Monday, June 04, 2012

I can’t keep up

I am so far behind on so many things that I’m kind of paralyzed. I don’t know what monumental task I should attempt first.

Before we moved, back when we were living in a tiny house, I thought keeping a big house clean would be easy. I told everyone that it would be so much better when I had a place for everything and everything in its place and I wasn’t trying to cram six people and their belongings into too small of a space.

Oh how naïve I was.

Yes, we do have places for everything. But I can’t get the kids to put things in those places. We have tons of storage, but we moved in so quickly that everything just got thrown in closets with little to no organization. I’m still rearranging things. And the kids have their own rooms in which to keep their own stuff, but their stuff still wanders the house.

I feel like I spend my days constantly picking up the stuff they drop.

Then there’s the actual cleaning. Just vacuuming the downstairs takes forever, and I have to do it almost daily thanks to a black dog and four messy kids. Keeping four bathrooms clean has defeated me. A new neighbor came over today for an impromptu playdate, and it occurred to me that I didn’t have a single bathroom that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have her use.

My dining room is filled with folded laundry. B, half joking, asked if I wanted him to turn the whole room into laundry and craft space. I’m still considering it. The laundry on the dining room table is just the tip of the iceberg. The laundry room itself is piled with clean laundry, most of it not in baskets. My kids have gotten used to digging through mountains of clothes to get dressed.

This Sunday I mowed the lawn. One of my friends asked why I wanted to mow the lawn considering everything else I need to get done. My response: “It’s the only chore I do that stays done for more than five minutes.”  Another friend suggested hiring a cleaning lady. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. Because she’d clean, the house would be spotless, and then one of the kids would spill something on the floor and I’d lose my mind.

I think unfolded laundry and a little dirt is better than a nervous breakdown. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.


donna said...

When we first moved to the States Matt's company organized an apartment for us with a cleaning lady. The crazy thing was...i would clean before the cleaning lady got there because I didn't want her to judge me because the place was such a mess. Sheesh....welcome to my crazy world :-)

knittergran said...

Cleaning Lady!!!
Good can't do everything!!!

Ann in NJ said...

I'm with knittergran. We had a cleaning lady for years after my 2nd daughter was born (I was on bed rest at the end of that pregnancy so had to have help). The biggest advantage of a weekly cleaning lady was keeping on top of the clutter. Yes, we would clean before she came, but that meant picking up so she could do the actual cleaning. Now that I am doing both halves of the job, it's a lot harder. And you won't worry if the kids make a mess - cleaning lady will be back next week, and you can deal with little stuff without having to worry about the big stuff. And there's nothing like having the WHOLE house clean at once, even if it's brief.

If you don't get a cleaning lady, you need to make serious enforceable rules about the kids helping. Both because they live there too, and because they will need those skills when they move out. Seriously. Start now.

Ann in NJ said...

Ok, meant 2nd child, only daughter. Sheesh, I don't even know how many kids I have!

But I am serious that staying on top of the clutter for the cleaning lady made a huge difference, She would move things to clean under, so if you wanted to find your stuff,you had to put it away. That was motivation!

Sadly, she had some health issues, and we stopped using her when we did a big remodel on the house. And now we have enough expenses with bigger house and kids activities that we can't really afford someone.

ckh said...

I had a cleaning person for a bit and I could never find things afterwards. I wanted to hire her to do the cleaning underneath it all and not the straightening up bit, but she didn't understand.

I feel your pain...

shrink on the couch said...

Yes it's frustrating when the house is "all clean" after my cleaning woman leaves and then five minutes later looks like a cyclone has hit ... but ... it sure beats cleaning it myself. If I did my own cleaning I would have no time (or energy) left for anything fun or healthy or bloggy. But.. all to say, I hear ya. Three kids here and I feel perpetually behind even with a cleaning woman. My kids have inherited their mother's lack of organization and lack of inherent neatness.

shrink on the couch said...

And yes, whenever we lose something? "The cleaning woman put it somewhere." Always her fault - haha. She comes every two weeks. Thank goodness we can blame anyone but our own selves. But it is true, things get misplaced - especially dishwasher emptied items. Some evenings I can't get dinner on the table because some key tool is hiding.