Friday, August 24, 2012

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Do Your Share

I like things to be clean and neat.  I like the sense of accomplishment of a clean house, strolling through my sparkly, bleach-scented rooms, going into bedrooms and bathrooms and inhaling the fresh, clean air, gazing at straightened up surfaces and knowing that they will stay like that for a while.


I hate cleaning. 

In between rare phases of avoiding housework at all costs, I keep a cleaning schedule so that it never gets away from me and I find myself wasting an entire weekend scraping an inch of dust off of every surface.  So that means that each week, some time must be spent cleaning the house.

A while ago I hit a wall where I resented staying home all day and cleaning up everyone else’s messes; after all, I am just as educated and able to have a career as anyone else.  I stay home while my husband goes to work because that works best for us.

But that doesn’t mean he gets away with not having to clean either.  After all, that's his pee on the floor around the toilet.

My children have been old enough for a while now to wield a dust cloth by themselves and can actually do a good job.  None of this my two-year-old “helps” me clean crap.  We all know that if your toddler is helping you clean, you’re the one doing it.  I’m talking about kids who are able to spray some Pledge on a rag and make a wood finish shine like the top of the Chrysler building.

Which may or may not shine, but that’s beside the point.

There are four people in this house who are capable of cleaning whatever that sticky stuff is all over the floor.  I pointed this fact out to my family at the most important family meeting that I have ever conducted in my entire life.  I also mentioned that it would take us one hour to do a job that takes me four hours to do, and that all the dirt in the house belongs to all of us.  They all reluctantly agreed while I tried not to think about how many years they took advantage of my slight compulsive tendencies.

I proposed that we clean on Saturdays when everyone is home.  There are certain jobs to do, and we can rotate them according to whichever one I want to do that week.
And as with every other dictate that I have laid down for my family, there was resistance.

From everyone at first, but eventually they all came around and resigned themselves to family clean-up day, except for my son, who has perfected the craft of avoiding and putting off his cleaning day tasks like no other wily beast I’ve seen.
Yay Cleaning Day!  JAZZ HANDS!
I hate cleaning more than
not having a smart phone.

Which is funny, because one year in school he was given a choice to keep one of his teacher’s books, and this is the one he selected:

Don't we all?


  1. Thanks for the great ideas and I will let my family know during the meeting where I got them from ;-) Jazz hands :) No smart phone :(

    1. Jazz hands were spontaneous in my family unit, but they might have to be encouraged in others. I would suggest starting with one minute of jazz hands per cleaning session, then add more time with each additional session. Eventually you will achieve continual positive results from cleaning day. Good luck!!

  2. That book choice is hysterical. And yes, everybody knows the toddler helper is nothing more than a gremlin to make the job harder and make it take longer. I'm happy if mine plays quietly in the same room while I get stuff done. Although she did a bang-up job organizing her sock drawer yesterday...maybe there is hope. :)

    1. Get her to do your sock drawer next. Pay her in M&Ms, and you'll never have to do it again.

      That book has a flip side. It is "I want to be an Airline Hostess." :)