This week, the pediatrician raised a good one: how the heck do people manage to keep their houses cleaned up?? Especially people whose families where both parents work full-time and they have babies. We all offered insight, such as a chore list on the fridge, utilizing a web service like Fly Lady, etc. One woman said that they have a rule in their house that toys stay upstairs and if they come down, they go back up at the end of the day.
It was only this lovely Saturday morning that I looked around my house and thought "How could you give ANYBODY advice on keeping a house orderly?? Look at this hurricane-ravaged place!" We're the family that has the chore list on the refrigerator. It lists the things that we "aspire" to do, by day-of-the-week. For example, everyone in the house gets fresh sheets and towels on Monday nights. Menu-writing is Friday, groceries on Saturday. The big kitchen-cleanup is supposed to happen on Saturday morning. Does it? Not always. It's nice in theory, but we more use the schedule as a way of seeing what we have to do and then ignoring it until it becomes a red-alert item.
And the clutter, OH the CLUTTER! With two kids comes a lot of clutter. I could spend the day picking up, and I swear two children and a dog are behind me, throwing stuff on the floor as I go by. You start to get resentful, like "why freakin' bother." So I will only declutter once a day, picking up five things at one time and putting them in their designated places, and then grabbing five more.
What also comes with two kids is a drastic decrease in your standards of what will "do" in terms of cleanliness and order. Most days, if the kids are reasonably wiped clean before bed and we've run the dishwasher at least once, I'm good! Things like vacuuming become an as-needed chore, like when paint particles came flying out of Will's school bag last week. Now that Sean's super-mobile, we vacuum more often. I've learned to live with a lot and am adapting to a new mantra, "Embrace the Chaos!" I know that things won't always be this way. As the late, great Erma Bombeck once said, one day you will yell at your child, "I cleaned this up and I want it to stay that way!" And it will, because childhood will be over. And you will miss these days. So with my sanity still intact, I am embracing the chaos.