much advice :) I was always a bit passionate about this when our children were younger - I liked doing it. I'm happy to send more if you like. I'm sure you are doing fine :)


  8. One of the things I loved most about growing up was that my mum was relaxed about letting us be children. I have great memories of making mess and just enjoying life. When I tried to be anally clean as an adult it just made me miserable. I want my kids to be able to be kids and enjoy their childhood. A big clean one day a week, lets me know that anything that I've let slide during the week will be taken care of. I don't feel bad about 'neglecting' my kids play time for one day, and involving them and teaching them responsibility and work ethics instead. I think balance is so important in life. How to achieve that is different for everybody.