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Mommy and the Joyful Three

About This Blogger

Erin James is the author of a mom blog on whattoexpect.com. She is a mother of three whose passion is helping other moms and dads with positive parenting.

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Cleanliness and the Chaotic Mom


I have a confession. I am a horrible housekeeper. In fact, I am one of the most disorganized people you will ever meet. I thrive on chaos and struggle with order.

Most of us have heard the saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” But what is a busy mom with three little mess makers to do?

In their defense, I have been disorganized from a young age. I constantly had a hard time keeping a neat back pack, bedroom or car. I tried very hard to keep things in order as a child; and even received extra help in school to do so. Still, it was always a struggle.

As a mom, I am worse. I have a hard time remembering appointments, managing time, keeping dishes and laundry washed and cleaning up the messes now made by a family of five.

In the Bible, women are given instructions on their duties in a household. These days many men take on some of that work while women work outside the home, but it does not mean we should let things go because of busy schedules. I am not lazy, but I think perhaps my priorities are not in line sometimes.

I would rather play with my children than clean the house. I put laundry and dishes on the backburner. My car is my biggest problem. I cannot seem to keep it clean, especially when there are so many fun things to do instead.

Now, I am beginning to realize that while kids enjoy having fun, they also enjoy having an orderly life. This is true at least for my kids.

All of my children seem to have inherited their father’s love for order. I am grateful for this, but because of my personality I am almost working against them when it comes to keeping our home in line. My oldest daughter lines her shoes and clothes up neatly. She makes her bed and even will help when she is not asked to when it comes to other housework.

Children naturally make messes. If you teach them well, they will learn to clean and take care of the things they are given. But because I have a hard time making order a priority, she often will fall behind in her own chores as well.

As their mom, I should be encouraging them more to keep their rooms clean. And I acknowledge that one of the reasons they struggle is because of my lack of putting this as a priority.

I actually love working. I love the reward of a job well done. But when that job is so tedious and it is daily, I get so frustrated that I let the chores go too often.

Today, I am turning over a new leaf. I am grounding myself to do this housework. I will not allow my laundry to sit in a pile and my dishes to overwhelm my kitchen sink. I am vowing to clean my car daily and to keep my things in places where I can find them.

I get so frustrated when I misplace things, such as keys and bank cards. I waste more time looking for them than I would spend just keeping things in order.

My husband, who is my opposite, helps maintain the chaos I cause. However, I do not want to rely on him to take care of our mess. That is not a good example to my kids.

The other aspect of this is that we should take care of and manage well the gifts God gives us. He blesses us with homes, vehicles and earthly possessions so that we will flourish. We cannot thrive in disorder.

Please share advice on how you manage your household. I need some tips to help me create a more consistent order in my home. I want to please God and my family by becoming somebody who can do so.

What are your biggest struggles with organization as a parent?

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Monday, April 30, 2012 4:28 PM

Comments on this post

# RE: Cleanliness and the Chaotic Mom

Erin, you are not the only mom to be chaotic. Ask the Holy Spirit to whisper reminders to you. He will; I know from my own experience. Secondly, if you can't invent your own system, ask someone else to help you set up systems of handling daily chores. If you keep the small tasks under control, they don't turn into big ones. For example, you could keep a notebook of tasks and the steps you need to complete each one. Then, follow your own directions. Doing dishes is not just daily, it's hourly in a big household. So that's where I'd start. Train yourself to clean up after every meal and snack. Train your children to do the same. If they are able to reach the sink, they are old enough to clean up after themselves. Stick to your system with determination for three weeks. That's how long it usually takes to establish a new habit. And above all, listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He will help you in the small, mundane things as faithfully as in the big issues.
Left by Mary Jane on May 01, 2012 9:48 AM

# RE: Cleanliness and the Chaotic Mom

I like Mary Jane's comment. What I do is concentrate on one task at a time. First, I just fix the beds, and take care of whatever needs to be taken care of in the room I'm in. Next, I was the dishes, and go over the kitchen to make sure everything is a-okay. I do this with each task. My home is not perfect, but the important things get done! It seems like the important things are getting done in your home and in your family life, and that is what ultimately counts. Maybe you can make the reorganization a family project. Perhaps have each family member pitch in with putting things together for donations, throwing out, etc. I am wondering if a family bulletin board would help, and designating certain spots in your home for keys, etc. I'll keep you in my prayers. I trust all will go well! :)
Left by Mimi on May 01, 2012 9:03 PM

# RE: Cleanliness and the Chaotic Mom

I have been struggling with not being a disciplined neatnik, all my life, too- having a sweet mom who did most everything for me and my older brother. Now, with 6 kids, I have found it difficult, but finally broke through with the Flylady on flylady.net.
She takes us creative types, says, "Now, no whining" ;-) and walks me through habits I build, little by little- to make keeping up with a busy home easier. For example, my routines have been way down since I have been sick for almost 4 weeks, now, but I can still put my earbuds in and listen to Marla walk me through "Crisis Cleaning" and after 45 minutes feel much, much better about our downstairs. And I do not fuss at myself internally about the house like I used to. It is honoring to clean house with a smile.
Godspeed, Erin!
Left by singinjenny on May 01, 2012 9:47 PM

# RE: Cleanliness and the Chaotic Mom

Isn't it great that we can learn new ways of doing things even as adults? Great job, Erin, admitting disorganization is a problem! You asked for tips. I will say I agree with Mary Jane and MiMi. Also, Flylady has is amazing as Singinjenny says. My tip: grab a cheap composition notebook and make it your precious. I divide two pages into eight squares for the days of the week, M, T, W, Th, F, S, S, and one space for writing down things I eventually must tackle. On these squares I write my schedule; and in the corners I put my meal plan for each day-- all at a week's glance. On the front cover of my notebook I clip my weekly grocery list. My pencip is clipped to the front. My notebook goes with me everywhere and when I need to write something down-- I schedule it! When I need to remember something I just look back. It's been a lifesaver. Very best to you, Erin, do keep working at it-- it's worth it : )
Left by DesertMama on Apr 26, 2013 10:40 PM

# RE: Cleanliness and the Chaotic Mom

Speaking of chaos I am sorry for the late response to your wonderful and insightful comments! Thank you for the advice and the prayers and support!
Left by Erin James on Sep 25, 2014 9:27 PM