Over the years I have noticed a fear amongst many parents, especially single parents. The fear that if they do not have a perfectly clean home someone will get on their high horse and report them for child abuse. As a single parent I have had many people express to me that I need to make sure my house is clean at all times just in case this happens to me. Talk about a heavy weight on the shoulders. I might as well hide all the toys away and make sure we never live in our home. Messes happen when you live, and especially when you have children. But…how do you conquer the daily messes?
During a recent browsing session on Pinterest I came across several different ideas for how to keep up with house cleaning, chores, and all sorts of “never again have a messy house” ideas. Many of them were for chore lists for hourly, daily, weekly and monthly tasks. A few I opened and read a few of them. I was greeted with beautiful success stories of a parent once overwhelmed with house chores and now no able to keep up. I was happy for them. Very much so.
They found success, but something was missing. I felt bad. I felt as though I had failed. How come I could not be that way? Why was I feeling such great pressure to have a perfectly clean home all of the time? I realized that what was missing was what happened after all these success stories were shared. Things that include the unexpected, the non perfect life that makes it nearly impossible to always follow a schedule, and everything else that happens to get in the way of the perfect housecleaning schedule. Yeah. Life. It happens.
I took a moment to think back at my own lists over the years. There have been many. Most of them I only got as far as writing them down. I had the desire, but they were unrealistic mainly because I failed to schedule in life. The life which makes doing dishes in five minutes to ten minutes.
The only list that I ever found success with was a laundry chore list. I did research on how often certain things needed to be washed then made my list. It was so successful that I decided to try that idea again with a pretty little chalkboard I found. I have never followed it, and I made it with as little detail as possible.
What I have found to be the most successful is giving myself a break. Not the sit down type of break, but one where I stop pressuring myself so much to have the perfect schedule for cleaning my home.
I also had to recognize that I needed to try and include my children, but to take the pressure off that as well. Just because my children cannot do their own laundry yet does not mean I have failed as a parent. So I continue to teach them how to work even without a daily or weekly chore list. As long as we are doing our best and trying even if perfect is not the end result.
There will be days of total mess. There will be days that every single one of will just crash and not want to deal with and possibly eat ice cream instead of doing dishes. That is okay, and if a visitor comes to the house while it is a mess then we do not have to be embarrassed because we are living in the space we call home.