Thursday, November 5, 2009

Chaos defines chaos as a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order. defines chaos as Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Both of these definitions completely describe my home and my life as a stay at home mother to five children and it’s starting to take it’s toll on me and in turn on my girls and my husband.

Just this morning (and it seems as though it’s happening more and more) I was screaming and yelling at the kids as we were headed out the door for school. I was yelling because I was tripping over coats, shoes, toys, trash, food…you name it, I was falling over it. I was saying, in a loud accusatory voice to my girls, how fed up I was because our house is always in a constant state of CHAOS! I pray everyday that no one stops by my house for a visit. I wouldn’t dare let them in!

My mother has been telling me for five years, when my first started school, not to send my kids off in a bad mood. It sets the tone for the rest of their day and they do poorly in school. I try very hard to follow that PSA that was popular when I was a kid, you know, the one with the song that goes, “Did you hug your kid today? Did you send him on his way…with love, love, love, love, love?” Sometimes, I let me grumpier half get the better of me and then I feel VERY guilty when I see the girls walk into school with their heads hung low.

Sometimes I wish God had given me the gift of organization and motivation to clean. My mother in law has this gift. She always keeps things in order and clean and was able to do so when her three boys were young. Her sons now kid her that she had them out on the street, sweeping it up. I, on the other hand, was not given this gift and therefore find it very hard to keep up with my kids. They can mess up a house faster than I can clean it and the bad part is that I have no motivation to clean up after them.

I’ve tried Flylady several times. It works at first because I start with a few things at a time. But when you get further into it and have to start adding a lot more to your daily routines, that’s when I fall off the wagon. I am easily overwhelmed with the amount of house work having so many kids brings. I have yet to find something that can motivate me to keep up after the kids. Actually that’s not true. The only thing that motivates me is getting that, “I’m gonna stop by there in a few minutes” call. Then I do the mad dash cleaning technique. It might be a little tough to find someone to come to my house everyday just to force me to clean.

On several occasions I’ve considered hiring a cleaning service to get some help. It’s a challenge for me to just keep up the dishes, laundry, trash, sweeping and toys everyday. I don’t have much time for vacuuming, moping, scrubbing and the like. But just when I get to the point of making the phone call to the local maid service, I realize that I’m going to have to clean up before they can clean up! I doubt I can find someone willing to pick up the toys or do the dishes before they start cleaning and even if I did, I probably couldn’t afford it.

I can hear some of you saying, “Why aren’t the kids helping?” They do, sometimes. I don’t have any set chores for them. We’ve tried that. Giving them rewards for set chores. It works great at first but then it loses it novelty and they quite working and I quite rewarding and then we are back to square one.

The only thing that we do consistently is a pick up every day at 6:00 pm. But that’s not really the problem. My problem is that the kids don’t pick up after themselves such as putting their shoes up when they take them off and putting toys away when they are done and throwing trash away instead of leaving it laying around. I have to constantly remind them to do these things.

While I continue to search for some motivation and a perfect cleaning and organization routine that works for me, enjoy some actual photos of messes around my house.

Powder room
This is our powder room on the main floor of our house. Notice how the kids can seem to find the trash can.
Pantry floor
This is our pantry floor. When I tell the kids to pick up their things, they throw a lot of it on the pantry floor. I have to constantly clean this tiny room up.
More 3 yo art work in dining rm
My three year old took a permanent marker and drew all over a lot of our chair rails in our dining room.
Under the breakfast table
This is what it looked like under our breakfast table this morning. Food, toys and shoes everywhere.
3 yo art woek in brand new house
This is more of my three year old's art work. Very upsetting when your house was built just over a year ago.

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