Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Housekeeping Myth Busted

Several months ago a parenting magazine had an article about cleaning the house. The article (which unfortunately I have no referring information for) said that cleaning while your children are asleep is the most soul crushing thing one can do!

Soul crushing.

Makes you stop and think doesn’t it? I imagine what the article was getting at was that nap time equals mom time. Kids are asleep, do something for yourself. Don’t do mundane or soul crushing tasks like housework! Paint your toenails. Eat bon bons so you can at least feel like some aspects of being a stay at home mom are what you imagined.

I happen to love housework. Nothing is more peaceful than a clean house. Nothing is more satisfying than being the one to make dirty things clean again. If my life were a sitcom I would be the token obsessive compulsive neat freak. Over the years I have cleaned my house before, during, and after nap time. Not always in the same day! From my own experience I can safely say that cleaning during nap time is anything but soul crushing.

My kids are old enough now that I can’t lock them in a room full of toys with a baby gate while I attack the germs in the house. I’ve done the TV as a babysitter thing and that doesn’t hold their attention anymore because they want to help.

Oh happy day! I have finally reached the stage where I can teach my kids to pull their own weight around here.

Enter soul crushing.

Being an obsessive compulsive neat freak suffering from a severe case of perfectionism comes at a price. Have you ever watched a four year old wipe down the bathroom? While your two year old screeches because he/she/it wants to help and you’ve asked them to get out of the bathroom because it’s getting crowded? Even if you’ve managed to hold your tongue while your child “helps” how often do you go back later, possibly during nap time, to re do the job? That is soul crushing.


  1. I must have read that first paragraph wrong. Did you say, “cleaning your house while your children are awake is the most soul crushing thing one can do!”? (emphasis added) I read that to mean that since your children can unclean as fast or faster than you clean why bother? But as for the soul crushing! That is ridiculous. I could write pages about soul crushing things and nowhere on it would it include cleaning house.

    Just like going to church with little children does not appear to be worth the effort so it is with teaching children to clean or any other kind of work. It is so much easier and more efficient to do it your self. However, that is not your job as the parent. I see way too many children and adults. for that matter, who have never had to pull their own weight and now they expect someone else to do it for them. Give them the tools and the example, work along side of them and EVVENTUALLY it will pay off. In the mean time you will have to go around with you eyes half closed and a smile on your face. Good luck

  2. Yeah, I wrote it wrong! Oops. I meant to say while your children are asleep, meaning don't wait for them to nap to clean.

    I am trying to learn to close my eyes. They will never learn unless I let them. I do way too much because I can't give up the control. I'm getting better. I let them vacuum the stairs without me hovering. Those stairs are cleaner now than they have been in months because we didn't have the hand held vacuum before. Baby steps.


Now that I've shared my thoughts, what are your thoughts?