Friday, March 6, 2009

The Perfect Way to Clean

Right now, there is a lot of people trying to find a good, cheap, natural way to clean. And using your kids is a great idea! I mean, why else would you have kids and raise them to be productive? Child Labor Law, schmild-schmabor-schaws.

Really, I am all for the kids helping out around the house but if you are anything like me, you are such a control freak that the thought of your kids cleaning a toilet keeps you awake at night! Instead, I do the heavy work and let them do simpler things. Jesse can fold his own laundry, take his dishes to the sink and keep the bathroom sink clean. Brea, though much younger, does not lack in desire. Therefore she gets to feed the dog and helps me by putting away/retrieving simple items. Both children pick up their toys and clothes.

I am the first born and Dustin has an older brother but is very much an only. I am used to doing it my way and he is used to having it his way. However, both of us were required to help the family with cleaning. He cleaned significantly less than I did but his mom did a great job of making sure he knew how to wash dishes, laundry and toilets*. Both of us had jobs as cleaning people during highschool. You cannot FATHOM how happy his knowledge makes me!

I was not only the oldest (by 9 years) but I was also the only girl, homeschooled (we all were) and my mom had a part time job. This all added up to lots of cleaning and babysitting for me. I completely understand why it was helpful. With two small boys, homeschooling, a part time job, oh and they did Amway, there was little time for my mom to keep up with some home basics. And I was around ALL THE TIME. And I was really good at it. They would come home and say, "Wow, Jami! The floor looks great!" Then I would explain to them how I was looking at it and realized it could use some detail scrubbing....on my hands and knees.

I am a perfectionist. And to be honest it is very difficult to care for your home if you expect it to be perfect! Flylady calls us SHEs (Side-tracked Home Executives) and perfectionism is our handicap. If I can't mop the floor perfectly, I won't do it until I can. Which might be next week. Or month. Whatever. Regardless, perfectionism doesn't make the perfect house maker, unless she is willing to sacrifice everything for it. Which I am not. So I had 2 choices: 1) Do it perfect every once in a while and not be happy with the state of my home or 2) Do it routinely but not perfectly and be happy with my home.

I choose happiness. I always will.

This is a work in progress. I am not perfect but I love the concepts that Flylady and her crew set out. My family doesn't need an immaculate home. They need a comfortable home, where they can live and find rest. So, with that in mind, my house needs to be a place of peace for it's inhabitants and those that visit. Do you want to pay me the ultimate compliment? Tell me you love coming to my house because it is so relaxing/restful/peaceful/etc.

I see that Jesse has the perfectionism trait (as well as my temper, we are working on both) so I am teaching my kids when to give your all and when to do what you need so that there is enough left to give your all somewhere else. Like in curing cancer. Or playtime. It seems to be working because I find Jesse and Brea are really good at doing what I ask, in a timely manner, so that they can move on to the fun part of life. And when I tell them how thankful I am for their help, how much they have contributed to the family and how valuable they are, they beam and are willing to help in the future.

It might also help that I threaten to make them sleep outside.

*For the record, though he knows how to clean toilets, it is the one thing he refuses to do. But he cleans dishes, deals with the trash, changes poopy diapers, helps make dinner AND clean up after it. Plus he thinks mowing the lawn is FUN. Totally worth the trade off.


  1. How does he justify not cleaning the toilet when he handles soiled diapers? Just something for him to ponder...

  2. I kinda like the toilet cleaning... It doesn't take long, it's all in one place, and there's no hands and knees scrubbing involved. But if you're asking if I've scraped the powdered sugar off of Eleanor from the last time I made a huge cake (almost a week ago), then no. I haven't. I'll get to it...eventually. My toilet is clean, though.


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