Friday, May 20, 2011

Me and keeping a house clean

I'm such a fantastic house keeper.  My husband is so blessed to have me for a wife because I do such a great job keeping our house tidy and clean!  Said someone who is not me and who clearly does NOT have four small children walking (or crawling) behind her to re-create the mess she just picked up.

For years I have tried my hardest to get and keep our home clean.  I struggled as a child and a teenager at keeping my bedroom clean.  I hated cleaning the rest of the house every Saturday morning too.  Cleaning was something that I somehow learned to hate and dread.  Around about the time I was pregnant with Squirrel monkey someone online mentioned to me Flylady.  I headed on over to check out what she had to offer and what she had to offer was a TON of invaluable wisdom for someone like me.  A SHE.  Sidetracked Home Executive.  And Sidetracked I am. 

You might be a SHE too if you: go to the kitchen to unthaw the meat for dinner and on the way out of the living room grab the dirty laundry hamper, but halfway through the dining room see some dirty dishes that need to go in the dishwasher, set down the dirty laundry hamper near the table, grab the dishes, which end up on the kitchen counter when you see that someone left their shoes in the middle of the kitchen floor and pick them up to put them away and end up in the bathroom where you sit them down to empty the overflowing trash, but after you empty the trash into the bigger kitchen trash you leave the smaller trash can on the kitchen counter and glancing up into the laundry room realize you NEED to get a load of laundry in, you head back to find the hamper you abandoned 30 minutes ago.  Get what I'm saying?  Needless to say 5pm rolls around and the meat you MEANT to defrost is still solidly in the freezer, the dishes on the counter, the shoes in the bathroom, the bathroom trash can in the kitchen, etc.  It's not pretty.  I know.  I live it.

For some people it's hard for them to have any grace or compassion for people like me because they don't understand how we could possibly forget to get the meat out.  These people are Born Organized.  In my mind they are SUPER lucky people.  They just naturally know how to do their tasks through to completion in a logical manner.  They would NEVER leave the bathroom trash can on the kitchen counter, THEY would never allow shoes to be left in the kitchen in the first place.  They're so lucky.  Or maybe not.  Clearly I'm not born organized.  Anyone who knows me will loudly tell you that.  But I have been trying.  Trying to complete one task before moving onto to another.  Trying to take the meat out of the freezer right away when I think of it.  Trying to teach my children to clean naturally as a course of the day rather than in one big chunk of dreaded time.  Trying to help them to NOT hate cleaning.  Perhaps my NOT being born organized is the key to actually teaching my children to clean.  My mom is Born Organized.  So she always had a hard time not understanding that this stuff doesn't just come naturally to my mind.  So perhaps my being a SHE is a blessing - to my children if not to myself.

A few weeks ago my wonderful KOJ helped me (along with the boys) to clean our first floor.  It wasn't perfect but it was pretty clean for MY house.  Ask my mom, she came over the next day.  And for two weeks I stayed on top of it.  I wasn't cleaning every minute of every day and neither were the kids, BUT and this is HUGE for us SHE's - we were picking up after ourselves as we went along through the day.  If I saw a pair of shoes I directed the owner of the shoes to come put them away himself.  If there were dirty clothes again the owner was asked to put them where they belong.  We've been teaching the boys to clear their plates/bowls from the table when they are done eating.  I have been employing the boys to empty the dryer into a hamper while I'm doing something else so changing over the laundry from the washer to dryer is a simpler process for me.  I ask whomever is nearby at the time to take the kids' dishes and put them away in the bin where they go.  My oldest can help put away the silverware.  And for two weeks my home was clean, the floor was swept, the carpets vacuumed, and the table cleared off in between meals.  And for two weeks I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction and pride.  I felt like all of the stuff I'd read in articles and flylady e-mails was finally sinking in and having lasting affects on my home.  Then I got sick.  Things got left undone.  And NOW two weeks later the house is a total wreck again.

But something is different this time.  This time I don't feel discouraged.  I don't feel that I'm a failure.  I feel that once in a while life gets overwhelming and things get behind but if we work together as a family and make it fun we have proven that we can get the the house clean and keep it that way.

Besides while the downstairs has been having issues I somehow managed to finally clean the entire landing and organize my office area so the upstairs is clean and peaceful and I love going up to my desk while the kids play in their room. 

So I declared to KOJ last night that he won't be returning to work on Monday until our home is back in order so that I can go back to maintaining the clean instead of swimming upstream in a current of messy men/boys.

And on that note, I'm going to go upstairs now and empty the two laundry hampers of outgrown/out of season clothes and put them away in the bins where they belong.  Then I will have hampers for the dirty laundry once again.

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