Cleaning Schedule for Busy Moms

There is a battle that goes on daily in my mind. I’m betting if you have children and a husband and a home, you fight the same war.

One voice tells me that my house is a mess, the dishes need to be washed, the laundry needs to be done, and the floors need to be swept. It tells me the closets are a cluttered, disorganized heap, and the list of errands will never be completed. It screams that the fridge is empty and so is the gas tank. And it constantly reminds me that I haven’t exercised for any consistent amount of time since 2007. It’s a real charmer, that voice. She’s a downer who leaves me feeling like I’m never going to catch up.

The other side tells me that my children are only little once. It tells me that they need an engaged mommy more than they need a spotless home. It tells me that they need library days and bowling days and days at the blueberry farm and soccer and ballet and gymnastics and homeschooling and and and!! It tells me that every day of their lives needs to be filled with Pinterest-worthy activities and Instagrammable moments. That voice wears me out with her perfection and necessity for a level of energy that I simply don’t have. She leaves me feeling like I don’t measure up.

The back and forth is enough to drive a mama crazy.

I had to come to the realization that neither voice was right. But neither voice was totally wrong either. Like almost every argument, each has its merits. But neither needs to be taken to the extreme. If we are going to do this mothering and homemaking thing well for the long haul, we have to pace ourselves. A little moderation breeds a lot of stamina.

So, here’s the thing. My house doesn’t have to be spotless, and neither does yours. I give you permission to let a few things slide. It does not have to meet a level of perfection that can’t be maintained. Neither does it have to be totally ignored so that we can spend every waking moment being a helicopter mom who constantly hovers over every move her children make. There is a middle ground here. And maybe my middle ground looks different than yours, but that’s ok.

For me, “middle ground” is somewhere around a functionally organized, marginally clean home and spending several hours daily plugged in with my children. On a day like today, we cleaned house for about an hour in the morning (yes, my children help). Then I took my children and their friends bowling for several hours. We picked up pizza on the way home so that I didn’t have to spend all night in the kitchen. I wrote a little while they played and watched TV. Now we are tackling a few more chores before bedtime. My home is pretty clean, I’ve had time to do my thing (writing), and they have had my attention for several hours. It’s not perfect, but it’s doable for the long haul. Here’s what we do…

Cleaning Schedule

Daily: Cooking / Dishes / Trash / Wipe down stove and counters / Pick up and put away the clutter/ Wipe bathroom sinks and mirrors / Sweep or vacuum hardwood floors / One load of laundry / Water plants / Clean toilets

Monday – Kitchen and Den: Sweep and mop floors / Wipe baseboards / Wipe kitchen cabinet doors / Organize one or two kitchen cabinets / Clean out fridge / Take trash to street / Clean out pantry / Clean microwave / Dust window ledges and furniture / Clean windows and glass doors / Clear cobwebs / Restock drink fridge / Grocery Shopping

Tuesday – Girls’ Rooms and Bath: Vacuum / Dust furniture and window ledges / Wipe baseboards / Change sheets / Organize book shelves and closet / Pick up clothes and put away toys / Remove junk / Organize drawers / Wash towels / Clean tub and counters / Sweep and mop bathroom floor

Wednesday – Mather Bedroom and Bath: Vacuum / Dust furniture and window ledges / Wipe baseboards / Change sheets / Organize closet / Hang up clothes / Remove junk / Organize drawers / Wash towels / Clean shower and counters / Sweep and mop bathroom floor / Dust ceiling fan / Organize medicine cabinet

Thursday – Schoolroom and Playroom: File papers / Vacuum / Dust furniture and bookshelves / Put toys away / Organize shelves / Wipe down bathroom / Clean Toilet / Wipe baseboards

Friday – General Cleaning: Restock drink fridge / Clean porch / Scrub kitchen counters / Water roses / Wipe front door / Sweep and mop den / Grocery shopping / Food prep for the weekend

Sunday night: Check the calendar and organize the week’s schedule / Plan menu for the week / Make grocery list / Back porch time with my husband before the week gets crazy

I don’t stick to the schedule everyday, as we sometimes travel or have other commitments. There are days that we stay home all day and try to catch up on what we’ve missed. But having a written schedule gives me something to shoot for, and I figure it all comes out in the wash. The voices still do their best to suck me in, but I am getting stronger at ignoring them. My worth comes from who Jesus says I am, and not from a perfect home or perfect kids. And by having my girls pitch in, the work gets done faster so that we can play longer. It’s a win for everybody.

What type of schedule works for you?

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