Mental Mumma is Mental

Having lived most of our married life in a two bedroom unit, moving into our new home has been somewhat of a relief. To have the space for each child to have their own room, avoiding sleep time issues. To have room for a dining table finally. It has also been cause of much stress.

My children having a room each means there are now three bedrooms with toys strewn everywhere. Once, there was a rule; when you’re finished with a toy put it away before you get out a new one. Last year that fell by the way side due to living arrangements and now, as you can see, there is no putting away.

One of my points of Focus for this year is organisation. Which is something 2011 lacked profusely and without it I am easily stressed. Continuously on edge. I need to figure out how to get life under control, stream line everyday living and have a relatively neat home.

But, I have a problem. Or three, if you want to get technical about it. I mused about whether New Year simply invigorates those of us who don’t get a ‘holiday’ from what we do daily and, for me, the answer to that seems to be no. This is not the case. I need a moment to breathe. Which I have yet to happen.

The same, it seems, can be said of my children. We did get away but it was busy and they didn’t rest nearly as much as they should have. The End of Year Fatigue has ramped up, my three beautiful children have turned into screaming tornadoes of messy, fury and fighting. When I mentioned this on Twitter other mentioned the coming of school’s return. BUT, my children don’t go to school yet! I can’t imagine where the break will be and how life will start to calm down.

And so, I feed my tornadoes, I clean up after their meal and while I do that they ‘play’ in their rooms. One room after another gets completely trashed while I deal with other chores.

I have tried to clean with them, showing them where their toys belong. I have tried giving them specific tasks to do such as “Put all your puzzle pieces in their places” in the hope that I will, at some point be able to move on to the next task of putting the complete puzzles in their place on the shelf. We never get that far. They are so distracted, often playing with the things they’re meant to be packing up. I’ve gone from being understanding, gentle to being a seething mad woman and (possibly, on occasion) a bit of a banshee.

I feel like I barely get to leave the dining room before they’re eating and messing again and I just never get to do all the other house things I need to.

It’s really starting to rub me the wrong way. I don’t want everything to be perfect, just livable.

This place is more than twice what we had before and while I only have one extra child, some days it seems like they have doubled too. I’ve never been a Domestic Goddess. I have to try very hard to keep on top of everything and even then I am failing!

So, I am here begging for advice and help. HOW do you keep on top of it all?


  1. Oh Becky – if you find the answer to this one you’ll be a millionaire in moments!! It’ endless and relentless. As the kids get older I think that side becomes harder -because the toys get spread further and further. I try to to implement the “you can’t start anything new until the last lot is packed up’ rule. But frankly, as you know, some days my own tiredness and impatience makes it easier to ignore it all and let them play happily in their own mess. This year I will have 2 at school and only 1 at home. it might be easier then. I’ll let you know. But be kind to yourself and give yourself permission for some down time if you’re tired. I do know that is VERY important. Take it easy lovely :O)

    • Thanks Caz. The pressure of renting is getting to me a bit, I think. And James, too. If only there was some amazing answer to all this which would give us a beautiful house without taking us away from being with our children!
      Looking forward to hearing how life is with 2 at school and one at home.

  2. I remember the chaos when Miss M was younger and I’m sure I’ll see it again soon with Lolly. I took most of Miss Ms toys off her, only leaving her with 3 things (1 full puzzle, 1 set of Lego, etc) which I rotated weekly. She found it easier to focus when there were less options, and she was more likely to play with a toy if it’s pieces were all together. It also made it easier to supervise and enforce cleanup rules. Slowly I was able to increase the toys in circulation but it was years after school started before she was able to have everything. Individual boxes/containers for sets help too. Good luck!

    • I like this idea. How did you store the toys not in use? That’s my issue, I don’t know where I would keep everything!

  3. I went t the $2 shop and bought a few of those bins. You know the ones that look like mini wheelie bins and every couple of days I just bring one out, or two sometimes and throw everything in. I keep things like their maga blocks together in a bag and car tracks and train tracks get put away but most of it gets shoveled into bins.

    • Hi Nat, thanks for the tips! All three of my children got a bin each for Christmas – and they’re all completely empty! I think I will have to do something like you do and model the behaviour (numerous times, I imagine) before they start doing it themselves.

  4. My boys have way too many toys but we’ve found a way to cope with the mess. We’re lucky enough to have 6 bedrooms in our new house so the boys get a room each and another room called the toy room. The rule is all the toys go in the toy room and the bedrooms are just for clothes and sleeping. They are 6 and 3 and quite happy to share toys so it doesn’t matter that everything gets mixed up in the toy room. They can make as much mess as they like in there and their bedrooms stay tidy. It’s so nice to be able to check on them at night without treading on Lego in the dark. Every few weeks we all gather in the toy room and for a big tidy up and throw out anything that’s broken.
    I’m no domestic goddess so the rest of the house only gets a clean and tidy once a week, except for the kitchen, I can’t stand a messy kitchen so I’m constantly cleaning the kitchen. I don’t care if the house looks like a bomb has hit it as long as my kitchen is clean (and I can get to my desk). If we’re having guests we do extra cleaning downstairs and hope they don’t go upstairs for anything. If the toy room is at it’s worst we can just shut the door. Well we could until DH had an accident with the door and now there isn’t one 🙁
    It’s my birthday ummm today now it’s 1am and I’ve got my parents and in-laws coming over at 10am to ‘celebrate’ which means I’ll be up at dawn cleaning and cooking. I think I’ll be making an effort to keep them downstairs too. I really don’t want to have to explain the missing door to them.
    Why can’t I sleep in on my birthday?

    • Firstly, happy belated birthday and secondly I feel you on the not sleeping in on your day – totally sucks! I hope you had a wonderful day, even if you weren’t able to sleep in.
      Thanks for your comment.
      When we were looking at houses to rent there was one which had a room we could have used for a toy room and that was my dream. I thought (possibly too often) about how their rooms would be lovely and they could play, mess, make, whatever in the play room to their hearts content. Unfortunately, having a cat meant we missed out and now I feel like we have three crazy play rooms!

  5. I wish I could help but I only have one 2.5 year old and he goes to daycare 5 days a week – I can’t even imagine 3 non-school age children!

    The only thing I can suggest is rather than them having toys in their rooms, can their toys all be stored in one room … and they only use their rooms for sleeping?

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