everything in its place...

                                                                                                                        carolhayesmanagement.co.uk via Cary on Pinterest

for me, one of the challenges of homeschooling is finding a balance between enjoying being at home and feeling a need to get housework done. we spend a lot of time at home (more so in winter) and we need to feel comfortable here, to enjoy this space and feel creative and inspired. the problem is i am also the one (mostly) in charge of keeping it clean. i do get a lot of help, but the brunt of it falls on me by default. i love having more space and a bigger house but i have to admit that this house has never been entirely clean all at the same time. never. not once. the upstairs has been clean. the downstairs has been clean. but never simultaneously. this is especially true since baby #3 came along. i have been trying to simplify the whole cleaning process by ever so slowly going through each room and ridding the house of excess clutter. i have a giant yard sale pile growing daily on my front porch (which i'm sure my neighbors appreciate!). i can't get rid of everything i want to but i'm trying to get down to what we really need and or love. it makes things so much easier at the end of the day to pick up for 5 minutes in a room and feel like it is manageable. of course that still leaves dusting (where does all that dust come from and does it ever really go away?), vacuuming (with two dogs and two cats i would hate to count how many hours i have wasted spent doing this), mopping, bathroom cleaning, laundry, and so on (and on). i admit that i am jealous whenever i see a cleaning company pull up to a neighbor's house. i hope no one ever sees me with my face pressed against the window glass, staring longingly like a kid in a candy store... remembering wistfully back to the time when i had that luxury.

after the birth of my second daughter my mother-in-law gifted us with a cleaning service. it was a lovely gift and really necessary. not only did i also have a toddler but a preemie born seven weeks early who then caught r.s.v. we spent nearly a month total in the hospital with her and then i was ordered to keep her inside until spring (she was born in october!). it was a long winter. maria, a wonderful woman came once a week and did the necessary deep cleaning. i still had the daily work to do but i never felt overwhelmed by it. i also rarely left the house that winter and usually spent the time talking to maria who became close to me and my little ones and was truly a sanity saver for me. so after the gift part ran out, i kept her on. at the time we lived in the upstairs apartment of a house and the owner lived downstairs. one day the landlady was doing work in my apartment and casually asked me how i got my tub so clean (it was one of those with jets that are impossible to keep nice). i praised my lovely house keeper for doing such a great job and she gave me an odd look. at the time i was embarrassed, assuming she was judging me. paying someone to clean for you can be such a taboo subject. people like to do it but not to admit to it. i thought maybe she thought i was lazy, since i was always home anyways. when you are a mother at home with young children people often make you feel like you aren't actually doing anything, or anything important (but don't get me started on that). i was wrong though, she wasn't judging me, or if she was it was along the lines of "why do i have a tenant who has a housekeeper and i don't?!" yep. she turned right around and upped our rent... the exact amount i was paying to have the house cleaned each week! did she call the service and ask how much they charged? i don't know but we either had to accept the rent increase (our lease was up for renewal) or move out. so, i had to give up my cleaning service and say goodbye to maria. you can probably guess the rest. my landlady hired a cleaning service herself, even though she had no children and was away from home everyday!!! but who am i to judge, right?

i do feel like it would be great to have more help or just not to care so much but in the meantime my yard sale pile keeps growing and you may catch me occasionally with my nose pressed against the window smudging up the glass. i should probably stop doing that though because it just makes one more thing i have to clean.

*p.s. has anyone read this book?

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