In Part 1 of this series on house cleaning we talked about what factors are needed for a clean house. In Part 2 we discussed how Expectations enter into the mess. In Part 3 we began to talk about what your expectations should be, dealing with bugs. Part 4 covered expectations and dirt, mess and stuff. This section is dealing with expectations and Ability.
Expectations and Ability.
I’ve described in detail the kinds of cleanliness levels that should be applied throughout the house, why, and some of how to get there. But all of this assumes that the people living in the house are ABLE to do what is required. However, as a woman who has given birth to six living children, who homeschools, I know how debilitating physical health issues can be. Pregnancy utterly drains me of the will to act some times. Exhaustion can kick in for all kinds of reasons. Not to mention that chronic pain, disability (physical or mental), illness, depression and mental confusion due to stress can all affect the caregiver(s) of a house. Take this stress test (inventory) to see where you are right now. If the caregivers of a house are physically or mentally unable to keep the house going at the baseline level, something needs to change. Either some things need to be allowed to slide (without guilt!) for a time, or some external help is required. Thankfully, my husband has been either a full time student or unemployed for large parts of my last two pregnancies. This has meant that I was able to get a nap almost daily. That nap meant the difference between functioning like a slightly disabled adult or being absolutely unable to cope. Literally. I know there are mamas out there suffering through utter exhaustion, and the idea of a daily nap is enough to make you weep. Go ahead. Cry. Cry for your inability to rest. Sleep deprivation is torture! Growing a baby is not just amazing – It is hard!! And get help if your spouse can’t provide it! Even just swapping in-house babysitting with another mom is often do-able. We had a mother’s helper come after the birth of our 5th, when my husband was extremely busy and I was physically unable to keep everything going. Best $20 a week I ever spent! If there are other issues in your life that are leaving you, or your spouse, simply incapable of doing what needs to get done then cope in a healthy way by getting help. As a house cleaner, I can get an entire house clean in a few hours. The same amount of work would take a pregnant woman (me, at least, when pregnant) several days. Just get the cleaner to come! Most cleaners where we have lived have cost between $15-40/hour. But if you look at it this way – let’s say an average sized house – $80 for what would take you two to three days? It’s worth it!
Of course, in a family with children, the first place to look for help is within the family. Mothers and fathers, any child 3 and up can and should be helping. YES – it always takes longer to train them, but it is by far worth it in the long run. I’ll get into the details of that later.
Next up – systems of house cleaning! The nitty-gritty! Part 6!