Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Child Labor

Yes, that's my 4 year-old mopping the kitchen floor. And that's my 3 year-old vacuuming. And this is my view from the couch. I could get used to this!

These kids are little tornadoes. Everywhere they go, they each leave a trail of messes. I clean and organize nearly every. single. day. But I still can't keep up. I love the quote, "Cleaning house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it's still snowing." Truer words have never been spoken!

So I'm constantly picking up after them, and nagging reminding them to clean up after themselves throughout the day. Then by the time I get them all in bed, I'm usually too exhausted- the last thing I want to do is clean- again. So I'm often left feeling discouraged and overwhlemed at the end of the day. I'm a homemaker... making our home comfortable for those I love is what I do- one of my primary responsibilities. So when my home isn't exactly up to my standards, I often feel inadequate and depressed. Then when I'm struggling with those negative thoughts and feelings- I feel even less motivated to try and clean up. It's a brutal cycle. So I realized I needed to do two things:

1. Lower my expectations- at least while the kids are this young.
2. Ask for help!

So I'm working on both. Mr. Wonderful is working ridiculous hours lately, so expecting more help from him is not exactly an option. And honestly, sometimes it seems easier just to do the housework myself instead of asking the kids to help... but that leads to burnout for me, and indulgence for them. It's healthy for children to learn the value of WORK.

So here's the solution for us that has been a great blessing for us: I've implemented a very simple ritual we call the "15 minute clean-up". So now, as part of our bedtime routine, we blast some upbeat music (usually Veggie-tale jams- not exactly my personal fave, but at least it motivates them), I set the timer and we all race around the house and tidy up. It's actually quite surprising to see how much can get done during that brief time when we all work together. And they actually enjoy it, so no nagging necessary. And I feel so much better at the end of the day, especially knowing that the house will actually stay that way for at least 8 hours... until the little tornadoes strike again!


Jill said...

Anna came home and unloaded/loaded the dishwasher. So nice. :D

Katie said...

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he can do all of the heavy lifting." Or something like that. ;)

Julie Jardine said...

Nice. Can't wait for my kids to be able to do more and more.

Rob and Steph Puterbaugh said...

Rob and i were just talking about how we can't wait until William gets old enough to mow our lawn. LOL!

Laurie said...

lol. That is the way it should be!


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