Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adventures in Homemaking... Part 1: Battling it out!

In the past few weeks I have had similar conversations with several different groups of mamas in my life.  It seems we are all in the same boat!  It is so good to be in a struggle that is a common one.  This is especially true when you feel like you are the only one engaged in the battle!  Because of these conversations, I have decided to share the details of my struggle.  I have in no way "arrived" in the area of housekeeping, and this is not a how-to manual.  I simply want to encourage you to find something that works for you and DO IT.  It is actually the doing it part that is the key...

I have been in a constant struggle with my house for the past 7 years (officially 7 years on the 22nd of this month).  I was working outside of the home full time until Eden's birth in November of '06 and during that time I kept house in partnership with Brandon.  

From June 2002 to November 2006, our housekeeping routine looked like this:  Once a month, invite someone for dinner.  Frantically clean common areas.  Move clutter into "spare" rooms that have doors that do not need to be opened while company is here.  Pray nobody needs to go upstairs for any reason.  Sound familiar?  Be honest...

After Eden was born, I worked part time, but realized during my days at home that #1 I have NO housekeeping skills, #2 I have a baby that will soon (gasp!) want to crawl around on the floor, #3 I have less time now (working 2 days a week with a child) than I did when working full time with no child!  For the next 18 months I floundered in mess and guilt.  I read about a few "methods" for housekeeping.  They were all designed for housewives with no children or with older children.  There was nothing for the exhausted, part-time nanny of 2, full-time (nursing) mama of a delightful ball of energy (who, as any mother of a young child knows, messes-up at 5X the speed of any reasonable clean-up endeavor).

But, I had to do something, right?  I gave the methods a try...  

I tried Fly Lady.  When I read through her site, I was SO impressed and inspired!  She had the days broken down in such a way that they seemed manageable.  I signed up!  Immediately my e-mail in-box was flooded with FLYbaby Steps and FLYing Lessons and I spent the next 3 hours reading my e-mail!  After a week of "Go Shine Your Sink" and getting dressed "to the lace up shoes"and all manner of other individual e-mail messages I would have to delete before I could actually *do* any housework, I was completely defeated.  Didn't Mrs FLY know I have a baby and a dirty, messy house and I have to go to work tomorrow?  I don't have time to check my mail 37 times a day!!
I gave up.

I tried Motivated Moms.  This had to be easier!  It has the word Mom in the title!  They know I am doing housework in between baby and dog disasters, right?  Well, it was a bit easier to keep up with, but I was having to double up my days (working part-time, remember?) and many of the "chores" weren't applicable to me (jobs Brandon did like changing filters) or didn't fit into the schedule at the "right" time.  The prime example of this is clipping/ sorting/ filing coupons on Sunday and disposing of expired coupons on Monday.  I hope to not have to work on coupons more than once a week!  The things I did really like about the lists, though, were the "daily chores" section.  Obviously, there are things that have to be done daily like feeding the dogs, making beds, washing dishes, etc.  I liked being able to check these off (but was a little put off that "Read to children" was on my list of daily chores).  I also liked that it included the things that needed to be done regularly but not daily or weekly.  It had items included like flip the mattresses, wash the curtains,  clean out your purse, etc.  I found that I spent a lot of time modifying the list and making excuses for why I wasn't going to do this particular job today.  There was no real order or predictability to the list and I also found it off-putting to have to print the list every week- what a waste of paper and ink!!

So, I continued to flounder.  Keeping things just clean enough for my personal comfort level, but never clean enough to feel comfortable inviting someone into the house if they just stopped by.

I have shared enough for today.  There will be more to come!  Part 2:  No More Excuses!

Oh, and thanks to Miriam at My Country Cupboard for her revealing and honest posts on a similar topic.  Look for posts labeled "My Journey to Homemaking."



  1. Don't you kinda feel like we need to start a "don't-know-how-to-be-a-housekeeper annonymous"?

    "Hi, my name is ____ and I have a very messy house and don't know how to keep it clean".


    I can't wait to hear more!!

  2. I wish there was a class somewhere on how to develop your own routine for housekeeping. I don't think any of the "methods" work without major modification. You have to be able to figure out how to make something fit into your life, or you will never do it! It took me 7 years to figure that out!

  3. I'm ready to sign up for Miriam's messy house association :)