Being clean. Lately that is what everyone is talking about! The corona virus really has shown us just how much we affect each other and how wide that affect is. It is truly mind blowing!
I am sure we have all upped our cleaning habits recently, which is great! Being consistent is key! Routines to the rescue! If you don’t have a daily cleaning routine, go check the Routines page here!
Here are a few tips to help keeps germs and viruses away. Add these to your normal routines.
When cleaning the bathrooms daily, pay special attention to toilet handles, faucets, drawer knobs and door handles. Those things can be done very quickly while cleaning the rest of the bathroom with a Clorox Wipe (IF you can find any). Be sure to change out the hand towels daily as well.
If you are one of the many that can’t find any sanitizing wipes right now, I will include a “recipe” to make your own! Might be a fun project while most of us are stuck at home with not much to do anyway.
Keep clutter to a minimum. Less stuff to have to clean! Now is a good time to get rid of things. Grab a garbage bag and see what you can find to get rid of. You may not be able to donate it right now but it can go to the car or garage for the time being. Try to keep flat surfaces clear so you can wipe them off frequently.
Put at least half the kid’s toys away. Clean them thoroughly. Rotate them daily or every other day, cleaning them each time. This way you aren’t having to clean ALL the toys each day and they are excited to have different toys every day. Also less to clean up! It’s a win win!
Use fresh kitchen towels and dish cloths every day. Use a sanitizing wipe on counters and faucet multiple times a day.
Don’t forget about you car! You go out, go to the store, you touch things, you get in your car and touch your steering wheel, door handle, the stereo, etc. Keep wipes in the car to wipe it down often.
Your cell phone and water bottle should be cleaned several times a day! You wash your hands and then pick up your phone which has soooooo many cooties! Don’t forget your laptop as well.
Then of course, is the most obvious…. wash your hands. I think we are going to need to stock up on hand lotion the way we are all washing our hands and cleaning lately!
Encourage each other in this time. Be kind and generous. Let us remember to be grateful, there is always someone worse off than we are.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 NIV
Home Made Sanitizing Wipes
1 roll of quality paper towels. Cheap ones will fall apart.
1 air tight container, such as an empty plastic coffee can or old wipes container.
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup Isopropyl alcohol (tip!!! Isopropyl alcohol might be hard to find right now, but your local liquor store still has Vodka!! It will sanitize as well!)
1/4 cup white vinegar
Cut your paper towel roll in half using a sharp serrated knife or electric knife. It’s a bit messy.
Depending on your container you may have to peel off a few sheets of paper towel to make it fit. It is ok if it’s a tight fit.
Combine the water, alcohol, vinegar and dish soap and pour over the paper towels in the container.
Put the lid on and turn it upside down for a few minutes and then turn it back over. As soon as the paper towels are completely saturated you will be able to gently pull the cardboard center out easily! Now you can pull your wipes out from the center.
Here we are more than halfway through the first month of 2020! How are you are doing? Did you make resolutions or not this year?
I can’t say I made any resolutions. Those always seem to go by the wayside before the end of February! I did, however, set some intentions toward the end of last year. I want to better myself in all ways, not just to have a cleaner home, or just lose weight or have more patience . I want to improve myself as a whole. That seems like a big goal but I figured that if I get my mind right, the rest kinda falls into place.
I heard something a couple months ago that has really stuck with me. “You are where you are because of who you are. If you want to change your circumstances, you have to change you.” That is not a word for word quote, but pretty close and I can’t remember who said it, but it was like a huge neon sign for me! I need to change my mind! I need to change how I think and begin to think like the person I want to be. I can’t wait to become that person and then change how I think. It doesn’t work like that. Maybe that is pretty Captain Obvious but sometimes you don’t see those obvious things till they hit you in the face!
