Being a parent to several fur babies and human ones too is always guaranteed to equal there never being a dull day! A teen, a tween, and a cheeky little boy, rescue animals I could not help but adopt, ragdoll cats because well they are just so fluffy and funny and of course my cherished pups, and then throw in some bunnies and a husband who is fluent in sarcasm, my home is not exactly boring.
Somehow we make it work, I am not sure how, hubby and I are big time procrastinators, I am disorganised and although I have a super memory of my childhood I seem to forget things I was told yesterday all the time! Is that because I am getting old, or because I am a mum? I leave everything to the last minute and then get totally stressed out, a bad habit I fear I may never change. Still somehow we make it through each day (barely), week, month and year without hopefully scaring our children for life.
I honestly think we make it through with laughter, and as corny as it sounds, with love. I mean how else can I explain how I get through picking up so much dog poop each week? It is funny how when people come over (after hearing about all our animals) they always seem surprised our house seems so serene, and clean. Do I like cleaning, NO! But I love a clean home and I like to feel like my home is my sanctuary. With all the beautiful, craziness in my world I need a little space of serenity and I believe my kids do to.
So how do I manage to keep a (mostly clean) home and have nice things stay nice in my home? Here are a few tips to keep a chaotic home as calm as possible.
- Get as much fresh air in your home as possible, even if it is cold opening a couple of windows just a tiny bit for 15 minutes a day helps. If weather permits leave windows and doors open as much as possible. Not only does fresh air keep your home ‘fresher’, it also promotes better health and if curtains are open it allows sunlight to kill off germs and promote feelings of happiness.
- Candles, I love candles, obviously with little ones keep them out of reach and never leave children unsupervised in a room with candles burning. Having candles burning just adds a beautiful ambiance. If candles are not your thing, try soft lighting. Softer lighting calms the mood of the household promoting everyone to feel more relaxed.
- Fresh flowers or foliage from your garden makes for a lovely touch of green and colour. Bringing nature in creates a fresh feel to your home. I am a huge fan of house plants too. They help purify the air and look so lovely.
- As much as I love my animals they have to have boundaries. Training them is imperative for them and for your family. Provide plenty of chew toys, and variety of other toys. Make sure they get exercise every day. When choosing a pet make sure you can handle their needs. (Do lots of research). Grooming and exercise is a must for all dogs. Often people get mad at dogs for chewing furniture, or digging up the garden, they are just letting you know they need more stimulation and attention. A great way to stimulate their mind and exercise them all in one is teaching them to play fetch.
- From a very young age teach your children to be involved in caring for pets and their home. Little kids can help brush pets (they must be supervised), help bath the dog with help, and as they get older they can take them on walks. I often get my teen to walk one of our dogs or get her to spend time training them as it is as good for her as it is for the dogs. Spending time with a pet promotes feel good endorphins, it also helps to have someone to talk to who we know want judge, this can be very important for teenagers.
- Get in a habit of putting things away before moving on to the next thing. Lead by example, your kids are watching. Make sure you gently remind them to pack away games, or toys, and praise them when they remember on their own.
- Try not to yell. Trust me this is not always avoidable, some days I feel pushed past my breaking point. Yelling however escalates the issues. If I explain to them why I want them to do something, or explain that I am having a hard day they are more likely to cooperate, especially the older they get.
- Declutter, donate unused items, donating teaches our children about helping others too. Mine are happier parting with Teddy Bears and toys when they know someone else will love them.
- Don’t be afraid to display loved items. Even when mine were tiny and even though now I sometimes freak out when my son and husband are wrestling or shooting each other with nerf guns that something will be broken, I would rather risk it than never see the things I love on display.
- Cleaning, yes I don’t like it, but I do feel better when it is done. Do little bits now and then. I usually find some random spare time when everyone is home and say “OK let’s see how much we can do in 25 minutes?” We set a timer and all pitch in either outdoors or indoors. Naturally my youngest seems to do the least, but he’s really good with a vacuum, or with sorting out clean washing into piles. Pop on some music to make it more fun.
No home is picture perfect, especially when animals, little kids, or big kids are living there, but think about the life you want to live. I don’t care if I look back in 20 years and think gosh my house was chaotic, but if I look back and think wow it was clean all the time but my kids and I were not able to enjoy freedom of expression then that would break my heart. I think ultimately it can be a balance. Kids and animals need some boundaries in life, but they really need fun too, as do we! Most of all they need to feel loved and know they live in a happy home where they are free to be themselves and grow.