Yes, I'm quite aware that it is actually Tuesday and not Monday. I missed the Monday posting for Motherhood Mondays because....well...just read and you'll see....
As I laid in bed, I pulled the covers up over my shoulders trying to ease the chills coursing through my entire body. I could hear my kids arguing in their room, followed by my three year old daughter's screaming tantrum as a result of one of her brothers taking her toy. I yelled as loudly as I could for them to "knock it off" and behave, but my voice barely reached the doorway to my bedroom.
Dreading what I knew I had to do, I slowly pushed the covers back, cringing as the cool air hit my feverish skin. I stood up.....the room spun a bit. "Woah too fast," I thought to myself as I plopped back down on the bed. "Let's try that again...." This time I stood up more slowly as my body regained balance and I was able to steadily walk across the room.
I walked down the hallway into the kids bedroom. Upon entering the room I saw Trinity's tear-filled eyes brighten as she saw me. She seemed relieved that I was there. The boys glanced my way but didn't want to interrupt the game they were playing.
"Are you hungry?" I asked in a hoarse whisper.
"Yay!!!" Came the response in unison as the boys immediately dropped their toys to run downstairs. Trinity's face lit up with a big smile as she followed her brothers.
I was able to make something simple: cereal and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. The kids were satisfied and we all went back upstairs. I glanced around and tried not to feel disheartened at the sight of our second floor. The kids clothes were laying through the hallway, bathroom, our bedroom, and playroom. My daughter must have gone through at least four outfits in one day. Someone stole a roll of toilet paper from the bathroom and decided to carry it around with them resulting in bits of toilet paper that were sprinkled randomly on the carpet. Without me supervising their actions, the kids had taken over the upstairs.
A couple days before I was thrilled to have finished cleaning the whole second floor. The kids bedroom, playroom, bathroom, and our master bedroom had all been cleaned and vacuumed. I felt like I was finally making progress toward getting my house back in order from running around every where during Easter break. Then....I got sick.
In only two days the whole house looked like a tornado had blown through. My dishes were piling up in the sink and overflowing onto the counter and table. A thick layer of crumbs were scattered on the kitchen floor and crunched underneath my shoes. I would soon have to invest in some new ropes and rock climbing gear to tackle the mountain my dirty laundry had grown into.
In the next couple days as my body recovered and I continued into a more "normal" routine, I was still feeling a bit overwhelmed. There was so much to do and only ONE of me! I had my normal chores and housework plus everything to catch up on from when I was sick.
Have you ever been there? I'm sure 90% of mothers out there have. What do you do when you feel like there's no light to the end of your dark house-cluttered tunnel? Well first, praying is always GREAT advice during any time you feel overburdened and are struggling. After you seek the Lord to help you carry that burden; make a game plan.
1. Start off by making a to-do list. Make sure all your normal routine chores are at the top of the list. You don't want your house getting worse because you neglect your maintenance cleaning.
2. 30 mins of "Catch Up Cleaning" per Room. Finish your maintenance cleaning in a room, then do 30 mins of extra cleaning in that room to catch up. Do this in each room and little by little your house will start coming together again.
3. Enlist the help of your children. Even at the ages of 6, 4, 3, and 1 everyone of my children (except my one year old) were able to help out with something. Last night after dinner I had Joshua and Trinity (4 & 3) help me by bringing dishes over to the dishwasher and sink. Then as I washed dishes and loaded the dish washer they wiped the kitchen table and chairs. Brenden (6) helped pick up scraps of papers from when they were cutting and coloring earlier. There is a job for everyone. Don't worry about perfection. Even simple tasks will save you time and teach them self-discipline and responsibility.
4. Accept that your house will not be clean in one day. If your house is in bad enough shape you need to accept that getting your household back into a clean and organized state is not going to happen all in one day! You need to take one step at a time and look at the problem day by day. That way you don't try to push yourself and burn out after one or two intense days of cleaning (trust me; I've been there!). Don't stress about cleaning so much that you miss out on family time; if there's super nice weather, take your kids to the park for an hour. One hour isn't going to hurt your housework and it will help relax and refresh you motivating you to clean better when you get back!
5. You're not a bad mom and your house will get better!! When something like sickness comes up and you are unable to keep your household together, don't fall into the guilt trap of thinking you are a bad wife and mother OR that your house is going to be stuck like this. You might feel stuck in a rut at the moment but you will get through it. Just keep doing the best you can and you will be leaping back into your normal routine in no time! Most moms will come across days like this and it's just another part of motherhood. It's trials like these that help us learn patience, gift us wisdom for the future, and mold us into a better mother for tomorrow. :-) We moms can't simply call off work when we are sick. When we are sick life still goes on even if we can't clean it up at the moment. We don't have sick days or vacation days we can use where someone else fills in for our position; especially if you have a husband who travels, works long hours, or are a single parent. You are stronger than you think! So go hug your children, read them a story, and don't fret about your house.
So right now I do have a huge mountain of laundry, but my dishes are almost completely done and the kids and I accomplished a lot of cleaning downstairs last night and upstairs today. That is even with us all taking a break to go enjoy the nice weather at the park yesterday. :-) So here is to knowing my house will again be cleaned and organized but not stressing about it if it doesn't happen overnight.