Since becoming a stay at home mom I have turned into the biggest cleaning junkie.
Before kids I would come home from a tiring day at work, walk through the front door slamming my keys down anywhere but the key hook. I would kick my shoes off leaving one completely away from the other. Messes and clutter pretty much followed me every where and I rarely minded.
Now I practically have a panic attack if crumbs are on my carpet for more then two hours. I need things in my small area to be clean and orderly or else I am completely thrown off kilter in every other aspect of my life.The kids, the pets, the meals, my mood, everything.
I guess there isn't much to complain about when it comes to becoming tidier than you were before kids. But it can overwhelm me quickly if I don't get a grip on the reality of the situation. I love my clean home, it gives me a calmer outlook on life and helps me feel clear and open. But if it is a mess sometimes, it isn't the end of the world.
Even though I feel like it is.
However some things have begun to annoy me and creep me out a little. Is it possible to become OCD after becoming a mom? I can't stop fighting the urge to wash my hands after every bit of cleaning I do around the house. It could be wiping crumbs off the counter, or putting clean dishes into the cabinets. I feel dirty and sticky all the time, even if I'm not. It annoys me to no end. It feels like it just might be something I am making my self do during the day to add a little bit more action into my predictable routine. Yep, cleaning my dirty hands is considered action in my day. I do the same thing day in and out and cleaning makes me feel like I have some sort of other duty (hobby?) besides child care in my life.
Anyway, I am rambling, sorry...
I have found a few awesome tricks to keep myself organized and clean in a tornado of tiny grubby hands and spaghetti sauce stained mouths. Just like I have a schedule set up for my kids I have one set up for my cleaning routine.
Write All your Chores Down
Have the list of things you want to get done that day out in an open area. I post mine on my white board that is stuck to my fridge. I keep the list of chores I have assigned to do daily apart from the miscellaneous ones I have to do on any given occasion.
I don't actually write them down to remember what I need to do for the day but more so when I cross them off I feel like I accomplished something. I know I don't need a list to know I accomplished 1 Million and 15 things on any given day just by taking care of my kids- but I am bad at giving myself credit for anything.
Set Up Quick Daily Routines
By doing things like wiping down your bathroom counter, or running a quick load of laundry you never get over whelmed by the chaos that surrounds you on a daily basis. Not only will it make your life much easier, your home will always be ready when the unexpected guest arrives. Dude, how 50's do I sound right now?
Make Your Living Room A Kid Free Zone
After Bed Time
For me, once bed time hits and all kids are soundly asleep in their rooms, I want nothing more to do with them unless they wake up and need me. I am completely beat by the end of the day. I pour all I can into my kids and by the night I am ready to focus a little on me. So I don't want to see or hear a single stupid plastic toy at all. I pick up all messes each and every night and put them in their respective "homes". A toy free environment relaxes me and let's me feel a little freer for a moment.
Bust Out The Blog! Or Beer.
At the end of every night remember to always make time for yourself. Even for just a bath. Lately I have been finding it increasingly harder to do this but I always try to keep up with it. I need to constantly remind myself to take a few steps back and wrangle "Kelly" back in and leave "Mommy" aside for a bit.
Be Honest With Yourself
I like to wake up every morning feeling like I can take on the whole world, or at least the whole house. But 45 minutes into cleaning and having to already break up two fights, one spill, and six tantrums- I am ready to give up on the whole thing and leave the apartment in disarray. I need to remind myself that tackling everything on my list for the week in one day is way too much and I should never expect it of myself. Set aside only what you think you can handle.