I dream of one day being the perfect example of a reformed slob who never again experiences the how-exactly-did-that-space-get-so-messy-AGAIN phenomenon that’s so common in my life.
I’ve realized that may never happen. I now know what causes these messes, how to prevent them, and that it’s not the end of the world when they happen.
But I still wish they wouldn’t happen.
If you’ve been around long, you know that this past school year was a crazy one. Too crazy. As in, I’m dreaming of all the things I’ll do differently next year to be sure it’s less crazy.
Meanwhile, it’s summer. My kids are home. And I’m determined to continue teaching them ever-so-necessary-for-life cleaning skills.
The house wasn’t in the ideal shape I wanted it to be in to start these lessons. Pre-blog, this might have discouraged me from trying. But now that I have hope, I know the best thing to do is dive in and do the best I can.
So yesterday, we cleaned the bathrooms. My oldest worked in the kids’ bathroom, my middle loudly “called” the half-bath before anyone else knew what was happening, and the youngest (6) worked with me in my bathroom.
My bathroom. The one that made her say, “You and Daddy’s bathroom is the dirtiest, Mommy.”
I grunted in response to her 6y0 reasoning that this was because it’s the biggest.
I know that the real reason. It’s the most put-off-able. Being inside the room where guests aren’t allowed to go anyway, I can justify skipping this bathroom when time is short. And time seemed to ALWAYS be short this past year.
So . . . while the boys followed the bathroom cleaning checklist in the other bathrooms, we did the best we could in mine. I cleared the counters (a much more difficult task than it should be) and she stood on them and cleaned the mirrors. Then, as I had her scrub the counters (a much more difficult task than it should be), I cleaned the desperately-needed-to-be-cleaned shower. I wiped down the toilet and we called it done for this week. She learned cleaning skills, the bathroom looks infinitely better, and now it’s in a state where I can justify putting one of the boys in there with the checklist.
Here’s the most life-changing thing I’ve learned over the past almost-three-years of my deslobification process: Don’t let my failures or trip-ups or lapses-in-doing-what-I-now-know-has-to-be-done keep me from trying.
Just jump right in wherever I am, and do the best I can.
Where are you? Is your house in prime condition to teach your kids cleaning skills or do you need to jump right in and just do your best?
Be sure to get your copy of my e-book: Teaching Kids to Clean.
Ideally my house would be clean before teaching the kids to clean, but we live in a fallen world. Thanks for keeping it real!
How willing are your kids to learn these tasks? Mine will be good with it for a bit……how we keep them (and ourselves) motivated?
Mine’s in prime condition, if by “prime” we mean ‘by the time this place finally gets sorted they’re going to know EVERY cleaning/tidying skill they could possibly need to know’. 😉
But don’t worry, getting the whole house sorted is not on any list of goals, because we all know that’s just setting up for failure.
I think you ARE the perfect example! You get down and dirty in the trenches, working right along side, cheering us on so we can continue on toward the goal.
Good for you, having daughter working with you! I have 4 younger kiddos that are in need of some focused training. My goal is to take one each week of the month to work along side. That way each month they will each have one-on-one sessions with Mama.
Leah Y. says
I really love your attitude when it comes to the cleaning and ‘deslobification’! I just look at the messes and get depressed and put it off till I get mad at myself! I hope I can follow your example of just pressing on!
It’s amazing how I feel like I’m looking in a mirror when I read your post Nony. I’ve only followed you a few days, but I am INSPIRED. I am such a perfectionist it paralyzes me. I got up this morning and “halfway” cleaned my bathroom and fully cleaned my half bath, unloaded dishes. Swept living room and kitchen and wet mopped. All before coming to work. It wasn’t perfect. Every nook and cranny was not scrubbed, but it was SOMETHING! Thanks for your honesty. 🙂
Amy J says
You described me perfectly. I also am a perfectionist that gets so overwhelmed that it cripples me. I hear myself saying, “why try?” I am also from a long line of pack rats. It doesn’t matter if it’s nature or nurture, I feel like I have to fight my personality with every ounce of energy to live in a house that brings me peace.
I appreciate your blog, Dana, and your FB posts. I am inspired to keep trying. 🙂
Kathy B says
Thank you for your great attitude. I, too, am a frustrated slob who just keeps on trying. Glad to have some folks who can hang in there with me for mutual encouragement!
I just discovered your blog and I love it! I love real blogs and yours is real! Well done.
Thank you, Amanda!
Your life changing lesson for de-slobification also works really well when you are trying to lose weight! Don’t stop trying….even if you aren’t where you thought you would be by now!
Overcome to the conclusion that if I actually want the kids upstairs bathroom to be cleaned, I have to tell the oldest one to go clean it and then an hour later tell the youngest to clean it, then go up there myself and actually do it right.
Sometimes the pre-clean up gets it good enough that I don’t scream at them for being gross boys 🙂
Baa ha Susan! I do the same! Send one kid to clean and then send the next kid to clean the same thing as if I hadn’t sent the first. I just keep sending a new kid (there’s six of ’em) until the job is good enough. Ultimate cop-out, I know, but it seems like I can barely keep my head above the clutter!