Children = Messy House? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 52 Old 08-22-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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Never be home. Esp for meals. That goes a long way for us in keeping the house clean.
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#32 of 52 Old 08-22-2008, 07:07 PM
 
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When I first had my son and my house was a disaster area I would always say, "I think it's more important to spend quality time with my children than to clean." Well, I've had time to dwell on that now and I now realize you can absolutely have both.
As a mom of five I completely agree you can have both. However, as a mom of some older kids as well as babies, I would really encourage any mother struggling with this issue to prioritize time with the kids over a spotless (or even "very tidy) house. I can attest to the fact that babies grow way too fast. You will have many years to scrub & dust...but the baby rocking/listening to my child/enjoying my teen years go way too fast! (That said, a clean, streamlined house and home maintenance routine gives you MORE time with the kids because you spend less time looking for lost items...and being depressed about how messy the house is!)

Also...I have accepted the fact that I can really only have one "hobby" per season. In the summer, it HAS to be the garden...or nothing gets done. I got rid of my crochet hooks and knitting needles. I still have my scrapbooking supplies and my sewing machine. No other hobbies for a while. That cut down on the clutter, the messes *I* was making, and the guilt of buying stuff I don't have time to use. Now, I spend that time enjoying my kids. I can knit when I'm 90. (Well, if I'm not babysitting the greatgrandkids!)

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#33 of 52 Old 08-22-2008, 08:13 PM
 
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i've got two, one is almost three the other is eight and a half. and i'm temporarly single (dh comes home in 12 days..... total he will have been gone for 63 days )

anyway our house overall is not messy or dirty or cluttered. i am somewhat naturally neat and tidy though.........

i do beasic stuff like making sure dirty laundry goes into the hamper, dishes into the sink, etc every day usually while the kids are in the tub or sleping, and do more hardcore stuff like vacuming, mopping, etc on my days off.

i declutter on an ongoing basis and always have a box in the car of stuff headed to goodwill.

i do have hotspots like thee computer room (slowly getting better on that one though......in fact when i get my butt up i'm going in there to keep the momentum going), the kids room is a bit of a mess but, well i let that go most of the time and only periodically go through and really clean and declutter and tidy.....

its do-able but you must be willing to do it, and having help really helps to make it so.........
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#34 of 52 Old 08-23-2008, 11:05 AM
 
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I think the key comes down to having adequate storage. If you have appropriate storage, anything can look orderly, no matter the amount of stuff.

When things have an attractive home, it's much easier to put them away. If you are stuffing too many things in one space, it tends to make things look cluttered, even if it really isn't.

If toy boredom becomes a problem, rather than buy more toys, you can halve the amount you have and rotate them in and out every few months.

We've evolved over the years. I look back at some of the early photos we have and see all the embarrassing clutter (both kid clutter and my own), and I get down on myself - but I have to remind myself that having 3 kids in 3.5 years was really hard. And having inadequate storage combined with inadequate energy to pick up after us made things really cluttered for a while.

The past year, I've been very thoughtful as to the toys that come into the home. I asked family members to not buy so many toys for Christmas, and they listened for the most part.

I pared down considerably what we had, and had to be brutally honest about which toys actually got used and loved, and which toys just took up space.

It really does become easier when you have a manageable amount of toys with good storage space.

That, and cleaning the rooms together, so the kids know where things belong.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#35 of 52 Old 08-23-2008, 11:06 AM
 
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I think the key comes down to having adequate storage. If you have appropriate storage, anything can look orderly, no matter the amount of stuff.
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#36 of 52 Old 08-23-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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I'm working on this myself. I need storage tips but that's another topic!

I think it depends on what season of life you're in. I prefer a very neat and tidy home and I hate clutter. But, I can't have that right now unless I ignore my children all day and work just on that. In this season of my life, I'm homeschooling, have 4 children, and am suffering from horrendous morning sickness. My teens are a great help and my dh too, but it's still very hard to keep up with.

So, for now, it's okay. We'll get there again.

We have a very small home so even the slighest mess looks like huge clutter. I can't do anything about that either. We desperately need more storage which we need to work on. We just don't have the space!

So I say there are messy seasons a neat seasons!
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#37 of 52 Old 08-23-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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I agree witht he OP's who say children are best served in an orderly home, and that you can spend time with your kids AND keep a decent home.

