Clean House, Clear Mind

While some blogs attempt to provide helpful advice, not this one.

I ask for advice!

I tell stories that describe all my parenting mistakes and then try to obtain helpful advice from you on how to do better.

I guess if there was any helpful information you could glean from this blog, it could probably be filed under the heading: WHAT NOT TO DO AS A PARENT OF TODDLERS or I’VE STILL GOT A LOT TO LEARN ABOUT RAISING KIDS, AND I’M A GRANDPARENT!

So, we need all the help we can get around here!

But maybe there’s some entertainment value to this blog that makes it worthwhile to take a few minutes to read our adventures and laugh with us, or sometimes shed a tear with us.

Today, this post is a little different. I’m actually going to try to share some useful information.

I’m going to respond to a question that I often get. I’m going to share the key to my survival as a single grandparent raising two toddlers.

During my short tenure as a single grandparent, I’ve had many grandparents say to me, “I enjoy having the grandkids come to visit, but I’m sure glad when they go home because they wear me out!”

Then they will often ask: “How do you manage it with two toddlers all the time?”

I wish my response was, “It’s because I’m such a great parent and grandparent!” or “It’s because I’m such a great human being!” or even “It’s because I have superhuman grandparent powers!”

But I’m no super-parent or super-grandparent. And, I’d be lying if that’s what I told you because it’s quite likely I am a worse parent than most.

I like to think that I am a better grandparent than parent, but I certainly leave much to be desired to be in the great-human-being category.

You just do what you have to do!

And, as I share my secret formula with you, many of you parents, especially the single ones, will probably say, “I already know that. I already do that.”

But in the process of raising toddlers as a single grandparent, I’ve had to make some adaptations that parents in a home with both a mom and dad (who are probably younger than me) probably have not had to make.

I’ve learned some things about efficiency that aren’t utilized in other family situations.

So here’s the secret formula: Pick Up, Put  Up, Keep Up!

And, it’s probably not so much a secret formula as it is a guide to survival!

It’s my version of multitasking! Any activity, any exertion of energy around the house includes these actions.

I never go anywhere or do anything around the house that doesn’t include picking or putting something up as I go. And I do it constantly or continuously.

I keep up with it or it gets away from you. You have to avoid the mistake of letting stuff accumulate thinking you’ll do it later. The task will take too long if you don’t do it in small chunks and let it accumulate.

And with toddlers, you don’t have much time to dedicate to any particular activity.

You can usually bet that the washer or dryer is running because I don’t want the dirty clothes to accumulate. (So one corollary of my survival guide is that no more than one load of dirty clothing in excess of the load that is currently washing or drying should accumulate.)

If I walk up stairs, then I take a basket of stuff with me. (I keep a basket at the foot or top of the stairs to carry stuff up or down in.)

Because if I’m downstairs, whatever I’m looking for is upstairs. And whenever I’m upstairs…well you know the rest!

(Of course, the downside to all this multi-tasking is that in the process of doing the secondary task, you forget what the primary task was. For instance, while I’m headed upstairs I grab the stuff stacked on the stairs to take with me, but then I get up there and forget what the main reason I went up there in the first place…until I get back down the stairs and then I remember!)

If I pull out a children’s book to read to them, then I put any other books away that are out or rearrange them.

I’m sharing this formula for household success with you because I know it works. On two occasions recently, the lady that cleans my house complimented me on the fact that my house is in very good condition when she comes to clean (compared to others that she cleans).

Not that there is a competition among dirty houses going on, but I consider this about the highest praise I could receive. At this point in my life, a tidy house is a great accomplishment!

Clothes laid out and ready to put on for school.

Maybe you’re thinking that I ought to have some loftier goals in life, some higher aspirations.

I suppose I should. But right now, not living in clutter, confusion, and turmoil would be my crowning achievement, my highest accomplishment.

I have succeeded in life if I can just maintain a neat and orderly home. You know what they say, “Clean house, clear mind!”

Didn’t somebody say that? Well, if they didn’t they should have!

And, now that I’ve revealed my Pick Up-Put Up-Keep Up secret to you, I’m going to Shut Up!

P.S. While I was finishing this post, a distinct smell of menthol came wafting down the stairs. I quickly ran upstairs to find a certain three-year-old covered in Mentholatum. She ran and hid under the bed and spread the ointment all over the wood floors, woodwork, and walls of the bedroom. When I finally got her out, I discovered her clothes, hair, and body were covered with the oily substance. It will take a few days to get it worked out of her hair and, maybe by then I will see the humor in it and write a post about it. But right now I’m still looking for the humor… 

2 thoughts on “Clean House, Clear Mind

  1. Atta Girl,Kenzie. If you get at him enough, he’ll leave you much more to your freedom ( correctionally wise )STEVE-Just kidding. Loved this. Been there, done that, both as a Toddler and as the Parent , ( The mentho.,that is ) So know both sides. The first, ( fun side),second not so much now ), but, we who read about it , laughed aloud, as you will also , a few years later, if not before.


  2. Whose side are you on, Cousin Jeannie? Us grown-up and grandparents have to stick together or the toddlers will take over!! Anyway, I think I’m over it and ready to publish the whole story of the mentholatum affair!!


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