If I can’t seem to lose that thirty pounds, I am thinking like someone who is thirty pounds heavier that she ought to be. If I have trouble keeping my space tidy it is a reflection of my cluttered mind. If I have trouble with finances, it will never get better without changing my thoughts and beliefs about money. If I hate my job, it is my thoughts about what I am worth and where I deserve to be that has me there. Everything in our lives is in direct response to what we think and believe.
I can learn all I can about cleaning my house and keeping it clean and organized but until I start changing how I think, uncluttering my mind, knowing that I deserve a clean space and thinking positively, my house will always go right back to reflecting my negative thoughts!
“Most people don’t lead their own lives – they accept their lives.”
― John Kotter
How do we change our minds though? I mean, aren’t our thoughts just part of who we are? Is it even possible to change how we think? YES! It is! The thoughts that we think now were learned. We were taught by our parents and the people that surrounded us and our experiences in life. We can learn new thoughts the same way. Surround ourselves with positive people. If you don’t know any, find new friends! Listen to podcasts and audio books that talk about the things you want to change. Read personal growth books. Journal your thoughts and things that you are grateful for. Meditate and clear your mind. Pray and do daily devotions and quiet time. Spend time thinking about what you think about. What thoughts do you have that don’t serve you? What negative self talk do you hear? Have INTENTIONAL thoughts instead of letting your thoughts just run around willy nilly! You are in charge of them!
“If I wanted to make a difference… Wishing for things to change wouldn’t make them change. Hoping for improvements wouldn’t bring them. Dreaming wouldn’t provide all the answers I needed. Vision wouldn’t be enough to bring transformation to me or others. Only by managing my thinking and shifting my thoughts from desire to deeds would I be able to bring about positive change. I needed to go from wanting to doing.”
I know this is a bit different for a house keeping blog, but without this, I am just throwing out band-aids and temporary fixes. If we don’t clear the clutter in our minds, we will never be able to clear the clutter and organize our homes for any length of time. It will always go back to reflecting our thoughts.
I want you to truly have peace in your mind and a peaceful clean home. Let’s do 2020 the right way! Let’s CHANGE OUR MINDS! Change your mind, change your life.
Here is a list of a few of the podcasts that I enjoy listening to while at the gym and while getting ready for the day. There are so many out there and they are free to listen to! Find some that speak to you.
Feel Better, Live More with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee
The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson
The Chalene Show with Chalene Johnson
The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo
Today my blog has nothing to do with cleaning or keeping house. It may or may not offend some but it’s my story. I believe I am to share it. I hope it has an impact on someone’s life.
With tears streaming down my face and a terrible twisting knot in the pit of my stomach I ran to my mother after school and threw myself on her. I had tried so hard to hold it in since recess that morning when my world had been shattered and everything I believed to be true was ripped from me.
As many other kindergartners, I believed that if I was a good girl that Santa would bring me my Christmas wish, that beautiful blonde haired doll that drank a bottle and really peed her diaper! I looked at her in the JC Penny’s catalog every chance I got! I worked very hard to be nice to my brother and do my chores and be obedient to my mother.
That day, I was crushed. The boy on the playground told me that Santa wasn’t real. That parents just lie to get us to be good. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I don’t remember much from forty -eight years ago, but I remember that very clearly. Tim. He was smart and normally a nice boy. His mom was friends with my mom. Why would he lie to me? He must be lying…. my mother wouldn’t lie to me, would she? Lying is so wrong!
As I cried on my mother’s shoulder, she asked what was wrong?! I couldn’t get it out until we got home. She held me on her lap and told me that Tim had been right. Santa was just a story. I was just devastated. Confused and bewildered I asked why did you lie to me? Lying is bad! At this point my mother was just as heartbroken as I was. We both were in tears. It’s just supposed to be a fun story that children believe she said. She comforted me and eventually I began to feel a bit better but still didn’t feel right inside.
Nothing about this felt good. Thoughts continued to run through my head. I may have only been five, but I had been taught right and wrong and was no dummy. This Santa thing didn’t sit right with me.
