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.
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.