Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cleaning Routines for Mothers of Little Ones

I am always intrigued by magazine articles, blog posts and book titles that tell you how to clean your house in 15 minutes a day or how to clean your entire house in 2 hours a week. I read the tips and think that those must be great goals, but the truth is, I have no idea how long it takes me to clean my house. At least I haven't been able to time it for the last 7 years. Here are some cleaning routines I have followed over the years:

  • Get an early start by dragging out of bed at noon.
  • Grab a few crackers to stave off nausea.
  • Head to the bathroom and spray cleaner on the surfaces. 
  • Run from bathroom quickly and grab a few more crackers.
  • Decide to tackle the dishes instead.
  • Begin scraping food off of plates from night before (when you were too tired to do them after dinner).
  • Grab another cracker and begin picking up clutter in the living room where there are no scented things.
  • Forget that...you've found your husband's balled-up work socks under the couch.
  • Grab a cracker and sit down in the living room chair to catch your breath. Bending over that much is exhausting while navigating around a beach ball-shaped belly!
  • Wake up to your husband shaking you and wondering why there is soapy, cold water in the kitchen sink and orange cleaner film all over the bathroom. And by the way, what's for dinner?
  • Mumble something less than complimentary under your breath and audibly ask a question of your own, "Do we have any crackers left?"
  • Go to bed with alarm set for a bright and early start on cleaning day. 
  • Wake up to feed, change and comfort baby 11 different times.
  • Drag out of bed anyway (what discipline!) when alarm goes off.
  • Begin dusting furniture farthest away from baby's room. 
  • Oops! You weren't the only one the alarm clock woke up. 
  • Sit in chair to feed baby.
  • Put baby in swing and finish dusting.
  • Get out vacuum cleaner and turn on.
  • Oops! The vacuum cleaner scares baby. 
  • This step changes for each baby: 
  1. Baby #1- Immediately turn off vacuum and hold baby until baby stops crying. Put the vacuum away and promise never to use that "mean, old thing" again.
  2. Baby #2 - Hold baby on one hip and vacuum with one hand.
  3. Baby #3 - Finish vacuuming the living room and realize that baby has been crying. You couldn't tell with the noise from the other two children drowning out the vacuum.
  • Clean bathroom while stopping intermittently to remove bath toys from the toilet, change an outfit which has been doused in mop water, and call poison control on how much shampoo is safe for a 14-month-old to consume.
  • Wash dishes with child hanging on your skirt half the time and sitting on the counter spraying dishwater all over the kitchen the other half.
  • Dust the living room, stopping 6 times to bring toddler back down the stairs and say "No Stairs!" again.
  • Fight child for the vacuum cleaner then decide that perhaps it is time to teach them to do chores after all. 
  • When child is finished playing with vacuum, finish vacuuming and put vacuum in closet. 
  • Go back to living room to admire your clean house and find playdough in small pieces all over floor from the older two children.
  • Stifle a scream as one of them says, beaming, "Mama! Look what I made! I made it special just for you."


  1. Your pregnancy plan made me laugh out loud - so true!!! Well, here's a few of my "plans"...this is my weekly plan right now:

    Mondays - Menu and Market
    Tuesdays - Toilets, Tubs, Towels
    Wednesdays - Wash (laundry)
    Thursdays - Dust
    Fridays - Floors

    When you break it up like this it really does not take up that much of each day - (except laundry day). :-) It's sticking to the plan that is the hardest part!

    But I have a blog post here where I wrote "How to clean in the Midst of these Kids." Check it out here:



  2. Horrah for cleaning with kids! :) I give my 2 year old a wipe and tell her to help mommy clean. I can't really sweep unless my husband is around as they both start crying with the vacuum. Or, that's my excuse to put it off guess. I pick certain days to do certain things. Every Monday and Thursday are laundry days. Fridays I do the bathrooms, ect. Makes it easier for me to remember! :) Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Love this! You made me laugh and I can relate to so much of that! Thankfully I have olders now that can help out with house work and/or the litles when mommy needs to get the work done!