Choosing Happiness Over Cleanliness?

If I followed my kids around with a camera you might be surprised at how quickly and severely they can mess up a perfectly clean house.

Or maybe you have kids of your own and you wouldn’t be surprised at all.

I bought this coffee table book for James: “A Perfectly Kept House Is the Sign of a Misspent Life.” He was not interested. He likes a clean house, as do I.

But it’s driving me nuts. With a newborn in the mix, I have very little time to clean. We live in a big house and our two older children are like twin tornados.

Spring break is coming up and it’s our year to have Emile and we’re not traveling anywhere which means it’s me and three kids at home all week and God knows that I’m going to be quite frustrated quite often if I don’t learn how to LET IT GO (cue Frozen soundtrack). The house is going to be a disaster zone and I can either enjoy the extra time with my daughters and my stepson or I can have a clean house.


I know this and yet I can pretty much guarantee that I will fight with them about cleaning up behind themselves at some point. Or more likely at multiple points. And I’m not sure if this is a good and necessary thing or a waste of breath and time. Inevitably I will either do most of the clean up myself, or exhaust myself by harping on and on, offering bribes and taking away privileges and such.

This is a significant source of stress for me or else I wouldn’t be blogging about it. (Talk about first world problems.) I want them to be mindful and aware of their surroundings and I want my living space to be zen but at what cost?

After all, I want to live life, not clean up after it.

Dear readers, what would you do? Fight the messes or succumb to their power? Ideally, I could find a balance though it has eluded me thus far. Any tips or tricks or mind games to play with them/myself?


  1. Glad you could use my illustration! 😉 Of course I can relate. I am a tidy person and my husband borders on OCD, but with 3 little kids, keeping the house clean is a losing battle. I have one trick. After I get all the kids loaded and buckled in the car, I turn on a movie or some music and do a quick straighten/clean for about 10 minutes while they are restrained and distracted! It’s amazing how much I can get done without a little one underfoot!


    1. That’s a brilliant idea! Yes it’s amazing how efficient we can be when they are occupied (or strapped down). Some days it’s just about keeping the mess in a steady state!! Maybe it’s not getting better but it’s also not getting worse. And I seriously love this illustration. I posted it to Facebook a few weeks ago 🙂


  2. Oh, how I can relate! Keeping a perfectly clean house with kids is tough. I aim to keep certain areas decent, though I have learned to let go of the idea that everything must look perfect all the time. It can’t look perfect all the time. So I focus on what really matters, the kids, my husband, my happiness and forgive myself for everything that seems to be neglected in the process.


    1. Exactly. It’s weird that I wish my house looked like a show room. Why must things be perfect? When did I decide this to be the expectation? Consciously letting go of that one. Or at least trying. Because it’s not going to happen!!


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