Anyone else looking at a terribly messy house…

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  • SowingLittleSeeds

    and thinking that moving seems easier than cleaning it up?

    Ugh! My kids are 2, 3, 4, and 6 and it seems like I get NO help. My husband is a computer game junkie and will only get off the computer for 5-10 min at a time to help me with stuff.

    It seems like I just move from one mess to another. Seriously, I mean bad messes. I left for an hour to go to the grocery store this afternoon and when I came back the kids were in the playroom with a big bowl of blueberries and strawberries (that should have lasted us a few days) dumped on the floor. Blueberries smashed into the carpet! Then when I am putting the kids to bed I step in yogurt that my 3 y.o. had got out of the fridge apparently earlier in the morning and the kids had just thrown some clothes on top of it. Not to mention the teddy bear that my 4yo daughter dismembered with scissors and pulled all the stuffing out of.

    I am just about to lose my mind. And it makes me really angry that he just sits there with his face glued to his screen and doesn’t seem to notice.

    I am seriously outnumbered by kids in this house and as soon as I walk in one room to clean something they are destroying something in the next room.

    Sorry, I just really need to vent instead of blowing up at my husband tonight.


    First of all; HUGS to you!  I feel your pain.  My kids are 9,8,6, and 4.5 and my husband loves his computer too!  He knows though how bad it drives me crazy to come home to a messy house and he makes the kids pick up. (most of the time).

    Now, I don’t want to hurt your feelings and maybe you already have/do this, but it sounds like you need some boundaries set.  Like eating food only in the kitchen or asking for help when something needs to be cleaned up. Do the kids help you pick up?  Even 2 and 3 year olds can help pick up toys.  Like I said maybe you have or do this already, but the book 21 Rules of This House is a good help for littles as a guide and boudary system.  (at least it was for me).  I am sure others will give more and better advice but hang in there, it does get easier!

    God grant you peace!


    Yes, I definitely need to lay down the law when it comes to boundaries. I have become very disciplined on this for short periods of time, about a week or so, usually when daddy is gone TDY or something (he’s military) but then I don’t stay consistent because I get so frustrated when I have to leave for a few hours and he is home with them and then the house gets destroyed. I will tell him, Okay, this is what they are supposed to do and if they don’t do this then you need to do this to discipline them. But he doesn’t. I feel like it is a useless battle because if I am not right there then they will do anything because they knwo dad isn’t going to stop them. As long as they are not interupting his games, it doesn’t register on his radar. So, then I give up. I’m not sure if my kids have some sort of super powers or what but they can destroy this house from top to bottom if left to their own devices for about 2 hours. In 2 hours they can make about 4 hours of extra cleaning and work for me.

    I know that I am making excuses because I could always take them with me if I know he won’t watch them but that just makes me angry. I shouldn’t have t


    No real advice, just hugs.  It’s so hard when they’re little!  I understand the husband thing, although mine doesn’t play games, he prefers politics.  I do come from a long line of addicted gamers though and it sucks.  Okay, one piece of advice.  I sat my husband down and told him that I understood needing to unwind, have some time to himself, etc.  But also reminded him that he’s their FATHER and he needs to be there.  He does not have the ‘right’ to come home and be done working.  This family is his second job.  He helped create them, he helps raise them.  (All done in a very loving manner at a calm time.)  We worked out that he can have time but there are certain things he DOES need to help with.  Other things I will do.  And we’ve worked out a system that when I’m overwhelmed and he’s just letting the chaos wash over him with his face stuck to the computer I can say, “DH, time to engage!”  We picked it up from The Incredibles.  It’s a slightly humorous way for him to realize that he needs to help at that moment.

    Hang in there.  Some day you’ll laugh about the blueberries….but not for a while.  


    Thanks. Yeah, I know I will laugh someday. That just reminded me about when my oldest was little I used to take a picture of him when he got into something he shouldn’t have and made a mess. I would take a quick snapshot before i cleaned up the baby and the mess. It was very frustrating but now I look at those pictures and have a good laugh. I should start doing that again. I saw a picture a few days ago of when he got into a box of poptarts when he was about 2. I had just come back from grocery shopping, dumped the bags on the floor in the kitchen and went straight to the bathroom. Well he must have heard me coming because he hid and we couldn’t find him for about 10 minutes. I finally found him hiding in a kitchen cabintet with the poptart evidence and a look of guilt all over his face. LOL. I think that is the last “naughty” picture I took. It does make me smile now even though I remember being annoyed that night because he had a sugar buzz and wouldn’t go to bed.


