Why It’s OK Not to Mow Often When You Have Kids (And Other Silver Lining Tips)

What a mouthful that title is!

Look, when you have a young family it can feel like the 24 hours in your day somehow shrinks to the realm of 20 hours. Hence why I could really use a time turner…. But in lieu of one, how do you cope?

Play with your kids less? Serve cereal for dinner instead of cooking? How do you fit in caring for your house, caring for yourself, and caring for your children?

Well, I argue that some things can slip a little, and no one’s the worse for wear. In fact, there is a silver lining to them – I promise.

Take mowing the lawn, for example. Spring and summer beg for at least weekly mowing sessions, but there’s not always time for that. Even with our little lawn, my husband doesn’t always have time to tame the grass. But fear not! Those grass seed stalks that grow 6 or 8 inches tall are perfect for …

rabbit

 

… attracting bunnies!!! And what child doesn’t love to watch bunnies hop around the yard?

It is truly a daily highlight to see a pair of bunnies, one black and one brown – both with a fluffy white tail that flicks up when they hop about – munching our grass stalks and chasing each other. Heck, they’re practically lawn mowers themselves with the way they keep things trimmed. Why not let the grass grow a bit? If not, the bunnies would have no food! No time to mow today? No problem!

And what about the never-ending laundry pile? I said recently that I don’t mind washing my kids’ clothes, and that’s true – but I still wait for a full basket to run a load. It usually takes 6-7 days for that to happen, so in the meantime, since the girls don’t have bottomless drawers, they are learning frugality.

How? Well, they wear their clothes more than once, provided they’re not stained or worn to school. We’re teaching our kids that it’s okay to wear/use things more than once. It prevents wasteful washing – and saves a bit on our water bill, too! Maybe you already do this for your kids…. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me 3.5 years to do this. I’ve always worn my own clothes more than once, so why not theirs?

I could do their laundry more often, but naaah….

What about all those other tiny/short, repetitive chores that crop up? I’m thinking sweeping the wood floor, dustbusting, and watering the plants outside. Am I the only person who used to think that a parent had to do that by themselves while the children are kept busy playing – and out of the way? If so, I guess I’m an outlier, and disregard this point.

WP_20160721_11_38_07_Pro

Swiffering like a boss in her tutu!

But hey – getting children involved early and often in doing chores teaches them responsibility and actually keeps them busy so you can do other chores!

  • I rarely dust. Yeah – see that thick pile of white on the hutch? When that’s dusted I feel a real sense of accomplishment. Let it pile up! And you know what? I can do that while Toddler is busy “swiffering!” She LOVES pushing the mop around, and I don’t even care that she’s doing a crap job because she’s trying, having fun, and letting me finally get around to dusting.
  • Both my kids love using the dustbuster. (So do I, shhhh.) Well, in the time they dustbust – it usually lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes – I can pee, drink a glass of water, or wash a dish or two. Win-win!
  • Do you know a 3yo can fold laundry? Not well, but a fold is a fold….
  • By the time a kid is 2 years old, they can definitely pick up their toys. It’s slow, but we can clean up dinner in the time it takes for the kids to pick up their toys. Yeah, we could clean up during the day as we go, but why do that when they can do it at the end of the day while we do dishes? Another win!

So there you have it – my three silver linings solutions to not getting to every chore in the house. Boy, I feel a real sense of satisfaction just typing this!

What about you? Is there anything you “let go” at home – to a good result?

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15 thoughts on “Why It’s OK Not to Mow Often When You Have Kids (And Other Silver Lining Tips)

  1. We have 7 people in our household so I have to do laundry ALL THE TIME! I hate it so sometimes it does pile up… LOL. My big kids (9 and 13) help with the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping (I assign different chores for them everyday). Josie helps clean up, she loves throwing stuff away, putting laundry in baskets, and sweeping. Oh, and she likes to wipe things so I give her a spray bottle with water when I am using the cleaning supplies. I’m a little embarrassed to say Sylas doesn’t do much…. he is so difficult when it’s cleaning time. He does clean up his own toys (sometimes) but that’s about it.

