Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cleaning Your House Doesn't Make You a Bad Mom

There's a new thing going around nowadays. It's called my-house-is-a-disaster-so-I'm-a-good-mom. And of course the caveat is that if you clean your house you are a bad mom because you should be spending that time with your children. Hence the popular quote, "Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens, and happy kids." 

Can we have some balance here? I prefer not to live in a pig-pen. I prefer to teach my children about order. God is a God of order after all. Please note the meticulous detail He provided about the building of the tabernacle for one example. God committed the care of our homes to us (Proverbs 31:27, Titus 2:5) It's not a role that we can just shove off because we don't want to do the work. Or we haven't taught ourselves about scheduling. Or we don't know how to clean. When you don't know something you can't just write it off as unimportant. You need to find someone to teach you. 

(I think we have forgotten that people have to learn. We come into life ignorant. Some other person taught us everything we know. Cut people a break and start teaching with your life and your words. Be available to get involved with people and teach them something you know how to do.)

I clean my house because I don't want to live in filth. I clean my house because I believe children learn better in places of order and schedule (there's research to back this up too). I clean my house because God told me to care for my home. I clean our home because I want to teach my children to work and they help me. I clean our home because I want to be able to open our home to others without being deathly embarrassed. I clean our home because our little world is to be a reflection of God's world. I clean our home because my children don't need me to entertain them 24/7. 

You can be a good mom and have a clean house. Of course I don't mean that your house is spotless and the laundry baskets are always empty. These little people take up hoards of time. But the work can be done. They can do it with you and it's good for them to do so. There's usually dust under our couch, probably some random toys too. I sweep our kitchen multiple times a day and there's always crumbs under the table. Sometimes a load of laundry stays in the dryer overnight. But the health department wouldn't shut us down. 

1. Have a cleaning routine. Knowing what you should do is half the battle. It removes the mental exertion from cleaning. If you know you *always* (see number three) clean the kitchen on Mondays then on Monday you clean the kitchen. 

2. Let your children help you. Give them a dusting cloth or a wet rag. Let them help you clean out the tub and dust the bottom shelves. Let them move chairs to mop and pick up toys to vacuum. Let them dance and chase each other to the noise of the vacuum cleaner. 

3. Be flexible. You'll run into days when cleaning doesn't get done. That's ok. When the cleaning is a habit and the house gets cleaned well most weeks when you miss one it's nothing major. Move things to different days. Know the "short route" to cleaning when life is super busy. Know what can be "not done" and the place still look presentable. 

4. Have certain things you do everyday. We pick up toys before we move onto the next thing. (At least we do normally and I always regret it when we don't.) I go to bed with a clean kitchen because nothing makes me feel further behind in the morning than a dirty kitchen. Wash/dry/fold/put away a load of clothes every day. Make your bed every morning. 

There are ways to clean and mother in some sort of equilibrium. You are not a bad mom if your home is not a disaster. And of course, a clean house does not mean you are a good mother either. Motherhood is so much more than the physical appearance of your home. But your home does matter


  1. It's pretty odd to say that a clean home is a sign of bad parenting, when that just flies in the face of what we would deem as proper and civilized. People who say that are probably just kidding. In any case, it doesn't even have to be a choice between sweeping the floors and spending time with the kids. Cleaning can be a bonding activity, so you're right when you said that the kids should be a part of it. Good day!

    German Zollinger @ Total Clean Equip

  2. You’re doing a great job in teaching your kids the concept of maintaining cleanliness inside the house. Letting them help you will surely make cleaning easier and faster. Some kids may find it difficult at first, but if you explain well to them the benefits of a clean house, and enforce the rules regularly, I'm sure that they will follow in no time. Kudos to your parenting, Lisa! Have a great day!

    Bo Tolbert @ HJS Supply