That night my mother tucked me into be and we began to say bedtime prayers. A thought flashed in my mind and my eyes flew open. I gasped! This is just another lie! How can this be?! Jesus is who I talked to when I was scared or alone. He helped my mommy feel better when she was sad too! We had been through so much since daddy left but Jesus is what made us feel better. That sick feeling came back with a rush and I felt hot and the tears were flowing again.
Jesus isn’t real either I screamed!! My mother was taken aback. “Of course He is honey!” ” But you said Santa was real and he isn’t. I couldn’t see Santa and I can’t see Jesus. I tried to be good so I could get my Christmas present and I try to be good for Jesus. You said Santa could see me and Jesus can too! You LIED!” I cried.
My mom held me for a long time and we cried together. She asked me to forgive her for lying to me about Santa and promised to never lie to me again. She told me that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit do exist and that Jesus had died to take my sin so that I didn’t have to “try to be good” to receive anything from Him but that He loved me unconditionally. She reminded me that I had asked Jesus to live in my heart and that if I prayed He would give me peace and understanding and that I would know for sure He was real.
We prayed together and Jesus did fill me with peace and I knew He was there with me and that He was not just a lie. I knew in my heart that He would always be there for me and that I wanted to live for Him and let other people know that He isn’t like Santa. He is real and He loves us so much that He sent His son to be born and live and give His life for us so that we don’t have to strive to “be perfect”. He forgives us and has paid the price for us. He gave us the best Christmas gift ever given. It is for that reason that we celebrate the birth of Christ!
I made a decision at five years old that I would never ever lie to my children. I would never tell them that Santa was real and that they had to strive to be good to earn gifts. I would never give them reason to doubt that Jesus was real.
When I grew up and had my girls, we read the “Night Before Christmas” and all the other stories of Santa and they enjoyed those stories just as much as they enjoyed all the other fairy tale books we read. We put out Mt Dew and cookies on Christmas Eve because our “Santa” liked Mt Dew better than milk! We put out “reindeer food” in the snow, knowing it was a wonderful gift to the birds. They enjoyed every minute of the Christmas season and never believed in Santa. They believe that Jesus was born and came to save us from sin and give us grace. They have never doubted it a minute.
I don’t write this to heap guilt on those who have told their kids that Santa is real, but just to share from a child’s point of view. Maybe you might rethink the story you’ve told. This made such a huge impact on me as a child. I have always felt it was important to share but had never written it out until now. I hope that it can help a parent or child somehow.
This year, give real thought to your Christmas traditions and remember the reason for the season!
I am going to be honest. I am good at keeping things clean. I am not good at coming up with clever organizing ideas. That makes keeping things clean harder. Organizing is something I really want to work on! I have been doing some reading, blogs, Pinterest, magazines and the like to get some ideas. Some are great, some are weird and some are just not even feasible. I mean, these pantries…. do these people actually have any food? Super pretty, but hardly anything in there! I shop at Costco. We have cases of vegetables, not just a few cans. We buy pretzels that come in a ten pound bag. I buy white flour and wheat flour in fifty pound bags each!
Speaking of pantries, have you noticed that most houses don’t have pantries anymore? Ours doesn’t have one. It has a nice sized linen closet in the hallway which I use as a pantry of sorts. I store my small appliances in it and my spices are in a behind- the- door hanging shelf. It’s a bit of a walk to go get the spices for dinner, but it works and who needs a linen closet!? I don’t have extra sheets and only a couple extra blankets and those live in my closet in my room. Tablecloths are stored in my dining room hutch. I have a very large book shelf in my garage that is our main pantry. Flour, canned goods, extra baking supplies, snacks, rice, pasta, toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, foil, Ziploc bags, and the like are all stored out there. Between spices in the hall and the food and supplies in the garage, making dinner is a work out! But it works! So if you live in one of those houses that someone who doesn’t cook designed…. be creative and fine another space for a pantry! Coat closet, linen closet, laundry room, garage… think outside the box!
