One of the most popular pieces of advice for postpartum moms is to let their house go. We’ve all heard it. That you should be snuggling your baby, not doing the dishes! Well, I can’t let it go, I’ve tried and I can’t. Also, I don’t know who they think is going to come do your dishes, but okay. Recently, we did a newborn photoshoot in our home. The wonderful photographer, Chelsea Macor, blogged about our session, asking how it was possible that our home was so spotless. Afterall, we have a one month old and a not yet two year old! It made me realize that I get that question a lot. A lot, a lot. So I thought I’d explain here.
One of my favorite sayings by the happiness guru, Gretchen Rubin is “outer order, inner calm.” This is me in a nutshell. I clean a little bit all day long as messes occur, and finish up once the babies are in bed for the night. I just can’t let things go at my house. I mean, I can on a rare occasion. Like when my husband promises me he’ll do it and asks me to quit driving him nuts with all my tidying. Poor guy can never find his water glass because I already put it in the dishwasher.
Every morning I am jolted awake by a crying baby. And if the first thing I see as I’m walking through the kitchen is smelly dishes and toy dump trucks, it makes me even more stressed. I wish it didn’t you guys, but it does. I’m not neglecting my kids to go clean baseboards, but I do like for my house to be tidy. In this chaotic state of having two kids under two years old, I need to have a little order in my life. And this is how I find it.
We don’t have a house cleaner, never have. So if you see a photo that I posted of our clean home, that’s because I cleaned it, and it made me happy. I do it because it is a priority to me to have my environment be peaceful. Having a newborn and a toddler can put any mom into a bit of an anxious state. Now, I’m not saying I need a xanax prescription just yet, but this is one of the ways that I keep my anxiety in check. (Side note, another way I keep from feeling anxious is by turning off all of my phone notifications. Yes, even text messages.)
Every mom is different of course, and this is simply what works for me. Also, my kids are still young, so perhaps I’ll be eating my words in a few years. I just wanted to give a different perspective on that age-old piece of advice. And I also wanted to clarify that my house is not spotless because I am some supermom. It’s clean because I am a neat freak who is trying to find a little slice of calm in her day with two little ones.
What about you? Can you let the chores wait?