By Rachel Hoeing
Last fall, one of my favorite friends moved all the way across the country. We shed many tears when she left, but vowed to keep in touch.
Shortly after she moved, she sent me an email that had me laughing for quite some time. Things were chaotic when they left, to say the least, and my girlfriend had a lot on her plate. She also found herself transitioning to somewhat of a single mom as her husband was finishing up work on this side of the country prior to him joining them in California. I have posted her email below and I think the story will speak for itself. I hope it not only gives you a good laugh today, but gives you some ideas as well!
So, a few lessons learned from living in a two bedroom condo with three kids, two puppies, no husband, no cleaning lady, no childcare and your mom:
1. Age 5 is not too young to start scrubbing toilets. I had no idea how privileged my kids had become until last Saturday when I was at my wit’s end and decided we were all going to clean the very cluttered condo. My kids went into shock- Emma thought I was joking, Jack cried, and Olivia spent 30 minutes in the bathroom. Remember the no walking allowed vacuumed rooms of our youth?? Damn I loved those clean lines. So, I cranked the stereo with their favorite playlist (glee tunes) and Emma dusted, Olivia scrubbed toilets and showers, and Jack vacuumed and mopped.
You can imagine my mind when after the first 30 minutes of pouting and fits we found ourselves singing aloud!! The kids loved the results and in the end, we agreed from now on we will dedicate 1.5 hrs each weekend to a family deep clean. This is over and above the usual requirement to keep their own rooms clean and beds made (with help on the bunk beds – those are a bi#ch to make!).
2. Then came laundry. Once a week I do it, and we have now decided that once a week my kids have to help sort, fold, hang and put away. Amazing how much they curse the dreaded inside out pants with underwear still intact. Quite funny to see them get after each other to put their clothes in the hamper right side out.
3. Why stop there? Jack was a having a serious fit the other day so I gave him a time out in his room (which is the group kids room/toy room/guest room). I went in after 5 minutes and he was playing with his hockey stick and LOVING his time out! I snapped, but was then struck with an idea. I handed him a bottle of Clorox and told him his time out would be over when the bathroom was clean enough. After telling him twice that it wasn’t clean, he finally hunkered down, did an excellent job cleaning the toilets and toothpaste off the sink and emerged very calm from his timeout.
Why have I not thought of this sooner?? “Cleaning bathrooms” is now my new time out. Even used it with Emma the other day and my sinks were sparkling! Cracks me up now to hear them scold each other about not rinsing after spitting in the sink. I actually heard Jack say to Emma – “Do you know how hard that is to get that toothpaste off when it dries?”
Must say- can’t wait for the kids to scrap or talk back so my toilets will shine.