I found a really awesome blog about organizing your pantry and wanted to share it with you! Kelley has fantastic and realistic ideas for organizing your pantry, even if you don’t have much space. Go check it out here!
I recently did some major decluttering in my laundry room. I had never really taken the time to make my laundry room “look cute”. I don’t know why, it just never occurred to me! I do spend a lot of time there however and after cleaning it all up and getting rid of a lot of unnecessary things, I decided to make it look nice.
I made a bag for bags! I have wanted to have an attractive way to store extra grocery bags for a while now! I found a neat tutorial on how to make one right here! It was super easy! If you have a sewing machine and know how to thread it, you can make this! How much cuter is that than a grocery bag stuffed with other grocery bags stuffed in the corner?!
I think it really helps to have our laundry rooms look pleasant and our cupboards and pantry’s look tidy and organized. It goes a long way toward improving our attitude toward the mundane house work.
I have said before that I have a mantra. “Improve every room you are in, even if it is just to smile in it. ” It’s much easier to leave a smile in a room that is inviting, cute, and seems to smile at you!
I am not sharing pantry pictures as of yet… don’t expect that it will ever look super “Pinteresty” with matching baskets and chalkboard labels, but I am working on it being better organized and finding what works best.
How does your laundry room feel? Does your pantry give you anxiety? Take some time this week , even just fifteen minutes, to declutter, rearrange and make those areas look pleasing to you. You would be amazed at what you can get done in just a few short minutes.
You deserve to have a home that smiles back at you!
Hi Friends! Just a short little thought today, because sometimes all you have is a minute or two. That is what this is about! Using all those little scattered minutes.
We all have those awkward minutes between things that we think are useless minutes. The three minutes waiting for the water to boil. The five minutes standing in the bathroom waiting for your toddler to pee. That unusually long time it takes for your washer to stop actually spinning when you thought it was almost done. You know what I am talking about?! If you added up all those awkward minutes and put them together you would probably have a good chunk of time to get something done, but you can’t really do that. But why waste them?!
Make use of time, let not advantage slip.
I have a running list on my refrigerator of random things that need to get done. Some are things that would take quite a bit of time, some are short little things and some are things that my husband has to do. Some of those longer things can be broken down into small pieces though.
For instance, I have on my list to trim the bushes out front and to cut the dead blooms off my hosta and my hydrenga . At first that might sound like a weekend long project. Today the babies were sound asleep, the toddlers were playing nicely in the living room. I grabbed a garbage bag and the shears and left the window and front door open so that they can see me and I can hear them and I took less than five minutes to cut the dead blooms off the hosta. Ta-da! Maybe at nap time today I will get to the hydrenga!
So next time you are waiting for your toddler to pee, grab a Clorox wipe and wipe the baseboards. Dust the shelf in the laundry room while waiting for the washer. Clean the slider window while waiting to let the dog back in. Clean out the cup full of pens and pencils while waiting for a friend to arrive.
My iphone tells me each week how much time I have spent on my phone and on which apps. In other words, it tells me what I have been doing with my “awkward minutes”! Take back all of your awkward minutes and turn them into productive minutes! And don’t forget to break down what seems to be a big job into to little chunks at a time!
Have a wonderful productive week!
Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.
Hi Friends! It has been so very long since I have written here. Six months in fact! I have missed it so very much! I have had so many things going on in my life that I had decided to put this on the back burner for a while, but I couldn’t stay away forever!
Honestly, I had been feeling like I am not very qualified to write a blog called “The Self Cleaning House”. I still don’t. Not sure how I thought I was! With a family of five, a large house, an in home day care with six children, two of them infants, doing laundry for two families, writing two blogs and starting an eCommerce store, and camping every weekend all summer, I feel very often that my house doesn’t reflect the image I would like it to. Yes, it’s tidy-ish. The bathrooms are clean and the laundry is done and well, the basics are done, but that is as far as it goes.
