October 19, 2015

Cleaning vs. Playing

It's 10:15pm and my babies are both soundly sleeping; the littlest one in my arms. The husband is working another lame night shift which started at 3pm and will end at 4am (these are not normal and I demand that they end soon!) Once the kids were asleep I began to peel stickers off the couch, round up scattered magnets, toys, and shoes, plug the iPad in to charge, load and start the dishwasher (does any mom with young kids have time to hand wash dishes? I shudder at the thought!) clean up the toys in the tub, fold up blankets, tidy couch pillows, wipe down counter tops, and I almost got to folding the pile of laundry that had been in the dryer for two days, but then Dash needed me so that didn't happen. Maybe tomorrow. 
If there is one major thing I have recently learned about myself it's that I need to have a clean/tidy home in order to function and be a good mother and wife. If my house is dirty I don't want to do a dang thing until it is in near tip-top shape. Every room, every floor, every table/counter space. It didn't use to be this way. I'm pretty sure it's a result of living in a hotel for a year; Maids servicing your room daily, garbage's taken out, bed freshly made- and just us being tidy with no junk because the living space was so small. Since being home I just can't stop tidying and picking up. I truly wish there was a candle that smelled like bleach. (If you know of one, tell me!) Until then, fresh linen will do. It's now to the point where I will put off playing with Dollie over and over because I just have this *one* more thing to clean up. Next thing I know she's been on the iPad for far too long and I have a clean house that I feel awesome about but also guilty about. (Now I'm worried that you think I neglect my children. I don't. They come first no doubt- but when all their basic needs are met and they are happy- I just want to clean.) At the end of the day, most days, I find myself worrying that I didn't play with Dollie enough; that I didn't focus on teaching her something new...or maybe that she would have had more fun with Dad. I worry that I should have made it a point to do more tummy time with Dash. Other than tummy time, Dash basically gets smothered by all of us all the time so there are no worries there, but I feel that Dollie is in a major learning phase right now that I should be capitalizing on and I am kind of failing. And all for what? A swept/vacuumed floor that's just going to need it done again tomorrow? 

I have decided to try something new where I make sure the house is cleaned before I go to bed- no matter what it takes. Then I can focus on having more special, specific moments with my kids during the day. I wish I could just throw my hands in the air and say, "Who cares! So my house is dirty, I'm a mom with tiny kids! I'm busy!" But I simply cannot. When my house is picked up and tidy I can feel my mood change. I've never done drugs, but it feels like a clean home might be like a drug for me. The funny thing is that no one ever comes over so it's not like I'm trying to impress anyone. It's literally something that really gets to me and is a major mood changer. I am just happy to recognize where it has become a bit of a problem, and have found (I hope) a solution so we all win! I also am going to start seeing if Dollie wants to help me do small things during the day. I think she'd really like that! She already helps me unload the dishwasher, carry folded clothes into our bedroom, as well as put the wet clothes into the dryer (not to mention all the help with Dash!) so I'm sure she would love to learn and do more.

As I'm sitting here snuggling Dash I have found myself pondering back on my day today. Mid-evening I started mentally getting ready to spend the next who knows how long cleaning. Instead I decided to play some new games with Dollie. We used tongs to place items from one bowl into another, we practiced pouring water from one pitcher to another, and we blew little puff balls around the kitchen floor with straws. She loved it. We played with Dash and ran around like little crazies. Guess what happened once she was asleep? I cleaned the house! So I'm feeling pretty great right now. I read an article the other day from a blogger (don't remember who) that talked about the worry we Mothers may have when nightfall comes and our babies are tucked away, and our minds start racing and we wonder if our kids felt loved enough that day. I always worry about this. I tell Dollie I love her constantly, I always make time for snuggles, tickle sessions, and rock-a-bye time no matter how dirty my house is, and I always sing her to sleep while softly ticking her feet (her favorite). Recently she started telling me and her Daddy, "I love you allllll day." It basically melts our hearts over and over. So, I'm pretty sure she feels loved, but today felt a little more so because I intentionally did not clean and played and played and played instead.
Do you have any fun learning game ideas for 2yr olds? Please share! I'm really looking forward to doing less cleaning (during the day) and more playing! 


  1. Katie, I think we are the same page. I too have to have a clean house. Normally I wake up, shower, get dressed just in time for Olivia to wake up. I get her dressed and put her in her high chair feed her, and then turn on a show while I do the morning chores. I always TRY to not let it go longer then a episode, but sometimes it does. I too, have to have a clean house. I need consistency and stability, and having a clean house makes me feel in control and safe. I think my husband and even Olivia appreciates the order and cleanliness, but moderation in all things. I think that I will start waking up early enough that I can get it all done before she wakes up. I wish I had more suggestions on things to do. We go out a lot (feed the ducks at Salem Pond, Go to the mall, to the park, arrange play dates, etc), but I'm afraid in the Winter there isn't as much of that that we can do (nor would I recommend -due to sickness spreading). I too am looking for ideas. I liked the ones you mentioned! I will have to try a few! Btw, you're doing a great job. Keep up the great work.

  2. Obviously, our window units grew some black stuff on the blower and its enclosure. This generated allergies in my little one, who is sensitive to such things. Not having my own laboratory, I couldn't tell you if it is mold or mildew. It matters not. Vacuum Expert

  3. I made mine and put it on the fridge! It helps coordinate chores between me and Richard because we have easy goals for the day. Wednesdays? Someone should vacuum. Mondays? Someone should wipe down the guest bathrooms. best power washer

  4. I can't even imagine how moms manage to do everything around the house, but I have to learn doing it, as I'm expecting to have a baby in few months. I didn't know it's possible, when you're using iud, but it actually is: http://rocketparents.com/iud-pregnancy-symptoms/. Anyway I'm so happy to become a mommy and I really hope DH will help me around the house.

  5. I do really Vacuum often. A good vacuum cleaner will help me a lot when I cleaning my whole house.