I’ve heard it said that cleaning your house with kids is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos. Yeah, that sounds about right.
I’m a bit of a neat freak which makes this truth even harder for me to handle. One of the things that no one warns you about before you have children is how much time you will spend cleaning up after them and then having to do that cleanup all over again by the time you finish. I’m sure every child is different, but my little active explorer is like a walking tornado. You never know what you’re going to find when you finish vacuuming.
Sometimes a popular blog will post a series called “Living with Kids” where they show the homes of people with great design sense and children. Don’t get me wrong, I love those posts, and I get so many great ideas from seeing them. The thing I have to laugh about is that the houses always look perfect and spotless. There are books on the lower bookshelves, no ugly childproof gates or locks, breakable items on coffee tables, and no messes. (Even in the houses with toddlers!)
Of course, I’d spiff things up around here if I were being featured somewhere, but I think for now, I’d like to just be real. So, here is my version of living with kid(s):
This is the paper towel roll that I found earlier today. Looks great on the cabinet like that doesn’t it? I refuse to waste the paper towels (which I loathe even using at all), so I neatly folded them into a drawer. Note to self: Sylvie can now push a chair over and reach the paper towels.
This is Sylvie’s play area about 1 minute after we did our afternoon cleanup, and this is on a good day. I’ve learned to be minimal with what toys we have out, and I love the basket I got from West Elm which Sylvie can at least throw things back in. Most of all I’ve had to learn to turn a blind eye to this area until our usual cleanup times or I start to twitch. That’s not pretty.
This is what happens if you let her near toilet paper. I used to have a really cute wire basket to hold spare toilet paper rolls, not so much anymore. Toilets and toilet paper are the most fascinating things in the world to her right now, so unless I want my car keys in the toilet, this area is off limits to her.
I think you get the picture. I’ve had to learn to relax about the fact that my house isn’t guest/camera ready at every given moment, and I’ve learned to have a system so that I don’t walk around constantly with glass cleaner in my hand. I’ll share more about my cleaning plan some other time.
Right now I’ve got a pile of laundry to refold.