Things I Said I’d Never Do Saturday: Family Housework Day

The older I get the more I realize that I am doing nearly all of the things I vowed I’d never do when I became a mom. Until I get tired of it, I’ll share one of those things a week with you. On Saturday.

Growing up, Saturdays were housework days. I hated it. Turns out my mom grew up with the same Saturday routine. She hated it too. I’m not entirely sure why she continued the tradition then, except that the house needed cleaning and we were all home on Saturday. (I contend that a housekeeper would have been simpler, more efficient, and save many years of preteen and teen angst…

Fast forward to October 29, 2011. The vile words slipped out of my mouth as my youngsters scooped up their last bits of egg. “Nobody is going anywhere near the TV or the video game system. We’re cleaning the house this morning.” Ack! Where did that come from? Since when is it easier to direct uncooperative minions to do mundane household tasks in three hours when I could just lock them all in the basement with snacks and Wii controllers and get it all done in 45 minutes? What possessed me to insist that they help?

Yes, Mom. I know you are reading this. Yes, I know that I should ask for more obedience from the minions. Yes, I know they should help around the house. However, none one of my happiest household memories is of a Saturday morning spent scrubbing floors. And yes, I know how to scrub a floor now. But I still hate it. And I almost never do it the “right” way.

So why do I do this? Is there a better way? (the weekly or biweekly housekeeper looks like a better option daily) I know that all of the family members should contribute since we are a community. But, the boys already do dishes after dinner (my most hated task), and while they may not do a great job… .our kitchen is mostly sanitary. They take out the trash, and they mostly keep their rooms picked up. I’m just not seeing a “Whistle While You Work” mentality going on here on the weekends.

The cleaning has to be done. A visiting child (who will remain nameless) spotted some dust and perhaps a cobweb on a table lamp a week or so ago. He asked if I ever dusted and that my house looked like a haunted house. I resisted temptation and did not chuck a dustcloth at him and tell him to “have at it”, but I did make a mental note to not bother to bake cookies next time he comes over on a playdate.

For the record, I DID dust later that day. We have an old house. Dust happens. Get over it people. AND for the record, I DID tell one of the minions to dust earlier that day. And I DID see him walking around my living room with a dustcloth absentmindedly flicking it about. Should I have followed him around, pointing out the dust he missed? Nah, trust me, that does breed a negative view toward housework.

So, I don’t think I’ll be rounding up the troops next Saturday. I WILL expect them not to trash the house. I WILL expect them to clean up after themselves, but I’m not going to expect some sitcom-worthy team effort.  I’m the mom. I don’t work for money outside the home, and this house IS kind of my job (whether I like that or not), so I will try and get more done during the week (I need to put the stay at home back in stay at home mom!) so that we can enjoy some real memory making time as a family!

Oh, and if anyone really does like to clean and wants to take a gander at my place…feel free, I’ll pay you in coffee!

Chime in! How do you handle household chores? Is it similar or strikingly different to how you grew up? Is it working for you? Want to share? You know I’d love to hear from you!

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About the author : Dakotapam

I’m a Lutheran pastor’s wife and mom to six kids, including toddler twin girls. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!

5 comments to “Things I Said I’d Never Do Saturday: Family Housework Day”

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  1. Gretchen - October 29, 2011 Reply

    Interesting picture! Where is that from? I remember having to use one of those when I was growing up, so glad that has changed! The housework thing never changes even when there are no wee ones and I still hate it! Love your blog!

    • Dakotapam - November 1, 2011 Reply

      It is an old photo. . .you can't tell, but there are twins in my tummy! It was summer 2009 at a reenactment at the state park across the river! And I know what a big difference just a NEWER washing machine makes! You are not giving me hope of ever liking housework:)

  2. Essie - October 29, 2011 Reply

    Dust? You’re supposed to dust?

    I’m completely opposite of my mom. Her house is a museum. Mine is picked up, but still sort of messy.

    We call it “lived-in.” 😉

  3. Shannon - November 2, 2011 Reply

    I know a woman who refuses to let her two sons help with chores. She’s worried about them being exposed to chemicals (and won’t use the organic stuff) so she only cleans when they are away from the house (and doesn’t realize, I guess, that if she’s using them, they’re being exposed anyway.) Also she has this idea about letting them “just be kids.” Guess what? Her husband was raised the same way, and he doesn’t help out much either. She works more than full time at her freelance photography business, and has to be everyone’s maid! Believe me, we are helping them by teaching them how to maintain a house! Someday they will have their own homes to care for and spouses to get along with.

    • Dakotapam - November 2, 2011 Reply

      OH my! It sounds like there may be some hang ups there! I want my kids to be kids, but I also want to ahve time to be me too! I guess it is all about balance, right?

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