Here’s your opportunity to learn more about the parenting styles of each Maturing Mama. No Mama is exactly the same in her parenting skills. This is our opportunity to highlight our differences in parenting in a means to help you find a method that works for you.
How do you feel about the cleanliness of your home?
The essence of me feeling like a failure as a mom comes down to how messy my home is. And I think that’s stupid!
I’ve had people come into my home and judge it’s cleanliness. One in particular who was especially nasty about it was a family member without kids. That person is no longer welcomed in our home.
I’ve had numerous older Mamas warn me to not get obsessed with keeping my home clean. They said that especially when the kids are very young, it’s very stressful to keep the house clean. They warned me that trying too hard to keep up, could cause an unhappy home.
I understand this especially when I’ve spent the day cleaning only to have the kids “play” (trash the house) and not clean up after themselves. In moments like that I can lose my temper badly enough to throw out all of their toys.
But I had one older mama give me a plaque for my home. It says “Excuse the mess. My children are making memories.” She said her mom gave it to her after she had just had twins. She said she wanted me to focus on enjoying time with the kids first and cleaning up last.
Now of course there are obvious places that need regular cleaning. Bathrooms and the kitchen are always top priorities. But I fight with myself everyday, to not judge myself if I can’t keep up with it all. I’m not a bad mom for the fact that I’m trying to juggle so many things concerning caring for my family. The kitchen is a mess because my family is fed. The table is covered in craft supplies because my kids were being creative. There’s a massive fort in my living room because my children were having fun! These things mater just as much as cleaning.
I like a clean and home. I see how it benefits my mental health, and the mental health of my husband too. So we both try to have a tidy house and clean kitchen with no dishes in the sink before going to bed. It’s wonderful to wake up to a clean home!
But I also think that there are things in life that are more important. If life is busy, and I don’t have time to vacuum it’s not the end of the world. I would rather spend time hanging out with my kids, or working on an audition, than worry about the state of my pantry.
That being said if I could change one thing about myself, I would love to be more organized. I do find that my cupboards or closets can get a little bit out of control. I do wish I was someone who love to label things and put them back in their proper places. But that’s not something that comes natural to me.
My husband wishes we lived minimally. But with two 5-year-old boys, and my personal love for a good wardrobe, that’s a tall order!
Growing up, there were times family from out of town would visit, and it would be a mad rush in our house to get the place clean. There was this frantic craze of getting the place together for whoever the visitor was, and I hated it. Why should we clean for someone who isn’t here, and why don’t we just clean it for ourselves?! Maybe I internalized that experience more than I planned to because that’s how I see cleanliness in my home.
I clean for me. For my sanity. For my peace. For my rest. I also clean for my family’s sanity, peace and rest. My family is as much deserving of a clutter-free and clear home as I am, and the beauty of cleaning with this mindset is that cleaning is never an external experience, only internal.
That is also the downfall of this mindset. When my inner thoughts are crowded and overwhelmed, I can’t push beyond them enough to put order to the chaos, and it shows. So, the more I’ve learnt about myself is, the more I’ve put standards in place to help me along the way.
- Fewer things mean less to clean. Buy intentionally and purge consistently.
- Home is a place you rest. Does it feel restful for you? What do I need to add, remove or address to feel rest?
- It’s everyone’s responsibility. Make room for my spouse and children to cultivate their motivation for cleaning and equip them with tools to carry it out.
- Mess is never a reflection of my value.
Those are just a few standards I’ve kept in place to handle my thoughts around cleanliness at home.
The cleanliness of my home is always bugging me. I constantly have a list going in the back of my mind about what needs to be done. And I just can’t keep up! If I take a moment to clean a bathroom, the kids will destroy their room and play room while I do another. 1 step forward, 2 steps back. But they play best in an uncluttered area. So then if I go clean the playroom “properly” then all they want to do is be in that room throwing everything everywhere. I mean… I guess that’s what the playroom is for though haha.
