At times it can feel impossible to keep a clean home with children. It seems there is constantly a trail of mess. But take heart…
It took me a while to get up my nerve to ask her.
She seemed to have so much together, this amazing friend of mine.
She was one of those – you know, lovely, talented, a fabulous cook, and her house always appeared immaculate.
At least as far as I could tell.
So one day, I simply up and asked her: “How do you do it? How do you keep your home so pristine? And with two young children . . . ?”
And she started to laugh.
Honey (she was a southern girl, through and through), I just put on my yellow gloves and go to it.
I had a hard time picturing this classy lady in yellow rubber gloves, but she assured me that if I ever dropped by unannounced, that was how I’d probably find her.
Then she said something else – something that has stuck with me ever since. Something that her mom apparently always told her too.
Life is messy, so clean it up.
Simple, huh? I know. That’s what I thought too. But it somehow made sense.
You see, we’ve got a whole lot of life going on in our home. So, naturally, we have a whole lot of mess.
And, rather than complain or despair over the situation, we can accept that this is what comes with the package and do our best to live neatly in the middle of it all.
So here are 5 ways to help live neatly around the mess:
1. Pick your priorities. Honestly? Don’t even try to get it all done. Pick and choose those things that are important to you and/or important to your husband. For instance, I’ve appointed my kitchen, the living room floor, and our master bedroom. If nothing else, I try to keep these 3 areas tidy and clean.
2. Set aside a room. If at all possible, I try to have a “little oasis” set off that I can retreat to when I need that peace of mind. In the past, it’s been a corner in our living room and right now it’s a small front room that we call the “parlor”. This is my no-toy zone and the kids aren’t even allowed to eat in there. I protect it with my life. So even if all else is a wild zoo, I have my little spot of civilization.
3. Embrace the process. Rather than getting discouraged or defeated, realize that this is what comes with having children. It doesn’t make them annoying (well, not too annoying anyway) and it doesn’t make you a failure. It’s just part of the deal. Life is messy. . . . So clean it up!
4. Train for the future. I am a big fan of training the kids to take over my job someday. While it might seem a hassle on the front end – it is a worthy investment to teach your kids how to pick up after themselves and take care of basic household chores. I am so glad I did, now that I have a handful of teenagers in our home. That crew can do most anything! (Hang in there, young mom, your day is coming too).
5. Choose relationship above all. Would you rather have a clean house . . . or a close relationship with your child? Easy call, isn’t it!
Never choose house over hearts.
So if you’re having one of those days – or even an entire season – where your house is in shambles, don’t get too down about it. Why not slip on your yellow rubber gloves and just go to it!
. . . Unless you’re rocking a baby or reading a story aloud.
Then all that other stuff? It can wait.
It’s called life and that is always beautiful.
In His grace,
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