Five cleaning habits and giving yourself grace
Cleaning is a never ending task! Oh my word. Just when I get the dishes done, there’s a toy bomb in the living room. When I finish cleaning the living room and go back to the kitchen there’s an open pantry door with food spewed all over the floor. After cleaning up all the spilled food I will go back to the living room to rest and you guessed it, there’s another toy mess!
When it comes to cleaning and toddlers, it’s all about picking your battles. Honestly, there is absolutely no point for me to be constantly running around and picking up each mess right after my daughter makes them. Luckily, I was blessed with a toddler that loves cleaning! She thinks it’s a game and I’m just going to let her keep thinking that. She’s very good at picking up some of her toys before dinner and she is fantastic at cleaning up her bath toys. I love it! But there is still always messes to be had.
I have a lot of cleaning habits, some great and some not so great, but I wanted to weed through each habit and figure out which ones really can make or break me if they are not done. So, here’s my list of the top five cleaning habits that save my sanity.
Cleaning habits 1: Do the dishes!
I think it’s safe to say I am not a dishes person. I would much rather fold a whole day’s worth of laundry than do an hour of dishes. Just not my thing but someone needs to do them and I can guarantee it isn’t going to be my husband! I do not have a dishwasher, if I did this job would be so much easier. I suppose you could say my dishwasher is my hands. Ugh.
I break my dish cleaning into threes. I clean dishes after breakfast while everyone is settling into their routines or going to work. I clean the dishes after lunch, and I clean the dishes BEFORE dinner. The reason I clean them before dinner is because my family reserves after dinner activities as family time. It would be pointless to have family time without mommy! Those dishes aren’t going anywhere and unfortunately they will definitely be right where I left them in the morning.
Honestly, I shouldn’t have even used “unfortunately” in that sentence. It isn’t unfortunate to have dishes in the sink! Dishes in the sink means tummies are full. It means that God has provided for a crucial need of ours. There are many things we don’t have but I do know that we will have full tummies and full hearts and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Cleaning habits 2: Clean the toys when there is rest in the home.
I’m not going to act as a toy catcher, following behind my children where ever they go just in case I happen to catch a toy and put it back in its rightful place. That doesn’t teach my children how to clean up after themselves! Instead, I use the toy mess as a teaching experience. When my daughter wants some food I have, I make her clean up her toys first. If she wants to take a bath, I make her clean up whatever she is playing with before getting in the water. Honestly, it’s a very simple process if you start out young. My daughter thinks it’s a game! We even have a song we sing while we clean up and she finds that hilarious. She is a fabulous “cleaner upper” (is that even a word?) for being a 15 month old.
However, she doesn’t clean up her toys all the time. Sometimes I just let her be when I see she is hard at work in imagination land. I want her to explore and learn; I don’t want her life to be consumed with picking up toys 24/7. Where’s the fun in that?
I find that cleaning up the toys when my daughter is taking a nap or eating a meal is the best time. Those times mark our day as “rest times” which is when her make-believe game stops and I can clear up the clutter for round two (or three or four). It’s like I am wiping the slate clean and we can start the fun all over again.
I extremely prefer this method over not cleaning up the toys all day and then finally cleaning at night. When I don’t clean up the toys the mess builds and builds which causes confusion in my daughter. She doesn’t know what to play with! There’s so much on the floor and everywhere that she doesn’t see them as toys anymore, she sees them as roadblocks.
I do caution that you do not clean up the toys in eye-sight of your child. Ooooh man, they are smart! When our children see us picking up THEIR toys, they are learning that they can make any mess they want and the parent will clean it up.
Cleaning habits 3: Have a weekly cleaning schedule
I’m not a very scheduled person, per say. I would rather just fly at the seat of my pants however I know that sometimes that mentality will hinder certain areas in my life. So, I try to be organized such as sticking with weekly schedules and remembering to comb my hair. Both equally important.
Here’s what my weekly cleaning schedule looks like:
Monday— Clothes laundry
Tuesday-– Bedding and towels laundry
Thursday— Deep clean the kitchen
Friday— Home spread cleaning such as vacuuming, dusting, etc.
I don’t work on Saturdays and Sundays. Okay, maybe I do… worth a try right? But, Saturdays and Sundays are more relaxed. My favorite man is home and I want to spend time with him! I will do my average daily chores and then the rest of the day is spent focusing on my family.
Cleaning habits 4: Doing the chores myself and not delegating them off.
Okay ladies, this is a terrible tip but we are friends remember? Friends tell friends everything!
Doing the chores myself and not delegating them off to my husband seriously saves my sanity. First of all, obviously he doesn’t do them right. He puts the toilet paper on backwards and he takes 5 YEARS to clean the dishes. 😉
I do not use this mentality with my daughter, that would be a bad idea for obvious reasons. But, I know my husband is tired after work and it just makes sense for me to do the chores that need to be done and not having him do it. He has his duties around the house such as lawn mowing, garbage, giving the dog a bath and I do not interfere with them.
With chores like dishes, I already know where the dishes belong! I arranged the kitchen 20 times to find the perfect spots so I better know. My husband doesn’t know I have arranged it 20 times, in fact, he still thinks the dishes are in the same spot that they were when we first moved in! So when he cleans the dishes and puts them away, I often hear the words “babe, where does this go?” and you know what… it’s just easier if I do it.
Cleaning habits 5: Give yourself grace.
I can’t even say the words enough, GIVE YOURSELF GRACE.
You are an amazing mom. God has called you to be the mother of your children. He believes in you. Sure you’re going to mess up but so is everyone else. Sure you’re going to say the wrong things and do the wrong things but man, if there is no grace then what is the point?
I guess a better way to word it is to ask God to give yourself grace. We are strong mothers but we are weak without Jesus. We need Him. Ask to have your heart opened (figuratively) and ask to been given the strength to forgive yourself.
You can not sit in your home and feel guilty about not making homemade meals, you can not feel guilty about giving your children a little sugar now and then, and you certainly can not feel guilty when you do not have the house clean for a guest coming over. These things are minuscule compared to other, much more desperate problems in the world. Do you think God is going to care if you don’t vacuum today? Okay sure, the bible says to take care of what is given to us but really, do you think God cares? No! He cares about your soul. He cares about if you are right with him. He cares about you loving Him. He cares about you loving others, including yourself.
Give yourself grace momma, you deserve it.