Cleaning the House While Kids Are Still Growing Is Like Shoveling the Walk While It Is Still Snowing

cleaningthehouseMy mom isn’t really a knick knack, country charm kind of decorator, but she had this one little sign in the kitchen that said “Cleaning the house while kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it is still snowing.”

My North Carolina snow experience had me translate this as “It is foolish to try to clean the house with growing kids. Just wait it out, and then it will take care of itself. In crisis, make a path.”

Truth be told, I kind of always embraced that. Mayyyyybe still do. There are so many more interesting things to do than lead a 5 year old through the paces of tidying up a pile of My Little Ponies.

But I got a totally different outlook on the adage after a trip to visit my Aunt Ann. My Aunt Ann lives in Michigan near the tip-top of the mitten (right by Mackinaw City). We always visited during the summer. And still turned on the heater at night. One year we ended up going to her house that week between Christmas and New Year’s – talk about climate shock! I remember sitting around and the snow was falling and my step-cousin sighed and said “I guess I need to go shovel the porch”. I laughed, but Chad “suited up” and headed outside.

Why shovel while it was still snowing? I wanted to know how this possibly made sense. My aunt told me if you didn’t shovel the porch and even roof they could collapse from the weight of the snow. Not to mention the hassle of trying to shovel once the snow was several feet deep. No, she told me, it’s better to keep on top of it, and go out in the snow – as uncomfortable as it is – and shovel as the snow fell. And don’t even get started on why you need to plow the roads and drive before packing down the snow into something truly unmanageable.


Paradigm shift.

Cleaning the house while kids are still growing is still definitely still like shoveling the walk while it is still snowing, but it doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

It’s thankless.

It has to be repeated.

It’s not that fun.

But it’s necessary to keep from collapse, to make sure you can have people over (and get out yourself), to take care of your home.

Kids’ mess is not like a North Carolina snow – once in a great while that throws everyone in a tizzy but lasts at the very most a week; it is a Michigan snow – something you have to be prepared for, lasting a season, but fully manageable if you know what you’re doing.

I’m still a little North Carolina in how I handle snow, and how I handle kids’ messes, but I am working on getting that Michigan sensibility. Anyone know some good shoveling tips??

2 responses to “Cleaning the House While Kids Are Still Growing Is Like Shoveling the Walk While It Is Still Snowing

  1. My mom had a cross stitch she made while she was pregnant that said, “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow, cause babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep. I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.” No suggestions, but I can relate!

    • My cobwebs and dust aren’t the problem as much as my lego battlefield of foot pain, but I am glad I am not the only one who has “toy creep” and it IS very important to spend more time with the kids than the mess. I just need to work on tackling the mess with the kids (now that they’re older). 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Suz!

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