There are days when Jimmi is almost home that I look around the house and feel like a failure. I ask myself, “What have I done all day?” The house looks mediocre at best, but if I haven’t been cleaning why am I so exhausted? Now, before I go on I have to say that Jimmi hasn’t ever said anything to make me feel insecure about how I manage my time during the day.
The thing is, many people still hold onto the view that stay-at-home moms sit around and watch soaps all day (for the sake of transparency I must admit I just finished an episode of Dr. Quinn). Apparently, stay-at-home moms also chat on the phone leisurely throughout the day and have lunches with their other fortunate stay-at-home mom friends.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom you’re probably throwing up in your mouth just a little bit right now because your body won’t allow you to swallow the lies I just told. For the most part, that is NOT what stay-at-home moms do. That is especial not what stay-at-home homeschool moms do.
At the end of the day when I start asking myself where my time went, I start to realize that cleaning the house — although a big task — is not the only thing that needs to be done throughout the day. Honestly it’s not even close to one of the more important things that needs to be done during the day. Of course the house shouldn’t be disgusting and trashed, but it’s not white glove clean either. And let’s face it, a burglar would trip over at least two toys and a shoe before he found anything valuable and that’s on a good day.
Here’s a list of things that I have to do everyday that have nothing to do with cleaning:
- Feed the kids breakfast (15 minutes)
- Change Samuel’s diaper (estimated 5 times during the day, 25 minutes total a day)
- School (2 hours)
- Make/serve/eat lunch (30 minutes)
- Feed the dogs/let the dogs out (15 minutes)
- Find a pacifier for both naps (15 minutes)
- Shoo Samuel out of somewhere/something he doesn’t belong (1 hour)
- Prep/cook dinner (1 hour)
I spend almost 6 hours a day doing the same 8 things every single day. If I get up at 8 a.m. that leaves me with 3 “free” hours in between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wow. When I put it that way no wonder I don’t always get the cleaning done. This doesn’t include the fact that I have to have potty breaks too and sometimes I need to wash my hair or even *gasp* take a nap.
There are also a few extra things that take up my time on any given day:
- Sick kid (and of course they get sick on different days)
- Doctors appointments
- Field trips
- Mowing the lawn
- Working in the garden
- Grocery shopping
- Meal planning
- Paying bills
Add that stuff into the mix and it’s not wonder that house cleaning sometimes gets bumped down to the bottom of the list. Besides that, when I do clean it ends up dirty before the end of the day when you have kids.
Here’s an example of what happens when I clean:
- Clean up den area.
- Clean kitchen.
- Walk past the den and see that Samuel has dumped the puzzles all over the floor.
- Don’t mess with the puzzles because it’s lunch time.
- Finish with lunch and clean up the puzzle mess in the den.
- Realize that lunch created a dirty kitchen again and now a dirty dining room.
- Clean up kitchen while Josiah tries to clean up toys in the living room.
- Stop Josiah from screaming because Samuel is pulling out the toys in the living room.
- Rejoice in knowing (most) of the living room toys are picked up and the kitchen is clean.
- Sigh because Samuel pulled everything out of the bathroom cabinets while you were cleaning.
- Forget about the bathroom and put Samuel down for his afternoon nap.
- Pick up the rest of the toys in the living room that Samuel dragged out.
- Pick up the books scattered on the floor.
- Clean bathroom.
- Start making dinner and try to keep Samuel occupied now that he’s awake.
- Samuel pulls all the pots and pans out of the cabinet.
- Josiah drags out his lincoln logs into the living room to play.
- Samuel pulls several books off the shelf to find the perfect one for Josiah to read to him.
By the time Jimmi gets home there’s toys all over the living room floor, books on the floor in the dining room, pots and pans in the floor of the kitchen, and the sink is full of the dishes used to make dinner. All I can do is assure Jimmi that I in fact spent the day cleaning the bathroom, den, kitchen, dining room, and living room when only the den and bathroom are in decent shape.
I try not to be concerned with small messes when people show up at the house, but it’s tempting. Us stay-at-home moms have to remember that we didn’t choose to stay at home so our houses could always be spotless. We chose to stay at home to raise our children in a loving and healthy environment. We’ve got to stop worrying about the puzzles on the floor and focus on the important things, like finding a new place for the puzzles.