Whether you stay at home, or work full time, you know that it's hard to juggle parenting with housekeeping. Somewhere between infancy and a young child who can play independently lies a sweet-spot where housework is just an uphill battle. Previous generations may have put young children in a play pen while they quickly took care of chores, but these have fallen out of fashion as younger generations of parents embrace parenting philosophies that encourage childhood exploration and independence. Many parents now prefer to put up gates at stairs and lock up dangerous cabinets, but otherwise allow their toddlers to freely roam the house.
That's not the only aspect of parenting that has changed. A recent study shows that on average, mothers (including those who work) are spending more time with their children than they had 40 years ago. Despite that, many mothers express guilt over not being able to spend enough time with their children. Whatever the source of the pressure, new parents feel the need to be actively engaged with their children more than previous generations did.
Taken together, it's easy to see why housework has taken a back seat. As a young mother, I relate to this humorous video, but thankfully have moved past this stage. Now, watching this fills me with nostalgia and I can't help but laugh.
To save my sanity, I used to make folding laundry into a game with myself. I had to fold faster than she could unfold them, and my reward was getting to put them away. (Sounds like fun, doesn't it?) Now that she is two, she can help me put dirty laundry in the hamper, unloads the dryer with me, and even helps wipe table tops with a moist towel. While some chores still have to wait until she is in bed, having her involved in them from an early age has gotten her used to seeing and wanting to participate in doing them. For those of you still in this phase, it gets better! I know that one day she won't want to be as helpful, but in the meantime, I'll take what I can get.
To our experienced mothers, please share your tips with the new parents who are reading this today. How did you manage keeping your baby and your house clean?