    It is so difficult to be consistent, especially if DH isn’t on board and helping you, but that’s really the only thing that works.  This is habit training time.    I have been on that side of the fence where we didn’t have good habits in place, chore times, set rules for food, messes, etc.  It is so hard to live that way.  I am never able to relax if there’s a huge mess in the house.  the work that it takes to train the kids is well worth it.  It’s definitely not easy, but it is worth it.

    Have you read Smooth and Easy Days?  It’s a free download from here at SCM.  I greatly encourage you to read it if you haven’t.  It’s a quick read and it is very encouraging.  I feel like I need to read it once a week to remind me of how important habit training is.

    As far as your husband goes, my husband also likes his screen time to unwind, but he only does it on Saturday.  On Saturday he sits on his computer for a couple of hours “blowing things away” as he calls it.  I let him read your post and his response was “She needs to yell at her husband.”  🙂  He said in all seriousness that you really need to talk to your husband and work out some kind of system.  You ought to be able to talk to him about anything, right?  

    Do you need specific help with habit training, chore time, rule setting?  I know that lots of ladies on here are willing to help if you need that.  So sorry you are going through this.  It does not have to continue this way.  Even if you can’t get your husband on board, you can effect huge change yourself.


    You know, I think that the main problem comes down to the fact that I do not have good habits. I do not have a real routine or any kind of schedule except that we eat around the same time everyday. I think I really need to work on setting a good example of what I want around my home.

    Where do you all think is the best place to start working on personal habits? Like I said. I really keep no schedule for myself, which will have to change since we are starting our first homeschooling year with my oldest next month.


    SowingLittleSeeds, I am sorry for what you are going through. I wish I had help for how to work it out with your DH, but I am thankful mine is very involved with our children. I do think you need to try and talk to him when you are calm and like someone else said he should be there. Have you seen the movie Courageous? It might be a great movie to watch together after your children are in bed.

    I wanted to answer your last question about personal habits. I can relate to that. I am a type-A person and ususally very disciplined. WE have six children now though, and have been blessed with the last 4 in 3 years. Somewhere along the way, I lost my organization and just found myself floudering at times. Most of the time actually.

    So, initially, I just decided to make a goal of doing certain chores on certain days (e.g. Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is grocery day … etc.) I don’t always follow this now (well Monday is always laundry day), but it really helped me to feel less stressed and helped get things done.

    I do wonder if part of your husband’s wanting to disengage is that he feels you aren’t doing your part? I mean that with all due respect please know, but I know my DH does like things in order when he comes home. He is so much more engaged and willing to step in when things are in order. When things are in total disarray, it is like he doesn’t see a place to step in b/c it is all so chaotic, so he just pulls back.

    You have a full plate with 4 little ones, so please don’t be hard on yourself. And yes, please by all means, require them to eat in the kitchen and/or only certain foods are allowed oustide it (for now anyway).

    Oh, one other thought: do you have a “anytime food” drawer or cabinet? We have one, mainly b/c some of our children who were adopted had issues with food due to a lack of it early in life, so we made a drawer in our kitchen with certain snack foods that were available anytime. Other than those foods, our children are still required to ask unless it is snack time, then of course yogurt or other items are available. Fruit is always acceptable, but not on the carpet.

    I wish you all the best. Remember this saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”


    Hi Sowing Little Seeds,

    I only have a minute, but a quick suggestion since you were asking for help about getting a better routine in place in your home…you may want to take a look at the book “Steady Days” by Jamie Martin. Very short chapters, very readable, and the whole first third of the book walks you through, step-by-step, how to set up a routine for your home. Might be a good first step in the right direction for you?

    Hugs to you – having a house full of littles is always challenging, regardless of your situation! (Mine are 6, 4, 2…so I know how that goes.)




    I think many of us have been there, or are there:)  It’s easy to feel so overwhelmed, like you are barely keeping your head above the water.  One thing I would say is to change your expectations and then change some of your rules/boundaries, etc. as others have mentioned before.  I have 5 kids 8 and under and one due in October, so the little ones are always making a mess.  However, it’s only with toys, or bathroom toilet water, etc:)  They aren’t allowed into the fridge, no one is allowed to eat anything out of the kitchen unless it’s family night downstairs together.  So those rules would avoid all the food mess.  Put your scissors up higher, maybe in a craft tote that they also aren’t allowed into without you.  Then just sit down sometime, or think throughout the day as you go, and try to evaluate the things that frustrate you most about your day (not talking about your husband right now) and see how you can streamline things.  I was amazed at how many things I just let continue that aggravated me so badly and just needed a simple change in schedule, or placement/organization, etc. 

