Adventures of a single mom: Cleaning Up

After clawing my way out of the depression that I fell into it was time to really focus on my girls. They needed a routine, which is hard when you work retail, and more structure. Discipline had always been wishy washy as well because my ex and either disagreed or felt guilty because of the time we spent away from them. The time had come though, I was going to get serious. Haha or so I thought.

We started with an attempt at chores which we’d done before. That lasted a few weeks. Hmm, I wasn’t doing so well. Ok I would start smaller. Make the beds everyday. Sounded easy enough. Nope.

Then they begged for their own rooms. Maybe we would get somewhere now. I told both of them they had to keep their room clean for a month before I would separate them. I didn’t want two dirty rooms. The enthusiasm last a couple weeks then tapered off. Soon they asked again and it was the same answer. Eventually my older daughter go serious and their room got clean and stayed that way.

My boyfriend help me separate them. I made a big deal out of redecorating so they would continue to keep the rooms clean, although there was still a fight to pick it up after playtime. It was a step in the right direction. But what about the rest of the house?

We have a small dog who chews everything. Keeping toys off the floor was not just for my sanity but for his sake as well. The last thing he needed to do was eat a toy. The only way I got them to clean up toys on the floor unfortunately was throwing away a few things. They know now not to leave it on the floor.

They met my boyfriend in December and I finally had the help at home I longed for. I tried enforcing chores again. This time they had a chore board with clothes pins they moved as the completed each chore. The girls loved it. Cleaning their room was no longer a fight. Each step had a clothespin so they knew exactly what to do. Moving them gave the girls a sense of accomplishment. The same was true of daily and weekly chores. Did I dare offer extra chores for money. Yes I did. $1 isn’t much to us but for a 5 and 7 year old it’s gold.

Now my house is clean more days than it’s dirty. The floors are swept and vacuumed once a week, the counters are usually clean, and I have less piles of laundry sitting around. There’s still room for improvement of course but we’ve come miles from where we were. My very tidy boyfriend no longer has anxiety when he walks in so we’re getting some where. And for those who want to know: yes he does help clean, probably more than I want him to. It is my house after all.

In the next blog in this series I’ll tell you about my discipline issues. In the mean time please stop by before 5/17 to participate in the OAG blog hop for a chance to win a $30 gift card.

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