My daughter is teaching me housework

I’m a terrible housekeeper.  Really, really bad, I hover on the edge of unhygienic (and probably slip over).

You see, it didn’t use to matter.  I was at work all day, so at most there’d be books lying around everywhere.  I had half a dozen work outfits and they’d get washed on the weekend.  If I didn’t put them away, it didn’t really matter because there weren’t that many.  The biggest problem was dishes, and even for them I was only using a breakfast bowl, a plate and a pot or two, so they didn’t really build up that badly.

Now I’m at home with two active little people.  We have a sandpit and big yard, they love love love craft, gluing, stickers, playdough.  So our floor isn’t just gritty, it has the potential to stick to you semi-permanently.  We have enough toys to fill one of those superstores and they both adore books, balls, lego and dolls.  The big one strips off at any excuse and refuses to put the same clothes back on, so there are little trails of clothes all over the house.  We use cloth nappies, although the little one is toilet training so that’s easing off.  And dishes!  They must eat every 2 hours and big girl insists on all ingredients being separate.  And baby girl is quite insistent about what she wants to have, it can take a few goes for Mum to work it out and get it right.  Plus they love cooking, and we bake or make something like playdough 4 or 5 times a week.  So our house is a disaster area.

My husband tries.  He has a bit of a plastic addiction, we have boxes and baskets in all shapes and sizes.  We have recycled yoghurt and icecream containers and little drawers to hold the crayons and glitter glues and stickytapes and stamps and My Little Ponies and playdough cutters and pompoms and dress-ups and shoes and hats and threading gear and pretend cooking equipment and balloons and cars and magnets and all the rest of it.  And I do try to enforce things going away before the next thing comes out.  But over the week it builds up until the edges of the floor are filled with little tiny bits and pieces and the middle is gritty as you step over the doll beds and trains.

So we have a kitchen timer and we do 10 minute clean-ups, and my eldest daughter and I have a deal – if I tell her to put things away, she’s allowed to tell me the same.

For the first time in my life, I’m hanging clothes up as soon as I take them off.  I’m putting my shoes away when I get home.  I’m putting my books back on the bookshelf and only have one (or two :D) out at a time. I’m vacuuming regularly and cleaning the bathroom every week.  I still don’t make the bed, but seeing that hiding under the covers is such a cool game I don’t see that happening any time soon.  I can understand all the things my mother used to say to me when I was growing up, and now I can see there’s a point to them.  Just give my toddlers a few more years and they’ll have me ready to move out by myself.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Capricious on August 25, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    I love it! Thank you for the brutal honesty! So great that you are open to letting your children teach you.


  2. We’re doing pretty well at the moment 🙂 We celebrated by having someone over to play, I think that’s almost the first time. And they had such a good time that it’s another incentive to me to keep the place clean.


  3. Posted by Michele on September 5, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Oh – I think I could join you in the housekeeping stakes… the bane of my husband’s life!!

    Did I mention I’m really enjoying this site 🙂 One to keep!


  4. Much laughing but not at you, with you! I can so totally relate.

    And now to unglue myself from the texta decorated couch and slip and slide my way to the kitchen,



  5. We’re doing very well. We rearranged some furniture and the fairy party is a great incentive to keep it clean. I still have a pile of clothes growing on the back of the lounge!


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