First, I just want to thank everyone who took the time to read my last blog post. While it was one of the most personal things I have blogged about, I am grateful to have a blog community to share my story with. Today’s post is going to be a little more on track with things I have learned since becoming a mother.
Everyone always has advice for new parents. Even when you are no longer considered a “new parent” there is always someone who has a better way for you to be doing something. In all the advice I have received since becoming a parent to my son Turner six months ago, no one was kind enough to give me the heads up about attempting to keep a house clean, work a full-time job, AND keep a happy baby. That is some advice, I wish someone would have shared!
Before becoming a parent, my house would slowly get cluttered day to day and then about once a week, or once every two weeks, I would spend an entire Saturday sprucing the place up. I would designate a day for cleaning and get the job down in a couple of hours, all in one day.
Well, as a parent, I am sure you are well aware that it would be pure magic if you had an entire day to devote to anything, in fact, I wish I had a couple of consecutive hours to devote to anything! But, it is just not possible. Part of being a parent is also finding the abilities to be a master planner. And whereas, 24 hours in a day, which if you are like me, you are probably awake for a good 19 hours a day. But even that, is not enough time. So I have found it easier to look at things in the big picture. Instead of trying to keep cleaning to a days time, I think on a much larger scale… I take the whole month. Just the comforting thought of having a month to clean my house, is enough encouragement, but even with 30 days to do the work, you still have to space it out.
I try to break my cleaning schedule down to plan to do about 25 minutes of cleaning every day. Sometimes that cleaning gets done at 3 a.m. after Turner wakes up to feed, but between working full-time and running around with him, sometimes thats the only free time I have!
Get a piece of paper and write down one task to accomplish a day. Here is an example:
Day one: Clean toilets
Day two: Vacuum and sweep living room
Day three: Deep clean kitchen
Day four: Clean porch
Day five: Clean bathrooms
I am sure there are not 30 things that need to be done, so if you come up with 15, you can repeat the list throughout the month to let everything get done twice. That also gives you an easy out, if the porch is clean by the second time it comes up on the list, you get a day off. And months with 31 days, thats a little reward for some “you” time as well.
Doing a little bit everyday is not always enough. There are things such as laundry, dishes, the things tossed in front of the door every afternoon, that really pile up and can clutter a home quick. You have to have a plan to tackle those things too. But as long as you have a plan, and stick to it, the house doesn’t seem so big and impossible to keep up with it.
The best thing you can do for your kitchen is wash the dishes after every meal. It is a lot easier to find five minutes to clean off a handful of dishes, then to spend 30 minutes a week tackling the monster in the kitchen sink.
While it may not seem cost effective, the time saved by doing smaller loads of laundry is invaluable. My entire life I have always waited until I had a “super” load of clothes before I would do laundry. Now, understanding the time it takes to get those clothes washed, then having to break it down into four drying cycles because no dryer can handle drying a “super” load of clothes on one wash, I find it to be easier to stay ahead of clothes when broken down into smaller loads. Its also way less mentally exhausting to put away a small load of shirts, versus every dirty cloth in the house. Another trick I have found it to group dirty clothes together. Wash kids clothes at once, or a load of towels. That way, you aren’t going from room to room to put it away or running around trying to find hangers and the right drawers. Its much easier to plan to do a small load of towels, or a load of kids clothes then a mass pile of whatever anyone threw in the hamper.
Its innate for us to empty our pockets and our arms as soon as we entire the door at home. We just want to unload whatever baggage we had from the day. That usually leads to a cluster of junk in the front of the house, and if not tackled right away, just keeping all the things sorted becomes a full time job. Its a lot easier said than done to put this area of the house off limits. We are all going to continue to unload as soon as we walk in the door. Whether its shoes, jackets, or backpacks, its inevitable. To keep this area of the house condensed, designate an area by the door to unload. By doing that, things don’t get as spread out, and it will be a lot easier to scoop up and clean up later.
Being a parent is only about 30 percent caregiver. The job is combined with parts housekeeper, master scheduler, chef, chauffeur, and whatever odds and ends we found ourselves becoming experts at. Whatever our children we need, we find a way to do, no matter how difficult. Sometimes, we even surprise ourselves when we are able to make the seemingly impossible a reality.