Do you ever look around your house and think "Wow, how did it get so messy? What have we been doing all day?" I do pretty much every day and I get very stressed out about it. I am not at all a neat freak, but my husband totally is. If he had his way everything would be clean every day.
I have tried. I have tried chore lists, I have tried timers, I have tried everything but I just can't keep up with the house. By the time the kids go to bed at 830, I have to work. I work from home so I sit at the computer from about 830-1030 every night. How else am I going to get my 15 hours a week in? With homeschooling and being around the kids 24/7, there isn't any other time. So I use what I have. Sometimes I get 1 hour in the middle of the day where the kids go to quiet time. Sometimes they are quiet, sometimes they are not. So if I play all of my cards right and everything falls where it should I can get 3 hours a day so that I don't have to work on the weekends. Sometimes that doesn't work out.
So where oh where am I supposed to find the time to clean the house every day? I know ideally I need to get rid of more things. The less stuff I have, the less I have to clean. It seems like the kids keep producing more stuff. Constantly. Today I had a slight breaking point... We have 2 living rooms. One is designated as the School/Playroom. Yesterday was one of those rare days that the boys were playing so well together all day that I didn't want to interrupt them at all and left them to it. Throughout the day they destroyed the room. They cleaned it up 3 separate times and it was fairly clean. I have spent a lot of time in that room trying to devise the best plan for storage of everything and every toy has a home. In my eyes there is no reason any toys should not be put where they belong when cleaning up.
Here is where I reached my point. I walked into the room with grand plans of activities we were going to do for school, including a Revolutionary War reenactment including throwing cannon balls (snowballs) at each other. I walk in and I get completely deflated. There are toys all over the floor again and the table is a mess. They hadn't even been awake an hour yet and it looked trashed. So I pulled them both aside and told them I am setting the timer and they had 20 minutes to clean the mess up and put everything where it goes. Whatever is not picked up at the end of those 20 minutes goes into the trash.
This is where my 7 year old Z decides he needs to take charge. What I mean by that is he decided he needed to boss his little brother around and tell him to get to work. K didn't like that at all and decided he wouldn't do anything at all to help. With 3 minutes left on the time I gave them another warning. I also took K aside and told him I understand that he is upset about being bossed around, but if his items were not picked up by the time the timer went off, they would go in the trash.
Timer went off and there was surprisingly little on the floor. K lost 2 things and Z none...until I looked at the cabinet where all of the toys are stored. There were legos and other toys shoved in crevices and stacked on top of the bins they belonged in. I threw them all away. Everything that was not in its home. The kids screamed and cried and threw fits.
This is where my book Siblings Without Rivalry is helping me so far. I stepped back and explained that there is no reason I should spend all of my time and effort organizing their toys so they can find them if they aren't willing to at least put them where they go. K continued his fit, but Z said he needed to go upstairs to calm down. Surprisingly he came down with the ipad and a meditation ready to go. He asked if we can all do it together to calm down. This was definitely a proud mommy moment that what I have been working to teach him, to find a way to cope with his anger and frustrations, is actually working! We all did the meditation and felt better. They still aren't getting the toys back though!
What things have happened lately at your home?