Living with less is a necessity if you have children especially toddlers and you dream of finding some resemblance of order. I have been fighting this idea of a clean house all my motherhood days, 13 years and counting. With five children from 18 months to 13 years old, staying on top of the clutter and disorder tends to be a daily nightmare.
I know it is better to just be there for the kids and not worry about the dishes piling up in the sink, the dirty laundry not in the laundry basket but covering the laundry room floor and bedrooms and let’s not talk about those dirty bathrooms! If you are like me then you are probably battling this same problem and if not, I want to know your secret!
It is hard to ignore the mess when I feel like I am going to pop. It is like the walls are closing in on me. When the house is clean and orderly, I feel a peace that just makes me happy. This is probably one of the most talked about topics online with everyone having their own twist on how to make it work, yet, I still find it difficult for me to really find a system and place where I feel that this is good enough for my family and I.
I feel like I am in a war zone where I am trying to clean up the kitchen while the kids destroy another area of the house. What about walking through a room and it is like you are trying to avoid stepping on a booby trap since there is so many things on the floor. Have you ever turned off the lights in your room and hoping you make it to bed in the dark with out stepping on something that will hurt? Okay, maybe that is just me.
I daily feel as if I am loosing the battle so why even try, right? But yet, I come back to that feeling of peace when a room is tidy and clean.
I was talking to my parents about it and wishing that my house looked like the inside of the temple which if you don’t know what it looks like, it is beautiful and clean. She laughed and said you need about 200 old people following you around to keep it clean, so I guess that will not be happening anytime soon!
So, where is the balance? Or am I just dreaming and a balancing act where peace, harmony, fun and order cannot be found in the home of young children. I like to believe that there is, yet I struggle daily to find that balance.
The one thing that I love about the idea of minimalism as taught by Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist is that there is just logically less stuff to clean up, put away and organize when you start to get rid of unnecessary things. If it isn’t in my house, then I don’t have to care for it. That seems like an easy solution, yet even after I minimized the entire house even the garage by half, I still have problems keeping it together. It must then go deeper than just throwing or getting rid of things. Although that definitely helps.
I think the biggest problem is I am one and they are 6! I know I might not be the cleanest person all the time, but boy when 6 are up against you to maintain a home, you are bound to fail.
Thus the lessons on keeping the house clean, chore charts, etc. begin. I have tried and failed a million times. It’s good for a few days, but sometimes it is harder to keep up the chore charts then just doing the work myself and then the cycle of clutter begins again. I feel like I am constantly drowning.
This post may seem like I am going to provide those secrets of keeping it all together, but frankly, I am tired and really have no clue. I thought I had a brilliant idea the other day. I will make my kids become Zone Managers. Each week they will be in charge of a zone or room. They are responsible to make sure it is clean when they leave for school and go to bed. Then every week we rotate zones. It worked for a few weeks, but again the head General “Me” gave up, moved on and forgot to order the commands again! I definitely would not of made it as a commander of any military with that style.
My point is that I think all of us mothers are just a little bit hard on ourselves and I don’t really understand why. I wish I could be like Mary Poppins and just sing a song as the beds are made and the toys are magically put away, but real life is a completely different picture. Now, I will not give up hope and so I will tell myself these three things.
- I am good enough “as-is”, yet I can continue to become a better mother by striving to take one step forward every day.
- I can go outside, sit in my hammock and take a deep breath and be grateful for the many blessings I have.
- I can squeeze my children tighter and be grateful that they have hands and bodies that work well enough to be able to play and make those messes.
These are just some of my thoughts for today as I continue to battle the balance of chaos and order with little children. Now, here’s your chance to tell me your secret or struggles like me as we continue down this road called motherhood. For now, I will take one step at a time with these little feet right beside me and pray for strength while on this mortal journey called life.