Blog, Parenting, Self Improvement

Letting Go Of Control To Get Chores Done & Having More You Time

Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn

  • How some of us can be controlling when it comes to chores and how to let that go
  • Ways to get your kids to “Mommy Clean” – they way we expect them to
  • What to do if your kids are not old enough to help you
  • Setting daily goals to get a little done everyday to lighten your weekend load
  • How you get “your time” back

Mama Robbins

I am personally the “If I don’t do this myself, it won’t be done right. If it isn’t done right I will have to redo it anyway, so why bother having others help me”. I can tell you this, I have struggled with this mentality my WHOLE life. Up until 2 years ago, that is. In public school, I wanted to be the one who built the block forts and controlled who played with what. In high school, if I was ever put in a group assignment, I wanted to do the whole project myself. I didn’t care if it took me 10 times longer. If it’s going to be done right, I needed to do it all. College – same thing. Don’t you dare select who I was going to work with! My grades will NOT depend on someone else. Fast forward to being a mom, well……cleaning, organizing, holy me being OCD and I need it done right! But there is one fault in all of this. If I am the only one taking care of all the chores, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc., where the heck do I get to spend more time with my kids and have time for myself! No wonder I was always exhausted and felt like I was burning the candle at both ends, because I WAS!!!

When you are like me, letting go of control is super hard. Then I started to think “How about I give this a shot. Letting go of control, even just a little and see how this goes”. I can admit, the first few times…..oh boy….I needed to keep my mouth shut, smile, and say thank you anyways. Despite the deep down urge to fix their effort as it wasn’t THE WAY I DID IT, and that is just it. We need to understand, it may not be the way we do things, but that is because everyone is their own person. We can do our best and try to teach what we know and how we like things, but in the end, we need to understand the stress we cause ourselves….is it REALLY worth it?

My biggest struggle is cleaning. I am very particular with the way I like things placed, done, put away. For example (I’m sure if you are OCD you can relate) – When hanging laundry, I like the clothes to be facing you when put on the hanger so when the hanger goes on the rod, curved side inwards of course, the clothes are all facing in the right direction. I also like all the clothes to be grouped by what they are to make it easier to find. T-Shirts, Long Sleeve, Sweaters, Pants, etc. I’m not over the hill and need things colour coded. That I will let go for the kids, but the rest seems pretty simple….to me. But understanding my kids are only 5 and 7, when I have them help me, I need to understand they will try, and sometimes laziness kicks in for them and they just put all the clothes in one spot not sorted – Oie! But over the last year I have taught them, there is a their version of clean and put away; everything thrown into whatever bin it fits into, clothes swooped under their beds, etc. Then there is MOMMY CLEAN.

How Did I Get My Kids To MOMMY CLEAN? Definition of Mommy Clean – Where everything is put back roughly in the place it was designed to go, clothes in proper spots and nothing left on the floor. We came up with a system. I would say by the time your kids are over the age of 4 1/2, they should be able to do decent at helping with the following:

  • Putting Clothes Away – Get all the clean laundry together – Put them on hangers and put them in the closet (as long as it’s their height of course) I make each of my kids put their own clothes away. You can even teach them how to fold clothes (they may not turn out 100%, but over time they do get better) When you see how they put their clothes away is not to your standards, you need to CALMLY express how to do it properly with no blame. Otherwise, they will hate help and there goes the chance of your time. Things like, “Hunny….I have a few shirts here that are t-shirts and long sleeve mixed together. What area has the long sleeve? Maybe we could put them with their friends”.
  • Making Their Beds – It may look somewhat messy even after they “make their bed”, but as long as they actually try, I call this a win-win. You will need to teach them how to make their bed. Remember, if they are young, don’t expect them to do the bottom of the bed fold under, but a basic sheet laid out, the main comforter folded out and brought down at the top, and pillows fixed is good enough. For a while, my kid’s room looked messy even after cleaning it because they have so many stuffed toys all over. They would continually fall off the bed or end up somewhere else. Then I invested in the Stuffy Hammocks from Amazon. FYI, these are life savers!
  • Helping With Dishes – Anything that is plastic or not too heavy for them – my youngest, 5, helps to put all the utensils away after I take out all sharp knives and such – this includes loading the dishwasher. If you have a child like my 7-year-old who doesn’t like to get dirty, maybe just putting the cleans away, for now, is a good start. 🙂 If you handwash your dishes, I would put down a large towel on the floor. Once I finished washing a dish (that is appropriate) I would hand it to my toddler, at the time, who dried them. She then put them in a pile and I put away later.
  • Laundry – Make sure all the dirty clothes are in the hamper, ready for the wash. They can throw the laundry in the washer, or take it out of the dryer.
  • Garbage – They can help you go around the house for the small garbage. Like the bathroom, bedrooms, etc. Plus, they can put in new bags as replacements.
  • Tidying Their Toys! – This is a huge one for me as I can not stand toys being on the floor, crafts being cut up and paper all over the tables, etc. You can ask them to complete one thing at a time. “Hey, lets clean up all the paper on the tables and put it in the garbage. Now, let’s pick up all the toys that need to go back into your room and put them in a big messy pile on the center of the floor. (This gets everything in one spot and it’s “messy” so they get excited) Then you can have them take a few items to their room and put them in the spots you can assign them. Or have an area for the “toys” “stuffies” etc. Create a space. If you are finding the toys are an issue because there is TOO MUCH STUFF, you can refer back to my blog on Holiday Are Over – Do I Have Space For All These Toys.
  • Setting Dinner Table & Cleaning Up After Dinner – As I have two daughters, I have them rotate who will do what that night. If my oldest has set the table, then my youngest will clear off the table. The next day we change up so no one feels they are always doing the same thing. To make things easier on memory and stop kids from fighting about it, you can even draw a monthly chart that shows who does what each night.
  • Dusting – This is a great one for most ages as all you need to give them is a Swiffer duster and let them go. I made a list of all the places I wanted them to dust and they would come back and ask me what was next. You can get them to do TV stands, bookshelves, cupboards, tables, heating vents, windowsills. Basically anywhere that doesn’t have something valuable or breakable.
  • Sweeping – This one can also be made into a fun game. I have posted a link to the picture here, but essentially you mark off a small square target where you would like your kids to sweep all the dirt. Letting go of control with sweeping was hard for me at first because kids like to “try their best” and I found the dirt was just gathered more and all over the place.

