Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dear Daughters: Cleaning House



Dear Daughters,


I wish I had better news.

This cleaning house business can feel like a thankless task
that never ends.

Truth #1: It doesn’t.

If you work ‘outside the home’, as I did, and

as you do, it really feels like it never ends.

So for whatever it is worth,

here are some additional truths to consider.

Truth #2: Create your own set of standards.

Not mine. Not Martha’s.


I spent time worrying about things I could not do perfectly,

and the only thing I accomplished was

learning how to worry perfectly.

                                Truth #3: Use the witching hour (that first hour when you get home from work)

to your advantage and then stop. 

One hour- or less if possible.

When I used that hour when I first got home to start supper, throw a load of clothes in the washer,

and wipe whatever was in my path

and then stop,

I felt like I was in the game

Truth #4: Cleaning house is not a moral issue.

It is simply a series of repetitive tasks.

Maybe an hour after work to deal with some of these repetitive tasks

feels like too much-

as standards’ chairman you decide.

Truth #5:  Again.

I wish I had better news.

At least once a week, we need to take our homes

back to the starting gate.

As in all in, all clean, all done.

We can do this.

As Papa says- ‘no step for a stepper’.

Love, Mom


joanne said...

sometimes the truth hurts!

Wild Oak Designs said...

Cleaning house is a thankless task...and a never ending one. Just this weekend as you said, I had to "take it back" and feel triumphant again....
Thanks for words of truth....
Come for a visit...

Wild Oak Designs said...

Cleaning house is a thankless task...and a never ending one. Just this weekend as you said, I had to "take it back" and feel triumphant again....
Thanks for words of truth....
Come for a visit...

Deb said...

You said it just right

Olive said...

You are so right and how well said. Despite the fact I am retired I clean one section of one room per day and keep the kitchen clean daily. It works for me.

Jojo said...

The neverending story. As much as I hate the tasks, I love the appreciate the end result.

Tricia said...

Sage advice! Similar to your "one hour" suggestion, I often use a "five things" approach. I make a list before leaving work of five things I will do as soon as I got home, before sitting down. Works pretty well for me!

Theresa said...

Great advice:) I worked outside the home for 30 years and the housework seemed to get done, not sure how but it did! I think it was the planning and getting it done in a small amount of time vs having all the time in the world to get it done!

Enjoy your Sunday dear Laura, HUGS!

NanaDiana said...

Ah, yes! You have written a post full here. I was my own worst critic for many, many years. To be "pretty clean" was never enough. Everything had to be done all at one load of laundry left know the bit. After the kids (4 of them) went to bed at night I would rush around like a mad woman trying to get everything done...staying up half the night sometimes...and then get up and do it all over again the next day. I was WAY too hard on myself.

My girls are much easier on themselves than I was...they have their priorities straight and they do things a bit differently than I do. Years ago I would have been trying to "train them". Now I know they "get it" better than I did. AND~ As long as they keep a roll of toilet paper available in the guest bath-I'm happy!;>) xo Diana

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Great advice! Cleaning is such a thankless job too!

Karen said...

And so when will you be writing yor book, Laura?? Your "Dear Daughers" tips are full of insight and wisdom.
Ladybug Creek

Ramblings of a Southern Girl ~ Rhonda G said...

Amen sister! It is a thankless, never-ending job! But if you stay on top of it, little by little, it does offer a little satisfaction! Great post! :)

Pondside said...

I like your advice about that one hour when you're first home. I'll try that. I find that the closer to retirement I get, the harder it gets to keep it all together. The clutter piles high, and I feel as though I'm always working. The truth is that I'm not, but perhaps if I limited it to an hour I might feel a little less frazzled!

CHERI said...

Excellent advice! My DIL needs to read it!!!!

Boho Farm and Home said...

I like the part about living by your own standard of clean..not other peoples or your mothers. This is SO true and freeing! Wish someone told me that years ago. :)

Special 'K' said...

LOL love your advise. Thanks for sharing. Cheers SpecialK XoXo

trash talk said...

Funny house was cleaner when I worked. Now that I'm (ahem) retired, I think I have all the time in the world. is the last thing I want to do with my time.
When the kids were young, the #1 rule of the house was "leave a fire trail"!
P.S, Great men think alike. C.D. says "ain't nothing for a stepper."

Jill said...

Hi Laura, I loved your letter to your daughters....oh so true. Sounds a bit like me but you are much better. I blog because I like to write, that's what got me into blogging. I am new to you and will join as a follower ASAP. I really do love your blog and so will my daughters. I read blogs because I enjoy them, not to receive a give-away. You want the "true-blue" readers who don't care about the token give-a ways. They like you for who you are.

Rita said...

Cleaning house is a thankless task, but oh how much better it makes you feel when it is done. I miss puttering around and doing things at home now that I have gone back to work! But how good it feels when I do get to do it.

Honey at 2805 said...

I always enjoy your "Dear Daughter" posts! Cleaning house is a never ending, thankless task, but I do like your approach!

thistlewoodfarm said...

Amen. I try to work for an hour when my husband goes to work and the kids go to school. Then I feel like I have a jump-start on the day :)


Anonymous said...

You're a wonderful mom.

thanks for your tips and inspiration.


Bliss said...

Mama knows her stuff girls.


Linda said...

I love your posts. It doesn't end even if you don't work outside the home though - my Mom is 82 and still cleans almost daily. She and Dad must have the neatest house around, but she's always been like that.

Me - not so much. I do the basics, my house "looks" nice, but don't look too closely. While I do work outside the home, I still consider myself first and foremost a homemaker, but instead of cleaning, I focus on making everything special for my family, preparing great home-cooked meals, having family dinners every night, and attending school functions for my daughter. That's my focus. Cleaning is not and we live well enough without it (and we're rarely ever sick with colds - must be all those germs we've grown accustomed to, ha).

The Gathering Place said...

Your post was a perfect answer to my blog this week. I'd had too many busy nights and was feeling very behind on the house work, wondering how one does it all. I liked your advice. I may link your post to mine if you don't mind. Thanks!

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