All About Teens

I Quit Cleaning and No One Died

I will happily admit that I am clean freak. So when I tell people that I quit cleaning, they look at me like I just said that I adopted a T-Rex.

Here is the thing; this time of year is insanely busy for most moms. Actually, almost every day of the year is insanely busy for most moms, but I feel like it is amplified even more during the holidays.

On top of the million and one things we do on a daily basis, now we have to add on the shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, holiday cards, parties, Christmas plays, chorus concerts and every other thing that goes into making the season magical for our families.

And this year, I was tired. Really, really tired of running the house and two businesses while caring for three children and two dogs and doing it (mostly) by myself.

So I had a mini-breakdown and decided to quit cleaning. Something had to give and in a moment of frustration (or brilliance – I’ll let you make that call), I decided I was not going to clean the house for one week.

Just one week of mom not straightening up every day. One solid week of mom not doing the dishes or laundry. Just one short week of mom not putting away the stray shoes and bookbags.

What follows is a day by day account chronicling the fall of the empire. Oh, and spoiler alert; no one died when I decided to quit cleaning.

Day One of the quit cleaning adventure

I worked Friday night, so the beginning of the end was evident when I woke up Saturday morning. The sink was full of dishes and there were crumbs on the table and every counter. The house didn’t look terrible, but it certainly wasn’t up to “mom” standards.

Even though it made me twitch, I left everything and ran out the door for an all day event. When I got home that night, my husband had washed the dishes (or forced one of the kids to do it).

This was an unexpected, but certainly pleasant surprise. I’m pretty sure he only did the dishes because he needed the sink to brew his next batch of beer, but whatever, I’ll take it.

Day Two of the quit cleaning saga

I hate to disappoint you, but I couldn’t take it anymore and cleaned the house. Anyone who knows me probably figured this experiment would be an epic fail. My brain just cannot rest in a cluttered home.

To their credit, my family didn’t destroy the entire house in one day. Was it perfect? No, but no one died and the house didn’t collapse from not vacuuming it for 24 hours.

What did I learn?

Now that I have had some time to think about it, I’m pretty sure my family didn’t even notice that I quit cleaning for a day. While a small mess is enough to literally drive me crazy, it doesn’t even register as a blip on the radar for them.

I completely recognize that my type A personality is slightly over the top sometimes. I’m sure to a normal human being, the house looked fine. And once I reflected on it, I understood that there was a lesson to be learned from this.

In the famous words of Elsa, “Let it go, let it go.” No one cares if the house is perfect.

What they do care about is if the momma is happy. If cleaning makes you happy, then do it. But if it makes you angry, then don’t.

Choose your battles and try to find a happy medium – not quite showroom quality, but not quite living in a barn. What absolutely has to happen to make you feel comfortable and what can you forget about doing?

And finally, learn to ask for help. They truly don’t notice what needs to be done. If you need help, open up your mouth and ask them. It’s their house too and they are capable of pitching in.

If you have ever tried an experiment like this, I would LOVE to hear how it went. Comment below or email me directly to share your tips!

You might also want to check out these:

7 tips for an overwhelmed mom to find balance

Chore Chart for Tweens and Teens

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I Quit Cleaning
Things I learned when I quit cleaning

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