If you are struggling with the idea of your kids helping because you are not sure if they could help you, Here is a link for Age-Appropriate Chores here. I really enjoy this particular links as it is geared towards a child as an individual and what family chores can include. The goal is to find something that works for you and the family by keeping in mind, it will take time for them to adjust to Mommy or Daddy Standards.

My Children Are Not At The Stage To Help Me – If you have children that are too young (under 8 months old), and don’t have the understanding or ability to help you, this can be a little more challenging. In the event you are in this situation, you still have an infant, no one around to help and you are the only one able to do these chores, you may wish to reach out to your community and see what options are out there to give you some relief. Even if you are not a control nut like I am, you still need support and help to ensure your emotional state is kept on the less stressed side.

Only My Partner or Friends Are Able To Help Me – If you have a partner or a friend you can reach out to, then do so. I have also been a SAHM with a 2 1/2-year-old and a New Born and had to take care of everything. Back then dad, would come home from work and just want to veg. Asking him to help was like pulling teeth. Now, we have an understanding that just because he goes to work to make a paycheque, doesn’t mean he gets to come home and his day is over. We both have a responsibility to take care of the household. I may not make as much money staying home all day with the kids, but it’s still a 24/7 job none-the-less. As you may have read from my blog What’s The Big Deal With Clutter, you will know a messy home can have a huge impact on your ability to focus and can cause way more stress than you realize. Find time to address these issues if you can. They can make all the difference in the world.

If you are a stay-at-home-parent, try to incorporate a few of these chores DAILY. This way you are not running around at night after the kids go to bed, taking advantage of the only time you have to get things done. Once the kids are sleeping, we want this time to be for you! I struggled with this for years. Not only did I find the stress of nighttime horrible, because I knew the “To-Do” List I was going to need to complete, but I also found myself rushing bedtime because I didn’t want to take too long getting everything done. I also don’t want to be cleaning all day by myself and leaving my kids to just watch TV or find something else for them to do.

Now That Your Kids/Family Is Help Out With The Chores, How Do I Get Time For Me – Now that you have implemented a few things into your daily routine, you should have less things to get done around the house. Yes, you may need to monitor a few of the chores, but overall, some things you should be able to put on auto-pilot once the kids get the hang of it. If your partner is now helping out as well, you can always ask if he can do the supervision while you have a bath, catch up on a show, social media or read a book. At the end of the day when the kids go to bed is usually when most parents START their chore list. If you can make them activities during the day with your kids, you should have more free time after they are asleep.

One Last Tip – I find kids have this amazing ability to become BORED despite having toys, electronics, outside time, etc. So, we have a rule in my home. If you say you are BORED, guess what! You are doing a chore! 🙂 Use this to your advantage. Though, it doesn’t take them long to clue in and they find other things to do going forward, but for the few times you get to use it or they forget one day, it will sure help you out with your “To-Do List”.

Until Next Time – Follow Me: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, & Instagram.


Mama Robbins

3 thoughts on “Letting Go Of Control To Get Chores Done & Having More You Time”

  1. That is kind of like me….. I refuse to haul their stuff up to their room each time, I throw it onto the stairs which gets in the way and they must move ITV themselves….

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