Be honest, do you remember if your house was clean when you were 2? Of course you don’t. You remember going to the park or the beach. This is what I wanted for my kiddos. Although, as much as you don’t remember your house being dirty when you were 2, I bet your mom does.
From the outside, most think that because I am a stay-at-home mom, my house should always be sparkling, my laundry always neatly folded, and dinner is on the table at 5:30 sharp. After all, I’m home all day long – what else could I possibly be doing? These outsiders have no idea. There are some days that it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. I sometimes feel it would be easier if I did work and the kids were out of he house all day. No one to throw cheese on the floor, no dishes to be done throughout the day, and I wouldn’t be spending my day constantly trying to putting children down for naps. Now, don’t get me wrong. Being home all day is a gift horse I will never look in the mouth. It was a very hard decision for me because I loved my job and actually had gotten a promotion while on maternity leave. I didn’t want to leave, but I knew that my most important job now was raising my kids. If I was still working, none of this would really be as much of a problem. We could still afford to have the house cleaned every other week. Coming home to your house smelling so clean is something that I miss. Being on 1 income, we decided that it was more important to spend that money on the kids in the form of music class, clothes, and outings rather getting our house cleaned.
With 2 kiddos on the move, it’s always something. Amelia is walking now and every little thing that is on the floor is food to her. She puts literally everything in her mouth. On the other hand, nothing ever gets into Connor’s mouth. He is so much on the move that things just fall everywhere. I felt that I was constantly saying how gross our house was or that something needed to be cleaned. It seemed to get worse and worse every day. No matter what we tried, we couldn’t get ahead and everything was always dirty. After having a few weeks like this, I was determined to change things. I could no longer deal with spending a whole day doing nothing but laundry because hadn’t done it in 2.5 weeks and no one in the house had clean underwear (this was only exacerbated by potty training – read about that here.) I was tired of spending my precious evening hours with my whole family cleaning the kitchen because it looked like we had just served Thanksgiving meal to an army. I couldn’t stand the thought of spending my time on Saturday morning with my head in the toilet because it had gotten to the point of looking like it belonged in a boys locker room.
I was DONE!!!!!
My mother always tells me that she would get up on Saturday morning and happily clean the whole house and do laundry. I am NOT my mother by any means. She is a neat freak with boundless energy to clean even being in her 60s. I find no joy in cleaning something that is just going to get dirty again, sometimes before I have even finished cleaning it! But, I had to do something because I could no longer live in filth (I mean I wasn’t living in squalor, but it was close) I decided that I needed a plan. I scoured the internet looking for stuff. I had heard about a website called Fly Lady and decided to do something similar. The main premise of her website is a daily task in the morning and at night to help things in your house from getting out of hand. I know that you are thinking…wow she is really stupid if she didn’t think of this sooner. To be honest, I felt a little stupid too not doing something like this earlier. Better late than never right?
So I made my own weekly/weekend/monthly calendar. I thought about what I needed to be done every to keep the house running (and keep our bottoms in clean undies) and put those weekly. I also figured out what needed to be done often, but not every week. I spread those things out over the month. Lastly, I googled some yearly cleaning guides to figure out what should be done 1 or 2 times a year (think windows or going through the medicine cabinet for expired things) I printed it out and hung it in the kitchen so that everyone could see it. Mainly the everyone that I am talking about is my husband. He always makes fun of me because I always start out with an awesome idea, do it for like a week, then move on to the next idea in my head. There are very few things that I really stick with. (he did say the blogging would only last a couple weeks but we are on 8+ weeks; so there!)
I knew that I needed something to make me accountable. Weirdly enough, I found an app that will keep yelling at me until I say that I have completed the task. It’s called Clean My House. You put in all your tasks by day of week and if they repeat. It bothers you every day until you complete it. I took my chart and added the weekly and weekend things into the app. Now everyday at 12:30 (during nap time) I get yelled at to do something. I started this the first week in July and now 6 weeks later, I am still going strong. When the kids are being good (rare) I look at the calendar and see if there is something that I can do so I can be ahead. Who knew that an app yelling at me daily would kick my butt in gear!
I thought that I could manage trying to do it all myself. I couldn’t. I needed help. Not from anyone in particular really, I just needed something to keep my on my toes. I also needed something so that my husband knew what needed to be done. When he would ask, I would be so overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done, I didn’t know where to start so I just said that I would handle it. I also had to learn to be happy with the way that he did something. It might not be the way I would do it or it might take him 20 min longer, but it got done and it was clean. That was really all I could ask for!
If you made a calendar, let me know in the comments….or show me a picture! I would love to see what you did.