I have a few friends that are new parents and each one shares the same trait, the cleaning trait, which means there’s never a thing out of place, surfaces are always spick and span, windows are always gleaming and the house always looks like it’s a show home.
While the baby is small this may be easy to maintain, yet it does make me wonder how much fun baby will have when he or she starts walking and playing.
The few clean freaks I’ve seen that insist on 100% cleanliness despite their child being 2 or 3 are constantly stressed out. They always have a cloth in their hands, they wash cups before they’re finished with, they only allow one toy at a time out and the child is never allowed messy food such as Rice Krispies.
Of course there’s no right and wrong but while many may admire their ability to keep the home clean, a social worker actually told me something very interesting.
When social workers assess couples for adoption or fostering children, or visit families at home due to some other reason, they also assess the house too.
If children are already in the home they see if there are sheets on the beds and clean clothes available but they’ll also make notes if the place is too clean. Apparently, if a parent has time to clean to a spotless degree, they are either
a) Neglecting their child while they do it or
b) Hampering the child’s development by placing them in a suppressive environment that promotes cleanliness over relaxation, family time and fun.
Keeping a home spotlessly clean is not a task a toddler can ever hope to achieve and so they feel like a failure for doing nothing wrong.
There is a happy medium, and obviously needs must be met, as dirty and unhygienic surroundings are not an ideal place to play. Clean clothes, bedding, and furniture are a must, clutter free floors are not.
So next time you get playdoh stuck to the carpet, your counter is full of flour because baby wanted to “help” or you find chocolaty fingerprints on the door, congratulate yourself on being the mum who lets their little ones grow.