I WAH 32 hrs and do it in off hours mostly. I also have four kiddos. We spend an inordinate amount of time together, and soem of that is doing all of our chores. Recently we hired a housekeeper though to do the deep cleaning stuff. If I didn't work, I would be set though. I grew up in a messy, nasty, cluttered - overall disgusting home IMO. I would never let my kids do that. May be my baggage though. Honestly I think it's selfish of parents to have a truly dirty house. Your kids deserve better.

I also disagree that it's a matter of storage. I think we don't need as much as most of us have. Lots of people have an embarrassing excess.

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#38 of 52 Old 08-23-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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I find most of my messes have nothing to do with toys. One example - the kids get home from school. So they are eating a snack (messes #1 and #2, the mess on the kitchen counter where they prepared their snack and the mess at the kitchen table where they ate it), while I empty their backpacks of lunch boxes to be washed (mess #3), school papers to read (mess #4), homework sheets to be completed (mess #5), artwork or stories to keep (mess #6), and what ever other detritus they bring home (a rock found on the playground) that needs to be tossed or put away (mess #7).

So, if I hop to right away with the washing and putting away and supervising DSs to do their homework right then, I can get these messes all taken care of quickly. But if anything intervenes (trip to library, phone call, kid had a rotten day and needs to talk about it), well, my kitchen is cluttered and messy, no matter how many hours I spent cleaning it that morning.

The mess will get cleaned up sometime that day/night, but the next day I face the same messes all over again.

******

What's the Phyllis Diller quote, something like "Cleaning your house while the children are growing is like shoveling your walk while it's still snowing."

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Mom to John (age 11), James (age 9) & Katherine (age 5)
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#39 of 52 Old 08-23-2008, 04:47 PM
 
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I also disagree that it's a matter of storage. I think we don't need as much as most of us have. Lots of people have an embarrassing excess.
That's for sure, we definitely don't need as much stuff as most of us have. We live on the bare minimum and have a few rules. First is if we've had it for a year and we haven't used it, we get rid of it. Our second one is when we bring something new in, something else has to go out. This really makes us all think before we purchase something! Do we REALLY need it, and what will be get rid of to make room for it? One of our sayings is, "we value people over stuff and relationships over things."

Nonetheless, when you have a very small home that was built to work well for a family of 3-4 and you have a family of soon to be 7 trying to squeeze in, the fact is you will have to be very, very creative in the storage department. This house has nearly zero storage, and it's not an embarassing excuse, it's a fact. Come over and see for yourself!

We use our kitchen table for school instead of purchasing desks that take up space, we purchase the minimum amount of school books and materials we need so that we have less to store. We do a lot on the computer. Both of our little ones share our room (with dh and I) and our teens do each have the other two bedrooms but one is super tiny and that teen only has room for a dresser and bed. He is a guitarist and there's not room for this guitar and related things. He pretty much just sleeps there.

Just stuff like that and I could go on. The facts are the facts, not an excuse. Small homes are super hard to keep decluttered (not clean--we don't live in filth--but decluttered). And unless you live in a house this size with as many people, you have no idea what it's like.

But I am not complaining because I love our little home! We feel very blessed for what we've been given.
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#40 of 52 Old 08-23-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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I think we don't need as much as most of us have. Lots of people have an embarrassing excess.
Yes, while I agree with that statement, at least with respect with toys, generous family members don't. And despite best efforts to tell them not to, they still give and give. So you are back to the fact that you need storage to put things people lovingly give your children and you feel guilty for throwing out/giving away, etc.

So, you have to balance out things and if you did read on, I did become ruthless about what I kept and what I didn't in the way of toys.

We still have a lot of but a lot less stuff than we used to - not in the name of toys per se, but of educational enrichment (math manipulatives/science supplies etc). It's very important to me to have these types of things, since I really don't trust the public school system to do a complete job of educating my children, so I provide things at home for them to make up the deficits.

So, yes, people can do without a lot of things, but sometimes living a spartan life is not what people want to do. I don't see anything wrong with making room to accomodate passions/hobbies, yours or your children's. Not one bit. Moderating hobbies so they don't overtake the home is a necessity, to be sure though.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#41 of 52 Old 08-23-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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I don't think children automatically = messy house. Our house definately looks different but there are places for everything. I think it's important that ds not have so many things that he doesn't learn to steward what he has.

