I love the quote, “Trying to clean while children are growing, is like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing.”
My mom had that quote hanging in our house for the longest time, and I never truly got it until I had kids of my own.
Cleaning, making dinner, doing laundry, and all of those necessary evils that have to take place, seem nearly impossible when you have little ones around.
My two kiddos are 16 months and 3 years, and my son is fairly aggressive. Because of this, I can never leave them both alone to play. So I have had to get creative with my getting-things-done schedule!
Now, I won’t claim for a moment that I have a perfect house, that my dishes are always done, and that my laundry baskets are empty. If a mom says that ALL of those things are true at the same time, I’ll admit, I’d have a hard time believing it. But I will say that I’m fairly content with how things currently are in my house.
Tip #1: Take Care of Your Kids First
This one is HUGE! Unless something is life or death, focus on the kids first. A child will be happier and more willing to let you step away to accomplish something, if you give her some attention first. My daughter is extremely clingy, but I have found that if I sit on the floor and play or read her book, then she will be happy to go off and do her own thing so that I can get some to-do items taken care of.
Tip #2: Set Tasks for Specific Times
If loading the dishwasher is tricky while your 16 month old is awake since she likes to climb inside (not talking AT ALL from experience here…), then do the dishes while she is napping!
Does your son get upset at the sound of the vacuum? Vacuum while he is asleep or busy playing in another room.
Do your kids love washing windows? Do it together!
Writing out a chore chart is extremely helpful. I typically keep the chores in my head (which sometimes works), but on Saturdays, my husband and I always write out the things we need to do with an estimated amount of time it would take to do them. My 3 year old loves to help with the outside chores and he gets so excited to cross things off the list once they are done!
Tip #3: Wake Up Before Your Kids
This one can be really tricky, especially if your kids are poor sleepers. But even waking up with just enough time to take a quick shower will make a world of difference. You will be more motivated to tackle the day’s tasks if you are clean and dressed. And not only that, you will feel more comfortable taking your kids to a park or going grocery shopping knowing that you are all ready to go!
Tip #4: Choose Your Battles
Is my house 100% clutter free? No. And that is because I only have 24 hours in a day, so I pick what my priorities will be. I usually make my kitchen and living room #1 on my “to clean” list, since those are the places where people usually are. And who can cook in a dirty kitchen? Ew.
Unfortunately that makes my bedroom the lowest on my to-do list. But you know what? That is just the season I’m in, and that is ok. I would rather not be stressed about it, and instead, know that my kids are happy, than have a perfectly clean house.
Tip #5: Plan Ahead
Planning ahead includes LOTS of things! Plan your schedule, meals, when people are coming over, etc. all ahead of time! This will make your life as stress-free as possible.
For example, I planned on having people over for dinner last Sunday, but I knew that church went until 4pm. So I did a relatively simple crockpot meal, that was also very filling! It really helped to keep my Sunday stress-free!
But if there is a meal that I love that takes some time to make? I plan ahead to make it on an evening when my husband will be home early. That way I’m not wrestling two hangry children with raw chicken on my hands.
Basic planning will make your cleaning and cooking go a lot more smoothly.
Tip #6: Utilize Your Husband
I’m going to be real here and state that even if you are a stay-at-home-mom, you are NOT 100% responsible for everything in your home. Being a mom is a full-time job, let alone throwing cooking and cleaning into the mix. Make sure to make a plan with your husband to create a cleaning/cooking schedule. Or, if you love doing both (more power to ya), make a plan for him to take the kids at certain times to give you the space to GET those things done.
My husband is really awesome at balancing tasks with me. And most importantly, he is great at not getting mad when certain things just don’t get done. Even when I said that they would. Your husband is a grown up too, so he really should be helping out as well.
Tip #7: Plan Special Activities for Special Times
My son knows that he can only paint while his sister is sleeping. That makes painting seem even more special! And it also means that he is distracted long enough for me to quickly do the dishes or switch the laundry. Try to create special activities that come out only at certain times. It will keep your children entertained for the 10-15 minutes you need to make that phone call or throw dinner into the crockpot.
If you’re looking for some activity ideas, check out my post on DIY Fine Motor Activities for Your Toddler and Preschooler.
Tip #8: Give Yourself Grace
Moms are superheroes, and I truly believe that. But, moms cannot and should not do everything.
It is ok to go to bed with dishes in the sink to make sure you get a few hours asleep before your newborn wakes up.
It is ok to have crumbs on your floor.
It’s ok to choose playing with your kids over folding laundry.
IT. IS. OK.
Like I said in Tip #1, put your kids first, and fit everything else in around that. It’s ok to not get everything done, and anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Give yourself a little grace, and just keep moving forward.
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