Fact: We all like a clean home. And let’s face it – we love our young children, but they can be little germ-infested factories, leaving a trail of gobby, gooey messes behind. They can also leave your home looking like its been overturned by a tornado on steroids, in a fraction of a second.
Afflicted parents need to repair this damage, and don’t necessarily have a schedule that allows them to wait until naptime. Here are some suggestions for how to keep a decently clean home with a toddler running around:
Unloading and Reloading the Dishwasher
Step #1 – Remove all hazardous objects from child’s immediate reach and make sure all nearby outlets are capped, doors are child-locked, and garbage cans are unreachable. (After all, safety is our #1 concern.)
Step #2 – Sprint into the kitchen, leaving toddler befuddled in the other room.
Step #3 – Rinse a dish. Immediately place in dishwasher. (It is important to act quickly here. Toddler is crawling to catch up.)
Step #4 – Close dishwasher door as frantically as possible. (Make sure that there are no fingers trapped in the door. Even if you don’t think your child could possibly be quick enough to find you paying attention to something else, I assure you that they can.)
Step #5 – Repeat steps 3 and 4 for every dirtied dish and utensil. Expect to spend an estimated 25 times as long as you previously spent with dishwasher.
Alternative method – Wait until toddler goes to bed. Then do it as you were accustomed to previously at normal speeds.
Step #1 – Locate child’s favorite toy. The one they can play with for extended periods of time without suspecting anything awry.
Step #2 – Place child in adjoining room out of the way, playing with said toy. Again, choose something they will be entertained with for more than a fraction of a second.
Step #3 – Go to closet. Retrieve vacuum. Plug in and begin cleaning floor.
Step #4 – Be sure to avoid hitting your child with the vacuum as they crawl immediately up to foreign moving object. Make double sure they do not attempt to lick it. You didn’t really think they would stay where they were, did you?
Alternative method – Wait until toddler goes to bed. Then proceed with no distractions.
Straightening Toy-Bombed Front Room
We have an expression in our home. It looks like the toy bomb went off. It simply means that there is an explosion of your child’s books and toys scattered across the floor. Here’s how to straighten it up:
Step #1 – Take three large deep breaths and come to the understanding beforehand that this will take double the amount of time it normally would. I’m far from the poster-child when it comes to patience, but it is easier to fake some when you have more realistic expectations of the project at hand.
Step #2 – Set toddler down on opposite end of room, making sure that there is nothing hazardous within his or her immediate reach. (Refer to step #1 in “Unloading and Reloading Dishwasher” section for further detail.)
Step #3 – Sprint to area that needs straightening and begin placing books and toys on shelves or in toy box as quickly as possible.
Step #4 – Sprint back to toddler and place them back in previous location as quickly as possible, before they can start yanking toys and books off shelf and throwing on floor.
Step #5 – Alternate between steps 3 and 4 for as long as it takes to straighten toy-bombed area, doing your best to keep ideas from Step #1 in mind.
Alternative method – Wait until bedtime or at least naptime. This can save you from the patience-draining, maddening fate of cleaning the same three-square-foot area 50 times.
Cleaning the Bathroom
What are you nuts? As the parent of a young child, you have limitations. Cleaning a room with a dirty toilet needs to wait until the child is sleeping or at the very least, otherwise occupied. You are not Superman or Wonder Woman.
Know your place.