    I am a very scheduled person and that helps so much, I’ve seen households with many children that are just chaos and I couldn’t handle it.  We have quiet time every day, some nap, most don’t:)  But everyone must play quietly for 1.5 hrs.  That way I can read, or if I’m really behind, do chores.

    Lastly, without trying to minimize your frustration/feelings at all, and many will probably disagree with this, but I think you need to evaluate your expectations of your husband as well.  I’m not saying men’s habits (or ours too) are okay, but we need to just do our part regardless of what they are doing.  My husband started his own business years ago and had that for about 5 yrs, we didn’t see him much for three years at all. He was gone very early, and home extremely late, or gone for a week at a time with traning, etc.   So everything was on me, but it really isn’t his job to manage the household anyways, the Bible says a good wife manages her home well.  The Bible talks about a man providing for his family.  So I guess I’m saying you should try to not have expectations of him, then you don’t end up feeling so frustrated despite what he is doing in the house.  I also had to take all the children with me everywhere (and there were 5 under 5 at the time).  Also, you could take at least a few with you when you go anywhere, that would make it easier on him and less mess for you too.  My children love going with me too, they all want to be the ones chosen to go.  I often think of my single mom friends at church and how blessed I am to have a husband who is alive, or not deployed, regardless of if he is living up to my expectations of what a husband should be. 

    The great thing is they are still very young (which also makes it the really hard thing:) and you don’t have to be doing much “school” right now, Charlotte said to work on habit training I believe until around age 6 before formal schooling.  That is so important before even starting school.  I’m sure many will be praying for you, and lots of moms here have great advice on scheduling, habit training…    Blessings


    Sowinglittleseeds, I have similar struggles…so I don’t have any advice to give. I am sending ((hugs)) your way though! soda works great for getting out berry stains.


    HUGS!!  I know what you mean. If you have little ones they seem to get into everything. I have one particular child that does this and constantly makes messes. He is so quick that , sometimes I don’t even see him. Then, he blames the others. Sometimes, I don’t even think he knows he does it.  You are fighting battles that seem to never go away.  I totally understand. I did a few things that helped. Pick an area that seems to have problems and brainstorm what would make it better.  Ex.- Shoes seem to be laying all over the floor when you walk in the door. Solution- Bought a $8 rack and assigned a shelf for each child.  I put a basket in each of their colors at the top for gloves, hats, ect…  I walk in the door last so I can make sure everyone put their stuff away. On Monday and Thurday I assigned my youngest the shoe rack for a chore during our zone cleaning. 

      I also had problems with my son going threw clothes I brainstormed and figured  out if the laundry was downstairs, in the laundry room, I could keep an eye on it and it wouldn’t be on the floor. I could lock the cabinet (handles on the cabinet) and they couldn’t get into it without my permission. I only had to keep the lock on for a few weeks. Until they were trained to leave the clothes alone. It seemed to cut down on my laundry and I didn’t have tons of clean/dirty clothes all over their bedroom floor and all over the house. 

      I had my husband put a lock on one of the bedroom closets and made a toy closet recently so I didn’t have to have the kids leaving toys everywhere. I am still in the process of going threw them and seeing what to get rid of. It has helped keep their room a little cleaner though.

       My next thing is a cabinet to lock up the sweetner. Even though we use natural sweetners my son seems to crave it. If there is any kind of sweet tasting thing in the house he is going after it.  I thought about putting a lock on the fridge but most of the stuff he goes after is in the cabinet area. This is a place that I haven’t totally concurred yet.  

       I figured I could only work on one area at a time. If, I took care of the areas that I could do something about then it would be easier to take care of the harder areas of training that were a little more difficult. It is funny but the areas that I did something about seemed to be the areas that they were trained in the shortest amount of time.

