Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It is so disheartening, at the end of the day, to look around the house and realize all that I haven't gotten done*. Never mind all the things I did do (shower and dress, make my bed, wake the kids, make sure they bathe, find their snow gear, feed them, make sure they wear their snow gear, get them to the bus on time, with backpacks, get groceries, misc items and Bubby's fluoride prescription, attend story time, make lunch, change one set of sheets, play with Bubby, make 8 (count 'em: 8) casseroles to put in the freezer, plus one for dinner, sled with the boys, feed four people, supervise clean-up, help with homework while trying to keep the almost 2 year old from scribbling on papers or pushing older brothers out of their chairs, mediate not less than 10 arguments, read out loud a total of 45 minutes to three children, supervise bedtime routines, complete three loads of laundry, make cookies, wash dishes (by hand), empty dishwasher...oh, and I brushed my own teeth twice and Bubby's twice, too, and I flossed), as I headed into my bedroom last night to finally (finally) lay down my weary head, the computer's on-but-sleeping light peered at me accusingly. That's right. I didn't get to Quicken. *Sigh* I also didn't dust or vacuum or sweep or clean the windows, or the stove or the microwave. Double sigh.

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting in a waiting room, and not having to police Bubby, so I actually got to peruse a magazine. The cover of the October Woman's Day had a tagline that said something like, "clean your house in just 15 minutes a day." I can use all the advice I can get on streamlining the cleaning process, so right away I turned to the article. Online, the one article is broken up into two, but here's the link to the part I'm talking about.

All right, so basically, the idea here is (and it's shocking in its innovation): once your house is clean, keep it clean and then it won't take so long to clean the next time. I know. Who would have thought of that? So here's what we're supposed to be doing in those 15 minutes:

Step 1: Make the beds.
OK, if I make all the beds in the house, that's going to pretty much take up the whole 15 minutes right there. If I actually change the sheets, we're looking at more like half an hour, but OK, let's assume I'm just making my bed, because no one cares what the kids' beds look like (and they're supposed to be making their own beds, right?).


Step 2: Make sure dirty clothes are all in hampers. Do a quick room-by-room pickup, putting items back in place.
I don't know about you, but dirty clothes aren't really that much of an issue around here, however "putting items back in place" is another story. On a good day (as in, everyone's been gone all day, including me), I'd be able to fit that in. On days like yesterday, that's at least a 4 person, half-hour long process, with additional minutes put in by me after the little darlings are in bed and can no longer mess anything else up.

Step 3: Wipe dirty counters in the bathroom and kitchen.
Step 4: Put away all dishes.
Step 5: Sweep the kitchen floor.

In what universe is it possible to get all that done in just 15 minutes? I think that my mother in law would be able to do it (probably does), but not me (it occurs to me that with a magic "Step 6: everyone in the household cleans up their own messes," this could work).

So disappointing. I really thought that my life was going to be infinitely improved by reading this article. But, it doesn't stop there! There is also a weekly clean sweep: "either set aside a 2- to 3-hour chunk of time, or work in 15-minute increments throughout the week." So now we've almost tripled our 15 minutes a day to include our weekly clean sweep. And that is not all, oh no! Next we have 8 jobs to tackle monthly: "pick a Saturday to do all eight, or add two to each weekly session," followed by a year of "biggies," 12 annual chores, one for each month. Are you doing the math? This is WAY more than 15 minutes a day, in fact, it's shaping up to be almost a full-time job. And did you notice that nowhere in the article did they mention washing the dishes or doing the laundry?

So I'm a little disappointed in the article. It seems a bit like false advertising--it certainly gave me false hope. Nope. Nothing comes for free, and you cannot expect to be able to clean your house in just 15 minutes a day (unless you're Beaver-ly :-). The thing that I hate about housework is that it is literally never-ending, and oh-so-temporary. At no point in my life will I be able to say, "there, now that's done." Oh, I know that some day the children will be up and out, and then maybe I'll be able to do the 15 minute a day routine, too (and maybe the house will even stay clean for longer than 5 minutes), but I will never be finished. Until I'm dead. *Sigh*

P.S. Some of you may be thinking, well Scarlet, if you spent a little less time blogging, you would have more time for cleaning. And that's true, but then how would you all know what's going on around here? And blogging is a little less temporal than cleaning, especially around here.

*I feel a real kin-ship to Sawblock as I type this--I know he knows this feeling, well!

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