Monday, January 11, 2010

Domestic Help

I just finished reading "The Help" (affiliated link). It was such a great book! I couldn't put it down and stayed up way to late too many days in a row. It's about domestic help and the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the 60's. It's a world that I totally can't understand or imagine living in. However I can't discuss it anymore because MaryMac will be reviewing it for her Sunday Book Club in March and since I pretend that bloggers who have made it (like her) read my blog I don't want to ruin it for her.

It did get me thinking about other, more domestic things. Well that and all these recent posts on cleaning and laundry that I have been reading about, specifically Jen's cleaning schedule.

See Housekeeping and domesticness (which spell check tells me is NOT a word but I'm going to use anyway) is not my best quality. It's not that I Don't want a clean and organized house that makes everyone ooh and ahh, I am just not good at it.

For one, I am so not organized. I mean I look organized and some things are organized you should see the photos on my computer, totally organized! My closet? Organized by sleeve length and then rainbow order. Socks, same thing. But cleaning? Laundry? When the floor is sticky or my son has no socks left, that's when. I mean Jen has a schedule, a cleaning schedule! I can't even do my laundry on the same day every week!

I have tried, it's just I don't get a whole lot of joy out of cleaning especially with two children and a man child. Seriously I will spend the day cleaning something and than I just sit in the room and freak out at every person that drops something without putting it where it belongs. I mean how hard is it to HANG YOUR COAT UP? We many not have a proper entry with coat closet but the one we have is 20 feet from the chair you just dropped your coat on!

Than there is the deep cleaning. If I manage to keep up with the crumb monsters and keep the place neat it's not good enough, I still need to scrub the wood floors, or the white stove/sink/fridge. I think I hate cleaning so much because it's a never, never, never ending process. Unless I duck tape my kids to the wall and fuel myself with 6 pots of coffee scrubbing the house form top to bottom in one day there is never a moment where I can sit down and be, ahh....done a clean house.

When I had my second child we were in a two bedroom apartment, had two cats and all wood floors. During the middle of a PPD breakdown about how there was no way I could keep up with two kids, no sleep and so many obligations I brainwashed convinced hubby to get a bi-monthly cleaning lady. I loved them, it's been 15 months (whose counting!) since I have seen them and I miss them more and more. They were not from a big service, those are never as affordable or as good. They came in and in 2-3 hours had my flours, counters, greasy top of the fridge were gleaming! It was a strange experience for me the first few times, I felt like a lazy and messy slob. But it was bliss! When we moved, in exchange for a bigger house (and more floors!) I had to give up my cleaning ladies. Anyone want me to review a cleaning service? Anyone?

So now I am in 2 playgroups and need to host a group of children every other, or every three weeks. I also spent ALL WEEKEND cleaning the house form top to bottom (and I'm not done!). The whole family was helping but I still thought, okay there has got to be a better way! I just need to figure out what it is! There has to be a happy medium between spending all day cleaning and spending Friday's washing baseboards and windows.

See i want a clean enough house. I want a house that is clean enough to have people over. Clean enough that I am not embarrassed about, that I can walk through it and it doesn't stress me out. However I don't want ti so clean that I won't let the kids play anywhere but in a confined space for fear it will be dirty. I don't want to miss time snuggling or playing or having spontaneous tickle parties** because I am scrubbing baseboards (honestly I do this when I am washing the floor, on every other blue moon!).

So I am actually going to take some tips from Jen, because she is way less intimidating than the FlyLady, and try some sort of schedule thing. But not nearly as serious as hers, baby steps. My goals for this week are to:

  • Sort the mail as it comes in (I generally toss the junk right away, but the rest sits on my desk)
  • Control the pre-school clutter- paper projects etc. by taking care of it like the mail when it comes in
  • Clean the kitchen/dishes every night
  • Do a family 10-15 minute pick-up every night*
*This has worked great with the kids for cleaning up their toys, I am going to make hubby and me get involved too! Maybe we will start to tackle the overwhelming, paper stuffed, so embarrassing if it wasn't the only way to the bathroom the door would also be closed office (sorry for the MAJOR run on K.OH)

Phew, I am both energized and tired at the same time, but I need to go. I have two hours until playgroup gets here and I need to sweep, vacuum and make my office look less like a disaster!

**EDITORIAL NOTE: Not that I think Jen, or anyone else that keeps a schedule is ignoring their children to clean. It's just that when I start a task, like washing the floors, I can't stop until it is down. It is a character flaw all my own. So if I were to stick to a schedule my children would certainly get ignored while I finished it!

{image from Thomas-Price catalog}


Nicole said...

Just stopped by from SITS to say hi and read your blog! I love this one about cleaning. I don't have any kids (yet) but my husband can be messy and I do what you do, get things "clean enough". One thing that I wish I could clean more would be the kitchen floor and the oven, (including the top of the oven). I really need to do that this week actually! I think the list idea is a great one. I do tend to sort mail when it comes as I'm walking in, vacuum once every 2 weeks (that should be once a week) and put dishes in dishwasher every night or in the early mornings. I'd love to make a list though, thanks for that idea! It seems like it would make things alot less complicated. thanks again! ps I'm following you now and off to check out the rest of your blog!

Unknown said...

Thanks for stopping by! My house is cleanest right before playgroup comes over!

Unknown said...

I am with you. Oh boy, am I with you. We got a bin for my 4 year old's preschool project because it was taking over my kitchen! One evening after day 512 of no sleep from my then 8 month old, I literally was in tears telling my husband the clutter had to stop. He came home with a bin the next day!

Thanks for visiting, and great blog! Happy Monday :)

Unknown said...

Yeah, I've tried the fly lady. And I can't even remember when my baseboards and windows were washed. My house must be filth. lol.

Kate said...

I hear ya... I would love to say my house is spotless, but it is not. I finally folded the kids laundry today only because ben has been wearing 2T pjs instead of me getting the clean laundry up to his room the past 2 nights (he wears 12-18mo). The only way my house could be as clean as I wanted it to be is if I didn't sleep at night and we all know how important sleep is for a mom!!

One day, when our kids are all grown up, maybe our houses will be clean... maybe.

Jennifer said...

Fly Lady is way too...much for me. I agree, a clean enough house is good enough. I have a schedule, but it's for my sanity. For others a schedule would drive them insane.