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ―John C. Maxwell
Those daily routines…. I’m telling you, they are life! Without them my home would be in shambles right now. If you don’t know what those are, check out the routines page here. If you do, but need to dust those off and start again… DO IT!!
BUT…. my closet….not sure what has happened in there! The bathroom drawers… oh my! And then there is the garage….. so much. I want to cry every time I go out there.
Can you relate? I am hoping you can, because that is why I decided to jump back in to writing here as often as I can at least.
I hope that I can inspire you and ME to get to those things that are bugging you right now about your house. Yes! That thing that just popped into your head just now! See, I knew you had something too!. I know I am busy and you are busy. Crazy busy, in fact. Like, OMG, we have so much to do today we won’t be done with today until next Tuesday, busy!
But….. we got this! We can fine tune routines and knock things out in little five minute increments. So, without guilt and shame I am going to jump back into writing and sharing ideas with you. It helps to keep me accountable but I am also going to remember to try to give myself GRACE! You do the same!
I promise to be back again soon with ideas, encouragement and updates on that garage of mine!
Love you all! E
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
It was Friday late afternoon. It had been a long tiring week and I was very much looking forward to 5:30 pm, a glass of wine and pizza that I didn’t have to make! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook but at the end of a long week of toddlers, chicken nuggets, diapers, and toys I am quite ready to have dinner delivered and put my feet up!
I was clock watching, getting kids snacks and preparing for parents to arrive when I received a text message from our landlord. We don’t hear from her much so I was surprised. She lives in Alaska and we live in Idaho. We take care of the house and don’t bother her unless we have to and she doesn’t bother us unless necessary as well. It is a good situation and she is a great person.I read the text…. “I am in town and would like to come by to see the house tomorrow morning if that is OK?” She hasn’t been to visit or see her property in about three or four years so I totally understand her wanting to drop by…. but, tomorrow?!!! Yikes!! Terror struck me and my mind started to race. What all needs to be done? Should I clean and organize the freezer? Clean the tops of the kitchen cupboards? Disinfect the garbage cans? Whoa…….. breathe…..
Ok…..what really needs to be done? I looked around. I decided the carpet needed to be vacuumed, dusting should be done, entry rugs shook out, the kitchen and entry should be swept, and a little extra tidying up in the bedrooms. My family pitched in and we had all that done easily in a half an hour! By 6 pm we were having wine and pizza!
The house looked fantastic! I didn’t go all crazy and do things that didn’t need to be done and with just a few minutes of normal cleaning it looked great. You know why it only took a little effort to make the house company ready? Routines!!! The bathrooms were clean, there were no piles of laundry, dishes/kitchen was done and beds were made, the house was tidy, the kitty litter and garbage had been taken care of. The house look good and smelled good!
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Thank you, routines, for giving me a self cleaning house that allowed me to have wine and pizza on the Friday night before my landlord was to come see our home! Side note…. the landlord couldn’t fit stopping by into her schedule before leaving town so she never did make it. If you all want to stopover…..my house looks great!
I am tired. At 52 years old and still taking care of 6 toddlers and babies and my family every day, I am exhausted at times, ok…. most of the time!
We have all been there! I remember stumbling into walls I was so tired when my babies were young. All I wanted to do was go to sleep for 48 hours!
Clearly, that isn’t a possibility. Life goes on and so must we! We will survive. We have homes, children, laundry, work, meals, and relationships to tend to.
So how do we keep going when we really just want to nap or put our feet up? How do we keep from being overwhelmed and frustrated?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Doing daily routines is a huge lifesaver during times in your life where you are sleep deprived or overworked. You do those on autopilot. For all the other things that need to be attended to…..do them one thing at a time. One load of dishes, one room tidied up, one meal made. Put one foot in front of the other and try not to think of the whole picture, just what needs to be done next.
