From Sitting To Super Mom: How I Clean My House
by Nicholeen Peck
What does your ideal house look like? I’m talking about cleanliness. What is your ideal length of time for keeping the house clean? For me, the answer to question number one is sparkling, and the answer to question number two is 20 minutes.
If you are like me, there are more important things to do than clean the house. Let’s face it, the days when all Mom did all day was clean house are over. Today’s moms are busy. There is no time for boredom. They drive many more places, participate in many more church and civic events, and they are way more involved in their children’s lives than ever before. And, have you noticed that as children grow up life actually gets busier too? (There was a time in my life when I thought that when my children were older life would be slower. Silly me.)
Here is a house cleaning and organizational tip for today’s busy parents that will make each day more effective. We should focus on the important things. Stephen Covey said to “put first things first.” This means that as parents we need to spend the majority of our time on what is most important. After talking to countless parents about their homes and their desires for many years I know that the most important thing for parents is the quality of their family relationships. Sure, people may get distracted or not always make decisions that match this priority, but in their hearts, parents want connection and unity.
One of the biggest distractions for families is cleaning and organizing the home. The household messes seem to seek attention all day long. And, some parents don’t stop giving attention to the messes. Don’t worry, this article isn’t about making your house a mess. On the contrary. This is about how to have a clean house and put “first things first.” No more getting overly distracted by a mess.
Any athlete knows that in a big race it isn’t smart to use all their energy at the beginning. Instead the racer should start off at an even pace which she can maintain for the whole distance. Then, on the last lap in the pool or on the track the racer increases speed. In fact, it looks like a burst of hidden energy. The crowd goes wild as all the racers use their maximum amount of energy and skill for the last short distance of the race. It often seems like the race is actually won or lost in the last lap. But, it isn’t. The race is won by putting “first things first” for ninety percent of the time, so that during the final ten percent the energy remains to accomplish the super human task ahead of her.
I clean my house like a racer. I believe in the principle of the burst. This means that I don’t do it all at one time. I focus on the most important aspects of my life ninety percent of the time, and then burst to do the house cleaning. And, I have trained my children to do the same.
People always say they would like to see my house. They always assume they would find it sparkling all the time. Well, if any of these people came over unannounced they would find my daughter’s quilt pieces all over the living room because she is sewing a quilt, and most likely dishes in the sink and floors that need sweeping. We are pretty normal. Our house looks this way because we live here.
And, since we live here, I don’t focus my whole day on making it look like we don’t live here.
At our house we mostly work on projects together, like my daughter’s quilt and my son’s floor plans of our house for his Webelow’s pin. We work in the yard because we love gardening and read stories. This is life. But, at a few points in the day, usually around lunch time and dinner time, we burst. I gather all the children and pre-teach what has to be done and how quickly it needs to be done. Then, like lightning, the house is back on track. Once a week each of my children have to deep clean their stewardship area. This is the only time we deep clean, unless we have turned it into a family project.
Sixty Second Pick Up
We started cleaning in bursts when my children were young. Before lunch and before dinner and bed time I would say, “Let’s do a sixty second pick up.” I would count while we buzzed around the house as quickly as possible putting things back where they go. Besides these three times a day, I decided that cleaning time would waste my time. Bonding with and nurturing my children is my primary role so that is how I spend my time.
Don’t let your children only hear words about cleaning from your lips. There are so many other things that need to be said and so many moments that need to be shared that shouldn’t be about keeping the house clean. Decide today how you will put “first things first.” The burst works well for me.
As a side note, remember that cleaning with children is a great bonding thing to do too, but it shouldn’t be the only thing parents do together.
Enjoy it all more!