Life's Messy, Clean it up

by | Sep. 16, 2004

Around the House

Her story included a syrup situation that took her most of the day to clean up and she asked, “Am I the only one who spends sixty-five percent of my time cleaning the kitchen?” The audience burst into laughter and applause.

It’s interesting that of all the things we do throughout the day, probably sixty-five of our daily homemaking tasks have to do with the basics: dishes and laundry and meals. Recently I was talking to a friend after returning from a family road trip. Before we left, I spent a lot of time scrubbing and straightening so we could return to a clean home. It was clean…for about three minutes. Then we unloaded the car. She wisely remarked, “You either live there or you don’t.”

After I quit complaining about being the last person out of the kitchen, I set out to do a little research. Not only did I want to find out how others clean their homes, but I thought I could find the perfect way to do it quickly and correctly. I quickly found that cleaning methods are as varied as our personalities (none of which are quite perfect).

The Midnight Madness Method

Ladies, this is no sale. Midnight Madness refers to the late nights some women endure so they can wake up to a clean house. Unfortunately, she tends to sleep in late, wake up to a mad rush, run the kids to school in pajamas, and come home in time to wake up the toddler (who stayed up late, too). The day doesn’t really start until about 10 A.M., and there’s no time for her to catch her breath (or a quick nap) until the kids are in bed…at which time she spends the rest of her energy putting the house to bed.

The Saturday Super Cleaner

Saturday is a special day, and not just because it’s the day before Sunday. In a Saturday Super Cleaner’s household, it’s the day that each family member wakes up to a list of chores that must be completed before playing can begin. This scenario can quickly become a nightmare (Windex on the cat, Ajax sprinkled down the hall, etc.), but she lives through it week after week with the distant hope that the children will grow up and she’ll be the proud recipient of praise when a lucky spouse realizes what a tidy treasure he or she has found!

The Anti-cleaner

The Anti-cleaner doesn’t live on any sort of schedule—not for eating, or sleeping, and definitely not for cleaning! She’ll admit messes do happen, so when she’s motivated by the sheer necessity of spilt Kool-Aid, she grabs a mop and cleans up to a two-foot radius of the spill. This way, she gets to the entire kitchen floor about once a month.

The Hormonal Housewife

The Hormonal Housewife needs to be in a certain emotional state of mind to get some real cleaning done. Luckily, this happens on a monthly basis.

She allows the boiling lava of her frustration to erupt into a fit of dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing. The family members quickly recognize the “don’t bother me; I’m cleaning” look and are obliged to hide in the dark corners of the storage room for a while. Just give her a little elbow room and a lot of chocolate and she’ll be back to normal about the time the house starts to shine like the top of the Empire State Building.

The Company Crisis Commander

A ringing doorbell is the most common reason the Company Crisis Commander is called to action. She turns into a drill sergeant and barks orders, “Stacks of books go in the cupboard, dishes in the oven, and Sammy’s science project (or was it his lunch?) in the dishwasher!”

Meanwhile, the unsuspecting guest waits on the front porch up to five minutes before being ushered into a very tidy front room by a very sweaty family member.

Holly Hobby

Yes, Holly Hobby is still around. She can’t think of much else to do with her spare time. Look at her calendar! Monday: laundry. Tuesday: garbage. Wednesday: dust. Thank heaven for Sunday or she’d never take a day off!

This woman might be found enjoying an evening polishing china or reorganizing a closet. When you ask if she’s done anything fun lately, she might mention washing walls or taking the car to the carwash.

The Toddler Tornado Type

If you are lucky as to have passed through the toddler stage at your house, you can skip this section or read through and reminisce.

The mother of a Toddler Tornado has no choice. She'll sweep and mop the kitchen to find crumbs less than five minutes later.

She'll vacuum the back seat of the car to find it crushed-cracker-encrusted by the time you arrive at the airport ot pick up Grandma (who happens to be the Meticulous Machine type).

Somehow, these Moms can't simply walk through their home without noticing ten items that need to be picked up, wiped off, or washed.

The Meticulous Machine

The Meticulous Machine scrubs, scours, and sterilizes on a schedule! No dish is left in the sink longer than an hour, no clutter is left on the floor, and there are cleaning chores assigned to every day, week, and season.

There is no such thing as spring cleaning in this household because the blessed event goes on year-round! You might recognize her by the twitch in her left eye as she watches a child tramp mud through the house.

A Clean Home (more-or-less)

We work hard to keep our lives in order, and it’s all for good cause. Take a moment to think about the homes you’ve visited where you felt most comfortable and most welcome.

I doubt it mattered to you which method of cleaning had been done prior to your arrival as long as it was relatively clean and clutter-free.

The most comfortable homes you’ve been in are the ones in which you felt the Spirit. It’s the sweetness of a family who prays together before they rush off to school every morning. The unity you feel from the family who spent all day Saturday preparing for your arrival—and who had fun doing it! It’s the warm welcome you’ll remember from the woman who spent her afternoon visiting with you about things that matter (even though her schedule had her repainting the trim in the hallway that day).

And perhaps most importantly, it’s the type of home that reminds us that the word homemaker is more properly spelled "home maker."

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