I am perhaps the worst housekeeper ever, of my own home that is. I grew up in a home where everything had its place; the floors were vacuumed and mopped daily, and dusting was routine. In an act of rebellion somewhere along the way, I decided I would not be “that person,” but the truth is living in a clean environment does bring a sense of peace. On the flip side, spending every waking hour to maintain “clean” does not help one achieve that peace either. Cleaning our homes can lead to bitterness (it needs to be cleaned ALL THE TIME and I am so sick of doing it!), frustration (I swear the kids are making a mess out of pure disrespect to me!), and downright exhaustion (did anyone else stay up until 2am folding laundry?) So how can we find a middle ground in the constant battle of cleanliness?
#1 Fake it! This is my every day go-to cleaning practice. I can trick myself into believing my house is truly clean, when it’s actually not. No, it’s not magic, it just takes a little “staging.” First thing in the morning: make the beds. Seriously, no one tell my mother I just said that, promise?! Making the bed INSTANTLY makes the room feel cleaner. It works, just try it! It’s the focal point of the room; so if it is in order, you can overlook a few toys on the floor, an overflowing laundry basket, etc.
Keep all dirty clothes and shoes off of the floor and in baskets. I’m pretty sure this is a problem in every house that has people living in it. Bras on the bathroom doorknob, kids’ socks and underwear and pretty much everything else strewn all over, husband’s shoes in the middle of the floor. Keeping these large items in baskets not only makes the room appear cleaner, but helps with easily carrying it to the laundry room. Clean the counters. Whether it is the kitchen or the bathroom make sure to keep them wiped down and clutter free. It is an instant stress-reliever! And lastly, keep your room a clean and inviting place in your home. No matter how dirty the rest of the house is, being able to retreat to your own personal space for a little clean is a must. Keep your room off limits to the kids’ clutter, work junk, and whatever tends to build up in your room. Make your room about you, about your relaxation, about your personal time with your hubby. So when you can’t spend hours cleaning your entire house top to bottom, remember to just fake it like you did!
#2 Get some help! There are two ways to do this. These are ways that both working moms AND stay-at-home moms alike need to utilize. Working moms, in case you wonder why your SAHM friends complain so much about not being able to keep their house clean even though they stay home all day it is this: they stay at home all day! Imagine the mess your child makes in a couple of hours being home in the afternoon. Imagine what the daycare looks like when you pick your child up. So yes, stay-at-home mom, do not feel guilty for needing help! You have every mother’s permission to ask for assistance! Ask a friend or your mom to watch the kids for an afternoon, so you can clean. We all know cleaning with kids in the house is like sweeping the floor during a tornado. Yes, picking up after the kids go to bed is a nice option, but I’d much rather sit down with a glass of wine and breathe! Hire help. It doesn’t have to be every week, maybe it’s just once a month. A friend told me that having a cleaning lady once a month gives her the freedom to not stress every day with cleaning her home. Knowing that help is coming, that clean is on the horizon, provides a freedom to enjoy our homes and our families with minimal stress.
Keeping our homes clean is something we all struggle with in one way or another. I have yet to meet one mom who is on top of it. (If you have figured it out email me! I’m serious, I need to know your secrets!) We are all in this together. So maybe it’s having a friend come help fold laundry while y’all chat, or using a playdate with your friend to help her do her dishes *shout out to my friends who have done this with me!* Nothing is off limits!