Monday, June 16, 2008

Whose got my back?

I had an interesting 15 second conversation with my dad today, that to be honest, left a bad taste in my mouth. While I was out running errands this morning, he so kindly dropped some food off at my house (actually his house). When I returned, he returned, a daily ritual we have come to expect and find endearing. He comes by to talk to the kids, sometimes bring a donut and drive them in a circle in the cul-de-sac one time.-It's the highlight of their day. Anyway, the topic of a clean house came up. We all know that this is one area I am a little behind in, I struggle with and try to aspire to. In my opinion I don't have several spare consecutive minutes to get the house clean (in his standards). I explained that, and he thought it was more of an excuse than a reason. I challenged him back by offering for him to try to clean the house while talking care of these 3 monsters. With a reply that he raised 2 monsters (my brother and I). Which I replied, yes, but you never cleaned the house, mom did. That was the end of the conversation since he knew I was right. My mom, as I have mentioned several times, is an extremely talented cleaner.

So now, after hearing a message about truth yesterday (more on that later) I am wondering, are the kids an excuse or a reason that I can't keep up with the house work (i.e. laundry, organizing, dishes, toys, vacuming, dusting...etc). I am always open to change and becoming a new and better person, so if I am hiding behind excuses, I need those of you that love me most to speak some truth at me.


  1. I am in the same boat as you - 3 kids to take care of and a house that shows it. For me, I know that I could have the house looking spotless but I can guarantee that my family would suffer greatly. I would have to spend way more time cleaning and doing upkeep and less time playing and having quality time with my kids. I would also follow the kids around with a dust-buster and holler at them every time they put something out of place.

    I try to find a happy medium. Clean a little, then play a little. I will say that it's hard to pick up the Pledge duster when there's a 5 minute break in the craziness... and all I want to do is read a magazine for a few sweet, uninterrupted minutes.

    Lately I've been trying something Dustin's sister told me about. She gets e-mails from some mom website that suggests that you clean in spurts. Set a timer for 10 minutes and focus on one area (bathroom, playroom, etc.) Do whatever you can in the amount of time and when the timer goes off, quit. Keep doing that during the day in different areas of your house. I didn't think that I would get anything done but I'm surprised at what I can get done in 10 minutes! I alternate cleaning with kid time. I've found that I actually focus on my kids better when I don't have a to-do list in the back of my mind. Plus, with your ADD this might work reat for you! :)

  2. Margaret, that sounds ingenious! I think I might try it! Hey are you up for a BBQ on Thursday in Maple Lake? We are coming up!

  3. i like the spurt cleaning - but when it comes down to it, if a clean house means you get less to pour into your kids... let the dishes pile up - they're not dependent on you for love, support, guidance so that when they hit the streets in a few short years they'll be prepared to live and love like christ calls us to...all because mom and dad cared less about getting the smudges off the windows than they did about building into their character as they made those smudges.

  4. A clean house helps develop a child's future in responsibility.

    I don't think mom should have to do all the cleaning or picking up toys. Have your kids do it. Teach them the responsibility it takes to live life, take one to three toys out and put them back before anymore come out.

    When it comes to cleaning the house give each a task and responsibility before they can go out and play.

    Kids at very young ages helped out on farms doing tasks we wouldn't ask them to do today! Having them pick up toys or dust or wipe up the bathroom shouldn't be too much of a stretch.

    This doesn't mean the home needs to be clean 100% of the time, it is life and a messy house is not the end of the world.

    I think that often todays society puts to much emphasis with moms "pouring" all their energy into their kids. I think kids need to learn independence and responsibility. Teach them to do things on their own. This doesn't mean to neglect them, however it does mean to let them do stuff without you being there "playing" with them. It is up to us to prepare them for the world to create more disciples. These are the traits only a mother can give by teaching love and nurturing qualities. I think these are done by "pouring" yourself into them AND teaching them real life lessons. Kids are smart, challenge them to be responsible, capable, and well rounded.

