As a working mother, I have little time. I work when my kids are napping, I work after they go to bed. I work in the early morning hours. Last night I worked after nursing my daughter; she slept away, soundly, and the rest of the house did the same, while I pecked at the keyboard, updating my website for March. I got a lot done in that half hour, with only the light of the television and the sound of the rain as my companions. So when I do get a chance to clean, I have little time, and a lot to do.
My toddler has gotten into the habit of taking out everything at one time and dumping it in places, like the kitchen floor, or the hallway. She´ll play for a bit and then walk away and dump something else out before I can stop her. We do have the clean up rule: Clean up one thing before getting out another. But come on, she´s a toddler; how often will she remember that?
Today as I swept up the floor while the girls were in bed, I swept up bits and pieces of her toys; a puzzle piece, a hair clip, some money, a few little people. I realized that the key to making her keep the house clean would be to implement the rule that if it is on the floor, it´s going into the trash.
So I kept everything in one big pile and when she woke, I said this: "If I sweep up your toys they go into the trash with the dirt. So you have to pick up everything after you are done playing."
She looked at me with those big toddler eyes and said quietly, "What about my Barbies?"
Because they live on the floor, of course.
I then tried to play it over. "Not the Barbies. Just the rest of your toys."
She looked at the big pile of blocks that we keep on the playroom floor and said, "The blocks, too?"
Oh, no, not the blocks.
So then I said the other stuff. The stuff that should be in containers, like her crayons and her puzzles.
But by that time I knew her logic wasn´t equipped to handle my excellent new rule, so I have shelved that one until she and her sister are a bit older. I´ve implemented yet again the put it away when you get done with it. Of course this never happens (I type as I stare at a pile of puzzle pieces, her bear, her pair of dress up boots, and a pretend salt shaker from her kitchen on our living room floor) but, hey, what can you expect? I always include in my bio that I have learned how to walk through the house without looking down.
Happy Monday, and holiday, to our working mothers!