Not really but I’ve stayed at home with my son for over a year now and it took me about that long to find a balance between cleaning like a madwoman when the house was a total disaster and not cleaning at all.
The problem is when I’d spend the day cleaning because the house was a wreck I would then be too tired to enjoy it, and anyone with a toddler knows how quickly your house becomes messy again. The problem with not cleaning at all was that the house quickly became unlivable. I’d look at the mess and feel my energy levels plummet.
But there had to be a balance between cleaning all day and not cleaning at all, and I found it. I got a little portable bluetooth speaker, this is what I have, it’s great, and I listen to music or podcasts in the bedroom, kitchen or wherever I am. While I listen I clean. Sometimes I purposely pick podcasts that are around an hour, sometimes I just go until the kitchen and living room are clean.
I’ve found that at first I had to time myself because I was so behind and could have spent all day cleaning but now I’m caught up and I’ve figured out a system. I realized if I keep the living room, kitchen and dining room clean everyone feels good and keeping those areas clean usually takes me about a half hour to an hour. This usually includes dishes but doesn’t include laundry, although I’ve started implementing the same strategy with laundry. If I’ve got a good audiobook or podcast I will gladly fold clothes all day!
And at the end of the day I don’t feel angry or resentful because I only dedicated an hour (or less) to keeping the house clean. Not only that but I also fee more at peace with my environment, I feel content and happy, I feel inspired because I can concentrate on something other than the horrible messy space. My husband feels happy because he doesn’t have to do as much when he comes home, maybe a few dishes from dinner, or maybe toss the toys that escaped back into Julian’s play area but that’s pretty much it.
Now here’s the other caveat, and this is something I remember from when my brother was a toddler and something my husband has struggled with. I rarely clean up Julian’s space. Why? Because I don’t want to do it after he’s gone to bed and have him think that elves will clean up after him, I also think he’s too young to understand cleaning up, and I simply don’t want to do it, especially when I see him taking things out, throwing things and messing up his play area as soon as I can tidy it. What I try to do is join him in his play area, we read and play and then he sees me tidying up but I do not compulsively clean up his books and toys, just a little here and there. Sometimes he gets what I’m doing and helps and sometimes he just continues making messes faster than I can clean.
This is fine. And do you know why? Because I’ve accepted it. I’ve tried to limit his toys, I also try to rotate through his toys so they are new and fresh, and because the other option is madness.
If you don’t mind picking up after your toddler all day, be my guest, as for me, my kitchen is clean, the floors are usually vacuumed and I’m quite content with that.