We often give ourselves too many outs, too many breaks. We are capable of far more than we think. Yes, it is really easy to say “I worked hard all day. I deserve to sit down and watch my favorite TV show instead of doing the dinner dishes.” but is that really doing yourself any favors? It’s not! Those things left undone will still be there when you are ready for bed or when you get up in the morning. It will put you that much more behind the next day and the next. It will snowball, get you down, make you depressed, make you make bad choices, make you grouchy and more tired.
I am not suggesting that we live on four hours of sleep and never stop working. Most definitely not! Sleep is very important for your health. I am talking about those times you know you should be folding clothes while watching that TV show. The times when you decide to just read one chapter of your book before starting dinner dishes….and then dishes don’t happen. The days you hit snooze too many times and decide not to do your morning routine.
Have you ever read Little House on the Prairie? Have you ever read the whole series? I know they are kids books but if you haven’t read them, read them. Read them to your kids. I have read them multiple times. I read them to my kids… maybe more than once. I am reading them to my granddaughter. They made a huge impression on me when I was a child. So much so that a few years ago when we had the chance we took the family to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house in Missouri. It was a wonderful experience.
Whenever I am tired and really just don’t wanna anymore, I think about all the things those people did and how hard they had to work just to survive. They couldn’t go through the drive-thru for lunch. They couldn’t even stop at the grocery store after work! Every single thing had to be planned, not days ahead but whole seasons and years ahead! They didn’t have a washer or dryer for laundry, Heck, they didn’t have the luxury of a couch to sit on and TV to watch while they folded their laundry! They would feel ashamed to be as lazy as we are now. We are capable of SO MUCH MORE! Modern convenience has us convinced and conditioned to feel we deserve to sit down and put our feet up.
A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep–So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.
Proverbs 6:10 and Proverbs 24:33
(Just a quick side note… did you know that the above verse is in the Bible TWICE?! The exact same wording. I am thinking we are to take notice of that verse!)
I am sure that if our lives depended on it, we would be up before dawn putting wood in the wood cook stove and starting those beans to soak. We would be milking the cow and feeding the horse. We would be canning all day during harvest and skinning deer and drying meat in the winter. Sewing clothes by lantern light would be our downtime. If our survival was at stake we would take far fewer breaks and find a strength within we didn’t know we had.
Next time you just don’t wanna…. remember, you have a TV and a couch. You have time and you are capable of so much more!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
If you are interested in purchasing the “Little House” series, click on the image below!
The house where we raised our children was, shall I say, less than nice. When we moved in, there were three different wallpapers in the same room, purple kitchen cupboards with pink sponge painting on them, (Gag!) and bathroom tile that looked like a three-year-old did it with lots and lots of glue! It was bad! We had to remove carpet from one of our daughter’s bedrooms and couldn’t afford to replace it so she had a plywood floor. Our bedroom was in the basement and had a cement floor. On top of all that, the house was olive green. Blech. It was just not a pretty house.
Over time we were able to paint the house, turn the seven-foot tall weeds into a decent yard, and paint the god awful purple and pink kitchen cupboards white. Wow, was that a job! We never could afford carpet while we lived there and there remained a lot of things that were not aesthetically pleasing about the house.
Even though our house was not pretty, people that would come to our house always commented on how “nice” our house was. I am pretty sure I managed a “thank you” after picking up my jaw off the floor each time!
I tried to figure out what it was that made people say that. It certainly wasn’t our super nice furniture! Although my mother in law’s hand-me-down 1970’s couch might have been cool once, it really wasn’t. It couldn’t be the beautiful artwork hanging on the walls that had been carefully selected from our exclusive GoodWill.
I am fairly certain that is was the feeling you got when you walked in our home and not the Thrift store curtains and well-overused second- hand piano that gave our guests that impression. It felt clean, peaceful and full of love.
I really struggled when we first moved there with all the work that needed to be done, the painting, the fixing, trying to make it look nice plus all the housework and laundry and cooking and homeschooling for a family of five. Then we took in a neighbor girl and we were a family of six! Family friends were struggling so I took on cooking and cleaning for them.
