As Mamas it’s hard not to feel like a glorified cleaning lady 99% of the time. A cleaning lady who gets paid in sweet baby kisses, but a cleaning lady none the less. We spend hours cleaning our homes just to turn our backs for one second allowing our tiny adorable monsters the unguarded chance to undo what we’ve just spent hours working on. It’s an endless cycle. Cleaning lady vs. tiny tornadoes. What can you do?
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Take control of life- be proactive.
Here’s a scenario where I think I am qualified to tell you some real-world-worthy, useful advice. I may not be the most talented individual in all the land, but a) I don’t like being a 24/7 cleaning lady and b) one thing I’m very good at is being proactive. When you grow up in a family of worriers you either become a worrier or you try to prevent troubles by becoming proactive.
I (thankfully) picked up the more useful of the two skills. And any seasoned Mama would nod in agreement when I say that being proactive is a skill that is honed all the more once you become a mother. You always have to be prepared for the unexpected craziness.
I’m not your cleaning lady, y’all…
Nothing brings out the crazy quite as much in my two kiddos as being cooped up inside for too long. The crazier they get the messier they get and the more I feel like the cleaning lady. I don’t mind cleaning now and then, but I want to play, too!! Well- most days. Some days I just want to lock myself in the bathroom with the shower running while I read a good book.
In order to keep from overworking myself and cleaning in circles, we have 3 unspoken house rules created to keep MamaBear from feeling like an unpaid cleaning lady. Here they are:
NO eating outside the kitchen.
Easier said than done especially with toddlers, I know, but at least keep the food and drinks in a shared area and out of their bedrooms. Unsupervised food and drinks are just waiting to disappear into the play kitchen oven or under the bed for 2 weeks before you finally sniff them out and retrieve them. Plus- who loves picking crushed goldfish cracker crumbs out of the carpet fibers raise your hand!?? No one? Yeah- that’s what I thought. Do yourself and your sanity a favor and keep the snacks confined to the kitchen.
As soon as they can walk, they can help.
This is something that makes me glow with pride for my babies. The first “job” I taught both of our children to execute on their own was to put things away in the trash can. It only took a couple of tries after they learned to walk for each of them to pick up the idea. Once they figured it out, I would ask them 10 or 20 times a day to put things into the garbage can, and they are always thrilled to be involved and helping.
My son was one of those kids who put everything in his mouth (He still does sometimes, but at least he’s applying a bit of logic now beforehand so it’s mostly just old Cheerios these days). Once we finally broke him of trying to eat anything and everything he found on the floor he switched gears and now he picks up the newfound thing and brings it to me. Most of the time, whatever he’s found is so tiny I can hardly tell what it even is, but even still I ask him to throw it away in the trash.
Doing this consistently not only teaches little ones to help, but reinforces that they must help around the house when they are asked to do so. Choosing a simple task like trashing junk gives them a task they can do independently and successfully each and every time.
Store toys where your kids can see what’s what.
I am a firm believer that kids will make fewer, smaller messes if you store their toys in a way where they can clearly see each item. I wrote a post for you here that explains exactly how to store toys for the biggest benefits to both you and your child. Storing toys in bins, baskets and toy boxes is just asking your child to dump out the contents. If you’re searching for even more toy storage ideas that will reduce the amount of messes your “cleaning lady” has to pick up, download my FREE ebook, “The Ultimate Toy Storage Handbook” using the form below!
What are your non-negotiable house rules when it comes to cleaning? Share with me in the comments below!
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