I have learned, however, that my kids don't care if the house is cluttered. They really don't even notice. So I try to be good at letting it go and focus my energy on them. Playing dress up instead of doing the breakfast dishes (no dishwasher!) pushing them on the swings instead of folding the laundry, and sitting down to read books instead of vacuuming. When I am cleaning and they ask me for help with something, I make an effort to pause in the middle of the task and do it right then, rather than tell them (a hundred times a day!) "Just a Minute!"
I haven't really decided if this is the best route to take however. Because I CARE when our house is cluttered. And I REALLY DO notice. My patience is thinner, my mood grumpier, and my anxiety higher. I just feel better when everything is in it's place. But I can't remember the last time that was?! Right now our sofa is being taken over by laundry that needs to be folded. The ironing board hasn't been put away in over a week - but not because I'm ironing! Because it's "holding" three different sewing projects I keep thinking I will get to. The sewing machine has traveled from dinner table to counter top countless times in the past week for the same reason. The girls room looks like a toy bomb exploded inside - and I just put every stinkin' toy in it's place last night!
SO - rather than fight a losing battle, I decided to give up. Believe me - it will all still be there when I decide to try wage war again! But one day last week, when the house looked like this:
Instead of cleaning it all up, the girls and I (Molly & I still in our PJ's) decided to do this:
We had a giggly great time licking beaters and bowls and drinking milk straight out of the carton! I think my children thought I had lost my noodle. I decided I need to do things like this more often. Not AFTER the chores are done. But INSTEAD of the chores. 20 years from now, my kids will not care if the house they grew up in was clean or cluttered. And guess what? Neither will I! What they will remember is that our house was fun and happy. And that is what matters most. To them and to me.