Here’s something I learned the hard way: There’s your house before having children, and then there’s your house after having children.
Before having children, your house stayed neat for a few days after you cleaned it. You usually knew where to find things because you were the one who put them there. Your house was under control.
After having children, if you are like most moms I work with, your house always has a messy spot somewhere (maybe everywhere). There is stuff everywhere. You can’t keep up. Cleaning the house feels like shoveling snow in a snowstorm (thanks for the quote, Erma Bombeck).
We are deeply affected by our environment, whether we realize it or not, and if our home starts to look like a disaster zone, our mood takes a nosedive. If you are a new stay-at-home mom, staring at wall-to-wall clutter all day long can seriously harm your sense of well being, especially during the rainy months when you’re cooped up inside. You may feel depressed, overwhelmed, and ashamed of yourself for not being able to maintain an organized house.
So what can you do about this?
Take a deep breath. Assess where the problem areas are in your house, where the “clog” is. Is the clog due to a lack of space (eg. you changed the office into a nursery and since there’s no room to work, you have to use the dining room ) or too much stuff? Pare down your belongings as much as you can. Trim the fat. Less excess, less mess.
Make sure you have realistic expectations about what a house looks like when little kids live there (hint: not perfect). Ask for help — from your hubby, from your older kids, from professionals. Teach your children to pick up after themselves, and then model that good behavior yourself.
Try to clean/organize a little bit every day, never avoiding it all week and then trying to play catch up on the weekend. Make sure you get enough rest so you have enough energy to do all of this.
And if none of that works or you are too overwhelmed, seek the help of a professional organizer.
Your house will look different after you have children. But you don’t have to live in chaos and clutter.