…….I am a housewife, I love that word. Whenever I get a chance to tell someone my occupation I say “I am a housewife”. It sounds so quaint and homey. I love Noah Webster but his definition in Websters Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, my favorite dictionary by the way, does not give a satisfactory definition. It just says “a woman in charge of a household esp. she who does all or most of the cleaning and cooking.” So unromantic~sigh.
But there you have it, house keeping, it is a large part of my job as a housewife. The cooking I like, the cleaning not so much. Mostly because with many children whom we home school our house is very well lived in. Often it feels like I am constantly keeping chaos at bay. Sometimes the chaos takes over and it looks frightful around here.
When we just had a couple of little ones around I liked to keep everything well ordered but as our family has grown and I have more school aged children I have had to reassess my priorities. To keep my sanity I’ve had to learn to let things go a little.
We have three bathrooms in our house and I must say that our master bath gets awfully neglected at times. When my husband starts commenting on it then I know it’s time to get serious. See, the problem is that I notice how bad it looks in the morning when I’m in a hurry to get going on my day and I think, “I’ve got to get back in here later and clean this place!” But, alas, I forget all about it until I’m brushing my teethe before bed. Too tired, I’ll get to it tomorrow…… I hate using chemical cleaner in the tub because I usually just scrub it out while I’m in the shower, easier and less mess. My tub was really looking sad…….. I used about two cups of baking soda and a scrub brush. That’s it! It worked really well. I was so happy and my feet were nice and soft from soaking in the soda water. Add that to my list of uses for baking soda. It is becoming a staple around here for a lot more than baking.
After our fifth baby was born my husband took over the mopping. Most of our main floor has wood flooring. Every Saturday night for at least a year he would put all the chairs up while I bathed the kids upstairs and wash all of the floors. At that time our oldest was not quite eight years old. I love how we are able to work as a team to get through the tough seasons. Nowadays my oldest daughter does all the mopping in exchange for postage stamps. Fourteen pen-pals from all over the country, who write back often, we had to think of something!
Another thing I have done is to ask Blue eyes what is important to him as far as the house keeping goes. I think it is a good idea to do this. You may be surprised to hear what your husband has to say. All that my love asks is that the kitchen sinks be empty and clean in the morning and that he has socks in his drawer. I make an honest effort to always at least have these two things done. When I was growing up about a half hour or so before my Dad came home my Mom would have us do a quick pick up, wash the kitchen table, and put a fresh pot of coffee going. I have endeavored to follow her example in this simple way of ministering to my husband.
Otherwise as long as I have an underlying cleanliness I have grown to not mind the mess so much. Pretty much at any given time I can tell the kids that we are going to do a “twenty minute cleanup”, where I set the timer for twenty minutes and we all race around and clean, and get the house set back in order and looking nice. Once a week, usually on Saturday, we do a deep cleaning. And when the spring weather comes and the sun shines in the windows I get in the mood for a good old fashioned spring cleaning. This is where I systematically go through each closet and drawer in my house and get rid of “stuff” and vacuum and scrub all those hidden places. It’s only once a year but it really helps in the long term to keep things that we are not using from accumulating. The more “stuff” we have the harder it is to stay clean and organized.
In September before we start our new school year I help each of the children make a morning chore list to put up on their wall. They must have the things on their list done before they come down for breakfast. For the little pre- readers we cut out pictures from magazines, an outfit, meaning get dressed, a toothbrush, a hair comb, a pile of toys to be picked up, a bed to make, they must take care of their dirty laundry and fold up their pajamas. The older kids have a little more, like wipe down the kid’s bathroom or put away a basket full of laundry or pick up the loft/play area etc. We’ve been doing “morning chores” for a few years now and seldom do I even need to remind anyone. Once a habit is established it is practically effortless to maintain.
So, if you stop by unannounced, which you are more than welcome to do, don’t be surprised to find a well lived in house. A train made out of the kitchen chairs, a hut made out blankets in the living room, remains of a tea party/picnic in the corner, the bathroom sink full of soap suds from little hands washing the tea party dishes, golden retriever tracks in the hall, at least a couple mugs half full of cold coffee, laundry to be folded on the couch, math books and pencils scattered around, some cheerios on the floor……….if all that sounds crazy just call and give us twenty minutes.;)