Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Housekeeping, It's About Mind Over Matter

Today I want to talk a little bit about housekeeping.  You know the vast ocean of work that needs to be done on a regular basis around the house.  It's never ending!  Seriously, I can do laundry all day long, every single day, doing nothing else and still never find the bottom of the laundry hamper.  Okay, that's probably not really true, but it sure feels that way.  I wish I was here to tell you that my home is peaceful and smells of cinnamon apples with harp music playing quietly in the background every single day, but I feel the need for full disclosure here.  Our house is loud and rowdy and smells like dog and burnt eggs much of the time.  If you dropped in unexpected before two in the afternoon on a weekend you'd probably find me in my pajamas binge watching something on Netflix with a 32 ounce or 44 ounce Sprite in hand.  That's probably not always true either.  Sometimes I have lots of errands to run.   And sometimes I watch regular TV instead.  I'm not good at housekeeping. 

Like, REALLY not good at it!  No joke.  I don't like it.   I know, I really don't fit the stereotypical LDS wife and mother.  I can't help it.  I just don't.  But, that doesn't mean I still don't try to fit in.  I want desperately to be like other women I see, I think I just need to try a little harder.  I think you know what I mean.  Years ago I recall a talk in our church's General Conference about a woman who prayed daily that she would learn to like housework.  There was more of a point to the message than that, but that's the practical message I took away from it.  I came home and I even tried that.  It didn't stick.  I've tried to focus on how much I enjoy serving my family while being a working mother then to come home and work even more, especially now that I feel most of the household responsibilities fall squarely on my shoulders since my husbands SCI.  That didn't work.  I've tried to be purely selfish and do it just for my own sanity because no one else would pitch in or do what I asked them to do.  You know how it is with teenage or adult children, sometimes a mother's voice gets tuned out completely.  I've tried waiting for someone else to do the house work.  I've tried paying my kids to do it.  I mean to do MY work in addition to their own choirs.  I've tried doing it first thing in the morning.  I've tried coming home on Friday nights and doing it so I could enjoy my weekends, but that just meant I spent the rest of the weekend trying to recover from staying up so darn late trying to get all the house work done in one night.  All of these options didn't work.  My kids joke and tease me that I always seem to want to do the housework late at night most days.  That's because that's when I have a chance to actually devote some time to it after working all day then coming home and taking care of dinner plus all the other errands and things I have to do each day.  Saving it for the end of the day didn't work either.  In fact, most nights I would inevitably think after the kids all complained, "I'll just wake up an extra 30 minutes and do it first thing in the morning.  I guess the jokes on me because that never worked, I'd always press the snooze on my alarm and wake up with just enough time to shower and get ready and out the door for work most mornings.  

To my surprise, I was much better about keeping up with the house cleaning when my kids were small.  I think then I felt like I was on the job twenty four hours a day.  Now that my kids are older it's tempting and really easy to "clock out" when they are gone.  But I came across a system on Pinterest the other day that claimed you could have a clean home in less than an hour a day, and I will be honest, my interest was piqued!  What you have to do is make a list of chores that need to be done on a daily basis...things like doing the dishes and picking up clutter, for instance, and then you spend 30 minutes a day getting those things done.  Then you go through each room of your house and list the tasks that need to be done for deep cleaning.  You know, things like dusting blinds, wiping down walls and doors, etc. and then you assign each room in your home a day of the week.  You then spend 15-30 minutes each day working on that days room.  I think this system works great if you have a small house like mine because you can hit every room every week.  If you have a larger house, you may have to do a two week long rotation, hitting each room twice a month then.   The best part about this system is that you don't have to do every job on your list for that day's room.  All you have to do is work for 15 minutes or so, do what you can, and then stop.  Then you can pick up where you left off the next time that room comes up in the rotation.  Easy cheesy, right??!!!

There are a couple of things I've noticed with this system.  First, you'll find you can have a CLEAN home in less than an hour a day, maybe not a spotless home, but clean non-the-less.  I'm okay with that.  Why, you say?  Well, lately I've felt like I couldn't get a handle on things around the house.  I was feeling overwhelmed and because of that I felt unappreciated and like I would never get a handle on things.  Now, I feel like I can do this.  Like this will work for me.  Second, I find that 30 minutes is not quite enough time for me to get my daily chores done, even if I get the kids to help out, because I have to clean certain areas like floors every single day.  BUT, I can also break it up and do ten minutes here and there, rather than doing it all at once so it kind-of feels like no time at all.  Third, I need to find a way to work laundry into the mix because I still can't get a handle on that....it's never ending!

Over all, I think this may be something I can do long-term.  Yippee!  So, I made up a couple of lists that I'm trying out.  I've made up a separate note card for the daily tasks, and then another for each day of the week.  The weekend gets its own card.  I'm a visual person and the cards will keep me on task and give me a point of reference to review and refer to as I go.

I've prayed about this.  No, I didn't pray to learn to like housekeeping again.  This time I prayed to find a system that will work for our family.  My goal truly is to make sure my home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility where my whole family can renew themselves in body and spirit.  After all, isn't that the way HOME is suppose to feel anyway?  I think so.  Enough said.

I found a couple quotes about housework that put a smile on my face and I thought they might do the same for you.  Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.

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Image result for housework - put a few get well cards on the coffee table...

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