Can You Keep a Clean House with Twin Toddlers?

One Mom's Story

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A mother of twin toddlers talks about cleanliness now that toddlers have taken over her home.

I knew my old ideas of house keeping were long gone when I found a perfectly washed pea in the clothes dryer. Between solidified chunks of oatmeal on the carpet, to pieces of food inadvertently left to harden under tables or chairs, I’ve learned that when you have two toddlers running around the house, the concept of clean is an unachievable mirage.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been a Martha Stewart clone (though I wish I had her money, clothes, chef, and staff to do my bidding). Between my husband Scott and I, we always used to manage to keep our apartments, and then our house, relatively organized and clean. But since our twins Abbey and Jonah were born some two-and-a-half years ago, just trying to keep the house operational has become a Herculean task.

This shift from a mostly neat abode to a slight step above chaos has been hard on Scott. I feel badly for him, mostly because my current cleaning style—if you could even call it a style—is the antithesis of his. The poor man suffers from the delusion that two-year-olds can be clean if only one takes the time to “work with them.” It bothers him to see the floor beneath the kids’ booster seats covered with a mishmash of crumbs, sauces, and whatever else they may be attempting to eat or intentionally dropping on the floor. When he sees them munching on a snack in the living room, the inevitable aftermath scattered around the rug, he quickly runs to clean it up. Me, I only run when there’s something immediately foul, like a poop explosion.

I can see the crumbs on the floor under their seats and let them stay there for a day or so, unless they’re really goopy or nasty (though Scott claims I let them linger for much longer than that). If the kids get Goldfish cracker shards around the floor, I’ll pick up the big pieces by hand and vacuum later. My laissez-faire attitude would make many people nuts, as it does Scott who says I’d be happy living in squalor.

It’s just that I don’t comprehend how other parents of small children are somehow able to have their house in pristine order on a daily basis. These are the ones who vacuum after every meal and snack, and consistently have all their laundry done, not to mention folded and put away. (I can’t tell you how long the kids’ clothes sit folded in the laundry basket because Scott and I haven’t gotten a chance to put them away.) These are the people who actually wash their kitchen floors when no one’s coming over to visit. I, on the other hand, simply grab a paper towel and cleanser and wipe up messy spots or areas as needed.

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