Sometimes You Just Gotta Let It Go

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This post may not be anything new to you, but for me it’s been a great awakening and a huge step forward in my peace at home.  I’m hoping this post will be an encouragement to other moms who feel they have to “do it all”

I will be the first person to tell you that I am not a housekeeper.  I’m not much of a cook either for that matter.  But that is a story for another post.  :-)  Back to housekeeping.  I actually did much better at keeping things tidy and semi clean when I was working full time and my husband was out of town more than he was home.  I think a lot of it has to do with the great satisfaction I found in teaching every day.  When I came home I was tired but still energized and wanted to continue to accomplish a lot.

We moved to Tyler when Little One was only 6 weeks old and I haven’t taught since.  I’m home all day with Turkey, now 3, and Little One who is about to turn 1.  It’s been a year without a daily schedule and expectations to be met.  The state of my house drives me crazy day in and day out.  It’s the best that I can do though, since most days I don’t get to eat lunch.  My husband does a lot around the house to keep me from feeling so overwhelmed and to allow me to share with you all here.  It’s great that he helps, but it only adds to my feelings of failure as a mom that he has to do anything at all to help.  It’s his job to work outside the home and it’s my job to work in the home right? 

Most of you know from experience that staying home and raising children is hard.  The days are long and the feeling of accomplishment is often delayed, sometimes for months or years. Have you heard the old saying that cleaning the house before your kids are grown is like shoveling the sidewalk before the snow stops?  So true that is and exactly why we rarely feel the joy of “task completed”.  I’m slowly learning to recognize the small things as accomplishments too, even if they don’t get checked off a list.

Over the course of the last year I have learned to let some things go.  Last week a basket of socks sat in the laundry room for a week waiting to be sorted. We have enough to get by.  My kitchen sink sometimes has the same dirty dishes sitting in it for 2 or 3 nights in a row.  We probably had a freezer dish those nights.  The kitchen table could go for days without getting wiped off, the carpet weeks without being vacuumed, and the bathrooms- well, I actually manage to semi keep up with those because it’s just plain gross!

I used to not let Turkey help with any chores because he couldn’t do them the way I wanted and it took me longer to let him help.  Some days I’m just not patient enough to let him “help”.  The biggest frustration to me lately has been the mess at the table at his spot.  It seems like he does it on purpose!  Last week I had just spend several minutes scrubbing his spot clean and in a heartbeat it was covered in sticky food from a not so sticky lunch.  As I sat there getting more and more angry about feeling unappreciated (Kindergartners have a way of making you feel appreciated that can’t be replaced), I realized that if he could pick up his toys and put his own clothes on that he could clean the table.  I handed him the a wet rag. The look on his face was priceless.  I’ve done the same thing just about every meal since.  Is it clean to my standards?- of course not.  But it’s getting far cleaner that it was when I didn’t have the time to clean it, so I’m letting it go.  I like that he’s learning to take responsibility for himself. (he’s also keeping it cleaner)

It’s taken one long year for me to realize I can’t do it all like I did when I taught school, and that I’m not a failure because of it.  I have learned that it’s ok to let some things slide, because perfectness is not what life is as a mom is about. I am beginning to realize that I can feel appreciated at home, but that it will look different than it did when I taught school.  That means I have to look for accomplishments.

Kids can do a lot if we just let them.  Eventually they’ll be able to do things as well as we can.  I’m to the point that I’m going to let him do as much around here to “help” as he wants to.  For the meantime though, scrubbing his spot at the table will be non negotiable.

How about you?  Do you feel like you have to do it all?  How do you let your preschoolers “help” with your daily tasks?


  1. I am with you 100% !! I have always had a career and about 3 years ago my husband asked me to stay home since we won custody of his kids and they never had proper mothering, so I thought WOW…I get to stay home and not work !!??!!?? My first week home I thought I was going to go insane, this is the hardest job in the world, my kids all grew up with rules and chores, his didn’t, so I had to start from scratch, and I felt like my house was falling apart !! now I have the chore list in place, but with my blog and shopping, I don’t feel there is time for the house….my husband is so wonderful and understanding, he tries to help around the house and I get upset with him, I feel like he is telling me that I can’t do it all…my house is always spotless, but I do all the cleaning in the middle of the night when all are sleeping. I don’t have toddlers but my daughter does, and they do have chores, she has them empty the waste baskets and little thinks around the house. When my kids were little, I would hand them a squirt bottle with water and vinegar and a cloth, and have them clean the doors and baseboards, they loved doing it as long as they could play with the squirt bottle :)
    I guess it’s to late to make a long story short isn’t it :)
    Tanya at Free Two Save

  2. Hi, Doing the blog it forward hop,liking where I can, joining where I can, sharing, stumbling, subscribing…you got it I will click.

  3. Great post! I hear you and feel ya!!
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  4. rainalea says:

    Being a stay at home mom is hard work. I think it is pretty common to feel unappreciated. I try to keep at least one room in my house super clean and the rest….I get to them when I can. I really love being home with my kids. I missed that as a single working mom with my older ones. However, after the first year of being home, it just was not working for me! I now voluntary run a ministry 3 days a week. Best of both worlds. I take my kids with me to volunteer when H is gone and leave them with him when he is home. And, I get the satisfaction of helping others. I do let my little ones help at home/and vol. The younger they start the better they will be at it when they are older!

  5. @ Tanya, I also stay up late. It’s not uncommon for me to be up at 2 still trying to feel like I’ve gotten done what should be done. I’m really trying to cut it back to only midnight though.

    @ Rainalea, I wish I could do volunteering, but my kids are too little to go with me. Maybe in a couple of years. Of course they’ll be old enough that I’ll be able to work at home without as many interruptions by then too. :-) I’m glad that is working for you now.

    @ Danielle,
    Yes, I would love to have a copy of your chart. I was just telling my husband last night that I thought I should get my main post scheduled the night before and then have two tasks that I have to accomplish before I can even touch the computer in the mornings. Then another 2 tasks before I can touch it in the afternoons. Small steps at a time :-)

  6. Danielle says:

    i understand completely. both of my kiddos are under 3 and so i’m busy all the time too. after months of feeling like i was NEVER going to catch up, i finally made a house to-do list for myself. it breaks down cleaning jobs by week, and gives me one larger task to focus on for each month (like cleaning windows, put up christmas decorations, etc). this list has totally changed not only our house, but also my feeling of being overwhelmed all the time. it’s not for everyone, and our house is by no means tidy all the time. but it’s way better than it was. if you are interested, let me know and i’ll share it with you. :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    You are not staying home so you can have a perfect house, you are home to invest in the lives of your children. So…there is a season (it will pass all too quickly!) when the house may not be what it once was, but getting the little ones helping is a great idea. Certainly that little turkey can work on the clean socks, too!
    I suspect you are not giving yourself quite enough credit for the things you do accomplish. A huge priority for you right now is the finances, and it appears you’re doing a great job there, as well as blessing others with your ideas & things you find online.
    As long as you & dh are on the same page about it, go with it!


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