House Cleaning With Two Toddlers: A How-To

Disclaimer: Its not actually possible to deep clean your home with two toddlers in tow. Therefore it is wise to do small things every day as part of a cleaning routine. However, if you are forced to clean up the whole house in one day here’s how I do it. (My kids make big messes every day so I’m always cleaning.)

  • First, I recommend taking a thirty minute break or so, just to mentally prepare yourself for task(s) ahead.
  • Set the kids up with some screen time if you allow it. I am trying to keep screen time to a minimum so I let them play in their mountain of toys until I’m ready to tackle that room, which is the living room and the main part of my house. It never looks like I’ve done anything until the absolute end. Ugh.
  • Change diapers and give snacks (no chips!! Those end up smashed into the carpet) right before beginning.
  • Turn on some music or use your headphones. Try listening to an ASMR video while cleaning. It might change your world.
  • Walk around a bit or stand amidst the mess and just marvel at it for a moment. The popcorn on the floor, the window that’s smeared with something, the sticky habdprints on the fridge door. Resist the urge to quit before you even start – sometimes the hardest part.
  • Follow this order to a degree: kitchen first (I usually wipe the kitchen down before bed so that its easier to clean up after breakfast. It doesn’t always get done though. Pick up all garbage and take it out. Wash dishes and put away. Start a load of laundry. Fold those clothes on your “clothing chair” (I know you have one). Put folded clothes away and dust. Change sheets after spraying shower and toilets with cleaner. Wash glass surfaces, wipe down and clean toilets/bathroom(s), and sweep. I also have to vacuum. Then, mop or swiffer.

Some Tips

  • Check on the kiddos often! While you scrub the toilet they could be coloring on your couch or something.
  • Keep them in the room with you if you can and encourage them to help with picking up their toys or dusting the coffee table.
  • Accomplish one task (or room) and give yourself a pat on the back. Take a cofee, tea, or Red Bull break and get back to work before you decide to give up.
  • Pro tip: always multi-task and never leave a room empty-handed!

Good luck! I’m off to vacuum up some of those chips I was talking about.

Lessening Screen Time With Sergio

Day 6 was a success! Sergio didn’t use the phone once, mainly because he didn’t have abuelita’s phone anymore. And also because I am loathe to give up my own phone so that he can look at YouTube.

Now, on day 7 we are making some real progress. The phone’s whereabouts have not been sought after and the hose is going full blast. (Indeed, a worm was just brought to me).

I’m not sure what the end goal will be for this trial. I’m not sure how much screen time my children will be allowed yet. And there are a lot of recommendations out there. I just want my children to have fun off the phone. I’m sure we’ll find a middle ground soon.

Or I hope so.

Lessening Screen Time With Sergio

Days 3 and 4 have been rough. I’ve won some battles and also lost a few. However, he had very little screen time on Day 3, even though when I awoke later than usual I found that my husband had already given him a phone.

Day 4 was full of arguments over the phone. By 9:00 a.m. Sergio was begging for the addictive device.

“It’s too early!” I told him.

Around 11:30 we went outside to play in the hose (an excellent tool for distracting children). Things went smoothly until the daily afternoon phone calls started coming in. Abuelita answered and tried speaking with a sibling of mine.

As my mother tried to speak on the phone Sergio became very loud, boisterous, and frankly, bratty. The phone call was cut short. Sergio asked for a cellphone. We caved.

Sergio promptly ran inside to sit on the couch with the phone, Marisol hot on his heels. Marisol likes to try and watch the phone with him but Sharing is not Sergio’s forte. I don’t mind that Sergio doesn’t share YouTube with Mari because she’s too young for it anyway. Soon she grew tired of Sergio’s stinginess and came back outside with myself and my mother.

While my mother, Marisol, and I gardened outside, Sergio watched his phone. We are always in and out eating snacks and such. Then, suddenly, at 7:15 p.m. (which is close to bedtime) Sergio came out onto the porch dancing and singing to a music video. Marisol carried a toy that sings Baby Shark (my. favorite. song.).

We all clapped and danced. I stubbed out my last cigarette of the day and hauled my ducklings off to bed.

As I laid next to my children in bed I started looking through my own phone. Then, from the darkness, came a little voice telling me to turn it off.

I smiled and did so. I guess we all need a reminder to turn it off once in a while.

