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Work At Home And Clean Home - Can You Have Both?

Feb 20, 2008
The laundry pile is beginning to resemble Mount St. Helens and you're afraid to touch it for fear of what might jump out at you. Your sink is overflowing with dishes caked with food two days old. Dust bunnies are multiplying under your kitchen table faster than you can say "hippety-hop." You allow your home to remain in a state of disarray for weeks until you have company coming and then give it an eight-hour power-clean.

Sound familiar?

To a work-at-home mom, keeping the house clean may seem like an unachievable goal. And it's no wonder. Because you and the kids are always home, there's constant mess-potential. Plus, you're always there to see that mess, which adds to your stress-meter. And added stress is something you just don't need. But, let's be honest. Between work and the kids, cleaning is low on the priority list. So how do you keep your house clean and still keep doing everything else a working mom has to do?

First, cut yourself some slack. Remind yourself that people actually live in your home and keeping it spotless is near impossible. Be thankful you have a family to make that mess in the first place! Not so easy to do when you're stubbing your toe on toys scattered on the floor, I know. But even though there are probably times you long for a few consecutive quiet days to yourself, admit it. You'd miss them - they're your family!

Next, decide what areas of your house are most important to you to keep clean. For instance, while I was growing up, my mom was notorious for leaving dishes in the sink and lying around the counter for a couple days at a time. I hated that! So one of the things I make sure is done every day is the dishes. Having the dishes done every day is something that makes me feel more on top of things.

Your priority may be having counters or floors free of clutter, vacuumed carpet, a sparkling bathroom or dust-free furniture. Focus on keeping clean those areas that are most important for you. If your priority is different from your husbands, work it out so he is in charge of his "area" and you take care of yours.

Third, ask for help! As mentioned above, your kids and husband live there too. It's only fair that they do their part. If getting your kids to pitch in is difficult, consider incentives. A trip to the ice cream shop, a movie, cash...it's amazing what kids will do for a few bucks. Five-year-olds can pick up toys, seven-year-olds can dust baseboards, ten-year- olds can help with laundry or the dishes. Every little thing helps and lessons your load.

If the budget allows, hire someone to deep clean your house once a month. This will be the best money you ever spent because it will not only free up your time but will eliminate the stress of getting to those nasty chores you've been putting off for months.

Finally, come up with a plan that works for you and your family - whether it's a couple of brief cleaning bursts per day, a daily sweep of your entire home or a once-a-week thorough cleaning.

Remember, keeping a clean house certainly has its benefits, but the next time you trip over a toy or tackle that pile of laundry, remind yourself that the people who live there are what truly make up your home.
About the Author
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