Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time at Home Tuesday: Doing the Dirty Work

I'd have to say that the bane of my existence is housework. I have so many other things that I'd rather be doing - so many! But, alas, it must be done. I really don't want my house looking like the ones you see on reality TV shows like Clean House, Hoarders, or whatever other ones are out there. We don't actually have cable, so I'm not sure if those are actually shows - but you know which ones I'm talking about. So unfortunately, the housework must be done. Oh, and just to clarify, that is NOT my house. That's from some TV show called "How Clean is Your House?"
Before my son was born, I was really good at cleaning. I would set aside one night a week to do the bigger cleaning jobs (bathroom, vacuuming, etc). Usually I did it because I was bored and because my husband was at work anyway. But once I got pregnant, things started to change. I had less energy, I couldn't move around as well, etc. I could list lots of excuses! But that's exactly what they are - excuses.

One of my biggest pet peeves concerning housework is that it just keeps getting dirty again! I finish doing dishes (no dishwasher here) and 10 minutes there's another pile of dishes starting. I pick up the clothes and start laundry and an hour later my husband's underwear is laying on the bathroom floor, AGAIN! I've given up on folding my son's clothes, because his daily routine includes pulling them out and strewing them about the floor. Do you see where I'm going here?

So, one of my goals has been to be a better housekeeper. But I don't like to see myself as a "housekeeper." That makes me feel like Alice on The Brady Bunch. And even though they treated her well, thinking of myself as that kind of housekeeper makes me despise keeping my house clean. I also don't like to think of myself as having chores to do. That brings back some not so fond childhood memories about chore charts and such.

So, I'm not a housekeeper and I'm not doing chores. I am simply choosing to have a clean house! And I'm starting small and involving my son. One of the things I want to pass on to my children is the ability to clean. Not OCD cleanliness, just the ability to recognize messes and clean them up. Frankly, that isn't my husband's strong point and I don't want THAT trait to be passed on to my children.
So, small steps! Here's what I do to make my life a little easier, and cleaner.
Everyday, my son and I do dishes together. He LOVES being able to "help" and play in the water and I love making him happy. So seeing him happy is a motivator for me. We've been doing this for about a month or so now, and he's even started asking to do them. If we haven't done them by the time 3 or 4pm rolls around, he starts asking about, "help didtes." He knows that we pull the chair up to sink and he gets various dishes (clean, of course) with which he can play. So far, this method has been successful in keeping my sink and my kitchen, in general, cleaner. I'd say out of the last 30 days, we've only missed maybe 5 days. And those are usually because we've been too busy. What I love the most is not having piles of dishes to wade through. Dishes have always been my most hated cleaning job. Even before I got pregnant, I'd have a sink full of dishes. As sick as it sounds, I'd just gotten used to washing a few dishes when I needed them. You know, pull a few dirty ones out of the sink and clean them? Don't try to tell me you've never done that before.

Also, I use my son's bath time to straighten up the bathroom. I've got to be in the bathroom anyway, so why not make good use of my time. Of course, I also occasionally use this time to pluck my eyebrows or read a magazine. I don't use any of the really smelly cleaners while he's in the bathroom, but it helps keep my bathroom more tidy!

We don't have a playroom, so toys are usually scattered about the house during the day. But, I make sure that they're picked up and put away before my son goes to bed. I love being able to walk out of his room and hear the sound of silence and see a clean floor. I despise waking up in the morning and seeing the same mess that was there when I went to bed.

So, I'm slowly getting back into my routine of cleaning. I don't want cleaning to over take my life, but I want to be able to welcome people into my home without doing the mad cleaning dash. To be honest, I'd rather know that I've spent my time playing with my child(ren) than cleaning. I've always heard that kids remember the time you spent with them, not how clean your house was.
What do you do to help minimize your time spent cleaning? Do you have any tips to make cleaning easier?

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