cleaning house

Housework. It's probably the most time intensive thing about being a parent, or the stay at home parent who does the brunt of the cleaning. My husband does his share when he's home but as the stay at home one, I kind of see the house as part of my job responsibilities. I'm home for more hours in a day, when raising the boys essentially the entire house is my office. 

I feel like when we moved to the house (from an apartment) my need for a clean home got out of hand for awhile. I wasn't used to having so much physical space to keep clean. Not to mention a house with so many windows (floor to ceiling) and all wood floors. At night I'd find it impossible to sit down and just do nothing with Chikezie because I'd be thinking of all the things around me that I needed to do. It was exhausting. 
I tried a cleaning schedule for awhile, and have somewhat kept it in the back of my head over the past year or so. I'm not super Type A, and realistically it was difficult for me to keep with the schedule. I'd basically do one room a day and then end up getting behind and have like, the whole house to clean on the weekend. Then one day I finally forced myself to rest, to put my need for a clean home on the back burner and just allow myself to accept that some things will never be finished. It was difficult, but it's been one thing I'm proud to have worked on. 

Really, I just like having a clean home because it's relaxing. I feel happiest when everything is in it's place. This might be a good goal to have if you're single because there's nobody else to mess up your house, but when you have a family or live with anyone else, everything is hardly ever in it's place. It was a long, stressful road but I finally learned that important lesson.

Now, I'm not completely stress-free when it comes to our home. I always have a mental list running of the things I need to do. One of the most helpful tools I've discovered (I don't know where- Pinterest, a blog, something) is to do little timed bursts of cleaning. 
I like to turn my cleaning into a challenge. I'll put on my work out clothes, turn on some music and set the oven timer to 60 or 90 minutes and just see how quickly/how much I can get done in that period of time. 

Today in 90 minutes, I picked up, dusted and swept the living room. Swept the kitchen/dining room areas and vacuumed the kitchen and computer area rugs. Cleaned off the table (legs and all) and scrubbed down all 4 chairs. I prepared for mail 2 bills, cleaned off the old papers from the fridge, updated the weekly calendar. Swept the hallway and entry way. Picked up, dusted, swept and mopped the boys' room. Cleaned the entire bathroom including scrubbing the tub, the floors, dusting off the frames/clock. And did 1 load of laundry. All in 90 minutes. 

I'm not tooting my own here, ok I am a little bit. There is so much that goes into daily life as a mom and I feel like some of the most laborious tasks we complete are really what keeps everything running smoothly. The most time intensive thing we do is often the least noticed and hardly ever given vocal appreciation. But our family needs clean dishes to eat off of, soft and clean blankets to sleep with at night and clean clothes to wear each day. These are the most basic and essential needs in life. 

Ok, so folding clothes and emptying the dishwasher will always be the bane of my existence. But at least it's nice to know that even though no one is thanking me for completing such a gut wrenching task, I can comfort myself by knowing I'm keeping the ship running smoothly by doing it. Or have a little dance party for myself after I just cleaned like a beast for 90 minutes straight.