I have been struggling to keep the house livable (forget hospitable) ever since we decided to save money by doing without a housekeeper. That was back in November 2008.
I am still mourning the loss.
As you know from earlier blogs, I am not a housekeeping guru. In fact, calling me a "homemaker" might be a stretch, but thanks to MamaDB and her infinite wisdom, we have come up with a plan that helps keep our heads above the chaos the children bring - and helps me retain my "Homemaker" status.
We trade off cleaning each other's house.
I'm not talking about her coming over to my house while I go to the spa or anything like that. Every Thursday, we clean her house or my house, and then the following Thursday we swap. And what does the visiting helper receive as thanks (aside from getting the same treatment at their own home the following week)? A home cooked meal for both families!
It is the best system. I actually look forward to Thursdays. I look forward to cleaning! CLEANING!! It is amazing what I'm willing to tackle when I have friend to complain, joke and chat with.
For me, the best part is that there is no set plan as to what we will be cleaning. One time I arrived at her house to find that she needed help assembling a bedroom dresser. She came over at my house, and I put her to work reorganizing my medicine cabinet. It feels like I'm doing my Spring cleaning in tiny doses spread out over time with a friend who makes the whole experience enjoyable!
And I don't feel overwhelmed.
I'm surprised at how much I enjoy reorganizing and cleaning her house. I think it has a lot to do with whom I'm cleaning with. MamaDB allows me to bully her into throwing stuff that needs to be tossed away, and we laugh at how clumsy we can be at times. And after a busy day of cleaning, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment.
The only rule we have is that neither one of us want to see or touch the dirty underwear. Everything else is fair game. We begin at 10 AM and go until 12:30 PM at which point I leave to pick up my daughter from preschool. We then relax at our respective homes until 3:30 PM after which we get together again to finish the cleaning or project we started until it is time to make dinner.
I then go to sleep feeling exhausted and satisfied with my day. It amazes me how much of motherhood is a marathon and not a sprint. I don't feel like I've accomplished much at the end of the day if all I have done is taken care of the children. I think any feelings of accomplishment regarding mothering will come when my children are older.
Right, Mom? I mean, how old are you, and have you felt that accomplished feeling yet?