Kids and Dogs

Kids and dogs. A few weeks ago, I posted a picture on social media of what our dog did when left at home after we forgot to feed him dinner. He managed to open the Lazy Susan cupboard and pull out (and sample) a variety of baking supplies – including flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and more!

Our very naughty beagle did this.

I had a giant mess to clean up and my kitchen floor was spotless when I was done!

Sometimes, in the busy-ness of the day to day, we lose track and can’t keep up with actually “cleaning” the big things. Mopping the floors, dusting baseboards, cleaning the fridge, etc. proactively, and not just spot cleaning the messes the kids and dogs make all around us.

Even washing sheets – I like to think that I change bedding every couple of weeks, but the reality is that I probably do it once a month…or whenever a kid has a bloody nose or pukes in the middle of the night!

I regularly vacuum and sweep up my kitchen floor. How often do I actually clean it? Really, how often do we dust and polish furniture? Wash windows? Mirrors? In my house, all of that gets done when I think of it, if I don’t forget by the time I go get the supplies and make it back to the room without getting distracted by five other things!

Isn’t that how we all keep up? Half the time, I forget why I’ve gone into one of my kids’ rooms because I get distracted cleaning something else, clearing out a drawer, or picking up another mess.

How many of those big cleaning projects have you been putting off? Cross some of them off your list now!

As moms, we all have a challenge just getting through each day or week, and keeping up with the basics as we shuttle kids from school to sports to whatever other activities they have at any given time.

After I was sick a few weeks ago, I cleaned every blanket from the living room. When the dog pulls a towel down in the bathroom to roll in it (regular occurrence in our house!), I immediately pull out new towels and add the old ones to the wash.

Having kids and dogs who make messes around the house on a regular basis, means that we are constantly cleaning up those messes and spot-cleaning as we go!

My challenge for all of us? Pick one room a week (or every few days during this crazy time) over the next couple months and deep clean! Just take one room at a time, challenge yourself to some real spring cleaning, and do it all – polish the furniture, dust the baseboards and the light fixtures, wash the windows. Use a magic eraser on the marks that somehow get all over the walls (my kitchen wall is always a challenge – I’m pretty sure my son uses it as if he’s a ball in a human pinball machine).

Treat these cleaning projects like you would a work out – for your house. You will feel so much better having gotten it done!

If you are home self-isolating, take on one room a day! This is the perfect time to do all of that Spring Cleaning you’ve been putting off!

If you know you can’t do it all on your own? Have your kids help as you go. Hire someone to help! (You know, after this whole keep away from other people thing passes). Or, if you can’t afford that, offer a girlfriend a trade – feed her breakfast for helping you out, and offer to go over and help her at her house.

Ladies, we all have busy lives and our kids (and pets) keep us on our toes. The best part of taking one thing at a time and getting the deep cleaning done? Feeling good about the space around us and knowing that now that it’s finished, we don’t have to do it again for some time.

I recently packed up several large boxes and bags of clothes that all of us had cleared out of our closets. And somehow, filled up another big box from my youngest daughter’s room again! Are you observing Lent right now? I love the idea of clearing out 40 bags in 40 days – take up the challenge if you are moved to do that! It’s not too late to get started!

My stack of boxes and random things I’ve cleared out of the house!

Our kids are constantly growing out of their clothes and shoes, and I feel like all of the new clothes they just got for Christmas are already getting small. How does that happen so fast?!?

Whether it’s cleaning up an icky mess from someone who got sick, or clearing out closets and toyboxes because they are always growing – as moms, we play catch-up as we go. Kids and dogs do not follow any set path, schedule or life plan. They are individuals and keeping up with all of them requires us to fly by the seat of our pants and have the ultimate in flexibility as we go!

My mantra? Life happens, and you just have to roll with all of it as it comes. Is it easy? Absolutely not! No one ever said life would be easy – at least not while I was growing up. And, I try to teach my kids that it’s not supposed to be easy.

As I’ve said before (see Mom Chores vs. Kid Chores), I think it is important for kids to help with the basics around the house. By the same token, have your kids help you with clearing out clutter, old toys or sorting too-small clothes from their closets. The kids will always find things they are not willing to give up. But, if you do it regularly, they will also get used to passing things along that they no longer use or clothes they know are too small.

Sometimes, kids and dogs de-rail our plans – whether it is for a day, changing life goals, or anything else – and taking that other path can lead us in all kinds of new and fun directions. Embrace the chaos, and roll with those changes. Take the opportunities to teach them new things, clean up a space that probably needed it anyway, and move on to whatever is next.       

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