I used to spend hours and hours a week cleaning. I’d spend at least three hours each day doing laundry, sweeping, mopping, re-mopping, etc., etc. and it was exhausting. I’d clean something and no more than two minutes later, my daughter would come behind me and either spill what she was drinking at the time all over my newly spotless tile or leave approximately 900 toys spread out across the house.
Again… it was exhausting.
And pointless. And I always felt like I was being fake.
I spent way too much time focusing on maintaining a perfectly spotless home in case someone happened to stop by and, God forbid, see a speck of dirt on anything. It took me a long time and a lot of people saying “It’s fine. I don’t care,” every time they came over for me to finally get it. I couldn’t spend my life worrying about housework all the time. No one is perfect. Kids are messy, families with kids are messy, and that is completely fine. It’s real life.
I know that we parents hear this all the time and it’s usually frustrating (that’s a topic for a whole other blog post in itself), but our kids are only young once. Every time Haley has a birthday or reaches a milestone, I’m struck with the thought, wasn’t she just a baby like two seconds ago? When I was able to take a step back and look at what I was doing, I felt terrible. I took so much time away from her while I was busy worrying about making my home perfect and presentable (or, as aunt calls it, “museum clean”) just in case someone happened to step foot inside of it.
So I’ve made a decision – I’m not going to spend so much time on housework. I’m limiting it to 30-45 minutes a day, a little in the morning and a little at night. If I absolutely must get more housework finished, then I take the time to get up a little earlier than usual or I put it off until after Haley’s bed time. I’d rather take a little bit of sleep away from myself than take time away from my family during the day. There is no good reason that I can come up with that will make it ok to take quality time away from my child and throw it into cleaning. That’s just silly.
Of course, my house is reasonably clean. It’s not a disaster zone that no one has any business living in, but it’s not spotless and it doesn’t need to be. These days, chances are that if you were to stop by my home, you may find a toy or two lying on the living room. Or a throw blanket out of place on the sofa… or even a dish sitting on the counter top awaiting my attention. But guess what? That’s life. It’s normal. And I’ll get to it…