April thankful mommy to my boys Big Red 3/06 Little Z 9/08 and happily awaiting the arrival of 10/10 :
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#42 of 52 Old 08-24-2008, 01:03 AM
 
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alot of it has to do with not feeling guilty about getting rid of the stuff that family mambers insist on buying........
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#43 of 52 Old 08-24-2008, 02:33 AM
 
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alot of it has to do with not feeling guilty about getting rid of the stuff that family mambers insist on buying........
Still, regardless of whether or not the items in question are useful or unnecessary, I dread birthdays and Christmas because there are four adult siblings on my side, 1 sib on dh's side, and two of grandparents, one doting great-aunt. At the bare minimum, that's 9 items per child at Christmas time, resulting in 27 new things that came into my home because NO ONE in the family on either side wants to do a grab bag for the kids. And usually, it's not just 1 item per child. It's disgusting and I hate having to deal with the aftermath, but that's our reality come the holidays.

Do I get rid of 27 comparable old things just to maintain stasis? Not necessarily the same amount or at the same time the items come in, but yes, eventually things do get moved out. I do know that has to happen. I finally get that guilt has no place in this process.

I don't harbor guilty feelings any more and eventually things get chucked, but usually in order to at least some respect the person who gave it, I keep it for 6 months or so, then chuck it. Most "so-so" gifts stay in storage long enough for me not to feel bad for getting rid of it, or on my "re-gifting" shelf because it's perfect for someone else.

Mama of 3 girls: 7.5 , 6 , and 4.5
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#44 of 52 Old 08-24-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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If you have children, do you automatically have a messy house?

I'm not talking about toys-on-the-floor-that-we-were-just-playing-with messy. I'm talking about wondering to myself as I sit in friends' living room, "if I lived here, and my mom told me to clean up, would I be able to? Do mom and dad put away their toys, so that I can see how it's done? Is there somewhere to *put* these toys?"

My 15 month old likes to scatter his toys all over but they fit (basically) into two large baskets, so when it's time to clean up, it's very easy. I don't think he needs more than two basketfulls of smaller toys (that can fit into the baskets). He has about five other larger toys that get put away underneath an entryway table. Of course he also scatters my kitchen supplies and stuff like that, but they get put back where they belong as well. He will often help me put his toys away when I ask him to/help him.

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#45 of 52 Old 08-24-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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I used to wholeheartedly believe that my 3 very young children were the reason that my house was constantly messy. After spending some time soul-searching and being really honest with myself, I can admit that my kids aren't the problem. As an adult, I set the tone. I am responsible for the enviornment that we live in. I, like a PP, believe that children are better served in a tidy and clean home. But it takes a lot of effort to make it happen.

Reading the book It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh helped me to get rid of "things" that I mistakenly felt I needed to keep for emotional attachment reasons. And I don't want my kids to remember their childhood home as messy, cluttered or dirty. With a schedule and a commitment to only having as much as you have storage for, anyone's house can be tidy- if the person who is in charge is determined to make it happen. That was the key for me. I wanted my 3 kids to be my excuse for a messy house. Now I know that I'm the person in control of our envoironment and it motivates me to have a better space for my kids.

Half-marathon running Mommy to 3 spunky girls and 1 sweet boy. Spending my days and nights where my kids need me most- at home with them!!

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#46 of 52 Old 08-24-2008, 05:54 PM
 
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Or how about laundry? Pre-children, I would go to people's houses w/ littles and think, "Gah! Laundry on the couch? What's wrong with these people? Can't they get it together?" Oh, karma. Now I understand! Or when I read the Flylady habit was a load a day I was all, a load of laundry each and every day? How on earth is that possible? Do they wash 3 things at a time? Again, now I know. How do such little people who don't really go anywhere special generate so. much. laundry???
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#47 of 52 Old 08-24-2008, 08:50 PM
 
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totally.

i'm good wearing the same thing more than once but the kids just get things so nasty.......
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#48 of 52 Old 08-24-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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Oh, yeah, that karma . . . when I was pregnant with #1 I rode in a friend's car who had a toddler. I was disgusted by the state of her car and remember thinking, even if your DC gets Cheerios and little toys all over the seat, can't you at least clean it up when you get home. Yeah right. After bringing a toddler home from running errands, changing diapers or supervising potty time, getting them the meal or snack they are due, bringing in severals bags of groceries and the dry cleaning, mom might manage to finally go pee, but she's not gonna be heading back out to the car with a dustbuster to get it cleaned out on a daily basis.

