Yesterday I mentioned that I have been cleaning. And really, for the last two weeks, I have been. I happened upon this post on Grace in My Heart’s blog. It changed the way I view cleaning.
Before we were married, and then even for a few years after, I would just take a day and clean. When it was my own space, my own dirt, my own stuff, it was no big deal. I’d crank the stereo and bang it out. Even when we were first married, before I was basically sidelined by infertility depression, I would do the same thing. Laundry was a once-a-week deal, and Keith would even pitch in, owing that to the fact we both worked full time jobs.
Being a stay at home wife and mom, now, I have really been struggling with taking pride in everything I do. It has taken almost 22 months for me to realize (and accept!) that this is my calling right now: raising Little Man and keeping the house. It seemed so… I don’t know… unimportant. Unglamorous. Uninspiring. I look at other women’s lives (which is a HUGE mistake) and compare myself to them.
And then I decided to STOP. I decided that I have to be who God created me to be. I have to be the mother God created me to be. I have to be the wife God created me to be. I cannot be anyone else.
Enter my new cleaning schedule, based on GIMH’s. I have always whined that if I could just super-clean my house one time, I could keep up with it. That is pure ridiculousness. But this system? It’s working!!!!!!!
I ran to Target and spent $10 of my “allowance” money on the following items:
A shiny new blue plastic folder.
A set of scrapbooking stickers.
A set of dry-erase markers.
A set of 10 folder protectors.
Then I came home and sat at my dining room table. I created a weekly “to do” ckeaning list. I listed each room and what needs to be done each week. For example:
Dining Room: wash windows, change cat box, wash pet mats (one for the food & one the cat box sits on), mop, clean off the desk, dust, clean off cedar chest & china cabinet.
Bathroom: toliet, sink/tub, sink, mirror, floor, bath mat, towels, bleach bath toys.
See? I made a list of what I want to accomplish each week. I also made a “daily chores” list, broken up by the days of the week. For example, Wednesdays are laundry, organize toy bins, make next week’s menu plan/grocery list and clip coupons. In addition, I made a list of “rotating” chores; things that need to be done periodically (like wash the curtains and wash diapers). I wrote all of these out on plain paper and slipped them into the protectors. I put them into the folder with a dry-erase marker, and used my stickers to put “Weekly Household Stuff” on the front. Voila!
I bought a folder with a pocket, which came in handy for sticking things like a local church survery we received and coupons for shopping.
As I went about my week last week, I didn’t feel like the house was breathing down my neck screaming “CLEAN ME!”. I was able to look at my list and – this is very important to women like me – cross things off with my dry erase marker! Not only did I have a cleaner house by Sunday than I’ve had in a long time, I wasn’t stressed out by what I had to do each day.
And even more beauty? The things I chose not to do last week, I marked with a little dot on Sunday night. See, Sunday nights I sit down with my planner and make sure I know what’s coming. This past Sunday I also erased the lines I had drawn and made a mental list of the dots; the dots are things I have focused on this week.
And even more beauty? This week, the things I drew lines through last week are so much easier. Let’s face it – there’s not a lot of dirt than can happen in about a week (well, until Little Man starts little league!).
Now… if I could only figure out how to clean with a toddler underfoot grabbing at everything I’m doing…