It can be challenging to find the time to maintain a clean, neat home while raising children. Many mothers today work outside the home in addition to raising children, and sometimes housework suffers as a result. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a partner who helps with housework or if both of you are too tired to do housework regularly, dishes may pile up in the sink, the floor may remain unvacuumed and you may begin to feel embarrassed about how your house looks. If you’re having a hard time balancing housework and child care, don’t panic. Know that you are not alone and there are things you can do to resolve your housework problems.
One simple thing you can do, if your children are old enough, is enlist their help in performing daily chores. School-age children can and should be responsible for making their own beds, washing dishes and taking out trash. Children should also learn to do their own laundry-or, at least, to put dirty clothes in the hamper or laundry basket. Enlisting your children’s aid teaches them self-responsibility as well as takes some of the pressure off of you to do all of the housework yourself while raising children. Children love to help and doing chores often makes them feel grown-up. You do have to be patient while teaching them, and there are going to be days where your children refuse to do their chores because they don’t feel like making their beds, so you should institute a reward system for jobs well done to try to minimize the stress and encourage children’s cooperation.
If you are a stay-at-home mom, you can also sneak housework in while the kids are at school or while they are taking a nap. If your child is laying down for 15 minutes, you have time to wipe a few counters or wash a few dishes. Of course, you don’t want to be doing something every minute of the day, so take some time to relax too. However, if you make a habit of doing a little bit of housework during your “down time,” you’ll soon get everything done that you need to get done. Moms who work don’t have this luxury, but they may be able to sneak in a little bit of housework while getting ready to leave for work in the morning or after the kids are in bed for the evening.
Above all, make sure you are living up to your own standards, not to some impossible dream of a sparkling clean home. You may not be able to keep your house perfectly clean and neat if you have kids; some moms are happy with a home that isn’t overwhelmingly cluttered and where there are only a few dishes in the sink. Ask yourself what might be a more realistic cleaning goal if you are getting upset because your home doesn’t look perfectly clean. Although most moms don’t have the time to completely clean everything on a daily basis, you can probably find ways to make your home cleaner. Unless you have the money to hire a full-time housekeeper, you may have to sacrifice a little bit of cleanliness during the child-raising years, but you should be able to find a way to do some cleaning.