Do you have CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? You have small children, but it is driving you nuts to see a chaotic mess throughout the house. Yet, you do not know how to schedule the time into your day to clean, do laundry and cook dinner. You watched “The Stepford Wives,” and you see they did it, so why can’t you? It is not that hard to keep your house company ready. With a few tips to guide you and a little bit of organization, you will be the envy of the playgroup.
DESIGNATE A PLAY AREA
If you have small children, then you probably have toys all over your house. They are most likely in the parents’ room, the bathroom, the living room, the kitchen, and other hidden places where you have not stepped on yet. Gather all of the toys and confine them to one area. If you have a room that you do not often use, such as a dining room, then pack up the fancy table and make that play central.
Do not try to clean everything every day. Designate certain days for specific chores. For example, you can clean bathrooms on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and vacuum on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Depending on the amount of laundry your family uses, you can do laundry on specific days or even a load a day. If you maintain your chores, daily, you will not seem so overwhelmed every day.
Clean the kitchen as each meal ends. This will ensure that you have a neat and tidy kitchen all day long. Immediately after breakfast, it may be tempting to plop down on the couch and watch ‘Regis and Kelly’, however just wash up the cereal bowls first and wipe down the countertops. This way each meals dishes and mess will not pile on top of the next meals.
If you do meal planning and cook dinner early, then you will not feel overwhelmed at 4 pm when your son needs help with homework, and your other children are fighting over a Lego. Sit down and write out a plan for the week. It can include 4-7 meals, depending on leftovers. Stick the calendar on the fridge and then everyday look to see what meal you have planned for that day. When your kids lay down for a nap or if they are quiet for a few minutes, start dinner early. There is nothing wrong with throwing the meatloaf in at 11 am. This means by 5 pm, you just have to warm the food up, and dinner is on the table in less than a few minutes.
HAVE KIDS HELP
If you have toddlers and preschool children, let them help you around the house. Children love to help and making them imitate mom or dad will do wonders for their self-esteem. Buy your child a child size broom, sponge, and bucket and let them follow you around the house. Put a sock on their hand and let them dust. This way you are getting chores done, while they are staying out of trouble.
UTILIZE NAP TIME
If your children take a nap during the day, use this free time to your advantage. This is the time to mop floors, vacuum, and do other things that you cannot do when you have little feet behind you.
Do not stress yourself out with trying to keep the tidiest house on the block. Your friends and family know you have small children, so they do not expect your home to look like a museum. I know as a mother that I would rather sit on the floor of my messy house and play Barbie with my daughters than have a spotless house. Just enjoy the time that your children are young because it goes far too fast.