Trying to keep a house clean when people other than you live there? I know it can be super hard and overwhelming and, well, impossible at times.
Socks are left on the living room floor.
Bowls and cups never seem to make it to the kitchen.
Soggy washcloths and damp towels are strewn across the bathroom.
I’ve been married for over ten tears, and have a 6 and 7 year old, so I know the struggle. The sighs when you bend over to pick up a fruit snack wrapper. The eye rolls when you find trash in a shirt pocket.
And, if you’re like me, you WANT help. You actually NEED help. But asking for it is hard. Why is it so hard?
The difficulty in my home has two reasons.
One, my husband works all day to provide for us so part of me feels guilty asking him to put his dirty socks in the hamper instead of tossing them on the ottoman.
I want him to know that I appreciate what he does. I don’t want to be a nagging housewife. And I also have this false thought that I’m “supposed” to clean up after him because I’m home all day.
Here’s the thing.
Yes he works hard all day at his job. BUT… do I make his job harder for him? Do I come to his work and mess up his desk or delete files on his computer?
No. I do everything I can to make his job easier by providing clean clothes, leftovers for lunch if possible, and patience if he has to work late.
So, then, thinking about it that way, it’s totally okay for me to ask him to not make my job harder at home. This means asking him (for the 100th time) to put his dishes in the sink instead of on the end table. Asking him to put his damp towel in the hamper instead of on the bed.
It’s OKAY to ask for help. And it’s not even help; it’s asking him to be a decent human being and show the kids that Mom is not a maid. It’s not asking. It’s communicating your needs.
The other problem I have with asking for help is asking for it from my kids. After all, they are burned out when they come home from school. They don’t want to be told to do more things. They just wanna chill. And I want to give them that time and space to recharge because I know how hard their little bodies and minds are working during the school day.
But they’re not adults and they still need to be taught to do certain things because they’re a part of this family. And this family works together as a team to maintain a clean, safe, comfortable home.
You’re not a mean mom for reminding them to put their lunchboxes in the kitchen.
You’re not a bad mom for asking them every single day to clean their room before bed.
Just like we teach them to brush their teeth every day to keep their mouths healthy, we also need to teach them how to be a kind, considerate member of the house. Their home.
It’s just another facet of raising them to be awesome adults when they get older. And someone that other people will want to live with in the future.
Partners need to be reminded to clean up their messes.
Kids need to be taught to clean up their messes.
And we, as moms, need to be taught to ask for help when we need it.
If you’re looking for permission to ask for help, this is it. You have permission to ask your partner to put his shoes away and permission to ask your kids to run water in their dirty dishes so you’re not scrubbing crusty oatmeal in the morning.
You’re not a nag. You’re not mean. You’re a grown woman who is taking care of a family. And that’s a super important job. Don’t take it lightly.