How does a single parent care for small children and still keep the house in order?…Is the house really in order?

It is extremely hard to some, especially when its during a separation, like I am. I have a ranch style home, my first home, and its not too big, 3 bedroom and a basement. And yet, I feel as though my house is never cleaned! My daughter as I always mention, is in her terrible twos. This little girl walks into a room and within seconds it’s like a tornado attacked. She goes by my desk and just pushes everything down. She throws almost everything in site. I recently found her stash of DVDs under the carpet! Aiden cries a lot and it’s awful because he spend about 80% of the day in my arms. I tried that “cry it out” for him but when he cries too hard, he passes out OR turns red and blue and starts gasping for air so really, there’s not that many options for me.

I came across an article: http://parentingsquad.com/easy-ways-to-keep-a-house-relatively-clea...

This article explains ways to clean your home when you have small children and I find it very helpful. It explains that if your going to check for mail, take a bag of garbage out too, or going to the basement, take something you have to put into storage, everything gets done a lot faster. Even while you  cook you can clean the kitchen as well like when you don’t need to stand there while something gets heated, empty the dish washer or arrange the spices. Everyone should read this if they are having trouble. Sometimes I get so tired and instead of cleaning when both babies take a nap, I end up sitting down for a long time or taking a nap with them! I feel like the only way I can get this house clean is with help. I live alone with my 2 babies and my father visits a lot, since he lives a few blocks away. Sometimes he’ll watch the babies for me at my house while I get my cleaning on. I sometimes make lists of things that need to be done and everything on it hardly ever gets crossed off.

Since the separation, I have felt that I have to clean my house to get rid of my ex husbands scent in a way. I need it to feel warm and cozy, as if a woman lives here, a woman’s touch. Obviously doing so, hurt feelings will spring up, then thinking about why it failed will come across my mind making it hard to do clean each time. I have found that the best way for me to clean is turning on some good music and dancing with my baby girl. She’ll even start to clean too!  My favorite is laundry. Gathering the clothes/towels/bed sheets, is not hard at all. Sort them. Throw them in the washer, in the mean time clean something else since not too many people wash their clothes by hand. Last step is to put them in the dryer before you actually have to do some hands on folding! Folding, is my favorite. I kind of have an OCD and my clothes have to be folded in a certain way. At this point, I have my infant laying on his play mat, and my daughter enjoys folding the towels, socks, and hand towels, while I fold the clothes. This takes about 20 minutes.

Any tips to share with parents?



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Comment by Reina S. Weiner on September 19, 2012 at 7:40pm

Another great tip, Tiffany M.  Being patient with yourself and your kids is an outstanding way to deal with whatever comes up.  Not letting perfectionists bring you down is also important to bear in mind!

Comment by tiffany M. on September 19, 2012 at 12:41am

I agree with Reina! Good point! My only tip, with having just gone through all that myself is to be patient with your children and yourself, and to not let any perfectionistic person, who was always able to keep her house clean, and whose children never acted like "that," near your home to bring you down. This is a personal, private time for you and your family to grow together, and learn together, and every family has had to go through this phase whether they remember going through it or not. I'm just saying all that to encourage you if it will because not too long ago I was looking up articles on the internet about how to keep my house cleaner because of all the pressure I was feeling from family members to be their version of perfect. I realized, too, that there were some standards I wanted to keep just for the sake of my little family, and those have been eventually met by taking each day one day at a time and working on things first things first and little by little. Reading the power of full engagement really helped me as well. I have been known to set my child in a stroller in the house while we listened to goofy music just to keep him or her entertained while I cleaned this or that room. Don't try to clean for more than an hour or so at a time. Clean the bathroom while the child and you are in the bathroom, clean the kitchen while you and your child are in the kitchen. Make sure the floors are swept and mopped before you even try to organize, and the most important chore is to keep the garbage taken out.

Comment by Reina S. Weiner on September 12, 2012 at 3:59pm

Celina;  You do what you can.  I know you've heard this before, but when you have small children it's almost impossible to have a clean house, especially when you're trying to do everything yourself.  Your suggestions for multi-tasking are efficient and use them when you can.  But, when the kids nap, you need to as well.  If you're more well rested, the tasks don't seem insurmountable.  One of these days, the kids will get a little bigger and be able to help you more. In the meantime,  ask them to put their shoes away, bring their dishes to sink, put their clothes in the hamper and pick up toys at the end of the day.  Show them, help them and then, let them help you.  Day by day.

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