Staying on top of housework when you have kids in the house is hard work! I remember life pre kids, I would clean the house one day a week and it would stay neat and tidy all week. Fast forward 5 years later to life with kids in the house and keeping the house clean is a whole lot harder.
You have more clothes to clean, more mouths to feed, more dishes to clean, more toys to put away, more crumbs to clean off the table and floor! More housework full stop!
Plus you also have more people needing your attention; your kids who are so dependent on you.
More work with less time it seems.
Add to that these 3 conditions that make housework with kids even harder:
- rarely any gratitude for the work done
- no pay
- The work is never done; not long after a clean plate is put away it is pulled out again and made dirty. Housework has to be repeated again and again and again, day after day, week after week.
It’s hard to feel any sense of accomplishment.
So, how do we stay on top of housework with kids and keep motivated to keep going?
Zoom Out and Look at the Big Picture
When stuck in the detail and tediousness of housework it’s easy to get depressed.
But try zooming out. What are all these chores accomplishing long term?
Often it seems like nothing, but what you’re doing in these chores is a critical part in raising a human being.
Think about that for a minute and let it sink in.
Your job is to raise a human being!
A human being is one of the most complicated, intelligent, amazing things on this planet!
And you have been chosen to care for one, or maybe two or three… or more!
This is a huge responsibility!
And part of raising that human is feeding it with nourishing food and keeping it warm and protected with clean clothes.
Sure, sometimes these little humans are messy and frustrating and demanding. But, truthfully, so am I sometimes!
Raising a Child is a Long, Long Term Investment
You put your time, effort and energy into caring for these little humans. But honestly it doesn’t seem that there is much to show for all the hours you put in.
Humans are a long, long, looooong term investment.
You invest your time and energy now, but won’t see the fruit of your work until many years down the track.
This makes it hard to stay motivated to keep going.
We are used to quick wins and being rewarded for our efforts in a short timeframe.
Raising a child is different. Every small act you do compounds in your child’s life and by the time they’re 21 the compound effect is huge!
Imagine Your Impact on Your 21 Year Old Child
Imagine 2 scenarios:
- A 21 year old who has low self esteem. He doesn’t think he’s worth much. He’s never felt truly loved. He tries anything to fit in and feel accepted by others; smoking, partying, drugs. Anything to feel like he belongs.
- A 21 year old who knows he’s loved. He doesn’t give in to peer pressure because he knows he’s already loved and accepted at home. He’s motivated and has purpose. He has time for his family because he feels accepted and loved there no matter what because his family always had time for him when he was younger.
Your role as a mother has a huge impact on your child’s life.
But we don’t see the impact until many, many years later.
There are lots of ways that you can show your child that you love them. You can show love in the more obvious ways by listening to your kids, spending time with them, cuddling and playing with them, reading to them.
But you can also show your love to your kids through the everyday and more mundane tasks; by cooking meals for them, making their bed occasionally, helping them tidy their room, putting a little treat in their lunchbox occasionally, providing clean clothes for the day (I stuffed this one up just today, my son didn’t have a clean PE uniform when he went to get dressed this morning, so had to pull one out of the dirty clothes basket – my bad).
Chores may be mundane but they also tell your child that you care.
Investing Time in Your Family Is Never Regretted
I have never read that someone at their death bed regretted the time that they spent with their family!
But many times I have read of people regretting time spent in paid work. Work that took them away from their family. Many times people regret that they didn’t spend more time with their family.
Investing time in your family will not be something you regret – ever!
It may be hard now because there are often no obvious rewards, but long term it will be so worth it!
Chores Are An Awesome Way To Teach Your Kids Life Skills
Chores can also be a great way to spend time with your child and teach them life skills. We used this book to help us set up weekly paid jobs for our kids and unpaid jobs too. It is written in a down to earth way and really makes it easy to get started.
My kids current jobs are vacuuming a room, mopping a room, dusting, emptying the scrap bin on the compost heap whenever it’s full, feeding the dogs, help cook a meal. It helps me out so much. It may take more time initially to show them how to do the job, but it will save you time in the long run.
We find it works best if the kids pick the jobs that they want to do based on a list of things we’ve said would help us and we’d be willing to pay for them to help us with.
Kids in the Kitchen
Another great thing we can do for ourselves and our kids is to get them involved in cooking meals and making food choices. If we can teach them about food and cooking when they are young it will help to do 3 things:
- make meal times easier – kids are much more likely to eat a meal if they’ve been involved in the cooking process.
- make the load easier on you in a couple years when they can cook a meal for the family with minimal input from you.
- prepare them for when they one day move out of home, and you know they can cook healthy food for themselves.
My kids like to help make homemade pizza (rolling the dough and adding their favourite toppings), cutting up their own fruit and flipping their own crepes. It helps me out and also helps them learn new skills for the long term.
Just start with one meal that they like to eat and get them involved.
The One Thing That Motivates Me On The Hard Days
There are days that are harder than others.
Days when I can’t see the point.
Days when I feel depressed about doing the same thing again and again and again.
Days when I’m cooking in the kitchen after a full day and not feeling any motivation for keeping going.
Days when I just feel overwhelmingly sad for no apparent reason.
On these days the thing that gets me through is remembering that I’m created for a purpose. You may or may not believe in God, but I believe that he created me so he could love me and for me to love him back.
Check out this song by Toby Mac. It lifts me and puts purpose back in my life.