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Cleaning to Sanitize vs. Cleaning for Appearance

I had the time and energy to clean the house today. While I was shuffling through and bouncing from room to room, I realized something. I don’t clean the same way I did before my son was born. I used to go from room to room top to bottom and do everything at once. One room had to be completely cleaned before I moved to the next. It’s like night and day.

Now I clean the biggest mess first. The toddler had a massive vomit episode in the kitchen. I guess it’s time to vacuum and mop the hardwood floor. We’ve had a vomiting episode in the bedroom. Time to vacuum and wash the bedroom carpet. Every once in a while I’ll get a chance to take care of something that isn’t related to our son. For example, today I cleaned the bathroom! It would be way too embarrassing to admit how long it’s been since that happened. I can’t remember the last time I was able to enjoy a completely clean house.

Instead of cleaning to make the house look good, the priority is now sanitation. It doesn’t matter how many toys are piled up in the living room. If some liquid drains out of the raw meat in the fridge, the fridge is getting cleaned first. For parents of special needs or medically complex children, I highly recommend this approach. Sometimes it’s hard to let the comments go when people mention how cluttered things are, or how much of a mess something is because you haven’t gotten to it in a while. Rest assured, you’re the one with your priorities in the correct order. Your critic simply doesn’t understand.

The reality is my child can’t afford to get sick because of something I wasn’t able to clean up quickly enough. If that means I don’t get the decor properly dusted (or the bathroom cleaned when I’d like it to be), then so be it.

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