How I Learned to Like Housework

I don’t really like to clean very much. I love a clean house, I just don’t care for the process. Cleaning requires so much, well, scrubbing, and work. . . ugh! And, in a household of eight people, most of my cleaning tasks either go unnoticed, or the results just don’t last as long as I would like.

However, a clean house IS a gift that I can give my family. AND, likewise, a clean house is a gift that my family can give me and each other.

I grew up in a house with a working mom (like me!). I learned to dread Saturdays. Saturdays became house cleaning days. It was NO fun. We pretty much had to scrub the place from top to bottom, leaving no cobweb ignored.

I vowed to not be that mom. (Sorry, Mom!)

And, even though we do sometimes still have Saturday cleaning binges, I try to take a more bit by bit approach.

After dinner each night, I try to tackle one task. If it is bath night for the girls, I am likely to clean the bathroom while they happily splash in the tub. (Plus, the floor usually gets pretty damp, so I can do a quick floor wipe.

Some nights I dust and polish our wooden furniture (the girls LOVE getting in on this!). I try to vacuum the living room carpet nearly every evening. If it happens to be a night when I have to do the dishes (the boys usually rotate through this), I will also deep clean part of the kitchen. . .usually whichever part bugs me the most.

I still don’t love housework. . .but I do enjoy it more.

I also found that just the right products, can make the job a lot more enjoyable. . .sort of a spoonful of sugar.

I like products that work well, smell good, and, especially since my little ones help me, are safe and have minimal toxic ingredients.

I fell in love with Mrs. Meyers and Method brand cleaners a few years ago. I got into the habit of buying them at my local big box stores, but they tended to be expensive and the stores did not always carry all of the products or scents that I preferred.

Then I discovered ePantry!

ePantry is known for carrying all-natural cleaning and personal care products

I learned about ePantry when I read about it on another blog. I fell in love with the prices, and with the fact that they carried ALL of the products that I loved!

ePantry is so easy to use:

Simply sign up, answer a couple questions, and ePantry delivers right to your door.

You have the opportunity to   plan out a delivery schedule months in advance (set it and forget it, whee!), or you can customize an order when you need one.

ePantry has given me an exclusive offer to YOU my readers! A FREE (that is my favorite price point!) Mrs. Meyers Hand Soap and $10 off of your first order!

I am so happy to offer this to all of you, since Mrs. Meyer’s is amazing! I keep a bottle of Mrs. Meyers hand soap by my kitchen sink. (I stock up on the limited edition cranberry scent during this time of year. . .it is my favorite!) Mrs. Meyers hand soap is formulated with aloe vera and olive oil as well as essential oils to get my hands clean without icky anti bacterial additives or parabens. I spend a lot of time cooking in my kitchen, so I like to have a hand soap that works well!

Mrs. Meyers Cranberry Liquid Hand soap

 

How ePantry works

  • This special offer is available for a limited time only, so sign up with this link.
  • Next, answer a few easy questions about your home, cleaning schedule, and favorite products. ePantry uses your answers to get a feel for what you like & to suggest products for future shipments.
  • Customize your basket! This is definitely the most fun part.
  • Including the hand soap and $10 off, your total must come to at least $20. The minimum is for first-time orders only.
  • Once you have filled your basket, click Finish & Pay. Your free hand soap and $10 credit will already be included.

 

Example basket: I have put together an example basket to demonstrate the amazing value of this offer! Of course, I highly recommend taking a look through ePantry’s full lineup. They have a lot to choose from and they are adding more all the time!

ePantry

 

With a $10 credit, the total for this basket comes to $24.24, a $56+ value!

ePantry is not your usual subscription service. Other than the first order, there are no minimum orders. ePantry will suggest items that they think you will enjoy, but you only order what you want when you want it!

Refer friends and family, get $10 off!

  • If you refer friends and family to ePantry, each person you refer will get $10 in credit for their first order! And, more good news! You will also receive $10 in credit for each person who checks out. It’s a win-win!

 

To top it all off, ePantry has wonderful customer service! Every question I have ever had has been answered by a real person within a few hours!  This is a family owned and operated company, and they treat you like family as well!They even offer an extra $2 off if you answer the question in the chat box. So go on ahead and check it out!

 

 

Honey, I Fired the Kids. . .and I Picked Up Some Coffee

Anyone with kids over the ages of 2 or 3 has wondered about things like chores, or allowance, or how to teach them to clean up and help out around the house. Kid’s Chores are a discussion topic around the coffee pot for moms like me.

In our house, we have gone through many different systems. We’ve done chore charts, we’ve done all day Saturday cleaning binges, while I was on bedrest with twins the kids pretty much took over the housework including the laundry.

But, at the end of last year, I was fed up.

I was fed up with dinner dishes taking up to two hours getting loaded in the dishwasher.

I was fed up with fighting during chores.

I was fed up with a living room that went weeks without being vacuumed.

I was fed up with a house that was not fit for company.

I was fed up with nagging.

Now, I grew up in the 80’s. I grew up on the Today Show. I vaguely remember seeing a mom featured on the show who had SNAPPED. She went on strike, complete with a picket line. She had other moms striking too. These moms gave up and stopped doing the mom things. Hoping. Praying that their families would step up.

I wasn’t about to go on strike. My house was already a mess. I wasn’t about to let it get worse. And, quite frankly, I’m not sure any of them would care if I stopped cooking for them. All but the babies know how to boil ramen noodles.

So, I started taking over doing THEIR jobs. I did the post-dinner cleanup. (For the record it takes about 10 minutes for me to do it, and I don’t have to whine or fight to get it done). My kitchen had never looked better. Then I took over the daily straighten and vacuum of the living room. It takes me 7 minutes. (Side benefit? Daily vacuuming has cut dusting waaaaaaaaaay down). I was already doing all of the laundry. I still refuse to take out the trash unless I am alone. I am picking up, straightening up and it takes me almost no time.

Do you want to know the best part? Firing the kids is saving me big bucks! Those little stinkers were getting paid about $90 a  month to not clean my house and fight in my kitchen. Now…they get paid nothing and I still make them clean up their rooms. It’s a win. I get to spend some time alone cleaning the kitchen after dinner… and I don’t need to feel guilty when I splurge on a Venti White Mocha. After all, I earned it.

So yes, I fired the kids. Yes, I’m probably not teaching them the right lesson. I may be raising lazy slobs. BUT, I am yelling less, which is key, and my sink is shiny… which, in turn, akes me calmer.

My apologies to my future daughter-in-laws. When my boys tell you that they did not have to wash dishes or do laundry, they’ll be telling the truth. Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did!

So, if you see me around town sipping a latte, remember, I worked for it!

Chime in! What are your views on kids and chores? Have you been tempted to fire your kids? Go on strike? You know I’d love to hear from you!

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!

If You Give a Mom Some Coffee

If you give a mom some coffee, she’ll probably want some cream and sugar to go with it.

So she’ll go to the refrigerator and find the last of the half and half (and say a short prayer that it is still fresh).

Then she will open the sugar bowl and see that it is empty.

So she’ll go to the pantry to get the sugar canister out–and her 7 year old will remember that he wants breakfast. Now.

So she fries up two eggs and makes perfect toast.

And then she sees that Twin B has taken off her diaper. So she diapers and dresses two babies.

She goes back in the kitchen and sees breakfast dishes all over the table, so she washes them.

She sees the sugar canister on the table and remembers that she wanted to make some banana bread. So she bakes a loaf–or two.

She throws dirty dish towels into the washing machine, and then she smells banana bread. It is done.

She cuts a slice, and then decides a cup of coffee would taste great with it. . . .