If you have a family and spend any amount of time cleaning, I am sure you will agree that the struggle of juggling both is real. I think cleaning is one of those things that we find ourselves thinking will be no big deal prior to having a family. However, it usually doesn’t take long once children start arriving to realize that these two things working in harmony is usually a dream.
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At the root, these 10 commandments speak to the struggles that we all face. We do our best to seamlessly combine the demands of being a mom with being a homemaker. At the same time we might be working in or outside the home. We might be volunteering. There there are the additional demands that are often placed on us as moms. So often we as moms are asked to be a jack of all trades who must wear a variety of hats simultaneously.
How can we manage keeping a house clean while working full time?
What about a kids cleaning schedule?
What about a family cleaning schedule?
How can we possibly clean with toddlers?
What about some sort of cleaning tricks for cleaning for real families?
The thing is, I have found it necessary to have a give and take when it comes to cleaning. The way I used to clean prior to having a family just can’t be the reality now. Things have to change. Compromises have to be made, but this doesn’t mean that a clean home can’t be a reality when you have a family.
I have found that it is my own expectations and ways of doing things that need to change when it comes to cleaning with a family.
With this in mind, here are the 10 commandments for keeping things clean with a family.
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1. Your definition of “clean home” must change
What was clean to you as a single or a young newlywed is simply not attainable as a mom with kids at home.
2. When your house is clean, it will always be trashed to someone else – often to someone who is not a mom
This is such a bummer. You can actually be feeling really good about the state of your home. And then someone comes over and calls your home a mess. Not cool.
3. Cleaning must occur as it can, not necessarily when your cleaning schedule says
Cleaning schedules are so important, they really are. But there also must be the understanding that cleaning schedules are more like rough guidelines or game plans. Especially when it comes to cleaning schedules for kids and families.
4. Got kids? Your house will never be clean all at once
The sooner you embrace the fact that when one area is clean another area is being made dirty, the more sanity you will have. Kids can listen, and kids can even help clean like I wrote about in Making Cleaning Fun For Kids, but kids are still kids – and they love playing and messes.
5. Clutter must be controlled regularly
Because clutter must be removed before many of the routine cleaning can be done, such as vacuuming, staying on top of it is essential when it comes to cleaning. Check out this post here on how to encourage your kids to be tidy.
6. Cleaning must be a family affair
Not only from a time standpoint (since you can’t do it all), but also from a “teachable experience” standpoint. An added bonus is that the things your kids take part in provides them with a sense of ownership. If they help clean, they are more likely to help keep it that way.
Giving kids some ownership in the areas they keep clean helps motivate them and maintain your sanity.
7. When it comes to cleaning, you must give yourself plenty of grace
Sometimes cleaning goes according to plan, but oftentimes, it does not. Just accept this as reality and don’t beat yourself up about it. Some days will be better than others. Enjoy the better days and just keep breathing on the not so good days.
8. There is no substitute for just getting in there and doing it
There is no tool or gadget that can replace your good old fashioned elbow grease. Can these things help? Absolutely! However, aside from paying someone to clean for you, you will still have to put forth the time and effort.
As working moms with a home to keep clean, working women without kids with a home to keep clean, stay at home moms with a home to keep clean, and working inside the home moms with a home to keep clean, we all just have to get in there and clean (even if you also have help).
9. You must have a cleaning plan, however, that plan must be fluid just as family life is fluid
As in anything else, interruptions will occur that will require you to change course. Figure out some cleaning hacks like I mentioned HERE, create some cleaning schedules, and focus on problem areas like the kitchen countertops like I talk about HERE, but be willing to accept that cleaning often takes a backseat to living life.
10. Someday your house will be perfect, but it will also be empty
If you have a family, if you are a mom, cleaning is simply not your primary focus, and that is ok. In fact, it is more important to focus on your role as a mom while allowing the cleaning to be acceptable rather than perfect. As my oldest starts her senior year in high school, I can say without a doubt that the years go by WAY too fast. The clean (& quiet) house will one day return – it’s a tradeoff. Just enjoy right where you are right now.
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