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I can’t keep up!

Hi, I am a positive, patient, disabled mom of a lovely 5 year old girl. Its just us two, and we are fine with that. But I have a problem. I cannot keep up with the cleaning. (I also work). Other kids come in, my family comes in, and everyone complains of how messy it is. Well sorry, but I do try. I am far from lazy. Its like, 5 people throwing balls at you while they yell at you to pick them all up at once.

When I’m doing the dishes, she’s cutting paper up in shards in the living room, when I’m cleaning the bathroom, she’s drawing on the wall in her room. I know its normal, but I wanted to know how other single parents deal with the mess. PLEASE DON’T COMMENT UNLESS YOUR HAVE OR HAVE HAD KIDS, the experience of having one is different than your opinion of a single, no dependents individual. THANKS EVERYONE!

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31 Responses

  1. My 2 year old wrote on the wall with a sharpie I made him sit and scrub that wall with me, he wasn’t making much progress but it was the sheer fact that when you do something your not suppose to than your gonna clean it up! I have a 6 year old son as well and he has never wrote on the walls. Starts with discipline. a house with kids will never be spotless clean so as for family sticking their nose in your business tell them unless their gonna pick up a rag and help clean than stick your nose someplace else !

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  2. Um Naser Um Naser says:

    Just do the best you can, no one is perfect at all! Trust me every time I turn around in my house my kids have made a mess somewhere. I get tired and I am not disabled. So please don’t. Let these people make you feel bad. If they really cared they would help you out.

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  3. Ya its an uphill battle, you aren’t alone. Best thing I find is to have a system and a place to put things. Then you can easily put stuff away and make everything appear tidy. Also, make you 5 year old help!!

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  4. Tape with painters tape big pieces of paper to her walls as her art boards. An old ice cream pale to cut over or mop bucket that way it can be her “cutting ” bucket.

    When wall paper is full change them. When cutting bucket is full empty it. Old shoe boxes work good also to put the shapes she’s cut into for later.

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  5. It’s your house- who cares what people think. ( I’m a single mother of two) though they’re now 17 and 22 but boooooy do I remember. How about getting your 5 yr old to help with the easy stuff…and of course rewards are good to have for when she does something. Thats what I started. I just asked each kid what they would like to help with, this way it was their choice. ( I provided the chores they had to pick from) I made a calendar of chores and at the end of the week was their reward. Some weeks they didn’t get their reward, like if I had to remind them. Every little bit helps and it’s a good time to start. As for drawing on the walls??! That was a big no in my house. If other kids are coming in and destroying your home, get them to clean up after themselves..they make them do that in Kindergarten so why not at your place? Ages and stages. Obviously she’s only 5 so doing something simple like simply cleaning her room. My daughter always had a messy room and once she started cleaning it, even if it wasn’t spotless, the effort was there. getting crates for toys and a coloring table or a place like the kitchen table for coloring/ cutting etc. Before she can leave though, have her clean up after herself. Just get a shoe box or something so she can slide it all into the box ( cuttings). Ensuring consequences are followed up when she’s “naughty”…I always told my kids “consequences” I would say that word. They got used to hearing it and knowing what it meant. Stick to your guns for when that happens. When you have to vaccuum, have your daughter do I spy with the stuff that has to come off the floor, ( like toys etc). I’m at work right now but I can go on and on..thats just my two cents…

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  6. Get her to help you with the cleaning, my 3 year old helps me rinse dishes ( the smaller or plastic ones) or she wipes down walls while im cleaning the bathroom. It keeps her occupied and you can keep an eye on her so shes not destroying the other room. Also make her clean up whatever she was playing with before she moves on to something else or into another room. My house is no where near perfect but it helps me keep on top of things a bit more.

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  7. Lori Balmer Lori Balmer says:

    Have her help pick things up or even dry dishes ,make it fun time if you can

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  8. Lissa Dawn Lissa Dawn says:

    I have a full time job. Single mom of 2. 1 kid with disabilities.
    Your house will NEVER stay clean. HOWEVER. 5 year old children are absolutely old enough to help out.
    Make her room/ her laundry/her messes HER responsibility. Check every night and make her do a “10 sec tidy” in her room
    When doing laundry sit with her and make her fold/put away her stuff while you do the rest.
    Any ” mess” she makes, she cleans it up. Dishes scraped and put in sink after every meal.
    Those are HER responsibilities as a member of the family/household.
    In addition designate for her to do 1 age appropriate chore a day. Its sounds like a lot for a 5 year old but it’s really not. Its good for her and good for you.
    Might take a couple weeks to create the habit but totally worth it!!!!!!
    And anyone that wants to talk shit about your house can damn well clean it for you.
    Good luck momma

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  9. If she is doing destructive behaviours like drawing on the walls or cutting things up but putting the shreds all over the place then those things need to only be given to her while being supervised.

    That being said,
    It’s your home.
    So if you’re comfortable don’t worry about what others think or feel.

    Do the best you can.
    So long as she is loved, fed, and happy… you’re doing a great job

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  10. Sherri Kobes Sherri Kobes says:

    Re-define the idea of clean house. There is a difference between dirty and lived in.
    Give her small jobs to do when you can’t watch her. Dusting with a swifter duster works wonders lol.
    Cutting paper / coloring in my house is only at the kitchen table lol cause it’s easier to clean off the table when I make supper.
    We also have the rule no toys in the bedrooms.

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  11. Heck you don’t even need kids to have trouble keeping up. I was sick for a year, and with a husband and 3 large dogs, dirt really built up. I’m finally now getting to walls, etc. Going to take a while.

