How To Clean Your House In 10 Easy Steps



My mother-in-law once told me that trying to clean a house as a mother is like trying to clean in a hurricane: it’s kind of pointless. She was right. Cleaning my house these days requires several things: deep reserves of patience, bucket loads of energy, a severely short term memory (to instantly forget the frustration of your current task at hand), chocolate (bribery), TV (also bribery), and whatever toy that has been living in timeout for at least three days (possibly best bribery of all but will last only 5 minutes before you freak out and put the damn thing back in timeout).

This is how you clean your house. Ready? Here we go:

Step One: Round up the children and threaten them with kingdom come if they dare throw juice on the floor, a sandwich at the dog, dump out a box of Lego’s, throw pillows down the stairs, build “cozy nests” out of the clean laundry and ALL the linens in the house, or scream at the top of their ever-loving lungs when the vacuum is turned on.

Step Two: Do the dishes. This is likely in the top three of the absolute worst jobs in the house. So you know what? Throw those fuckers in the trash. Just kidding. Wash them as fast as you possibly can – or fill a dishwasher if you have a bigger kitchen than mine – and mutter curses on your family for dirtying up as many dishes as humanly possible since breakfast.

Step Three: Toss in some laundry. I hate laundry. Hate isn’t even a strong enough word for it. I have to do 4 loads of laundry every day. Every. Single. Day. Don’t bother sorting. Who cares about sorting. Just toss in as much as will fit in the damn washer, because girl, you are running out of time. Caillou is about to come on and you will lose your shit if you hear that whiney voice belting out of the TV. You gotta hustle and get the next kid friendly distraction ready.

Step Four: Tell the kids that the TV needs a nap and it’s time for them eat lunch. The kids are excited to help. Yay! Make a giant fucking mess in the kitchen. Mutter to yourself about how you just did the dishes. And what the hell is that sticky stuff dripping all down the front of the counter? Wait, why is the dog eating off of your four-year-old’s plate?! Shove a piece of chocolate in your mouth and brace yourself for step five.

Step Five: While the kids are chomping away at lunch, fly through the kitchen and clean as much of the cooking experiment as you can. Then run to the bathroom and change the trash, grab all the wet towels and boxers shorts and other shit your husband left on the floor (seriously, three feet from the damn hamper?!) and then, faster than fast, scrub out the toilet. Toss in one of those blue thingies and flush. Race back to the kitchen.

Step Six: Clean the kitchen again. The kids got excited to “help” and made a water park out of the sink while attempting to do their own dishes. Such sweet kids. Also, there appears to be a small pond forming on the floor. Slip in the pond and almost fall. Try not to yell. Hold it together, lady! You still have to vacuum.

Step Seven: Tell the kids that they can play outside when you are done, in the meantime more TV. Yeah, yeah, yeah…too much TV. Get off your soapbox. Pull out the vacuum, unravel the cord and start Hoovering your way through the house. In the background, the kids are screaming their little hearts out. Try not to let them break your spirit. You are tough! You can do it!

Step Eight: In the middle of vacuuming, you hear the washing machine sounding like it is trying to take over Tokyo judging by the screechy thumping sounds. Run to the laundry room and turn the machine off. Open it up and kick yourself in the ass for putting too much in. Move the contents around until it looks balanced and turn it back on. Run back inside because the kids are fighting over the remote. And a cat just threw up in front of the front door.

Step Nine: Pour a glass of wine.

Step Ten: Instantly forget that you were trying to clean the house. Go outside with the kids and let them burn off their energy. Sit and do nothing. Maybe check out Facebook…oh, look, Scary Mommy posted some crazy new story about cleaning a house. Read that then order a pizza for dinner.

See? Cleaning is no problem. Just follow these ten super simple steps and your house can look like mine. That is, if you’re going for that an-asteroid-just-hit-my-house look. And the next time someone makes a cheeky remark about how hard it is to clean a house when kids are around, tell them, “Psht…not my house!” You totally got this.

Related post: How to Train Your Kids So That You Actually Want to Live With Them


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    • 15

      mary says

      I am a stay at home mom of 2 kids, 3 and 6, and I can relate to this. I find it hard to believe even as a stay at home mom that your house was spotless with 3 kids. Maybe in your dreams, or maybe when they were in school but no way when they were little. It’s not possible unless all you did was clean and not spend any time with your kids. Myself I would prefer a semi-clean house and spend time with my kids. They won’t remember how clean the house was or wasn’t but they will remember the time you spend with them.

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      • 16

        Breanna sanderson says

        It is possible to have a spotless house with toddlers but usually you spend the most of your day cleaning rather then spending time with them,

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      • 17

        Lala says

        I have a close friend with 2 little 5-3yr kids & her house always looks photo-shoot ready. Yet they aren’t allowed to go to most places in the house! They have their own special chairs in the family room and aren’t allowed on the others. No eating/drinking except in the kitchen & they get spoon fed their meals to keep control of the food and are only allowed 1 type of toy at a time and cant take a 2nd type until the 1st is put away. Its like its not their home! She also has no friends who like to come to her house as its too stressful, all gatherings are kept in public places and you will never find a neighborhood kid in their home or yard. Yet her kids go insaaaaaane at our house, write on the walls, bounce balls off everything, throw everything, run, scream…they are just waiting to break out and play but dont know how to without her 1 by 1 rule and an officer over their shoulder enforcing it.

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        • 18

          Catilla says

          That’s sad. My house looks radioactive and like mice are waiting in all the walls for the lights to go out so they can gather the crumbs, but my kids have a blast. They cry when I go to work because “Daddy’s not fun”. And when they go to other people’s houses, or to church, we’re complimented on how well behaved they are.

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  1. 20


    I consider my house “clean” if there is no dogcrap on the floor (the one thing that is IMMEDIATELY cleaned up and the floor gets mopped, because, yeah. Ew.), and I’ve vacuumed this month.

    And I have teenagers.

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  2. 24

    Shannon says

    This was hilarious. I have five kids, and I feel your pain. I have trained them to get their dishes to the sink, and clean up the living room every night before bed, so I have one less thing to look at while I’m zoned out in front of the TV once they finally go to sleep. My two teenagers have dish and laundry duty. I told them since they out number me, they need to do their share. Thanks for the laugh.

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