Are you too busy for chores because of your kids? Or are you too busy for your kids because of chores?

When you think of orderliness, one tends to think of clean lines, polished appliances, uncluttered spaces. We think about how we keep everything straightened up and aesthetically appealing, don’t we?

I’m here, however, to go against the grain and say that the most important form of orderliness, when it comes to parenting, at least, is to maintain the order of one’s priorities.

And, I say: above the state of your house—above all those tiny “I’ll just clean this” or “I’ll just pick up this” statements that turn into hour-long cleaning sprees—your top priority should be your children.

In other words, let the house get a little messy.

Let the clothes pile up in the hampers. Let the toys lay strewn across the floor. Let the dishes sit in the sink for a few hours.

Let your kids see you engaging with them, instead of with the house around them.

The dishes can wait; the laundry can wait; the vacuuming can wait—but your kids will only be this small once.

You will only be able to watch them master that puzzle or tell you a fantastic story or climb that big slide while they’re right here in front of you.

For how long can you spend the afternoons walking hand-in-hand, talking about the birds and trees and squirrels?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this from the pit of despair, surrounded by mountains or laundry and dishes and toys: I need a certain level of cleanliness and order to maintain my sanity, too. Are you going to have to give up precious play time for chores? Of course.

My point, though, is that chores shouldn’t be your top priority.

Chores are never-ending. Moments with your children are fleeting.

Take a look at your priorities and ask yourself: “Am I putting chores above my children?”

If the answer is, “yes,” it may be time to take another look your priorities.

Because when you look back on this time, you won’t remember the hours you spent sweeping. You’ll remember the hours you spent laughing.

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