Backyard Picnics Through COVID

Nice to Haves

  1. A rug that you don’t mind getting dirty
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Lunch (Today we cheated with McDonalds)
  5. Comfortable clothes (That’s why the baby lacks pants and shoes – in a bid to keep her cooler)
  6. Music or videos to entertain
  7. A thankful and positive attitude
  8. Nice weather (LOL)

However you picnic in your backyard I’m sure you’ll have all of the necessities. Just have fun.

On-Ramps

Skuuuurrrrrrrr.

I’ve just slammed on the brakes. We’re on the shoulder of the on-ramp. You’ve just asked if I was sure I wasn’t trying to hurt my children. You’ve just given me that wide-eyed, what-kind-of-woman-is-this look that I’ve seen over and over again since the incident.

No, no, you’re not getting out this time. It seems you don’t know enough about postpartum yet. So we’re gonna talk about it, symptom by symptom. I just don’t want to see that look again. And no, I never intended to hurt my children. I was in a state of confusion and, though we went for a rough walk, I kept us all together and got in the cop car, went to the hospital, and have done what I am supposed to do.

I’ve read a lot of stories, done some research, talked to my doctors, and reflected enough for a lifetime. I know postpartum and look forward to helping others going through it. But let’s not give each other anymore weird looks, ok?

Vámonos. Let’s go.

Hospital Happenings

I told them that I must have smoked laced weed. That someone must have been putting something in my coffee. I felt drugged. I was manic, but that’s how it feels. My blood tests came back negative for everything besides a small amount of THC (I won’t lie to y’all and say I’m an angel). I’m sure that that news surprised at least one county cop, who my mother reports as having said that the truck “reeked” like alcohol. I try not to drink, and had not had a lick of liquor on the day of the incident.

They asked so many questions. And I asked for water a lot of times. They refused to let my mother see me, who might have been able to connect with me in a meaningful way, in a way that may have snapped me out of my delusions. But she spoke with a loud voice and, being extremely concerned, acted boisterous. A police officer asked her to leave at one point.

Critical decisions were made in those first minutes of my involvement with the hospital and DCFS. I was suffering from a rare condition, one that affects about 1-2 women out of 1,000 births, according to the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health, yet they decided to take my children into their care. My husband, who arrived later, was not given custody because of his “work schedule.” I hope you can read between the lines here.

As for giving the children to other family members, they decided not to – probably basing their decisions off delusions I reported to them involving family members. Because I was very paranoid about everyone around me and had many delusions involving those close to me. Mistrusting those around you is a common theme I found in my research of postpartum psychosis. But they didn’t have to take my delusions as the word of god.

Now my children are trying to adapt to another home, are learning their ABC’s without me, and struggling to crawl in a daycare center.

So am I an alligator? Not just yet.

On the Road Again

Cat got your tongue? 🙂 I know. What do you say to that story? Most people have heard about women doing crazy things to their children postpartum (I’m not researching that stuff right now but you can go for it). So there’s a stigma. Stigmas can’t be changed overnight. I can only relay my experiences. So put your seat belt on and let’s go. I’m not done.

Post Partum Psychosis

Post partum pyshcosis is an acute but terrifying condition that is caused by childbirth. This post is not to diagnose or treat. If you are feeling depressed with a new baby, or are having irrational thoughts, or thoughts of harming yourself or others seek medical help right away.

I suffered from post partum psychosis and on one of the last days of August of this year, I was found to be delusional and manic which resulted in a nine day hospitalization. My children were taken from me and my husband has turned on me. The most recent events of this summer will be shared, in due time, and to the best of my ability.

Ready to be a little scared? Cause I want to show you the scary reality of delusions, separation, mental health, and marriage discourse. I hope to illustrate the pain of post partum motherhood for you.

I will start with this little mental image of what I currently feel: I feel like I’m stuck in a spider’s web that I didn’t see coming as I rounded the corner of the house. Like the spider web is clinging to my face, nose, cheeks, throat. Like it’s in my hair. But I must have the patience to pull off each silky strand, examine it, and release it into the breeze. Or it will never get off. And, I think, there’s already a spider on top of me.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering with their mental health please seek treatment. And I will be updating this post with the information of national or local entities that help with mental illness. If you know of some good ones, drop a comment with the info. Thank you.