    We let our lawn go, too! Not the front lawn, however, because the front yard is my pride and joy. I garden out there all the time and want it looking perfect all the time. Haha.

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  2. I’ve also recently realized that my kids can wear the same clothing twice as long as they’re not stained or anything. I still do a lot of laundry, though *sigh*. And yes, a 2.5 year old can definitely fold laundry. Both Charles and Amélie put their clothes away in their drawers by themselves. As for cleaning, Charles is a big fan of vacuuming (and he’s getting pretty darned good at it too) and Amélie likes to dust. As for mowing the lawn, I totally agree. We also have rabbits (and I’m pretty sure one has dug itself a home under our front porch).

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  3. My daughter drives me crazy not picking up her toys! She is two and I just can’t get her on board with it. I sing the clean-up song and try to make it fun or give her a reward at the end (she picks out books to read or something like that) but I just can’t get her to buy in. She is more than capable so it drives me nuts. I have friends who have hired someone to come in and “deep clean” their house once or twice a year and said it was amazing! They get your blinds, walls, bathrooms, etc. and the houskeepers they found were incredibly affordable… like around $120 for a three bedroom! I have started to start doing that for my sanity because I do like a clean house… so when all my not dusting starts to add up someone will catch up on it for me, lol.

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    • Oh wow, that deep clean service sounds WELL WORTH IT! I will have to consider that. So smart!!

      Yeah, getting a kid to clean up with astonishingly hard. We’ve threatened (and followed through) to take a toy away for a few days if it’s not cleaned up. We mean business! We also use the line, “If you take a long time to clean up, then there’ll be less time for reading before bed.” Of course we love reading and I don’t actually want to decrease that, but the threat is almost always enough to get her to clean up quickly. I know other people clean up as they go during the day, but that never works for us….

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  4. Yay for silver linings! Your unadulterated grass probably saved a little velveteen rabbit! I do laundry super often, because I feel like there are soils that can’t wait (K has her fair share of blowouts). But re-wearing, yeah, why not?

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  5. The kids will wear their PJs twice usually, but most of the other clothes are a no-go. Seems like more food and drink ends on up their clothes than in their bellies!

    Someone needs to let Baby Girl in on 2-year-olds being able to pick up toys 😉 That child refused to pick up anything a couple weeks ago. When her dad told her that if she didn’t pick them up that he’d put them in a bag and take them, she told him to go ahead. Wtf?!

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    • Yeah, some days are pretty messy, true…. Maybe I just have two dainty girls?!

      Oh man, she’s got a bit of ‘tude when it comes to cleanup time!! Hmm, stubborn?! I have to say, my oldest has said the same thing – and my husband and I just looked at each other like, “Well, now what?!” Talk about calling our bluff. We’ve taken away a toy before, for three days, and she hasn’t done that since…. And yes, she is always very stubborn!

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  6. It seems like I do our laundry more often than my kid’s, mostly because my husband locked most of his blue undershirts in a cupboard at work and then lost the key. 🙄 We have a gardener who mows our lawn twice a month and it’s great. House cleaners are quite affordable here (40€ a week), so I have decided that if we have a second kid, I’m going to go for it. I really hate cleaning. Noah is getting better at putting his toys away, but he still requires constant affirmation. “Yay! You put a domino back in the box! There’s another one.”

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    • Ah, you’re so lucky for access to affordable cleaning! I could maybe find that around here, honestly, but I will suck it up for the time being. 😦
      Ugh, that clean up affirmation – yes! My oldest is nearly 4 and STILL needs that half the time. It’s not just Noah. :/

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  7. Pingback: “My Best” Series: Parenting Hacks, Part 2 | welcometothenursery

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