I think we have sufficiently covered shopping with children. Now, for cleaning your house with your children! Oh, what a challenge it has been to keep a clean house with seven children AND a Basset Hound! Our house is never perfectly clean! I wish it were, but it is not! Remember when I told you God sent me my fifth child to teach me HE is and always will be in control? Well, it did not only apply to grocery shopping, but also to house cleaning!
My mom who I love immensely was not a good house keeper. She still isn’t and will readily admit it! However, she did love my brothers and me and spent lots of time with us especially before we started school, and she began working! Anyway, in response for her lack of house cleaning, I became obsessive and wanted my house to be immaculate at ALL times! It still wasn’t immaculate at all times even before baby 5, but it was A LOT cleaner than it is now! I did thorough cleaning each week! I am talking thorough from washing walls to scrubbing floors to cleaning out the fridge and freezer, etc. I did not want any dust or anything! Every Friday, I cleaned the house from top to bottom whether it needed it or not! This cleaning included organizing all the toys and making sure each piece of a toy in a set, game, or puzzle was there. If it wasn’t there, I made it my responsibility to find it! Whew! There is no way I can do that now or even have that desire!
When I conceived my fifth child at age 26 1/2, I became very low on energy and stayed that way during the entire pregnancy! It did not matter what I ate or didn’t eat or how much exercise I did or did not do, I had no energy or at least very little compared to what I was used to having. According to some, I still had a lot of energy! Anyway, I could not keep the house as clean and organized as I wanted any more! It was very difficult for me to deal with! I felt like a complete and total failure as a mother and as a wife! It was so difficult for me to admit I COULD NOT do it all! What a humbling experience! God used this experience to grow me not only closer to him but closer to family and friends as well! I was always the first to lend a hand, but the last to ask for help! Now, I still try to do things on my own, but am more likely to admit when I need help and ask for it!
In addition to wanting to be a better house keeper than my mom, I also had vowed I would NOT pick up after my husband and my children as I had my own dad and brothers for the first 20 years of my life before I married! In order to prevent cleaning up after everyone, it was important for me to teach my children to pick up after themselves! I still refuse to pick up and clean up after them when they are old enough to do it themselves or not make the mess in the first place! Those who are too young to know how or know better, I try to teach how to pick-up or not make a mess in the first place. We are all still learning and are often finding new incentives for cleaning the house. Below are only a few of our rules in keeping our house clean. These rules are for my husband and me just as much as my children. I am sure I will add more as I continue with this series! Fortunately, his mother trained him well, and I do not ever have to clean up after him! Thank the Lord! I know God knew I needed this type of husband! However, I did make it clear BEFORE we ever got married not to expect me to pick up after him. Yet, he is such a wonderful husband, I never mind if there ever are times when I do have to pick up after him which is usually only when he is cooking something!
- If you are old enough to take it out, you are old enough to pick it up! In fact, babies LOVE taking things out and putting them back in! It is a perfect opportunity to make a game of putting toys away! When your baby is finished with his/her toys it is much easier to pick them up yourself, but it is better if you get them to help you do it! They may not do it perfectly, but they will enjoy the time with you!
- Do not touch things which do not belong to you without asking permission! This rule while enforced, is not always obeyed especially by the youngest children. However, this rule has prevented many arguments as well as promotes others to take care of their own things and keep them put up where the babies cannot tear them up!
- Put things back in their proper place when you are finished using them!
- Throw things away when they are empty or you have finished using it! For example, if you take the last Kleenex out of the box, throw the box away or put it in the recycle bin! Even better, open a new one and put it in its place!
- Always take your shoes off in the same place so you will know where they are! We have a shoe rack near the door and they are suppose to keep their shoes there OR in their bedroom closet. Unfortunately, the little ones are still often missing shoes as theirs get taken off who knows where and are scattered throughout the house and yard. Sometimes, they misplace others shoes as well! I also have a few older children who STILL have the habit of taking one shoe or sock off in one room and the other in another room! Hopefully, they will learn by the time they are adults to keep their shoes together!
- Clear the table and floor immediately after every meal or snack! Blythe is our designated vacuum user for after meals. He does a great job! Everyone else is responsible for clearing their own plate and/or helping their partner clear his/her place. Michaela and Calla make sure the rest of the table is cleared and wiped down. Timmy and Chandler help with scraping leftovers (if there ever are any) off of plates either for the dog or the chickens.
- Only get out what you plan on using! There is no sense in getting out fifty books, when you can only read one at a time!
- Get things in somewhat decent order before Daddy gets home. These tasks are usually done while I am preparing supper.
I should add, while I do try to enforce the rules, I am not a dictator type! I realize EVERYONE forgets and EVERYONE gets in a hurry, and EVERYONE makes messes and mistakes! NO ONE is perfect! I do not expect my children to be perfect, but I do expect them to try their best to follow the rules to the best of their ability! I coach them a long as we go. Unfortunately, there are days where none of the rules seem to be followed by anyone, and the house is an absolute wreck when Daddy comes home! I wish I could say our rules and methods keep things perfect, but they do not! However, they do keep us sane, help us spend more time together, and keep our house relatively clean! Again, you have to do what works best for your family!