*****

I think much of the issue depends solely on your DC's personality. My DD will play with one type of toy (say, her dollhouse) and clean it up when she is done. My DSs like to mix up all the toys and various household items in their playing. It's creative, which I hate to squelch, but also created a messy house. For example, today they had a "Webkinz Parade" - they made parade floats out of various thing with wheels (shoeboxes with K'nex wheels, Lego vehicles, a shoe with Lego wheels taped to it), lit the parade route with the Chistmas lights they retrieved from the attic while I was in the shower, set their animals all up and down the "parade route" (which stretched through our entire house), took their desks light out into the hall to provide extra illumination, hung paper decorations they made for the event, yadda yadda yadda, got the picture? It was cute, it was fun for them, but now my house is a diaster and they have refused to clean it up and it is bedtime and now my house is messy and yes, I do blame it on having kids in the house!

Sometimes I think I haven't reinforced the "one toy out at a time" that other parents seem to have trained their children in, but then I look at DD and think it is just how some kids are born, cause she is so very different from her brothers.

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#49 of 52 Old 08-25-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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Oh, yeah, that karma . . . when I was pregnant with #1 I rode in a friend's car who had a toddler. I was disgusted by the state of her car and remember thinking, even if your DC gets Cheerios and little toys all over the seat, can't you at least clean it up when you get home. Yeah right. After bringing a toddler home from running errands, changing diapers or supervising potty time, getting them the meal or snack they are due, bringing in severals bags of groceries and the dry cleaning, mom might manage to finally go pee, but she's not gonna be heading back out to the car with a dustbuster to get it cleaned out on a daily basis.

*****
Yes!!!! That reminds me of another--glass doors and windows. I remember strolling w/ my first baby and seeing people's grubby storm doors, and I'd think, they're busy but surely they can wipe off their kid's hand/face/nose/mouth/tongue smudges??? Now I DO wipe mine off--just not every hour, which is what it'd take to keep my storm door clean.
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#50 of 52 Old 08-26-2008, 04:05 PM
 
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I really think it comes down to priorities. And I don't mean that in a bad way. For some people (children or not), having a clean house is very important and they are willing to put a lot of time and effort into making sure that their house stays clean. For other people, a clean house isn't *as* important, and they will choose to do something else rather than clean at times.

I do know people- good moms who spend lots of time with their children- who have clean, lovely, decluttered homes. They make their home a priority and it shows. I think that with kids, it certainly takes more effort to keep a home clean, and people who are ambivalent about having a clean house often let things slide because it's so hard to keep up with.

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#51 of 52 Old 08-26-2008, 07:08 PM
 
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My house is clean, but messy. As in, the floors are mopped and vacuumed, and the next day they are covered in Legos.

My mil always says "my house was neat because I only allowed my kids to play with 1 toy at a time! If they wanted another, they had to put the first away." No, her house was neat because she's a task master and a neat freak and very controlling.

Well, personally, I like the fact that older ds built a lincoln log shed for younger ds's trains. Or the fact that the legos are used to make a hot wheels racing pit. Yes, my kids mix their toys up, and yes that means there can be a lot out at once. But I think it's creative. And yes, the kids do put them back where they belong. When they are done with the trains, the race cars, whatever. And then I vacuum and mop!

Now, if they pull out playmobil and go to another room, they can either put it back or clean up the first setup (as we call them around here!).
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#52 of 52 Old 08-27-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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actually, I let the smudges accumulate on my windows and glass endtables. At the end of the day when he's in bed, I find it cute to see remnants of him exploring. My MIL was tickled to death when she looked at her backdoor and saw little smudged fingerprints. I also get a laugh out of all the strange places I find cheerios (how in the world did it get THERE????).
Before ds, I was crazy with windex every few days and freaked out when a friend brought her toddler and he smudged my coffee table. I wouldn't say I consider myself more messy now or that I tolerate more mess, but that I now see it in a different light and don't consider signs of a child's careless, carefree ways to be a mess, but rather, a joy.

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