    Be mom or dad. This doesn't mean mom or dad can't play with kids, it does mean however, that there is life beyond kids. Remember that God asked us to have kids out of the love for one another.

    Letting kids struggle with playing on their own and not getting attention from a parent every time it is requested is a good thing. How often in "real life" is it this way? I know they are just kids, but the do need to grow up and allowing them to learn some of these things now (age 3-10) is better than later (20-50).

    Anyway just my thoughts. Don't sweat it, do the best you can with your kids help! Life will move on. Don't be Lazy, but don't be busy all the time. Moderation!

    You are all great mothers so don't take it personally. Its just my opinion.

  5. Anonymous, why don't you let us know who you are so we can continue the discussion? You have some very valid points and for the most part, I do include my children in the cleaning. However, they are only 1, 3, 4. And from what I know about children from my education , they don't have an extended attention span like adults, but too often adults (myself included) think that they should and we get irritated and frustrated when they don't focus on tasks for long periods.

    I agree with you that children need to play alone. I fully support and encourage that. However, when you have 1 that seems easy. But when you have 3, the chances that they all choose the same time to play alone it a miracle. I might have 1 or 2 playing quietly alone or together, but there is that other one that needs a constant eye (Drew-man).

    I believe society puts too much emphasis on perfection and looking like you have it all together. The mom with her makeup on, kids dressed fed and clean is a pressure from the world and not a reality.

    I thankfully have a wonderful husband that picks up the majority of slack on cleaning. He also jumps in with the kids when he can so I can clean and deals with the yard (new adventure). I think I could go the entire day without ever interacting with my children and I would get my lists done. But then what's the point of being a stay at home mom? I would be a stay at home house taker carer ofer. :)

    I will get balance at some point. I'm sorry but I do have to disagree with you on putting too much emphasis on our children. I don't know if you noticed the state of our children and adolescents these days, but in my personal opinion- i think some of them are acting out because they wish someone would invest in them more. Just my opinion.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  6. My name is Dale and I am a single parent. I normally don’t include my name as most people don’t know who I am when I post.

    You make wonderful points I didn't think about. Having 3 kids would make it hard to have them doing things independently all at once. I only have 1 currently and don’t plan on having a second. So it is easier for me.

    I also didn't know the exact ages of your kids, (I should have figured this out first). Maybe their help in the future as they get older will help you keep the house as your father remembered. Maybe with your Dad he doesn't remember the 1-2 age bracket being as chaotic? Or having a 3rd kid would make a difference too! And if it was just your 3 and 4 year old they could do one task a day or even the 10 minute cleaning as suggested.

    I would also have to agree with you on the worlds pressure of the "perfect" family. I am always suspicious of what “society” says is normal or good for us. I think that the modern society has brought us many fun benefits, but many challenges because of these. It may be different for me as I am 39 years old, but how many toys do you remember having as a kid? I can remember having about 15 or so toys for inside play and about 10 outside toys. Today kids have the benefit of many cheep, fun, learning toys, but they move from toy to toy so fast. Does this affect their attention span? Does having so many toys allow them to not use their imagination as much building a fort in the woods? Building a house out of blankets? Modern society would like to tell you and me that our boys and girls have ADD or ADHD. But is this just how boys are geared? Or is it a “recent” change in boys because we have “instant” rewards or games/toys/TV that they can change to and from instantly? Or is it simply because physicians find it easier to prescribe drugs than to help parent work through NORMAL kid issues?

    I think this is the great part about blogs that allow moms to have good discussions regarding many issues. Thank you for your blog and for you input into my sons life and how I will raise him. I think I feel often as though I am alone in raising a child and ask am I to harsh or to relaxed. Having a good discussion is great!

    I think you are doing the right things. Again none of what I have said previously or currently is a criticism. I am learning to be a better parent every day as well. Thank you again for your feed back on my post.


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