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StorkNet Home > Parenting Channel > Working Mothers Cubby

Cleaning House
by Kenyatta Thomas
All of us often get that "urge" to clean house - and sometimes it means more than actually cleaning your house, and more about getting your affairs in order - creating order out of clutter, whether it's a cluttered mind - or a cluttered house.

Recently, I've come to believe that before we can really clear a cluttered house, we have GOT to unclutter our thinking and the way we do things, figuratively as well as literally.

From saving pennies, running errands and tips on cleaning, working Mom's like any one else, are always looking for ways to save a buck here or there and shave time off of the tediousness of every day chores.

WORKING YOUR WAY THROUGH THE CLUTTER

When it came to cleaning the house, it seemed, for a while, that as soon as I cleaned one room and moved onto the next - the first room was messy again - as though I never touched it! It was as if I couldn't keep up with anything anymore, and I wondered how I could ever keep a house clean now that we had a baby in the house. I also couldn't understand why it was only at home, because at work, my desk was clean, my notes were organized, my OUT box was full, and my IN box was empty.

It soon began to dawn on me why, as things began to come clear as I stared at that empty IN box at work.

I realized that the same routines and delegation of specific tasks incorporated at work, could and SHOULD be applied at home. The problem was, I was trying to do EVERYTHING, not wanting to share tasks at home, especially if they could not be done my way.

So I had to ask myself - what was more important? Not letting my husband help with ANYTHING if it wasn't done MY way, or letting him do the things he did well, and taking the total weight off of my shoulders.

I chose the latter and was immediately and pleasantly surprised at the results. Not only did it feel good not to have to carry the total burden of chores - but he WANTED to help me - and cleaned much better than I expected, sometimes doing a better job than what I normally did!

I would love to take the credit for the sudden epiphany regarding buckling down and assigning and delegating tasks at home - but while I'd toyed with the idea, it was actually upon finishing Kathy Peel's The Family Manager's Guide for Working Moms book. It further confirmed to me that there is nothing wrong with coming up with a plan at home for delegating responsibilities of chores, and implementing that plan.

After a few false starts, things worked out MUCH better after my husband and I came up with a REALISTIC division of several house projects and chores, and stuck to the outline we came up with, but still left room for things to change . . . and not assigning impossible deadlines. I found if I left my husband alone as to WHEN he would "do his chores," they got done. But if I continued to nag and complain, he steadfastly refused to even hear me. Cooperation is another successful key to getting things done around the house.

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Working together on working around the house took the burden off BOTH of us, and even Christian, at 20 months old, is given teeny little things to do. Things such as picking up his toys, which he LOVES throwing in the box with abandon, and helping Mommy put the wet clothes (socks actually) in the dryer. Christian loves the part where he gets to slam the door shut and say "All Done!" as I turn the dryer on.

I figure it's never to early to get an active toddler involved in the game of cleaning house, and getting him used to that daily evening routine of putting our things away. Sometimes it isn't about whipping through the house like Martha Stewart or B. Smith, having the perfect showcase home 24/7, but more about keeping a running routine in your home regarding who does what and when those things get done.

Other tips shared on the Working Outside The Home message boards on StorkNet regarding cleaning around the house and getting hubby and family to pitch in:

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