10 Truths About Housekeeping With Young Kids

img_4969.jpgThere are very few of us that LOVE housework! Add in kids and you have to keep a sense of humor or you would go crazy! Here are ten truths that I have discovered since trying to keep up with my little messes (I mean kids)!

  1. You will wonder continuously “Why do they make WHITE baby clothes?”
  2. You know those books that were once alphabetized? Now you just hope they all stay on the shelf and don’t really care if a few spines are facing inwards or books are piled in at odd angles.
  3. That pristine car interior you used to have is now covered in cheerios, goldfish, and whatever that sticky substance is next to the car seat.
  4. Glitter. Everywhere. Forever.
  5. Sometimes you just feed the littles in diapers just so you don’t have extra laundry after spaghetti night.
  6. Your new home décor style: college dorm room meets daycare chic.
  7. You cannot fold towels or sheets without hearing cries of “LET’S BUILD A FORT!”
  8. You dream sweet dreams of magical pixies and fairies doing all of your laundry and dishes because you haven’t seen the bottom of the sink or the laundry basket in months.
  9. You cannot clean a room without humming Daniel Tiger’s “Clean up! Pick Up! Put Away! Clean up, everyday!” (Even when you are cleaning up alone).
  10. Your Google recent searches read like a domestic handbook index: “Get Sharpie off leather,” “get peanut butter out of dog hair,” “get paint out of carpet.”

On a serious note: Sweet mamas, every moment of this chaotic season of our lives is SO worth the clutter. Each little mess was the result of a precious child being loved on by a hard working mom. Cherish each sticky hand print.

Chores For Young Kids

Start Them Young

Young kids love to help mom and dad. Take advantage of this. If your child can dump out a box of toys, he can place the toys back in the box. We started “cleaning up” with our son at 18 months of age. We started by helping him with most of his toys and gradually increased the number he was required to pick up.

Make Sure Chores are Age Appropriate

Young toddlers may only be able to sort their toys into baskets. Older toddlers can make their beds, put up their clothes, and dust low shelves. Older children can unload the dishwasher, run the vacuum cleaner, and take out the trash.

Show Your Kids What You Expect of Them

Provide clear instructions for your children and lead by example with a positive attitude. Written job descriptions and chore lists are great tools to use with any age child. For children who cannot read, make a list using pictures.

Find Joy in Your Work

Make chore time fun by turning your chores into games or having dance parties while doing your work. Spend time with your child by doing chores together. If your child sees you having fun cleaning, they will follow suit.

Reward A Job Well Done

Most importantly, make sure to reward a job well done, positive attitudes, and good work ethic. This does not have to be a physical rewards such as money or a treat. A simple “nice work” or “great attitude” will encourage good work in the future.

I have an addiction…

When my husband said I had a chore addiction, I laughed. There is no possible way that I have an addiction to something that I dislike. Then he asked me to go a day without work. At first I thought it would be easy. Five minutes later, I was experiencing tightness in my chest.

No work.  I couldn’t get caught up on laundry. What would we wear? I couldn’t do dishes. What would we eat on? I couldn’t cook. What would we eat? I couldn’t get around to cleaning the carpets, tidying up the pantry, going through my son’s clothes for the upcoming consignment sale, putting up our Christmas decorations, organizing the shed, or completing any of the projects that have been on my radar for months. I started to have trouble breathing as I realized that nothing would get done that day.

I then sat on my couch for thirty minutes petting the dog, staring at my sleeping son, and wondering what I could possibly do for the rest of the day. We just cancelled Netflix and Direct TV, so I couldn’t watch anything. If I started a book, I would not have time to finish it. I was not allowed to go grocery shopping. I didn’t have clothes shopping in the budget.

I loaded my son into the car and headed to work. The girls up at the store hadn’t seen him in a while and going to work didn’t constitute as work as long as I was off the clock. Of course, a customer had to waltz in the door while my coworkers were all busy. I had to make a decision: do I help the customer or make him wait. I got dizzy as excuses twirled through my head. He could be a secret shopper and if I don’t help him, we will get a bad score. He could be a new customer, and if I make him wait we won’t win him over. One of my coworkers stumbled back to the front of the store and greeted the man as I exited. Work was not a good idea.

I journeyed home and arrived just as my husband was coming home for lunch. I had made it three hours without doing anything. He finished eating and left a plate on the tray. I instinctively got up to put it in the sink, but fell back to the couch. I had to get out of the house.

We drove to a town an hour away to make some returns at a department store and spent the rest of the night watching DVD’s and playing with the baby. As we were getting into bed that night (early because I was tired of not doing work), my husband and I discussed my day.

Bottom line: we survived eating leftovers with dishes in the sink and clothes in the laundry room. I don’t have to rush around every day trying to get ahead on a million chores that will never get completed.

Addicted to Chores Photo

This weekend, we did get a lot of things done. I did countless loads of laundry and dishes, we went through the clothes the baby has outgrown, we put the Christmas decorations in the shed, and I cleaned out the fridge and the pantry. However, the most important thing we did this weekend was take time to relax and spend time together as a family.

“So don’t worry, saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:31-34