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How can I stop being obsessed with cleaning so I can spend more time with my daughter?

I have a 21 month old daughter, and we live in a one bedroom apartment. I stay at home with her.

She is constantly making messes, and I can't deal with it sometimes. I'm obsessed when it comes to keeping a tidy home, and I get agitated when there are toys, scarves, puzzle pieces, blocks, etc, strewn all over the place. I'm constantly picking up the messes. She helps of course, but I don't feel it's fair to make her clean up as much as I do. She cleans up when I ask though.

I feel like I spend so much of the day cleaning and straightening. I feel like I'm not spending enough quality time with my daughter. But, I feel uncomfortable sitting in a messy home. It's so upsetting to me that when I do sit down with her to play or read books, all I can think about is the mess in the sink, or the crumbs on the brown carpet, or the counters that need to be wiped, the floor that needs to be swept.

Can anyone help me?


Asked by Anonymous at 8:42 PM on Apr. 12, 2010 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Messes drive me nuts too, but just realize that as she gets older (maybe around 4), it will get easier to keep the place clean. You're already ahead of the game if she is helping you pick up.

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 11:10 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • Try making and posting a schedule that details you day/week and includes playtime and cleaning time. Plan "messy" activities--like painting, and baking, and "clean" activities, like playing with dolls/toys. Clean up when your daughter is napping--so you're not chasing her around, and you're not taking away from time spent with her.

    If you're not already, organize her toys/games into colorful and functional bins or a larger decorative toy chest--that could also serve as a coffee table, for quick clean ups.

    Answer by LoriKeet at 8:47 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • One thing I have done that has helped a lot in my home, is I have organized toys into see through plastic bins with lids that my toddlers can't remove on their own. Most of the time I only allow two bins out and open at a time, and if they want to switch activities we pick up and put away one of the bins.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:54 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • Here is something that I learned from a mom that I sit for occasionally. She has groups or categories of toys in those large zip lock bags. The kids can only take out one bag at a time and they have to pick up and put the toys back before they can get out another bag. I thought that this was an ingenious idea and it helps keep her house clean. Maybe give it a shot. I make my LO clean up at night before her bath. It goes where it goes in her room and then I clean and straighten her room once a week. They all usually end up in bins and baskets just not the right ones.

    Answer by coala at 8:55 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • RELAX, BREATHE!!!! Enjoy playing with your child! The mess will still be there later, as your child gets older and you have no messes to clean up, believe me, you will wish you had spent more time playing! I used to be a clean freak too!

    Answer by Starfire73 at 9:15 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • Take a deep breath. She is almost 2 so give her a clean rag or a mini vacuun, broom etc and let her help. She will eventually learn to think its the thing to do. Just dont force her. Make a game of it.

    Answer by sunnieday at 9:37 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

  • Having scheduled clean up time can help. So can playing outside!

    Answer by whiteroses82 at 9:40 PM on Apr. 12, 2010

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