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I told my friend she couldn’t come over the other day because my house looked like a bomb had hit it.
Crazy, isn’t it?
I would have preferred not to have a lovely afternoon catching up with an old friend and fellow mum of two, rather than let her see the state of my house.
Can someone please slap me?
We were scheduled to have a park play date, but my car broke down as I was leaving.
‘We’ll have to make it another day,’ I apologised to her profusely. ‘I’m so sorry’.
‘Why don’t we just come over?’ she suggested.
‘Come over?’ I thought as I scanned our living room.
About 20 Barbies lay strewn across the floor, there were leaves and petals swimming in four or five pots and pans – the remnants of the girls’ magic potions, and you couldn’t see the coffee table for the art and craft covering it.
My quick surveillance told me there was no way I could let my friend see the squalor that we were living in.
‘My house looks like a bomb has hit it,’ I told her. ‘We’ll have to make it another day.’
My heart sank as I hanged up the phone. I had been looking forward to our catch up.
I scanned our living room again. Yes, it looked like a toy store had exploded, but I have kids. They’ve been playing. The mess was a sign of the fun they’d been having that day.
I called my friend and told her I changed my mind. I wanted her to come over despite the mess.
‘This is nothing,’ she said as she stepped inside.
‘Well, I’ve just done a 10 minute speed clean,’ I said to her red-faced.
‘Don’t look too closely.’
After a lovely couple of hours together, I turned back to the living room. There were toys, crumbs, and leaves everywhere, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care one bit because it was the scene of four kids, who’d had an absolute ball, and where two mums sat among the mess chatting about life.
The mess was surface mess. It was nothing to be embarrassed about and nothing I should apologise for. My house was clean and I knew that.
I clean once a week without fail. The kids may mess it up no more than two minutes after I’ve cleaned it, but that simply makes it untidy, not unclean. I could spend 24 7 picking up after them or I could let it go because ain’t nobody got time for that.
I’ve come to accept that in this stage of my life it’s not worth my time and energy to continually tidy. I’m busy enough as it is and have better things to do with my life than clean all day.
Pre-kids, my house was a like a showroom. Every Saturday morning I’d spend hours scrubbing it within an inch of its life. I would breathe in the cleaning products with glee and delight in how spotless it was. It would stay like that for days too.
But, that was then and this is now.
I no longer have the leisure of spending hours cleaning (spoken like a true clean freak). I need to clean quickly and use minimal energy.
These days I allocate about 1.5 hours on a Thursday morning to a thorough clean, including cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming and mopping floors. I credit my ability to do it so quickly to a few simple things I do in the lead up to Thursday.
Clean bathrooms as soon as they get dirty
I may have girls, but their aim can still be off leaving the bathroom smelling like a nightclub toilet at 3am. I rid the toilet and toilet floor of wee stains as soon as I see them. I quickly wipe the seat and bowl and use rim-blocks to help keep the toilets clean and bathroom smelling fresh in between my weekly clean. The solid rim-blocks are great for stain removal and the anti-limescale action helps to make my weekly clean less of a chore. I wipe bathroom bench tops down every night and give the mirror a once over to rid it of toothpaste that somehow manages to be sprayed all over it.
Make the beds
It takes me no more than five minutes to make everyone’s bed of a morning. If I’m lucky Miss Five will make her own without me asking. For a short outlay of time, the effects are huge. The house looks more ordered with made beds.
Clear bench tops and dinner table after every meal
I never leave dirty dishes lying around, especially overnight. I stack the dish washer of an evening and put it on during the night. I wipe all benches down and rid them of clutter.
Put toys away at the end of the day
Each night, I ensure all toys are put back in their place. At least I can enjoy the tidiness for a few hours before the kids bring them out the next day. I’m attempting to get the girls better at helping me do this.
Sweep the floors morning and night
I don’t know what happens at your house, but despite sitting down at the table to eat, the kids get crumbs everywhere. Oh wait, that’s right. They don’t sit down to eat! As for peas, they have a life of their own. Spilt milk and Weet-bix harden into your floors if you don’t get on top of it straight away.
Put laundry away
As soon as I take a load of washing off the line, I fold it and put it away or put it in the ironing cupboard. I wash regularly, so it doesn’t pile up. I also iron once a week.
These things don’t take long and have become second nature making my weekly clean easier.
I’ve come to accept that my house won’t be a showroom while the kids are young. It will be in constant disarray and that’s okay. It’s a sign that they’re having fun and memories are being made. It may be untidy, but it is clean.
Is a tidy house with kids a myth? How do you keep your house clean? What daily cleaning rituals do you do that makes the weekly job easier?
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This is a sponsored post. Mummy Wife Me received financial compensation for this post, however as always, all opinions are my own.
Linking up today with EssentiallyJess for IBOT.