“Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens and happy kids.”
I love this quote. Not because I think bad moms have clean houses, but because I have yet to master the whole “being a mom, being an employee and keeping a clean house” thing and this quote makes me feel better about myself. But here’s the thing: while sticky floors and piles of laundry are okay, mold on your dishes, muddy dog footprints on your sheets and trash that spills onto the floor are not. Therefore, at some point in life we moms do have to do some sort of cleaning. I’m sure your favorite mom bloggers have been giving you cleaning tips for years. Some of you may actually be using those tips and you might have a decently clean house most of the time. You’re good moms and you have a clean house. Kudos! This post is not for you. This post is for the rest of us. Those of us who have permanently given up on “clean” and instead strive for “a little less disgusting.” Here’s what you’ve got to do.
You will never have time to get all the chores done, so you’ve got to prioritize. Here’s how I determine which chores to do first
- I look around my house and think “If child protective services came right now, what would they consider a health code violation?” Those issues get taken care of first. Hint: that moldy maggot filled apple at the bottom of the toy bin is probably violating some sort of parenting law.
- Then I look around my house again and ask myself “If that stuck up mom from play group came over right now, what would she comment on?” It’s not that it’s important to impress the stuck up mom, it’s just that she says what everyone is thinking so if I don’t want my friends to be silently gagging as they hover above my toilet seat, I should probably clean said toilet seat.
- If by some miracle you have time to more chores, do something that will make you feel like a good about life. For me, that’s clean sheets. The entire house could look like a tornado rampaged a muddy thrift store, but if I have clean sheets on our bed and the baby’s crib, then its all okay.
Psych yourself up
I usually do my cleaning on Saturdays (oh the joys of being a working mom) but I start mentally preparing myself on Friday night, usually by watching an episode of Hoarders. Nothing will get me to clean my bedroom closet faster than seeing what will happen if I let it spill through the living room and out the front door.
Keep the kids safe and contained
This is pretty important. If you don’t contain the kids, then they will make messes literally seconds after you clean. If you don’t keep them safe, you’ll waste valuable cleaning time with annoying things like bandaids and trips to the ER. But don’t let the kids trick you into thinking that safe and contained means happy and entertained. It doesn’t. You’ve kept those little darlings entertained for a week straight, that’s why your house is a wreck. This is the day ish gets done! If you can find something easy to entertain them, like a movie, then great. If not, just contain them in some sort of fort/prison and clean as fast as you can before they break out.
Find some audio entertainment
Cleaning is sooooooo boring. Gah, just thinking about it makes me nod off. For years I tried having the t.v. on while I cleaned, you know, for background noise. But then I had a kid and realized that I could not take 30 minutes to vacuum, so I had to find some other sort of entertainment. Music, of course, is is great entertainment. And if you dance while you clean then that counts as exercise. I’m also a fan of listening to comedy stations on Pandora, or books on tape. Anything that will keep me from poking my eyes out with the broom handle.
Hire some help
Try as we might, there are just some days, months or years that we can’t do it all. So don’t be afraid to get some help. You could hire a professional housekeeper, but that’s expensive and let’s be real, your standards aren’t that high. Instead, I suggest asking the highschooler down the street or the college kid from church that’s home for the summer. I’ve asked my sister who is nursing school to help out. She enjoys the flexibility and extra money, I enjoy being able to see the beautiful hardwood floors my husband installed. It’s a win win. Another idea is to chore swap with a neighbor. Everyone has those chores that they hate more than others. Maybe your most hated chores don’t seem that bad to your neighbor and their dreaded tasks don’t seem that bad to you. You could go over and clean their windows while they wash their dishes. Granted your still cleaning, but its easier and faster to do chores that don’t feel like Chinese water torture.