Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Everything AND the kitchen sink

Actual conversation at the McDonald's drive-thru:

DT: AAAAAAAARGH! (In a raspy voice-) Welcome to McDonald's. Can I take your order?
Me: Uh, yeah. I'd like an Oreo McFlurry.
long pause
DT: AAAAAAAARGH! (In a raspy voice-) I'm sorry, could you repeat that, please?
Me: I'd like and Oreo McFlurry.
DT: AAAAAAAARGH! (In a raspy voice-) That'll be $1.90 a the first little window!
Me: Thanks.....Matey.

When I pull around to the "little window," there are two kids standing there. The kid with the headset, who looks like he is about to jump out the window, says, "Are you the one who just called me matey?" When I answer in the affirmative, he turns to his buddy, then back to me. "He didn't believe me!" His buddy just looked at him and says, "Man, if I tried that kind of stuff, people would be reaching through the window to slap me. But you get away with it every time!"

Glad they had some fun.


I felt frantic most of the day yesterday. Part of this is my own fault, and part of it is that there are just a few too many things on my plate. Though there are usually a lot of things to get done, I generally do okay with letting go of stuff that isn't important. But some days I let it get to me. Yesterday was one of those days.

Looking back at it today, I realized that a lot of what happened yesterday could have been avoided with a little bit better planning and organization.

Our house is extremely disorganized. Messy. I am no housekeeper. But it drives me crazy because it gets overwhelming and it needlessly complicates things. So I focused on getting some stuff cleaned up today. Mainly the sink, which was piled with dishes and in need of a major scouring. When I was first introduced to the Fly Lady, I was a little skeptical about her whole shiney sink thing. And, though I think her method of cleaning the sink could be categorized as overkill (and over-chemical, for that matter,) I have realized that when my sink is clean, my kitchen tends to stay much, much cleaner as well. So I knew I had to tackle the sink.

I still had a load of dishes to unload from the dishwasher, and half a sink left to load up, when I had to get dinner started. So, add to my half sink all the dishes from dinner! But I think I can get all the dishes done tomorrow. (And the scouring is already done. Yippee!) My goal: to keep the sink clear until we leave for China. Like I said, the sink really is the heart of it all. So if I can keep it clear, it will be the catalyst for getting other cleaning jobs done.

Also done today - washed two loads of laundry and cleaned the bathroom.

But here is the problem. I didn't spend any good time with the kids today because I was too busy cleaning. As I was cleaning, I was thinking about a post on Robin's blog about having too much to do and not being able to play with the kids. I left a comment for her in which I requested advice about how to balance the housekeeping with time for the kids. Then I thought, maybe I should just ask folks here.

So, here are my questions. Is it possible to have a clean house AND spend quality time with the kids every day? If so, how is that accomplished, short of hiring a maid? Do you schedule your cleaning time and your kid time each day? (Keeping in mind that some kids, especially kids like Boo, get crabby if their moms aren't able to play with them frequently.) What methods have you tried that have helped with cleaning, eliminating clutter, etc. (I am not as interested in knowing what products have worked as much as the methods.) For the sake of spending time with the kids, what things (laundry, dishes, etc.) are you willing to let go and for how long?

I admit that things would likely be easier to maintain once cleaned. (We have not yet reached maintenance status here.) And I realize that I have not developed the habit of neatness. But I am looking for small pieces of practical advice that people have had success with.

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Blogger Marcy Evans said...

Oh, my goodness....that is the eternal question. My house only got clean when the kids finally left...now when I put things someplace (away) they stay there. Having had the original pit of a mess when the kids were growing up, I just never figured out how to balance it...so I figured out how not to feel guilty about it. When my own mother was dying, she told me that the biggest regret she had was that she had spent far too much time making sure that the house was neat and clean and not enough time with her children. So, her advice to me was: "Spend time with your children - they will be gone sooner than you think and the dust bunnies will always be there. Someday you will clean the house and it will stay that way and you will cry because your children are gone."

Wed Sep 21, 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

First of all, I am writing a post on this. Hopefully will be up in the next few days. Secondly, since our house in on the market I am kinda forced into eternal cleanliness. Terry was sweet enough to hire a housekeeper when Reese was born, so I have been totally spoiled for the past 10 months. I really do like Fly Lady's ideas, particularly the decluttering. Personally, I think having a schedule in place for you and the kids is very important. It allows specific time for you to spend with them each day, but a stopping point for you too with the cleaning. Have them get involved as much as possible so you are getting your stuff done while interacting with them. More on this all in my post...I know it is overwhelming! Good Luck!

Wed Sep 21, 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

Mom always tried to make cleaning a game for us to play. She'd let me put the detergent in the machine and stuff like that. That is what I did at camp and it always works.

Thu Sep 22, 01:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

I try to just balance things out week by week, not day by day. Some days, like today, I spend almost all day cleaning and the kids entertain themselves together. Then another day I'll mostly spend time with the kids and just do things like making meals and washing dishes. I think it's easier to look at the whole week instead of trying to squeeze so many things into a single day. I've also been trying over the past few months to do the dishes each night (I don't have a dishwasher) instead of every other day, which was my previous way. It takes only a little time each night instead of a lot of time every other night. Good luck Lorri! I still remember our housecleaning woes during senior year of college!:)

Mon Sep 26, 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

I just realized that I spelled your name wrong in my comment! Sorry! I just finished emailing a friend from church named "Lorri" before I read your blog. Amazing how many ways there are to spell your name; I know a Lori, Lorri, and Lorie!

Mon Sep 26, 12:11:00 PM  

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