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Domesticity

The Case For Moms Doing More

I’ve been wandering around the blogosphere of late, and I’ve seen more and more posts about stay at home moms doing too much.

I’ve actually written a few of those posts, here and here.

And I know that I’m the type that takes on too much, the type that needs to be told to say no every once in awhile, and the type that doesn’t usually stop until she crashes.

But I wonder if sometimes we may swing too far the other way.

I know that kids are only young once, and that we need to enjoy them in the present.  I know that we often get sidetracked with our electronic devices or our work.  And I know that we often need to make up that time with our kids.  I’m good with that.  Playing board games with our kids, going to the park with them, baking with them … it’s all good.

But I do take issue with essential chores being put aside so that we can “spend time with our kids” when we’re really just procrastinating.

Perhaps it really comes down to the fact that we’ve ignored our kids with Netflix binge-watching or Facebooking, and now we feel guilty about it.  And so we say that we’re not going to”clean our house” today because we need to “spend time with our kids”.

And so the dishes don’t get washed, and the laundry pile gets higher, and the garbage still doesn’t get taken out.

We cheer on the mom who has stayed in her pajamas every day this week, and tell her it’s okay when her kids are eating cereal for dinner … again.  If she manages to change the toddler’s diaper by bedtime, great!  And if she got a load of laundry into the washer today, awesome!  The other 8 loads can wait til tomorrow.  Or the next day.  Or next week.

When did it become a badge of honour to have 2.5 kids that we actually got out of bed this morning?  We feel extra accomplished when we get them to the bus stop on time.  And when did eating at the coffee table because the kitchen table is covered in junk become a good thing?

 

I think we’re slipping, girls.

 

We’re giving mommyhood a bad name.  We’re trading cleanliness and order for a diluted version of Mommy & Me time.

Sure, kids need to spend quality time with mom.  I’ve always been the first to defend the mother-child relationship, and believe very strongly that it should be nurtured.

But it needs to be balanced.

Time with kids, time with my spouse, time to work, time for house work, time for myself — it all needs to happen somehow.

Sure, kids get sick, holidays happen, routines get thrown to the wind.  But things should be settling back into place sooner rather than later.

Because frankly, dishes do need to be washed.  Clothes do need to be cleaned.  Food does need to be cooked.  They are all part of life, and it only benefits your children to see you being conscientious about doing these things.

Put a stool beside the sink so that your little one can help you do the dishes.  Or give her a bin of bubbles to play in.  Show your toddler how to put laundry in the washer and switch it to the dryer.  While you’re showing him, guess what?  You’ll be spending time together while getting the job done.

Yes, parenting is hard.  Yes, you’re tired.  Yes, being a mom drains the life right out of you. Yes, your spouse doesn’t help the way he should, or maybe you’re doing this parenting thing all on your own.

But let me tell you a little secret, something a wiser woman once told me:

 

Suck it up, Buttercup.

 

Get up, get dressed, get moving, get off your phone, get off your computer, get out of your own head, and Get. To. Work.  Get the essential chores done at the least.  Involve your kids.

They need to see you caring for them in indirect ways – by washing the dishes, mopping the floor, taking the garbage out.  And they need to be included in caring for you in those same ways – by helping you wash the dishes and take the garbage out.  That’s how a household functions.

It’s not easy.  Nobody ever said parenting was.

But we didn’t get into this parenting gig because we thought it was easy.

————–

Essential Daily Chores

For most households, below are the chores that need to be done on a daily basis.  Let me be the first to say that this is what I’m striving towards and I’m not 100% yet.

 

– kitchen sink kept relatively empty (dishes washed 1 or 2x each day) and counters wiped down

– floor swept and relatively clean

– kitchen garbage changed

– dirty laundry washed (having hampers for each family member can keep this manageable)

– kids cleaned (whether it’s a full bath or not), fed 3 proper meals and snacks, school papers and homework attended to

– toys in heavy traffic areas picked up once daily

– other heavy traffic areas (entrance, hallways, stairs, etc) cleared of clutter

 

I know that housecleaning with kids is just like they say:

It’s like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.

But at least the house was cleaned.  

 TheCaseForMomsDoingMore

 

 

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!

22 Comments

  1. Erinn S

    You are correct. Sitting idle and complaining doesn’t make anyone feel worthwhile. If I can have a tidy home (not 100%-I save that for Friday deep clean day), have talked to my kids (make driving home from school quality chat time), cook dinner, fold some laundry and read to my son at bedtime-I feel balanced each day and it was not all that stressful!

