If you're on social media regularly, chances are that you've seen many articles about how spending time with your kids is more important than having a clean house. After all, they're only little once and will remember the memories, not the condition of your house- right? While that's true to a certain extent, giving up on cleaning altogether while your kids are awake is unrealistic- especially if they're home with you all day every day.
What the authors of those articles don't realize is that cleaning is another part of caring for children. Taking care of the home they live in is just as important as playing with them, or cooking their meals. If you don't do the dishes, how will you feed them? If you don't do the laundry, how will you clothe them? If you don't pick up after them or do the sweeping, they'll spend more time tripping over stuff than playing. Not only that, but letting bad bacteria grow in your home isn't helping anyone. (Click here for the health benefits of cleaning your home.)
The argument amongst social media is that cleaning should be done in the evenings when the kids are asleep. But the issue with that is that- whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a working parent- you're exhausted by the end of the day. You've already worked for several hours, and now have to work well into the night to keep up with the day's worth of chores. Doing all that will make for one extra exhausted mom (or dad). When you're overworked and pouring from an empty cup, you're not doing your kids any favors. Instead, take 10 minutes while they play or do on their homework to clean dishes or do laundry so that once they're asleep, you can take a minute to truly breathe and relax.
In addition, kids should have a general understanding of how a household functions. Raising children who never see their mom or dad do any cleaning will leave them to think that the house gets cleaned on its own. If your kids are older and you only see them in the evenings, there's nothing wrong with going between spending time with them and doing what needs to be done to run the household. Include the children in the chores to not only teach them responsibility, but to spend time together as well. Make it fun! Cleaning doesn't always have to be something to dread, or a time where you can't take a second to fool around.
While it may sound nice in theory, devoting all your time to your children teaches them dependence. In other words, it teaches kids that they always need you in order to be entertained. Let them develop their imagination and give them some alone time because that's something we all need. Finding a balance between household duties and quality time with your kids is essential for a happy home. Most importantly, you should never feel guilty for cleaning instead of playing with your children- unless you never play with your children. The truth is that cleaning is a part of life; and finding that balance will teach kids essential life skills while maintaining a healthy environment for them to grow in.