Friday, May 23, 2008

More on Cleaning House and Perspective

Both Dana and Jacqueline have picked up on my "play along" theme and they've been getting some great comments. :) I left this comment at Jacqueline's blog:

I think reading Dawn's post just helped put cleaning into perspective for me. :) I always felt that it was such a waste, and got so frustrated, b/c I'd clean (and/or pick up the mess of) a room, or a whole floor of the house, and hours later you could hardly tell. It feels like work that never ends and is pointless--but now, if I clean or pick up ;), I'll be thinking to myself that this is so the kids can create more, can find their things, that one thing they were searching for to finish some project, etc. I still won't like it. But I do think attitude makes a huge difference. The point of cleaning up most of the time will now be for the kids to destroy it, not for them to keep it that way, and for me to feel resentful.

I think that makes a huge difference. When you're doing something with reason "A" in mind, and instead it's for reason "B," only you don't realize it, you will feel your time is wasted. If instead you understand the "why," or the goal, your expectations are going to be different. It's really all in how you frame it in your head. What really is the point in what you're doing?

When I was growing up, it seemed that our house was always clean and neat, excepting my room and my brother's :). But if company was coming we were supposed to clean them up, and sometimes my mother would just clean our rooms when it got to be too much for her to bear looking at. Or she'd just close the door. Anyway, I think my expectation as an adult was that once you cleaned the house, it would stay that way. Bwa-haa-haa-haa-ha!! Well, ours always was, so what the heck?

But in that case, my brother and I did attend school, and our mother was a stay-at-home mom (for the most part), and so I imagine the combination of: kids at home fewer hours + mom at home alone more hours = less mess to begin with + time to actually clean the house = clean house. Plus that was her priority.

Let's examine my situation now, shall we?

  • My kids are with me most of the time. I am almost never at home alone, and if I am, do you really think I'm going to waste that precious solitude cleaning? Heck no! Well, I do enjoy doing laundry; that's the exception. But that really doesn't contribute much to a clean house.
  • We spend a lot of time out at activities and classes, but we also spend enough time at home for the kids to work on their projects (beading, clay, creating things with stuff that's just lying around, you get the picture) or play with toys with many pieces that simply must all be poured on the floor.
  • Also, we have a dog, and the kids and the dog run in and out of the house many times a day, tracking in whatever bits of the great outdoors manage to stick to them. And the dog sheds, but not too much.
  • I do feel more peaceful when the house is picked up, but actually doing the picking up does not contribute to my peacefulness. :) It is not my priority.
  • I have found that most of my friends' houses are in about the same state of disarray as mine, give or take a bit, and so I've learned to relax.
  • Eddie appraises real estate and has told me that he's seen much worse. :)
I'm sure more will come to mind later.

Related posts:
A Clean House is a Sign of . . .
Today's Daily Groove and Purpose

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Paige said...

I had finally resigned myself to being a "messie" when I stumbled across Check it out. She has really helped me slowly but surely get my house and life in order.

I just found your blog through the Carnival of Homeschooling. I love it. Thanks :)

Silvia said...

Hi Paige--yeah, been there, tried that, with flylady. :) I couldn't handle all the emails after a while, plus I wasn't keeping up. It's been several years though. Maybe it's time to visit her again.

Donna said...

I hope this is not the third time I am leaving you a doesn't seem to know who I am today : )

An online friend referred me to your blog because you posted about cleaning. I just posted about about cleaing the other day as well. It's nice to read someone else's take on cleaning and know that I am not alone.

In case you'd like to read my take on cleaning:


Silvia said...

Hi Donna--loved your post! I'm so glad you stopped by so I could find it. :)

SarahKate said...

Hi, I'm homeschooling two little girls, ages 5 and 8, and keeping our home feeling like a sanctuary is a truly valuable part of their education. Our homeschool schedule includes chores that last for 30 min after both breakfast and lunch, and 15 min after dinner. We've been doing this for years so they know what to do and are really pretty good about it. We sing songs as we work, trading off jobs each week. We use flylady, but I stopped the emails after a few months, after I got the idea of it. Just like Ma in Little House on the Prairie, we have chores for each weekday - Monday is bathrooms, Tuesday is vacuuming, Wednesday is sweep and mop, Thursday is bed making, Friday is the detail cleaning of the week. Our house isn't always perfectly clean and we do have projects that get left on the table, but overall our home stays neat and that helps my sanity quite a bit.