  2. Kate

    Very well written. I keep typing replies but none seem to come out right. I’ve been a SAHM and a working Mom with the same responsibilities I try to keep focus on how lucky I am now that i can have a constantly clean home and still spend quality time with my daughter and husband at my leisure.

  3. Katriza @ Everything Home Life

    I agree with you. There are days were I am just not feeling up to doing much but stuff needs to get done! Of course the more I procrastinate, the more I have to do = more stress! Can’t wait for baby #2! hehe

  4. Danette Lykins

    This is so true! You are absolutely right… thanks for reminding me!

  5. Susan Maccarelli

    I am probably more guilty of using cleaning as a way to avoid spending time with my kids vs. the other way around. I know that sounds awful, but I am just not the playing type of mom. I will watch a show or play a game with them, but I struggle with pretend play or chasing, hide and seek etc. and often sneak off to clean instead. I need an intervention.

  6. Abi at Joy In My Kitchen

    Way to go, Megan. I agree – we shave a lot of active things to do to keep our homes and families. We must take responsibility for our space and time, take pride in doing our work well and enjoy including our little people in the process. Well said!

  7. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    I am totally guilty of putting off chores to play with my kids, but the chores will be there later.

    • Mrs. Jilly Fisher

      I agree. With two kids under 2 1/2 if I clean it looks pretty much the same in a couple hours. I stay on top of laundry and dishes, but everything else just waits till the right moment.

  8. Virginia Gudiel (@LovelyVirginia)

    Couldn’t agree with you more! Awesome reminder for us mommas!

  9. Rosey

    I am a procrastinator sometimes when it comes to putting things off to do something w/the kids. A lot of times it’s something organized, like Scouts or (previously) band…and I justify it even more. I could use my time better to avoid such things though, and I know it.

  10. Margarita (@west_coastmama)

    I love this. I too feel that so many things you read tells you to relax, enjoy time with your kids, but then everyone wonders why they’re houses are falling apart and their relationships are suffering!

  11. Lindsey

    Sometimes what I need most is a peptalk like this, not a pat on the back to stay in my jammies. 🙂 I love spending time with my little ones, but we all benefit from a “reasonably clean” environment and a sense of “order” that then sets a peaceful tone for our time together (thanks to to Leila at http://likemotherlikedaughter for many of these insights). I’m not aiming for perfection, but for a certain level of competence that I think honours my family and the role God has given me in taking care of them and our household.

  12. Stacey- Travel Blogger

    Being a mother can be hard. Balancing both being a mother and keeping the house clean can be hard at times. I totally agree with this !

  13. the pinterested parent

    I definitely put of chores for my child, but I work all day and when I come home really do have limited time to spend with my daughter. When the weekends come, I try to fill them with mommy and munchkin time. I am fine with a less than spotless house.

  14. The Spring Mount 6 Pack

    I tend to play with the kids instead of cleaning. But only when things aren’t too messy to begin with

  15. Jaime

    A love that this is a no holds barred post. I work a full time job, a single mom and my daughter is disabled, so some things do get put to the side because there are more important things than dishes when our little bit of time we have together is precious. However, on the weekends- I’ve been trying to get her more involved as she needs to learn life skills as it is! Fantastic post!

  16. Eliz Frank

    The SAHMs I know are quite fastidious about keeping things on a schedule and moderating their time. Most have other responsibilities and work hard to ensure family time is not lost. I don’t know anyone who fits the moms you describe but, I agree with you. If Moms are slacking off and making excuses, then it’s time to stop and get back on track. 🙂

  17. Ruby Caberte

    I am a SAHM too. There were times I don’t like moving at all but since my kids only has me to depend on, I need to work no matter what. I also ask the kids to help me out to do some chores.

  18. Mystarlight

    I stay at home with my kids and I have to say I am guilty of not staying on top of things. In the end though the laundry and dishes do get done every day or every other day. As far as clutter and vacuuming that is a different story. I do feel guilty for being on my computer or phone sometimes and say forget cleaning I better spend some time with my kids. I think it is important to keep your house clean not spotless but clean. My girls love helping me with dishes and laundry. We play chase with the vacuum. There are ways to spend time and clean at the same time like you said. Great reminder.

  19. Sarh S

    Love that you compare cleaning to brushing teeth while eating oreos! It’s SO true! I swear it’s impossible to clean my house unless my youngest is gone for several hours.

  20. maggiesblog2

    You are so right! I LOVE this post for so many reasons. The main one being it gives me motivation to suck it up! I really need to get a schedule in place for my kids as far as meal times are concerned and I have no idea where to begin since they are currently “grazers” any advice?

  21. katrinagehman

    i work from home, which sounds great but it’s hard to get what i need to get done when i hae a toddler running around. we do what we gotta do.

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