Keeping a clean home is an uphill battle when you have children. I've spent an entire afternoon cleaning the house only to have it destroyed in minutes after the kids come home. I chuckle about it now, but there was a time when I bubbled up with anger about it.
It's easy to lose your cool when things get messy, but keeping your cool will save your sanity.
1. Remind Yourself That They're Just Being Kids
Kids are kids. They make messes, and they have so much fun doing it. But kids aren't born knowing how to keep a tidy home or how to organize their rooms. It's our jobs are parents to teach them these skills.
Cleaning isn't a priority for kids. Having fun and learning is. Play is such an important thing for children, and forcing them to spend too much time cleaning will take away from this important time.
One study out of the University of Minnesota found that kids with messy rooms are actually more creative. Another study found that messy toddlers actually learned more than those that were not allowed to be messy.
Still, I know first-hand how difficult it is to accept this truth. Yes, kids are kids, but do they have to destroy everything?
I remember when my youngest developed a habit of sneaking into the bathroom in the middle of the night to flush her toys down the toilet. We had no idea of her habit until the toilets stopped working properly. When our plumber did a sewer camera inspection, he found the source of our problem: a stack of Ella's toys.
Sometimes, our kids' messes go beyond just toys on the floor, and these messes can be expensive. But life still went on. She learned it wasn't okay to flush things down the toilet, and she still leaves her dolls all over the house. I consider my saved plumbing a victory.
2. Make Cleaning Time a Part of Your Daily Routine
To help keep your home in some sort of order, consider making family cleaning time a part of your daily routine.
Set aside time – maybe before or after dinner – to make everyone (kids included) clean up.
Making cleaning a family affair will help teach your children responsibility and how to keep their rooms tidy. It also ensures that cleaning isn't your sole responsibility, and things will get done quicker.
If your kids have to clean up messes just as you do, they may think twice before making another epic mess.
3. Consider Every Chore a Success
Let's be honest – you have a lot on your plate. Cleaning the entire house top to bottom every single day is a serious challenge for anyone, let alone a mom taking care of children and everything else.
It's okay if your home is messy. Life will go on. There will be days when you're lucky to just get the dishes done. Accept these small victories and know that the messes of life will be there tomorrow. Lower your expectations of cleanliness, and you'll save your sanity. You're doing your best, and that's all you can do.