The January Cure is a great way to start out the new year with a freshly cleaned, organized home. But for a parent, especially of little ones who require a lot of attention and who seem to make an inordinate amount of mess, it seems like an impossible mountain to climb. But don't dismay! As a parent who did it last year, I have to say it is possible! Here are five tips that are bound to help you conquer the Cure.
1. Set yourself realistic goals. I know it might feel like the house hasn't been cleaned since you first took that positive pregnancy test, but that's no reason to try to do everything this month. Remember, even a little improvement is an improvement. Have you already written your to do list? Check back over it. What tasks did you highlight? Try again, choosing the simplest things from each room. One of mine was "take down the old calendar" It seems ridiculous, but there's such a sense of achievement to be had in crossing something like that off.
2. Think of tasks that you might be able to do with your kids. Our soon-to-be four-year-old loves to vacuum, so on the "flowers and floors" day, I let him! He covers the central areas of every room and I do the edges. What could your little ones be helping you with around the house? Again, look at the to-do list you wrote on day one and perhaps consider revising to include more kid-friendly jobs.
3. Get ahead on some days, so that it's okay to fall behind on others. There are some days in our house where the kids play together perfectly, and others where they are terrors - constantly fighting and finding themselves in time-outs. On those days, it feels like nothing gets done. Take a look at the pdf schedule for the Cure, and on days the kids are saints, step ahead a little.
4. Don't forget that it's okay to ask for help. Is there someone who loves you and knows you so well that you're okay with having them scrub the sides of your refrigerator? On the big cleaning days, consider having them come help. Alternatively, get a sitter, just for a day, and use that time to tackle a project that will make you feel really accomplished. Perhaps a friend could exchange some babysitting with you, and you could both take turns doing a little around the home?
5. Have other Moms and Dads cheer you on! Got a blog? A Facebook page? A parenting group? Let them know you're curing the house for the month and post updates. There's nothing like a little encouragement to fuel that Apartment Therapy Cure fire!
And of course, there's always sharing your progress with other Moms and Dads, right here on the site. Are you a parent who has conquered the Cure? Share your own Cure-conquering tips below!
(Image credits: Sarah Dobbins)