I think it was Erma Bombeck who said that "cleaning your house while you are raising children is like shoveling the sidewalk while it's still snowing." Well- sometimes it is actually a good idea to shovel while it's snowing! Might as well- slow and steady might save your back..so here are my 7 quick ideas to keeping the house good enough for a husband to come home to- and don't you feel PEACEFUL when the kitchen sink is clean- and ready for more dirty dishes?!
Some of these quick takes are (hobbit) pipe dreams that I haven't implemented, others are 50/50 successes, and others are advice that I actually am not hypocritical about...you can guess which is which!
keeping your home livable and presentable
while raising children, not grass
1. read Like Mother, Like Daughter for advice and inspiration- not this blog. I know Leila says she isn't perfect, but I bet she doesn't have birth certificates in the hutch and three jars of open salsa verde in her fridge (at least they're fresh). Also, Flylady's site is chock full of inspiration and has nothing to do with perfectionism.
2. make dinner while you make breakfast- a slow cooker and perhaps a rice cooker is important for this. You might just prep the food and then finish at 5:30 or so, but there is not much worse than 5:30 with nothing but a frozen whole chicken, half-gone broccoli and some raw potatoes.
3. for homeschoolers- if your kids were in private school, they would have a uniform and they would have less clothes. yes,yes- I know they are all hand-me-downs or thrifted BUT the kids have too many clothes. What to do? First- always say yes to hand-me-downs and always say no to loans (what if they get torn or stained?) Look through the bags without anyone watching and immediately Goodwill (in black bags) anything that is not what you want or need. Keep this Goodwill bag in the car and get rid of it. After you have vetted the hand-me-downs, then ask your kids what they like. Anything they don't want or need, Goodwill immediately (yes- I made 'Goodwill' a verb). Go through their clothes, pack and put away anything that is out of season....and most of all, consider buying those navy blue uniform skirts and pants that are on sale in the Fall. On a school day, this is what they wear with whatever top they like. It will cut down on dilly-dallying and they will always look nice.
4. pack more than half of the toys away and then consider getting rid of things that are not missed. Some kids get into carefully packed away toys and clothes, so make room in the garage or even your closet. Goodwill things when it is practical.
5. for moms of young children, do NOT pick up after the kids. If you have packed most of the toys away to rotate in and out, there won't be that many. Then, have the kids pick up before nap time and before daddy comes home. Don't nag the sweet kids about leaving things out in between these times lest they lose heart. And you will know that there will be times when the floor isn't covered in matchbox cars.
6. complaining kids? Have everybody do something; give specific instructions to each kid and have them work in different rooms if need be. Give the toddler a moist cloth. Give the three year old a small broom and dust pan and go from there. Put on some upbeat music- NOT the soundtrack of The Mission! Have a smile on your face and popsicles in the freezer for when you're done. Then cleaning isn't seen as the worst thing ever.
7. get yourself a kitchen maid and an upstairs maid if you have kids 9 and up (or even younger if you are brave)- every week my kitchen and upstairs maids switch- it even determines which big girl sits with which little kid. The kitchen maid does the dishes and any other kitchen task like sweeping and wiping counters. She also chooses recipes and makes dinner on Mondays. The upstairs maid is designated little kid wrangler and deals with trash and laundry. She is also in charge of Family Fun Fridays (which sometimes turn into Family Fun 15 Minutes). As the Momma, I reserve the right to help them and also have them be flexible with helping each other.
It's our duty, so we might as well do it marginally well