Life with kids: Fun (mostly).
House cleaning with kids: Not so fun (always).
You could spend your entire day cleaning up the effects of the tornado- El Yourkidso- that swept through the house. Unfortunately, you have other jobs like cook for them, chauffeur them around, help them with homework, etc.
You don’t have all day to get your house clean, but finding ways to make it a little tidier would give you a major sigh of relief.
How to do house cleaning
Get your kids to clean up after themselves
Your one-year-old who just dumped the toys out of the bin? She can 100% clean them up, too. Your 3 and 6-year-olds who just spent an hour coloring at the table? They can 100% clean that up, too. Your 10-year-old who just sat in her room for an hour contemplating how she was going to ride out her teen years? She can clean that up, too.
Y’all are one big family. Working together is an absolute must if you want to be one big HAPPY family, and that means making sure everyone’s pitching in to keep the house clean. Explain to your kids that them cleaning up after themselves and participating in daily chores will allow you to have more time to do other things, like hang out with them, take them for a hike, or put them in front of a movie while you get some much needed quiet time. They will learn valuable life skills, which, honestly is a huge component of our jobs as parents.
If that doesn’t work, bribe them with their Halloween candy that you’ve hidden deep in your closet.
Keep your kitchen clean
Dishes are daunting. In fact, they super suck. However, if you get your kitchen clean-dishes done, counters wiped, leftovers growing green hair and starting to move out of the fridge- you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. There may be crumbs all over the floor and a box of toys dumped in the middle of the floor -thanks 1-year-old- but your clean counters will at least give the illusion of a more clean area. Plus, when you go to make them food again, for the fiftieth freakin’ time this hour, you won’t have a mess to battle and contribute to.
Give yourself a house cleaning schedule
Write down all the chores that you want to get done in a week to keep your house clean. Make a big list on a piece of paper and then delegate each task to a specific day. Keep your schedule tacked up somewhere you can refer to it. Try and only give yourself one or two things to do a day, or else it will seem overwhelming. You’ve got a lot on the go other than cleaning up-give yourself some grace and don’t expect too much. This is also a good opportunity for older kids to see exactly how much gets done around the house and what is required to keep the house in a state that can be comfortably lived in. Show them those tasks….then let them choose which ones they would like to do:)
Keep some excuses handy
C’mon. We all know that as lovely as it would be to keep up with all this cleaning stuff it’s likely that you’re going to get behind at some point. That point will be when your ever-judgemental mother-in-law shows up at your door unannounced (even though she’s a 3-hour drive away and had plenty of time to call…). You had no idea you were expecting company and didn’t have time to prepare accordingly – a.k.a. find multiple spots to shove all your random stuff and then clean the urine off the base of the toilet. Invite your unexpected company in your “lived in” house while keeping a few of these handy responses nice and close:
The vacuum just broke this morning
And the broom. And the cleaner bottle.
The essential oils in the diffuser must have gone bad
You know that funky smell is coming from the rotten apple that you can’t find, but your company won’t be able to place it. “Stale essential oils” will give you some time between now and the next time they come over for you to figure out where your 3-year-old hid that half-eaten apple.
The kids are conservationists
Flushing the toilet consumes SO much water. Protect our planet, man!
I asked the kids to leave their toys out
I’m doing a personal training program that requires I run an obstacle course. I’m just getting prepared.
That’s the cupboard we keep our “personal” items in
Of course, “personal” items just means the items that you frantically shoved in there moments before they arrived…but they won’t want to find out.
We like to keep up with the latest findings
And the latest research says that when you get into an unmade bed you have a longer, deeper sleep. It’s better for us all this way.
I’m contributing to my child’s gross motor development
Mt. Hugeasspileofcleanlaundrythatneedstobefolded has been intentionally put there for my children to climb and conquer. Physical activity is very important!
We live here
This is the most logical reason, but for some reason, people just don’t get it. If they don’t like it welcome them to help you pick up after your children and repeatedly clean the same room. Chances are, after 5 minutes they’ll start sobbing in the corner- with no clean towel to dry their tears!
If you’ve futilely used every explanation-twice-hint at how nice and clean the Howard Johnson in town is.
Lose your shit!
Literally. Minimize the amount of stuff you actually have to clean up. Do you really need two coffee makers? Ok, actually, yes…but do you really need a backup corkscrew? Ugh. Such terrible examples.
Try and really contemplate what you have and what you need. Getting rid of toys the kids don’t play with or clothes you haven’t worn since you wore things like acid-washed jeans and scrunchies* will help clear your mind. When you have fewer things to worry about with your house cleaning you’ll enjoy more time not house cleaning, and everybody wants that!
*If you wear things like acid washed jeans and scrunchies give me a shout out. I’m pretty sure you’re my new MILFF (that means Mom I’d Like to Friend on Facebook)!!
We’ve all heard jokes about getting so fed up with our messy houses that we should just burn it down and start again. That seems a little wasteful and dangerous. Simply find a new house to live in and start from scratch. Or, you know, try out these suggestions to keep your house clean and see if it can save your abode-but not so safe your mother-in-law feels at home enough to spend a few nights.