My daily goal (struggle) is to keep the house clean. It is important to me that when unexpected guests visit they are welcomed to a tidy house. Somehow, an untidy home tells something about me.
I find myself getting irritated with every bit of mess I see.
Biscuit crumbs on the sofa. Socks hiding under couch. Origami shaped paper scattered in every corner of the house. Toy’s all over the floor and sometimes inside the refrigerator.
In the middle of spending time with my LittleOnes, I stand up and do a bit of picking up. I start cleaning and forget that I was playing with them.
Mess stress scene:
The kids were having an afternoon nap and I managed to clean the house – toys in the box, floor mopped, wet laundry hanged, cupboards dusted off – I also managed to enjoy a cup of coffee that hour.
LittleOnes woke up happy and energized.
I was busy tidying up bed from nap time, 5 minutes was spent in the bedroom.
I went out and the living room looked like a hurricane just passed by – pillow on the carpet with cars doing some sort of racing and Lego blocks scattered on the floor.
This made me really upset – all the cleaning gone. The house was once again one big mess!
“What have you done?! Put pillows back on the couch and clean up.”
“We are still playing Mama”
“I said, clean up!”
“Can we watch TV nalang Mama?”
“No, you play with your toys.”
“But, you just told us to clean up.”
Last year, relatives from Australia stayed with us during their short Dubai vacation. I kept on apologizing that the house was untidy. Nay Lyn replied:
“Oh darling, you don’t have to apologize. You have kids, they make mess. Time will come and they grow up and you’ll miss all the chaos they bring.”
V’s reply was a slap on my face. Yes, I did tell them to clean up which also meant that I scolded them for having fun. There I was getting upset again because they were not playing.
My LittleOnes are ages 6 years and 1 year old. They should not worry about being neat all the time, instead both should just spend time being a kid.
We live in a 1 bedroom apartment so there is really just a little cleaning required.
My goal really should be to spend time with my children. Create happy memories with them.
Here are list of things I’m working on, for me to eventually let go and embrace the mess attached to raising happy kids.
1) A space to play. Give your kids a place in the house where its acceptable for them to have this place messy. I’ve allotted a space for them in the living room where they can just let loose. I don’t see this space as untidy, because I have set my mind for it to be well messy. In reality, the kids still prefer to play and go crazy outside the play area.
2) Breathe and step back. I put a lot of effort to take a minute to breathe when unexpected mess happens.
V was baking brownies and when it was time to crack an egg open he accidentally spilled it all over the floor. He looked terrified and waited for my reaction. I counted to 5 and stepped back. “Don’t worry baby, let’s clean up the floor and get a new egg.” He thanked me for not getting upset.
This made me realize that V was scared to do anything because it will upset us. How will he learn if I don’t give him a chance to experience mistake.
3) Pick-up play. Set your alarm for 20 minutes, pick up as much toys/litter as you all can and put them back in its proper place. The goal is to finish cleaning before 20 minutes is up. Schedule this anytime of the day (when the house get too untidy) or before bedtime. This way you don’t have to do all the cleaning and it’s a fun activity the whole family can do together.
4) Clean up and move on. Every time you finish do a quick clean up before you move on to a new activity. Even when visiting a friend always encourage your kids to do a bit of tidying up that way you don’t leave the hostess with too much work to do. I’m pretty sure they would love to have you back again for some play date.
5) Let’s get dirty. Forget the things above #5 and just get dirty! Be a kid again – throw popcorn at each other while watching Frozen. Snuggle up, read stories in bed and forget about the mess outside and sleep. It’s ok to wake up and step on a cereal and enjoy breakfast.
Having kids is good excuse to be silly.
By letting go of all little work I see, I’m more relaxed. Accepting the fact that kids are messy and learn from it, gives me less stress.
To sit, have afternoon tea with my LittleOnes (plus some furry & plastic friends) and enjoy their company is my priority.
The bread crumbs under the dining table can wait. I’m having tea!