In the spirit of making do with less, one of the things that has fallen by the wayside is hiring a professional to come in and clean the apartment. It’s a really nice perk, but one we seem to be surviving without. Of course it does mean that we have to find the time to actually do the cleaning and we don’t get to experience that miraculous feeling of walking in the door and finding the floors sparkly, the porcelain gleaming and everything smelling faintly of ammonia. So, in my quest for balance, where does cleaning the apartment fit in with keeping up with a toddler, vigilant nursing of a newborn and trying to maintain a business and home. Answer, it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day, most everything has found it’s way back to where it belongs, my amazing amazing amazing husband manages to clean the kitchen every night, the laundry gets done once a week – and maybe the sheets get changed, the trash goes out every day, but there’s always something left undone. I have never been much of one for housekeeping, clutter makes me crazy, piles make me nuts, so while I can straighten things to death, don’t ask me to do the dishes and I’m a whiz at ignoring a dirty toilet.
A few years back we heard about the idea that if you and your partner each clean for 10 minutes a day, you will always have a neat house. This idea does not work. Okay, in theory, if you’re doing a massive cleaning once a week, then sure, 10 minutes a day of picking up around the house might work, but there’s that once a week deep cleaning. And so far, I haven’t figured out how to do this 1x a week clean with two kids in the house. As far as I can tell, diligent cleaning is almost impossible with a toddler. So I’m excited to try this new method I read about from the Work at Home Woman – the 22 minute house cleaning. LOVE IT.
Okay, I’m not saying that cleaning is awesome, but it needs to be done, living in this city, the dust alone that builds up on the furniture could kill you, and I can find 22 minutes a day to do these things (especially if Jeremy continues his commitment to the kitchen) and then if we put into the schedule, once a month, drop the kids at grandma’s and scrub the place down. We can do this. I think.
One final thought about housecleaning and then I swear I’ll post something fitness related – the other day Harry and I were listening to Free to Be, You and Me. When I was a kid, my mother mainlined this album for me. I remember my record had a chip on the edge and as long as we didn’t listen to the first couple of tracks, it worked fine. But, we were sitting in his room and it came on the pod (sidenote…when I was pg with Harry, I bought a Fisher Price record player because I don’t want him to think that music only comes out of a sleek white deck of cards looking thing, now to find some records) and there was Carol Channing talking about housework. I stopped building my Lego tower and flashed back to 8 years old. I guess all that listening I did as a kid actually sank in, because I realized there are so many lessons from this album that I hold true to my heart. It’s Okay to Cry, William Wants a Doll, Parents are People…but this Housekeeping one, boy howdy. It’s worth copying.
You know, there are times when we happen to be
Just sitting there, quietly watching TV,
When the program we’re watching will stop for a while
And suddenly someone appears with a smile,
And starts to show us how terribly urgent
It is to buy some brand of detergent,
Or soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
To help with the housework.
Now, most of the time it’s a lady we see,
Who’s doing the housework on TV.
She’s cheerfully scouring a skillet or two,
Or she’s polishing pots till they gleam like new,
Or she’s scrubbing the tub or she’s mopping the floors,
Or she’s wiping the stains from the walls and the doors,
Or she’s washing the windows, the dishes, the clothes,
Or waxing the furniture till it just glows,
Or cleaning the fridge or the stove or the sink,
With a light-hearted smile, and a friendly wink,
And she’s doing her best to make us think
That her soap, or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
Is the best kind of soap, or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach,
That there is in the whole wide world.
And, maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t,
And maybe it does what they say it will do,
But I’ll tell you one thing I know is true.
The lady we see when we’re watching TV,
The lady who smiles as she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans,
Or whatever she does on our TV screens,
That lady is smiling because she’s an actress,
And she’s earning money for learning those speeches
That mention those wonderful soaps and detergents and cleansers and cleaners and powders and pastes and waxes and bleaches.
So, the very next time you happen to be
Just sitting there quietly watching TV,
And you see some nice lady who smiles
As she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans,
Remember, nobody smiles doing housework but those ladies you see on TV.
Your mommy hates housework,
Your daddy hates housework,
I hate housework too.
And when you grow up, so will you.
Because even if the soap or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach
That you use is the very best one,
Housework is just no fun.
Children, when you have a house of your own,
Make sure, when there’s house work to do,
That you don’t have to do it alone.
Little boys, little girls, when you’re big husbands and wives,
If you want all the days of your lives
To seem sunny as summer weather,
Make sure, when there’s housework to do,
That you do it together!
So this is one thing I know. Housework sucks. And one way to begin to achieve balance is to get a handle on it, get everyone in the house involved and don’t spend too much time worrying about it. There are far more important things in life than worrying over streaky stainless steel.