No one needs to tell you that being a mom is a full-time job. So if you also work outside the home, how in the world do you keep your house clean? The easiest answer is to hire someone to do the dirty work. But for most of us, that's not possible, at least not on a regular basis. Here are some tricks of the trade from seasoned Circle of Moms members who like to run a tight ship.
1. Keep the Kids Occupied
Many kids love to "help" clean, and this can be fun for everyone if you have a lot of time. But if you're on a schedule and your kids are at home when you need to clean, make sure they're fully occupied with something more interesting than sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming. So says Brandi S., who also offers the excellent suggestion of breaking down each task into two or more parts. For example, clean the bathroom sinks, toilet, and tub and don't worry about the mirrors and the floor until later.
If you get lucky, you'll be able to do everything in one pass, but setting lower expectations makes it easier to go with the flow when you are inevitably interrupted. If you have children napping in the house, plan to do quiet cleaning when they're down, and save the noisy stuff for when they're awake.
2. Teach Your Family to Pitch In
If you're the main housekeeper, it's more than reasonable to ask that everyone else in your household do at least small things to make your life easier. These include gathering dirty laundry, cleaning off the table after meals and snacks, loading the dishwasher, picking up toys, books, and newspapers. Then, when you go to clean, you'll have clear access to the area.
3. Don't Aim For Perfection
Renae K. admits that she used to be a perfectionist when it came to cleaning her house. Not any longer. Now, when she doesn't have time to fully tackle a cleaning project, she goes for appearances rather than the deep clean. This gives her the satisfaction of feeling fairly organized and on top of things, but doesn't require the time commitment that a deep cleaning would require — time that she rarely has.
4. Stick to a Schedule
Hayley M. had a breakthrough when she finally sat down with her husband and daughter and mapped out a schedule. Make a rudimentary chore chart and assign each task a time slot or day of the week. Once you get into a routine cleaning will get accomplished without your having to stress over it. Schedule a cleaning task just as you would a playdate or another activity.
5. Cook in Bulk
Cooking and cleaning are related work, and Shelley T. suggests cooking meals that will last two or three days. That way, instead of spending time each day on cooking, you free up some time for daily cleaning. Or better yet, you create time to just relax with your family. Now there's a novel concept!