Hope for My Kids??

Hope for My Kids at

Last week, as we were barely hanging on in the midst of final-week-of-rehearsals craziness, I was experiencing what you might call . . . despair.

A toilet had overflowed because a child claimed there was no toilet paper left in the house and had therefore chosen to use a paper towel.

Even though there was toilet paper in the house.

Actually, there was toilet paper in the cabinet four feet away . . .

That, plus tripping a few more times than normal, meant I was in a why-oh-why-can-I-NEVER-ever-get-the-whole-house-clean-at-the-same-time funk.

Saturday morning, in an attempt to regain sanity, I declared it was Bathroom Cleaning Day and gave out assignments. The boys took care of their (particularly scary) bathroom, the girl cleaned the half-bath, and I did the master bathroom.

And that was when I saw a little glimmer of hope. My 12yo declared that he and his brother did NOT need the laminated Bathroom Cleaning Checklist anymore. They KNOW how to clean a bathroom thankyouverymuch.

Well, okay.

I’m not going to argue that one.

And I felt a little bit better.

My despair comes not just from my house turning disastrous once again, but from the fear that my example to my children has once again failed. That there’s no hope whatsoever for them to NOT struggle like I do.

But the focused (though not necessarily consistent) efforts I’ve made have paid off. They know how to clean a bathroom. And they know that they know how to clean a bathroom.

Keeping it clean? We’re still working on that whenever mama remembers to work on that.

And then? After cleaning her room on Saturday, my daughter told me  that when she woke up on Sunday she noticed her room was messy again.

“So I did a five-minute pick-up!”

Be still my Slob Mama Heart!!!

I honestly hate that I can’t be the Slob Blogger who gets it together once and for all and then tells everyone else how to be perfect too. But I can say that even in the midst of continual failures, fits and bursts of focused child-training and just keepin’ on keepin’ on is worth it.

My kids are watching me. They watch me succeed, they watch me fail. And then they watch me get up and start again.

Hope for my kids pin

And since it’s getting close to the time of year (SUMMER!) when I focus on teaching my kids cleaning skills, I’m putting Teaching Kids to Clean (an e-book in PDF form) on sale for all of May for only $3. Just use the code: SUMMER14

--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    A house that stays clean is not lived in. If a five-minute pick-up fixes the mess, then it’s under control. I don’t think you have a whole lot to beat yourself up about. Just keep on going on.

  2. 2

    First: I love your blog! You have given a name to my Slob-Brain and helped me realize there are others like me. I am married to a Clean Person who works a lot, and since I stay at home, I am responsible for the majority of the housework. And yet… there are messes I do not see. I am learning, and trying, and slowly getting better.

    Second: I read this article by a Clean Person (there is a whole series on Spring Cleaning) entitled: Your home will never be fully clean, and that’s OK. I was particularly struck by the line, “Housekeeping is an endless task, but not a useless one.” I feel there is some deeper, zen-like meaning in it, and it made me feel satisfied with my life.

    Here is a link to the article:

  3. 4
    Christine says:

    Charts are wonderful chore teaching tools. I made a laundry chart for my kids, because they always asked how to run a specific load (which cycle, temperature, fabric softener, etc.) I knew they wouldn’t learn by my telling them, so my response changed to. “Look at the chart.” Lo and behold, they started to remember!

    Fast forward a few years, a mere 4 days after my oldest daughter left for college. She THANKED me for making her do all those loads of laundry she had grumbled about. She said several girls in her dorm unit were very stressed about doing their own laundry, and then asked me to send her a chart to help them. This was one of my happiest moments as a mom, not just because she thanked me, but because I knew I’d equipped her to function as an adult. My middle child, a boy, leaves for college this Fall. I’m happy to say doing laundry isn’t something he’s worried about either.

  4. 6

    Great job Nony! Sounds like you are setting a good example for your kids, even if you don’t have it together all the time 🙂

  5. 7

    Good job, mom! You’re setting a good example, and they’re learning. I need to learn the 5-minute pick-ups a little better. Then maybe I could find the top of my desk a little more often. 😀

  6. 8

    Thanks for sharing this glimmer of hope! Give you kids a big High-Five from all your readers – well done! I personally love who you are and that you have the courage to share it with all of us.

  7. 9

    Have I mentioned that I seriously love you?! I was to the point of giving up altogether when I discovered you. Your post on the way you learn has revolutionized my life and validated my existence. I have new eyes and new hope. Thanks so much for putting it ALL out there 🙂

  8. 10

    Oh my gosh, what a proud moment!! That’s awesome progress to have taught them those skills so well.

  9. 11
    Kelly P says:

    You once again give me inspiration where no else can. The line about your kids seeing you fall and get back up again and continue the cleaning is very insightful!

    My child and I are natural clutterers and I homeschool, so being home all day can make a very messy home. I always wonder if I am setting a bad example, but it is important to show children that if you fail (because they inevitably will) you can start over again, a mistake does not mean the end.

    Thank you for a wonderful, helpful blog!!

  10. 12

    I share your fear (now guilt) about your children growing up with the slob-problem. My daughter, who just turned 30, is a compulsive neat-nik. To the point of not doing certain enjoyable things because of the mess they will make that must be cleaned up to her standards. My son and daughter-in-law, who are in their early 20’s, share my problem. But they are just starting out. I hope this will be a short-lived thing for them.

    I must add a comment regarding “I honestly hate that I can’t be the Slob Blogger who gets it together once and for all and then tells everyone else how to be perfect too.” For you and your heart, I honestly hope this day arrives. But for me and my heart, I am so glad it hasn’t arrived yet. I feel like we are buddies and soul-mates and I relate to every “bad” day. You give me hope to try again. And you do it with great humor and tender-heartedness. Thank you.

  11. 13

    I love the fact that the feeling of “stringing beads onto a thread with no knot at the end” isn’t just how I feel. I seem to get all of the upstairs sorted only to be confronted with a mess downstairs. Thankfully my 11 and 7 yo help out, todays’ job was the bathroom and they did a fine job.

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