Before kids - it made sense to keep things neat and tidy (or at least attempt to most days) - and let's be honest - most days it was pretty easy to put up those two plates from dinner or fold the blanket back to place on the couch. Having children changes a lot of things. Mostly the definition of clean. Clean truly takes on a whole new meaning as a parent. Now, don't get me wrong, plates still need to be washed, and so do children, but life becomes significantly more stressful if you let some of the pre-kid habits take control. So, in raising my two beautiful tornadoes - ages 4 and 1 - I have learned that at the end of the day - everyone is getting a bath and that will mostly mean the day has been a success. Never before would toys have stayed on the floor out of place, clothes lay in baskets unfolded for an extra few days, okay a week - I give. No - that would not have happened. Now, however, I know that time is a little more precious to spend with the kids in the floor playing with those toys, or outside running in the yard getting a little messy. It took a little time to learn that with Kid #1 (sorry honey), but I am getting better at letting those little annoyances go and just use that time to enjoy my children. Is it easy? Not for an OCD momma who likes things where they should be, and all messes cleaned up moments after they are made, but it can be done. We find stress on our own most of the time, and I found myself constantly worried about the fact that toys were out or that one load of laundry didn't get folded immediately out of the dryer. Now I am more able to see past the imperfections in my home and see the perfect-ness of kids enjoying life. Those chores will be there tomorrow (and they will have doubled/tripled over night by evil elves destined to create a mess). Leave stress in the laundry - enjoy your kids while they are kids!
Of course I say all of that, but things still have to be taken care of in the home - I get that - and I will tell you that it isn't always easy to stay on track, but what helps us save some stress is to create one activity a day that will tackle some part of the home. Mondays are for dusting/vacuuming, Tuesdays are for bathrooms, Wednesdays are date nights for folding clothes (this is a great time for mom and dad to spend some quality talk time together once kids are in bed!), and so on. You get the idea. Make a plan that works for your family and don't stress over the mess!