Saturday, January 28, 2012

How I Spent a Childless Saturday Morning (Plus my thoughts on cleaning)...

It's noon here on Saturday. I just sat down at the kitchen bar with a banana smeared with sunbutter (it's really yummy, you should try it.) And I'm feeling rather content. I just cleaned my house really thoroughly for the first time in, oh, I don't know, a year. Maybe longer?!

The two younger kids stayed at their grandparents' homes last night, and Sergei, well he's a teenage boy, so he rather keep to himself anyway. But this all meant, that I could clean with no interruptions and no one underfoot.

So after I managed to pry myself away from The Help at 8:00am this morning, I set myself a goal of cleaning the entire house by noon. I figured that I used to do it (pre-children and pre-homeschooling) so I just needed to work up enough gumption to do it today.

I mean, I wiped down all the wood with Murphey's Oil Soap (I love the smell of that stuff), I wiped down the kitchen cabinets and appliances (they were embarrassingly dirty), I scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom floors, vacuumed (even used the attachment to get the corners), and we even managed to hang some photos that have been getting dusty in the corner of our master bedroom.

And now I feel good. But I did tell Brad and Sergei that since I scrubbed the kitchen floor, no one is allowed to eat in the kitchen for at least the day. Just so I can enjoy the shine for a little while. Until then, all eating must be done on the back deck. (Kidding, of course.)

But as I was running around crazy trying to meet my time goal, I found myself wondering why in the world I cleaned so thoroughly every week earlier in our marriage. I mean, we didn't even have kids for the place to even get really dirty. What in the world was I cleaning?????

Which leads me to the point I'm trying to get to. And forgive me if I've previously shared this before on here, but sometimes a point is worth repeating...

Don't do something if it doesn't need done.

A very wise, godly woman by the name of Victoria Botkin, spoke those words into my ears via a CD recording about a year ago.

As mothers (whether you stay-at-home, work, homeschool, whatever) we sometimes waste our time doing things not because they really need done but because everyone says that it's the right thing to do.

And she was speaking specifically about cleaning while in the midst of motherhood.

Basically, why dust every week, if your house doesn't even need dusted? Just to say that you did it?

Okay, okay, there's absolutely NOTHING wrong with a clean home. Oh my goodness, Brad knows how crazy I get when I feel the state of the house getting out from under my cleanliness control.

But when I heard Mrs. Botkin speak those words, it was like some of those heavy iron chains just fell to the floor. You see, I've tried many different "cleaning systems." Most of them left me feeling like I was constantly cleaning. I felt like it was never-ending.

I am not a slave to the feather duster. I am not a slave to the mop. I am not a slave to the toilet brush. So there.

And neither are you.

It's possible to have a nice, tidy house without killing yourself from exhaustion. It's possible to create a warm, cozy atmosphere for your family without neglecting them in the process.

It's called "doing things when they need done."

So, yes, sometimes I don't even dust if there's just a bit of dust on the furniture. But when it gets to the point of potentially being embarrassing if company unexpectedly shows up, I dust.

And there are some things that I do often because I would feel like the house was out of control if I didn't. For instance, I always like to have clean floors. The kitchen and the living spaces get vacuumed often. But (my husband thinks I'm kinda weird) I get a satisfaction from vacuuming; I actually enjoy it. Also, I don't like nasty, toothpaste-smeared vanity tops (although we often have them from the kids brushing their teeth). And I try to keep the toilets clean too, because I would be embarrassed if someone asked to use my bathroom and it was dirty.

Also, I've noticed that if I keep the clutter away, my house instantly feels clean. Mainly the coffee table, end tables, and end of the kitchen counter. These are the three place where papers and other odds-and-ends are likely to show up. If I can just keep these areas clean, I feel a lot better. And, admittedly, sometimes that means quickly shoving all that paperwork and mail onto my desk which is closed behind armoire doors. Then I tackle that at another time.

So, I hope you all don't judge me when I say that it'll probably be a good while before this little house of ours gets a good scrubbing again. I know that spring is coming, but I don't even know that I'll get around to spring cleaning this year. I did it last year, and whether it get done this year depends on how busy we are and if I can find a good chunk of time to work on it.

And, I must say, I do love a freshly spring-cleaned home. But right now I have a lot of family obligations, and those things have much more weight than greaseless-cabinet tops.

Have a great weekend!

p.s. - I'm reading The Help . This kind of book is the reason why I don't typically read fiction. I have found myself so glued to this book that I have had to force myself to go to bed at night and do other things like make dinner. Not a good thing. But, oh boy, do I love this book!


Wendi said...

I enjoyed the book so much that I rented the DVD last weekend. We very seldon rent movies. The guy at the store even commented that it had been two years! since we had rented one. :) The movie is good, but not as good as the book. Enjoy!

Laura said...

good thoughts about cleaning!