Saturday, July 31, 2021

Why I Stopped Doing Chores When My Kids are Asleep

It was not a decision by choice. My kids just stopped sleeping altogether. I know, I know, it has not been fun, and we have been spread far too thin to address it now.

There was no reprieve some nights between the late night diaper changes and stressful early morning meetings. I'm surprised I am still here in one piece. 

More on that later. 

But I used to love making my home clean on Friday nights so that weekends were mostly fun times. It was great. And then I had a second child. And it became 200% harder to do the very things that seemed more manageable before. 

So this is where I quit, or had to quit my nightly cleaning routine. Putting away dishes and running the dishwasher during weeknights and doing that mid-week laundry just made no sense if I was going to be interrupted by one child who keeps procrastinating actually falling asleep and the other child keeps waking up. 

And that was better for my family. My kids are learning by example. They know that homes need to be cleaned. Homes, like everything else, need a little maintenance. Things don't just automatically become clean, no house elves are involved.

Now here, if you have a cleaning service, that is great. I have several friends who are fans, and while I wish that was right for my family, there is too many toys to put away to even prepare the space for a professional. After that much effort, it just makes sense to do the easier part yourself.

My toddler was starting to pick up on routines and was absorbing, "what was normal." I hate to delve into zodiac signs here, but although he is an Aquarius, he acts like a Virgo.

I often think back on the activities that are outlined as perfect for different life stages in the Montessori classroom and I try to follow this at home. Does it always work? No, my kids do not understand that spilling water on a hardwood surface, or any surface is a terrible idea. But we do other things.

My kids love spray bottles, wiping things with microfiber cloths, using that swiffer, pretending they are vacuuming, and much more. The other day I was cleaning the oven, the whole thing due to a bacon grease spill. There was the baking soda paste that dried overnight, a vinegar and water spray bottle, a scraper for the glass, brushes, soap. My toddler loved all of it. He is starting to even understand that one size does not fit all for cleaning utensils. 

And while they cannot do many of the grownup chores by themselves, they are super helpful. They had spent a good deal of their rainy day weekend energy on throwing things away, recycling, and putting things in the sink. It is marvelous because they are helping by choice, not by chart, not by routine. They are fostering their curiosity. 

How do you teach your kids on taking care of their spaces? I would love to learn more. 


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