       I know someone above mentioned that the kids need chores.  I agree! If they are old enough to make the mess they are old enough to clean it up. 🙂 I know you have many children. It is alot to train. I am still training mine. I had to have them clean out the car this weekend before I would take them to the fireworks, parade anything.  I would work on training the oldest with a few chores. My 6 yr old loves to vaccum. She isn’t tall enough to use the upright but she can use the wand. She vaccums the funiture, around the baseboards ect… I also have her sweep the steps with a broom. My oldest son vaccums the dust pile up at the bottom.  She has been doing chores for 3 or 4 years now. She wipes down the fridge, stove, dishwasher,ect… She has been doing this for many years. She loves to do windows. She is getting better at it but I remember streaks for the longest time. 🙂  My older boys do alot of the work now. They had chores that I taught them one by one.  If they don’t get it right they can’t graduate to a higher chore.  The next in line gets the new chore.  I heard one time that a child should be able to run a household by the time they are 10 – 12. Meaning they should be able to do every chore in the house and know how to take care of it.  I think the best thing I tried was being the supervisor. I sent one child to do a chore ex. (clean the bathroom sink) while I sent another to pick up the toys in the Living room.  While I helped my youngest learn how to wipe the cabinets.  When they were done they were to report back to me with a new chore. I was dishing them out like candy. 🙂 I then realized this could work as a schedule.  I then set it up that way.   

       I have a son and he seems to think that the backseat in my van is his and he can mess it up whenever he wants and never cleans it.  I get so discouraged sometimes when I open the van door and I have to look at all of the stuff that he has brought in there and left laying around.  I cleaned the vehicle and vowed that It was going to stay clean. I don’t know how he did it but he had it a mess within 3 hours. UGH!!!  I wanted to scream and pull my hair out!  He is going on 9!  So, I asked his dad to sit in the lawnchair an make sure he didn’t come out of that van until  everything was out of it. He asked,” if he could keep one magazine to look at?” and I was very reluctant.  One seems to turn into 10 in a matter of seconds.  It really multiplies in my van… faster than rabbits. 🙂

       I told him I don’t want anything in the van. It is sort of hard because he has food allergies and blood sugar problems so I have to keep food in there but I think it is a contant battle I will have to try and slay everyday.

       I also agree with the above about the scissors.  They would be in an area that was off limits. If your children are having boundry problems then you need to lock it up.  At least until they learn the boundry on it.  My son did something like that to my daughters dress-up dress.  She was so upset.  He was trying to get a button off and cut it all up. UGH!!! 🙂  So up went all the scissors!  Now I have been able to let them have them. 

      You must also see who is doing what. If you have a child who is more prone to being destructive you may have to keep that one with you more. Give that one more to do. It keeps them a little more busy and out of trouble. I am surprised someone hasn’t said something about the website,” Staking Tomatoes”   I also don’t let the TV radio, ect.. come on in the house until the chores are done. If they don’t get them done then it is a long day and we don’t get a reward for getting it all done. 🙂  BTW  make the mess maker clean up the mess. It sometimes slows down the next one from happening.  Even if it takes them a long time. That will keep them busy for awhile. 🙂

      I really had my hands full when they were younger. I know it is alot but it will get better. I know you are exhausted and overwhelmed. If it is any consulation my house needs some TLC today too. 🙂  I hope you have a better day and take it easy, slow, and work on it a little at a time… 🙂




    A Site I like for my own habits (but haven’t been able to follow for very long) is FlyLady.  When I am following it (and I never get past about the first 5-10 baby steps), it makes a noticeable difference in the house.  They have some very cool quotes… 

    “You can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes”

    “Housework doesn’t have to be perfect to bless the family”


    For getting the kids doing chores, a lot of people like Manager of their Chores…  I like the principles, but had trouble implementing…

    One I like – and plan to re-implement over the next week – is Accountable Kids.  It worked quite well for us a couple of years ago – except where we had the boards, the cards kept getting knocked down – and then sometimes lost.  I am moving the boards.   I like it because it also has things built in to the system for discipline, removing bad habits/cultivating good habits, allowances, and limiting things like TV and video games (if desired)

    Yes – any of these systems will be harder to implement if your husband isn’t on board…. but even if only one parent does it, there will be a difference.  



    Well first off, you have a handful of little kids all in a row. You are going to have crazy stuff happen.

    Second, you need to have a meeting with your husband. I would even suggest hiring a sitter and going out. A real to heart to heart about what your image of and desires for your family are. If you keep going like this you will resent your husband and it will tear apart the foundations of your marriage. Homeschool should be something that adds to your life.

    Military men who are deployed often really need to insure that their spouses are appreciated and get their breaks.

    If you want To work on your schedule or routine, you might ask if your husband wants to help you. Then he gets to see how much work you really everyday. It might soften his heart to see how much he is needed. He did help make these kids after all. He can help parent them, as well.


    @suzukimom – I used flylady after my first was born and it was awesome. I could always invite a guest in without apologizing for the mess. I should definitely go back and check her out.

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