I struggled, it was hard, I did it, but my attitude was awful. I raised my voice at my kids when they didn’t do their chores in a timely manner. I complained to my husband about everything I had to do. I nagged him to do things. I was miserable and I was making my family miserable.
I remember one day saying “God, something has to change!” and in my head, I heard “yes, you do.” Uuughh……that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I knew it was right though. I said “ok, but you are going to have to help me!”
It was then that I came up with my mantra. “Make every room better, every time you are in it, even if it is just to smile.”. I repeat that over and over in my head as I move about my house. Now, I don’t know if smiling in an empty room really makes the room better, but I know it makes my attitude about cleaning and serving my family better!
When I began to do that, my heart started to change. Love gives. I wanted to serve and bless my family. I began to develop a system to keep our house clean without stress. It made such a difference in our home! It was then that people would comment on how beautiful our home was! It wasn’t just clean. It felt peaceful.
We can learn every trick in the book about cleaning and organizing and making things look nice, but if all we have is a clean house and a resentful attitude it will be felt. Your family will feel it, your guests will feel it.
“My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,”
Isaiah 32:18 NKJV
I am far from perfect and I still have to pray and overcome a bad attitude now and then. I get tired, sometimes exhausted and need to remind myself that my time with my kids is short. It is my heart’s desire to bless my family as much as I can, as long as I can. To create happy, loving memories of a home with that “feeling”.
We have all heard that “Cleaning with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”! It’s funny, can be true, but it doesn’t have to be.
What if I told you that you can have toddlers, teens and in between and still have a clean house without screaming and yelling. In fact, don’t do that! That will most likely defeat the purpose.
Is it hard work? It can be at first, but mostly the hard part is the training yourself and being consistent. The hard work is not you running around following all the children and picking up after them or nagging them non stop!
The key is routine, habits, consistency and discipline. (For you and your children).
Be an example. If you don’t make your bed, take care of your coat when you come home, or put your shoes away….. Why would they? I can’t stress this enough. Children do what you do, not what you say.
Let them see you clean your bathroom, do the dishes right after dinner, take the trash out, etc. Always put your things away before doing something else and always go to bed with a clean and tidy room. Let them see your routines and good habits.
I have heard all too often that when your kids are little it’s ok to have a messy house. Is it? What life skills are you teaching them? Let them see what work is. Impart a good work ethic. Have them help! You are not denying them time with you. You are teaching them something invaluable for life just by letting them see you have good habits. It’s ok to make them wait a minute. When they want something and you are just finishing the dishes, it is ok to say ” Ok, honey. I will get that for you as soon as I am finished.” Learning a bit of patience and noticing that other people are doing things are important for them too.
Let them know what is expected of them. Outline for them what they are supposed to do and when. Make a chart, Send them a list that they keep on their phone. Tell them that you expect them to clean up their toys after each activity. Tell them they are responsible to make their bed. Tell them they are to do homework immediately after school. Be specific. Have an attitude that tells them that you believe in them. If they think you don’t think they will do it, they won’t. If you don’t tell them it is expected of them, they won’t do it.
Break it down. Kids, and for that matter big people, come in all different personality types. I can tell a room full of 2-3-year-olds to clean up and I am going to see a lot of different responses. Some will start putting things away in all the wrong places, some will walk around dazed and confused with a toy in hand, some will pick up a toy to put away and then forget and start playing with it. Sometimes there is even that kid that eagerly puts everything away in the right places after the other kids have dumped them in all wonky.
You can’t send that kid that picks up the toy and starts playing with it to his room when he is 10 and expect him to clean the giant mess on his own. Not happening. Most kids need some guidance. Even if you can’t stand there in the room, you can break it down for them. “Go pick up all your books and put them in the shelf and then come tell me when that is done.” “Now go find all the legos and put them in the box.” You are teaching them great problem-solving and organizing skills this way without overwhelming them.
