01 Sep HOW TO KEEP A NICE HOME WITH KIDS
Laundry, dish washing, toilet cleaning, mopping and some good old bed making; you probably think this is an article for moms – not even close. I’m calling you to man up!
Taking care of a home is a lot of work, especially when you throw kids into the mix. You not only have a dirty floor, but one covered in toys. Laundry loads have doubled. Taking out the trash has become a little more complicated with that special bag full of dirty diapers. Fixing the pillows on the couch now involves the tedious removal of cheerios, goldfish and other foreign objects that may have once been edible.
Here are a few tips on how to stay on top of the mess and run your home like a boss.
Just do it
I’ve heard it said before, “Discipline is choosing what you want most over what you want now.” What you want now is to rest, but what you want most is to have a clean home and not spend a lot of time cleaning later. Like any other area of life procrastination is your enemy. Have you ever thought ‘I’ll get those dishes later’ or ‘I’ll clear the table in a minute’? Probably! This is rarely a good move. Just do it. Take a few minutes and knock out the task (singular) when you have the opportunity, or else the tasks (plural) will begin to stack up on you.
I’m not sure what the schedule is like at your home or with your kids, but both of our boys typically nap around noon. On the days I’m at home with the boys, I will take advantage of some of their naptime to knock out a few tasks with speed, silence and stealth. This time is especially helpful if Mom is out and has left a thoughtful honey-do list. With that said, I would recommend staying on top of tip #1 as best you can, so you can use naptime to catch a well deserved break.
If space allows in your home, I recommend having a dedicated playroom. If the kids have the ability to run all over the house, guess what? You will find a mess all over the house. It’s a huge help to keep all of our boys’ toys and activities in a dedicated space. You can also try doubling your child’s room as a playroom, or create a partitioned space in your living area. We did this when my son was two years old and we lived in a very small home.
You’ve probably heard it before, but I will say it again: teamwork makes the dream work. Find joy in serving your spouse. Mop the floor with that special cleaner she likes. Vacuum and even move the rugs out of the way. Now that is sexy! Do a load of laundry without being asked…unless you’re terrible with laundry, in which case it would be more loving to leave it alone. Don’t forget about the kids either. I love that my son understands the concept of our family being a team. They have both been cleaning up their toys since they were able to. Now my four year old is old enough to help clear the table after a meal. Bring them in on the effort. It’s usually more difficult than doing it all myself, but it will pay off in the long run.
In the end, all of these require intentionality. Also remember, having kids means more mess, but it also means more joy. Don’t miss great opportunities because you are stressed about everything being pristine in your home. Find that healthy balance and do your best to stay ahead of the mess. Here’s to dads who can handle a mean mop!