Reader question… “I have one active duty military husband, 5 kids ages 6 months to 8 yrs, and 2 full time jobs (not a joke). I know I have a lot on my plate and that is what really makes it hard for me to get things done. However, having a DISGUSTING kitchen is NOT an option. I also feel that there is a way to keep my kitchen clean without hiring a maid. All my kids have daily chores they do one of which for my oldest is to wash 1 load of dishes/day. She does this well but we go through at least 2 loads per day because I try to limit our carbon footprint and save money when I can so I don’t use paper plates very often. :) I work from home for both of my jobs WHILE I watch my two youngest children so essentially I run a day care at the same time. Sigh. :) Any ideas of how to GET IN a routine would be much appreciated! I read your post on waking up to a clean kitchen and will start using the HOT WATER IMMEDIATELY technique ;) right away but the problem I find is my night looks like this: Cook dinner with kids running all around (stressful already), serve dinner, eat dinner, plop on the couch like I just ran a marathon when I finish eating and the kids are STILL eating. By the time they finish I am pooped and dreading even LOOKING at the kitchen. I also have a hard time getting around to mopping. Sadly it only happens once a month. (Hard for me to choke that one out just now). It’s disgusting I know. Help!” –Name withheld


Common hollyhock (Alcea rosea)

Perhaps this is not the time in your life where a spotless kitchen with a freshly mopped floor is even possible. Right now your life and your schedule are super busy and full, but children grow up surprisingly fast. They won’t remember if you always had the dishes caught up or if the house was always “perfect”… but they will remember “you”… and the memories you made together during these years. I think you need to give yourself permission to relax your standards a bit… it isn’t always possible to do everything. (I had to learn this the hard way after my back injury.) A happy wife and mommy is so much more important than anything else.

But what do YOU think? How do you choose your priorities when your life and schedules are so full? What suggestions do you have for this reader?