Assume the best of them. If they left their backpack on the couch, just say, matter-of-factly, “Susan you must have forgotten to put your backpack away, I know you are normally good about that. Would you please take care of that?) They will respond better to that than telling them once again they have failed just like you thought. Not that you would say it that way, but they often hear that. This way they are still hearing what you expect of them and that you believe they are well-intentioned and worthy of trust. They will try to rise to that.
Be the parent. “She wouldn’t let me do her hair.” I couldn’t get him to put his coat on.” “All they will eat is chicken nuggets so that is what I have to make.” This might not make me very popular but, be the parent. When they are told to pick up the toys, they need to do it. If they are told to sit at the table all through dinner, they need to do it. Kids don’t know what is best, they don’t know what is good for them. That is why God gave them parents to teach them and train them.
If I rob a convenience store and the cops show up and say “Freeze! ” and I don’t….. Do you think they are going to shrug and say “She wouldn’t do what we said.”? Or will they offer me a candy bar and say if you freeze you can have this! No, I am going to get a really quick lesson in consequences!
It is not fair to let our kids go through childhood thinking that if they throw a fit or refuse to do things that they get their way. Life just isn’t like that. I won’t get on a political soapbox, but let’s just say I believe that is a lot of why our country is the way it is today.
Consequences for not obeying, refusing to listen will nip those in the bud. You have to be consistent though. If you aren’t …. well, kids know. Having to dish out a consequence a few times to have your kid respect what you say is so much kinder than forever after nagging, yelling and the constant power struggle. Better for both of you! Your child obeying you the first time you say something might just save his life someday. You are the parent! You are in charge.
Kids respect what you inspect. You do need to have a good expectation of your kids, but if you never check to make sure they have followed through on what is expected, they WILL notice. At 15, you obviously don’t have to check to see if he’s brushing his teeth ( I hope) but at 6 you sure do. Your 8-year-old child still needs reminders and supervision to get morning routines done and get off to school. Kids need to have homework checked. You show your kids that you are interested and that you care by checking to see they’ve done what is expected.
Praise for a job well done. When kids hear praise for what they did well, they want to continue doing it. That goes for all people, little ones and big ones! When your two-year-old puts his toys back, tell him how great a job he did! When she “makes” her bed, tell her how proud you are of her. (Don’t fix it… at least not in front of her!) If your teen cleans her room, tell her it looks nice!
I personally don’t believe in an allowance for daily things that are expected. Those are things that are just part of life for us and for them. If you want to teach the value of money and work then pay them for extra things like raking leaves, pulling weeds, that sort of thing. No one pays me for brushing my teeth and making my bed. Paying them for things like that gives them the idea they are doing it for YOU, not because it is just a life skill.
Give grace. be kind, be thoughtful. Have you ever had a really rough day? Of course. We all have! On those days that you didn’t seem to get anything done and things just didn’t go as planned, wouldn’t it be nice if someone took one of those things off your list for you and did it?
When your little one is having a harder day than usual; when the kids at school called her names or the spelling test was harder than she thought, be thoughtful and help her tidy her room before bed or turn her bed down for her.
Remember what it was like to be a teenager? I do! It was the worst thing EVER. Teens go through so much! The stress of changing hormones that they don’t even understand, horrible peer pressure, self-esteem is tough, other teens are not the least bit kind. They are required to make huge life decisions, do an enormous amount of difficult school work and do it well to get into schools they want to get into plus hold jobs too! It is a LOT!
When your teen is having a particularly rough day and they rushed out without making their bed, make it for them! Do a load of laundry and put it away for them! Make them feel that home is a safe place to be. A place where they feel loved and accepted even if they don’t quite get all their chores done now and then. Of course, respect their space. Make home a place they want to be.
By teaching your children the skills to organize and clean and giving them grace and love when they need it you are giving them the skills and character to be amazing successful people that this world so needs!
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
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