I feel pretty okay about my home when people come over. We “don’t allow toys” on our main level, and yet they still get there. But when someone comes over it “looks” clean, just don’t go upstairs or downstairs!
By the end of a typical day that we don’t have company over, there is rice scattered on the floor, craft supplies everywhere, stains on the rugs, markers on the wall, dishes everywhere and somehow the shoes have ALL been taken out of the closet by the baby again. And that’s just on the main level.
It gets very frustrating and I generally get really angry by the end of the day because I feel like all I’ve done that day is clean as we go, but you can’t tell. It’s the season of life I’m in. I will never look back and miss the mess, but I will look back and miss my kids being small.
I’ve always been a bit of neat freak. When I had my first son in 2015, I struggled deeply with cleaning. Becoming a new mom and keeping up with the house chores seemed absolutely impossible. Thoughts of, “How do people with kids keep their home clean?”, was a constant thought of mine.
I had postpartum depression with my first son and I joined a postpartum depression group. I learned that a messy house means happy kids. You’re taking care of your kids and putting them first rather than putting the chores first. This gave me a sense of normalcy. I decided then and there that a messy house is what it is going to be. Since then I have practiced acceptance that the mess is (normal) with young kids.
Today, it’s still a struggle. Laundry is piled up. A mountain of clean clothes live on my living room sofa. Floors get done last and not often. We have a dishwasher, yet dishes are always piled up on the counters.
It honestly takes a village!
My home is loud and messy, but one day it will be quiet and clean. And I know I will miss these chaotic days when my kids were little. When I get really overwhelmed with the mess, I try my hardest to remember that. This is what helps me to let go of the mess that is always there.
I was at a birthday party recently. A part of the icebreaker activity was to tell what we would change if we had a magic wand. My response was “My house would be tidy all the time.”
When you have little ones at your feet, this task seems to be impossible. I would clean the house thoroughly only to find it completely messed up in a few minutes. This is just with regular play activity. If I add the surprises my little ones give me – like breaking the eggs on the floor and scattering the cat food all over the place- the impossibility raises by another 10%.
In my culture, people can be judged harshly for not keeping a clean house. There are times I have been brought to tears after the kids have had their way. The temptation is sever present to get angry at the children. I am learning to take things in strides, though. I will clean when I can. If they trash the house, it’s fine. It can always be cleaned later. I found, that not stressing about it, and not tying my identity to my home, helps me maintain my sanity. I am not lazy, careless, or neglectful. I am a busy mom with kids who are enjoying their childhood.
The cleanliness of my home, where do I start? Well, I usually don’t, that’s the problem! I am deeply ashamed of my home and the state it is in. I never allow visitors unless it’s our parents because I am so embarrassed by the mess.
We live in a very very small 2 bedroom flat with our 7 children here almost half of the week (shared custody) 4 of these children are 4 and under and truly wild. Our kitchen is that small that we couldn’t swing a cat. Our bedroom literally houses a bed and that’s it. The smaller 4 children are shoved in one room and the older girls sleep on the couch when they stay. We have no space for cupboards or storage, so everything is everywhere and with that many children you can imagine just how much ‘stuff’ we have.
I will admit I struggle to get rid of things, but I’ve worked so hard this last year to try and declutter or down size the amount of things we own. I find it very very difficult emotionally, however and nothing seems to have decreased! Throw one thing away and then gain 10 more!
We can clean our kitchen and one meal later it is entirely unusable again, I honestly give up. I don’t remember the last time I swept or mopped because by the time I’ve found some of our floor and put the toys away I am too exhausted to even bother.
It’s a big issue in my relationship because my partner isn’t used to living like this, he’s a “thrower awayer”. In all honesty I’ve never lived like this, but in this house I can’t keep up so I honestly do not bother and it kills me every day. I’d say it is my biggest downfall as a mother and wife.
I feel I am teaching my children entirely wrong because I don’t want them growing up thinking it’s ok to be this messy. I genuinely need help on this topic.