I remember the day I realized, like yesterday. I had just spent 50 minutes straightening the playroom, clearing off the kitchen counters and doing laundry. By the time I had finally settled on the couch to watch Netflix and fold laundry, I heard him. My little alarm clock was waking up in his room and if I didn’t get in there soon, he was sure to wake up his twin sister. 50 minutes that’s all I got.
Nap Time is NOT for Cleaning
I felt like I had accomplished nothing and yet I had been busy the entire time. I realized as I stepped over the piles of laundry and headed for the nursery, that it wasn’t that I hadn’t accomplished anything, it was that I hadn’t accomplished anything that would help me feel refreshed.
Welcome to Erin Bhur, who is joining Crafty Kids at Home as a Guest Contributor. Erin is sharing her tips and experiences on Home Organisation for busy mums like you. Erin Buhr has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and works as a freelance writer and early childhood educator. She currently lives in Mississippi with husband and twin four year olds. You can read more by Erin on her blog, Bambini Travel, where she writes about family travel, children’s books, and preschool activities.
Also in the series 7 Secrets Organized Moms Know That YOU Can Learn
Home Organisation for Busy Mums
That’s when I made a decision. The decision that nap times are NOT for cleaning. I decided that from then on our brief nap times were going to be me time. Time to refresh for the next few hours of diapers and nursing and reading board books.
From that day forward, with few exceptions, nap time was no longer time for cleaning. In fact, I decided that nap time was only for the things I couldn’t do when they were awake. Things such as paying the bills, responding to emails, making phone calls or other things I couldn’t easily do while they were awake.
The rest of the time I was going to relax and recharge.
So did I simply give up on cleaning? No. I simply changed when I did it. A large portion of the cleaning and straightening has since been integrated into our daily routines. What does that look like? Below is an example of our integrated cleaning schedule. This is how the vast majority of our weekly cleaning gets done.
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Our Cleaning Schedule
When our children undress their clothes go directly into the washing machine. This happens at the beginning and end of every day. When the machine is full, a few mornings a week, I pour in some detergent and start it before breakfast. Once a week when I move the load to the dryer I run a load of whites in the empty washer.
Every morning our kids unload the dishwasher with the exception of sharp knives and breakable glasses. They gradually took over this job starting around aged 2. While they do this, I pack a bag for the day, start a load of laundry and open the house.
When they are done with the dishwasher they set their dishes on the table for breakfast. During the week we have simple breakfasts and they help make them or bring items to the table.
Straighten the kitchen and move the laundry to the dryer.
Once a week my kids start quiet time by putting away their laundry. When they were younger we would simply start afternoon playtime once a week by helping to fold laundry and then carry it to their rooms. By the time they gave up naps around 4 they were capable of doing it on their own.
There are some jobs like cleaning the bathrooms and dusting that I still do separately. These get done in small 15-30 minute increments while my kids play in the afternoons.
I tidy the kitchen while I cook dinner in the evenings. The kids are usually content to play during this time or help me with cooking, so while things boil or bake I load or wash any remaining dishes, wipe down counters, and pack the bag for the next day.
So what do I do during nap times now? Well technically my kids don’t nap anymore and our quiet times are not reliably quiet, but for a solid three years and even now most days that time is used for me. I use this time to read, write my blog, email, make phone calls and most days when they come bursting out of their room after quiet time I am ready to go.