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  12. I now have an area for living and an area for the child to destroy…. for lack of better words. She DOES NOT bring mess or toys out of her bedroom or toy room. This allows me to focus on the main living areas finally and if she wants to play in clutter and mess so be it. I only clean up that space a few times a month

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  13. 5 is old enough to know not to draw on the walls and make a huge paper mess without cleaning it up. If you don’t teach your kid to be responsible, they’re never learn.
    I don’t have children myself, but as someone who was recently a child and wasn’t raised with discipline, I really hope you can lay down the law a little bit! It does wonders for a child’s sense of worth and development. Had my parents been more strict with me, I know for a fact I’d be a much more functional adult. Good luck!!

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  14. A toddler/kid can do more in one unsupervised minute than most people can do all day.
    Tell the critics to suck it. It’s hard enough being a single parent without the input from the peanut gallery.

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  15. I started getting mine to help with whatever portion of the cleaning he could. Like if I am sweeping he could hold the dust pan and empty it. or he could unload the dishwasher and hand them to me. He could wash the plastics while I’m cleaning the kitchen. This way I kept him with me, he got to see how much has to be done and he had a greater awareness of his own messes. Now at 8, he can do laundry himself. I still check for load size and to make sure the settings are all right. He can sweep and mop, scoop out the cat litter. Take out the garbage. It helps me out in a big way.

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  16. Life is too short. Don’t sweat it as long as it’s not a health concern like rodents, bugs, feces everywhere etc etc. You can certainly show her where to put things or how to cut up paper into a bucket/box etc or you can make a game of her tidying up her toys. Play ‘musical clean up’ where you play a song and then stop it now and then just like musical chairs and she has to freeze in the position she’s in. It makes it fun and it’s funny to see some of the poses.

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  17. set some rules for your home like you make the mess you clean it up for all visitors ask them to help while they are in your home with it.

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  18. My boys are 10 and 12 now, when they were little there was consequences for wrecking things, they knew they would be in trouble.
    My house was clean but it would get messy. I wanted them to do crafts (they still do) play in the sandbox, paint and play with play doh, play in the grass and dirt etc, so I didn’t mind. I had a neighbour that would f let her kids do love anything that was even remotely “dirty” and her kids would literally drive her up the wall, but her house was never “messy” and her kids had no idea how to entertain themselves and how to have fun and be a kid. Let your child do all those things and then insist they clean up after themselves. I bought a craft set of drawers (I see people selling them all the time on the buy and sell pages) and labeled it. Give your child odd jobs, my one son LOVED to wash the widows and dishes. Lol. It gives them a sense of pride.

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  19. I put a chalkboard wall in my kitchen and my boys still use it.

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  20. Sounds to me like you have a normal life…..

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  21. My daughter is 5 and she helps me no questions asked.
    She can clean her own mess, sort laundry, she can dry dishes while I am washing etc.

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  22. Welcome to my world. I have 2 under 5. I work full time and my my big dog is another child. On the weekends we are usually catching up from the week. Also I tend to do family activity during the weekends so sometimes I can never catch up. You should see my giant Landry pile.

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  23. If people who come in complain that your house is messy… walk them to the front door, and say thanks for coming… bye bye.
    I have a messy house, I don’t have kids at home anymore, but it was a struggle then and now… I work 9 hours a day, and I absolutely hate cleaning anyways.
    If people didn’t like it, they could LEAVE.
    You be you…I always thought that a clean house was like walking on eggshells, afraid to live or touch or breathe or eat in case you messed something up…
    That’s no way to live.
    But, you can take kids toys away if she doesn’t pick them up, and she can earn them back.
    And she can help with dishes and take garbage out…
    I find if you give a smaller version of chores to kids, they love to help.
    But really, tell the complainers where the door is. They will change their attitude in a hurry.

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  24. Pat Scott Pat Scott says:

    I am a grandma but know what its like I watch our twin 3 yr old and one 6 yr old granddaughters. total chaos with the mess of toys, paper etc.. the 6 yr old helps clean up a bit. don’t know how you get by.. could family not help instead of complaining and your daughter could help do little things. good luck and kudos to you for raising a child on your own.

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  25. Tara Floyd Tara Floyd says:

    I get my kids to help clean. But no matter what my house will never get completely or stay clean. We live in our house and are totally busy! Don’t worry what everyone thinks.. You should see how bad most families live. I always thought my place was disgusting until I started seeing what others homes are like. If the kids are fed and have clean clothes you are doing great! Give yourself credit!

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  26. Charlie Saev Charlie Saev says:

    You got that right Lissa … my parents had more than one job Dad worked days and Mom worked nights with four kids and if we could hold a spoon to eat we could help clean house dishes make beds laundry just no access to chemical cleaners or sharp stuff and today i can clean cook and do house stuff better than any woman i’ve ever met start em young !!! 🙂

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  27. I know exactly what you mean. Try to reduce what you have. I know that takes time you don’t have, but less to clean is more time. Try and make a craft corner, put down a painters cloth or plastic and let her create in one place. Another idea might be to have a cooking day, where you prep, cook and freeze a weeks worth of meals. 4 hours, 2 knives, 2 forks, 2 cutting boards, a few spoons and mixing bowls….then freeze flat in freezer bags. Just put them in the oven for a half hour and you’re done. You can even use paper and plastic plates and cutlery. Saves hours every night. You can spend that time crafting or supervising chores. Hell, grab a bath!!!! Being forever sick is hard, stressful. It’s brutal.
    Best wishes beautiful 🙂

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  28. I would have the little one helping me clean. That being said, if friends and/or family are coming over and bitching that your house is messy, they can clean it up. If they are there to see your message and not you and your daughter, screw them. I don’t care who they are.

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