Clutter-Free Parenting: Managing Expectations and Compassion

Clutter-Free Parenting: Managing Expectations and Compassion

clutter-free parenting

I can just hear you now: “Clutter-free” and “parenting” in the same sentence? For real?

Well, not so fast. Clutter-free parenting is not a one-and-done proposition. When my children were little, I took delight in the nice, neat shelves in my basement, holding up totes clearly marked with clothing sizes. I was also Y2K ready (dating myself here), and had organized shelving stocked fully with massive quantities of food for pending disaster, enough to feed a small country. Yes, some of you are judging me right now while others are in awe.

Okay, so I have my skeletons in the closet of overdoing things when it comes to organization. I readily admit that maybe, just maybe, my focus on being clutter-free and organized bordered on being a little neurotic. Notice the past tense in that last sentence.

Clutter-free parenting as your kids grow older

Making five little people do their chores was stressful, but it does not compare with four college kids who all have jobs and school and a creative twelve-year-old who reenacts Curious George episodes again and again. Somehow the college “adult” status has a built-in entitlement that they just simply cannot do chores nor participate in the clutter-free schooling environment of days gone by.

A little background might help here. I home-educated all of my children all the way through. Yep. I am one of those. I delighted in purchasing books – LOTS of them – and organizing it all. Until … Until our lives were interrupted by a tragedy that transformed our very existence.

Suddenly the pet peeves about clutter really did not matter anymore. Just making my kids happy, just surviving, just trying to maintain some level of cleanliness, that’s where my focus shifted.

Balancing compassion and expectations

The problem with that state of living is that if we aren’t careful, it becomes our new norm. Kids are smart and realize this. The compassionate heart of mommas can, um, enable their disobedient behavior with excuses. I confess I have done this many times. I rationalized in my brain that it was cruel to stress them out with the burden of having to actually chip in around the house. They had a past pain that somehow overruled maintaining a clutter-free zone.

Now I have four kids, all with jobs and in college. “I’m an adult now,” several of my children have informed me. I mused over what those words meant as college textbooks were scattered all over my dining room table, kitchen table, coffee table, well, actually EVERYWHERE! “Mom, I have to work.” “I don’t have time to rinse the plate off.” “Gotta go.” The enabling side of me felt compassionately that it was just too hard for them to be expected to do 5-10 minutes of chores. They were stressed. But then, so was I. I work too.

The climb back to a clutter-free zone with children is not completely victorious. We fail and sometimes give ourselves space and grace when times get really hectic. But we don’t stay there.

When I am tempted to feel guilty and mean about expecting children who live in our home to pitch in, I am reminded that allowing clutter to reign in our lives and in the lives of our children is actually not kind.

One Small Win: Holding kids accountable to a standard that fosters peace can set the foundation for their lives to be clutter-free in their mind and homes.

So to our children who are now young adults, my husband says, “You’re right – you’re an adult now . . . act like it!”

“A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel.” Proverbs 29:21

clutter-free parenting


Denise Pass is an author, CCM artist, worship leader and speaker from Fredericksburg, VA, where she lives with her amazing husband and five children. Denise is passionate about writing devotions and music that foster unshakable hope and healing in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Her ministry, Seeing Deep in a Shallow World seeks to be a compass grounded in Scripture and a place where real problems meet real, transparent faith and needed answers in Scripture.

You can read more about Denise’s ministry, Seeing Deep, over at www.denisepass.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Podcast #145-Deva Dalporto and Recapturing Joy in Your Daily Life!

Podcast #145-Deva Dalporto and Recapturing Joy in Your Daily Life!

Aunthenticity

ListenNowDoes your life (at times) feel so challenging that you just want to crawl into a corner and hide?

Today, we’re talking to Deva Dalporto of YouTube fame.  Yes, she’s the real woman behind the series of parody videos that you see on Facebook all the time.  She’s the mom behind What Does the Kid Say?, My Lips are Movin’ and her brand new Back-to-School Rap.  Listen in and find camaraderie in the fact that:

  • Housekeeping is hard.
  • Parenting is hard.
  • Kids are hard.
  • Life balance is hard.
  • But there are millions of other moms out there who feel just like you do right now.  And maybe, just maybe if you step back and allow yourself to find joy in the big and the little, that burden will be eased.

Listen in and find out how you can recapture the joy in your day-to-day life, then click over to Deva’s YouTube Channel to watch her hilarious parody videos and add a little laughter to your day.