I’m a stay-at-home mother, have been for… 2 1/2 years. I love it. Wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m very thankful.
The most stress I have as a stay at home mother comes from maintaining the cleanliness of my home. I struggle with laziness and procrastination at times. A few times a week. Okay, make that DAILY. I read a lot of blogs of other stay at home moms, most have wonderful schedules/charts they use to maintain their home, and others are content with their homes not being tidy. I belong to some parent websites and I read threads with posts from other moms who struggle the same as I do. I see some women who think it’s okay that we go through this and think it’s okay our house isn’t tidy 50% of the time because we “devote our time to our children”. I see other women who believe that if our husband is out working all day, with no time or choice of laziness and procrastination, then we should work all day as well and our house should be clean most of the time. My husband agrees with the latter. I thought he was crazy at first and we’ve had disagreements over it, but honestly, I’m starting to see things his way. I’ll explain my reasoning.
When my husband and I first met, we both had our own place. His was very clean and tidy, mine was… there were piles of papers on my living room table and piles of clean laundry from my daughter and I on my sofa, but overall, the rooms and bathrooms were clean. Our closets were (and still are) very organized. The kitchen… I… washed dishes about once a week. I didn’t cook often because we always ate dinner at my mom’s who stay 5 minutes away. I was in college and working. I mentioned all that so you can understand my disagreement with my husband. When he would get upset about the lack of cleanliness in our home I would respond, “well you knew how I was before you married me and it was never a problem. It (my place being super clean) wasn’t a big deal! I was happy, Phoenix (my daughter) was happy.” It’s… old now, so my most recent excuse is, “well I’m spending time with the boys! I want ZJ (my 3-year-old) to know all the letters of the alphabet before he starts kindergarten (in 2014) and Gabe (my 1-year-old) requires a lot of attention. He gets into everything! He dumps all the toys out on the ground, ZJ doesn’t help me clean up, he doesn’t listen.” Is that the whole 100% truth? Ummmmm…. Probably NOT. I forgot to add that I spent about 20 minutes looking up new apps to add to my iphone, I spent about 30 minutes on different social networks, about 30 minutes on Pinterest and blog surfing. I watched a couple shows on Hulu that I missed the night before while Gabriel (my 1-year-old boy) was napping… That’s over 3 hours of idle time. And because I like my husband to come home to a clean house, I usually rush to do everything an hour or two before he gets home and spend the rest of the day doing what I should have done while he was at work. I don’t understand how some women blog regularly, but their homes are messy much of the time. They have this mentality:
I used to have it too.
We should stop trying to justify our messy house, especially when it’s always messy. After the care of our children, our homes should come before all the extra stuff. We do have time to keep our home clean AND give our kids the attention they NEED AND blog or shop online or web surf or whatever we want to do.
I’m glad to say that within the past six months I have gotten so much better with the cleaning. My consistency is getting greater. Here’s a “rundown” of what I’ve been doing: I clean and/or quick tidy while my kids are running around or playing with their toys. I can turn on Netflix for ZJ or give him his Spiderman and Batman playsets and he won’t move. Gabe on the other hand… Only food keeps him still. He’s a very busy body. I took down his crib (baby jail) two nights ago because he climbs out of it. I have an “ol’ skool” baby gate, but he shakes it until it comes down. Usually, when I’m unloading and loading the dishwasher, Gabriel gets in the way, he likes to open and close it, it’s frustrating, but doesn’t stop me from doing what I need to do. I’ll tap his hand with a little force and that keeps him away for a sec. Last week I started waiting until after dinner when the kids are laying down or are occupied by my husband to manage the dishes/kitchen or in the morning while the kids are eating breakfast. The dining room is simple, I wipe the table and sweep the floor, 10 minutes tops. I clean the bathrooms early in the morning once a week (sweep, mop, toilets) or during my boys nap time. It takes about 15-20 minutes total on both bathrooms and not a lot of effort. Bathtub is cleaned before each bath. I have my daughter clean the main bathroom counter top with a anti-bacterial wipe to help me out. I “tidy” the living room twice a day usually. The kids play in there a lot. My desk stays a little messy. I want to buy some desk organization items to help me with that. I mop the dining and living room once a week during the kids nap or bed time. I should really do that daily, but… I don’t want to commit to that yet. Laundry… My husband usually washes everything and I’m responsible for folding and putting everything away, but for the past two weeks I’ve been helping wash. I try to have the one basket a day mentality, wash, fold, put away one basket each day of the week, but I have not been successful with that due to procrastination. I tell myself to do it while I watch tv, but I don’t. I just sit, watch, and chill, then I get stuck with having to fold and put away three or four baskets at once. That sucks. During the weekends we’re usually very busy or we’re at home lounging, the kids may have company, so much of the time my house suffers and it’s a hott mess unless we have a “get together” with family & friends over. I spend Monday making up for it.
I help my kids clean up their rooms once a week, their rooms are usually a hot mess. I recently put away a lot of my boys toys at the top of their closet and in large plastic bins that they have to ask me to get for them.
I put three small bins in their room with all ZJ’s action figures because he plays with those all the time. It’s helping so much! My boys room has been clean for three days straight!
I have a cube ottoman in the living room with most of Gabe’s toys in it. Easy clean up.
I will eventually get to the basement as I get consistent maintaining the upstairs. The basement has MORE toys everywhere. A huge train track set, legos… It’s crazy. So far so good with the upstairs though. As for dinner, I cook 4-5 days a week (and fix everyone’s plate). We eat take-out once a week, leftovers on other days. I do all the grocery shopping, I handle all the bills, make appointments, etc.
I do all this, but my husband is out working 8-10 hours outdoors (he installs windows and doors) five, sometimes six or seven days a week because he also has a part-time business doing lawn maintenance AND he does all of our outdoor home maintenance. My husband works his butt off. If he can do that, I can most definitely hold up my end and keep my home in good order. I’ll continue to get better and progress in my “job”.
There’s a difference between a home that is always messy and a home that looks “lived in”, it’s clean, but not spotless. I’m going for the latter. I hope and pray that those of you who, like me, have a problem with procrastination and laziness have a change of heart and find the motivation to give your 100% in doing your “job”. Not only taking care of your children, but also taking care of your house. It’s a wonderful blessing that we have the opportunity to take care of our family and home 24-7 so let’s not take it for granted.
Proverbs 31:27,28 “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”