Cleaning. {the ugh and meh of it all}

“When do you find time to clean?”

“How do you clean?”

“How do you make time to clean all those diapers?”

“Can you give me some tips?”

Real questions from real blog readers. I actually laughed when I read them…because I want to take photos of our house and scare the bejeebers out of you!

Before Bess, we had daily tasks, weekly tasks, a master cleaning schedule, laundry days. And this place still looked like a frat house gone terribly wrong. Bess is now nearing the 6-month mark and I feel that I am ready to {attempt to} gain some ground in the cleaning department.

Before I even address it, I feel I should be completely transparent. I have three very out-of-the-box kids. One strong-willed preschooler, who is so very 4 and a HALF. If you have a 4 1/2 year old, you know exactly what I mean by that. A 2-year-old with several disabilities, who recently added seizures. And last, but not least, a breastfed almost 6-month-old with allergies and intolerances. Cleaning is usually the last thing on my list. I am the same person who actually went through a challenge to get dressed every day for a month. Yes, I was successful. But I think it says a lot about our days here at the Ballew Homestead. The fact that I actually posted photos of myself not wearing pajama pants. Based on that alone, people should have assumed some things about our house. And they would have been correct. Our house is in varying degrees of clean based on the day and how close I am to eating every Twizzler this side of the Mississippi. I am not proud of it. My mom taught me to clean, kids just changed everything. I am not using them as excuses…just wanted you to know where I am coming from as I share my ‘why’ ‘when’ and ‘how’ for this new season.

I have read a lot of books on cleaning. I will review some of them later. They were great and helpful and I have gleaned from every single one of them. But reading and doing are very different animals. I decided to follow along with the cleaning challenge over at Living Well Spending Less. It is basically a Cleaning 101. I figured it would help me get my feet wet again. Literally for Dave’s feet. He does the mopping.

Dave cleans. A lot. So this is a family plan, not a Mommy plan. I never signed up to take care of our children or our house alone. And Dave fully supports that…we are a unit. But, we do have strengths and weaknesses. Tasks that are better assigned to each of us. I breastfeed. He does the dishes. He also pitches in {or takes over} in other areas. Including, but not limited to: cooking meals, picking up toys, putting away laundry, sweeping, and brushing Adelaide’s teeth. When you throw in Adelaide’s dental hygiene, we are officially even. I may breastfeed for life to keep from doing that. It’s like a show about piranhas on cocaine.


Why do I want a clean house? That was the first question of the challenge. The answer was easy:

I want a clean house so we can enjoy our {small} space and welcome other people into our {small} space!

The ‘when’ is much tougher. I went with a daily speed-cleaning schedule with weekly tasks on a timer. Every day, we will quickly do what I call “sanity” chores.

  • Pick up toys. So we aren’t tripping and dying at night.
  • Do the dishes. So Adelaide will have clean bottles.
  • Sweeping floors. So Adelaide is not eating ‘day old’ granola.
  • Washing diapers. So the girls aren’t pooping on the floor.
  • Putting dirty clothes in the hamper. So Adelaide isn’t eating an old sock.
  • Cleaning the toilet. So I don’t get some sort of disease from Graham’s fully potty-trained {YAY!} adventures.

Then, I am going to put all the weekly chores on a list and just power through them with a timer. I used to assign each room a day. For instance, the bathroom’s weekly chores would be on Tuesday. I would wipe down fixtures, scrub the bathtub, clean the mirror, dust, sweep and mop on that day. It worked okay. So, I figured we would try something else. If the weekly chores are on a list that can be cherry-picked, I can choose what works best that day. Maybe dusting and vacuuming every room would be a better way one week. But the next week, dusting and vacuuming would be done one room a day. I am giving myself some flexibility. Plus, it helps Dave be able to choose what he wants to do. He can just mark off what he gets done while I am feeding our child and drinking enough water to fill a lake.

We also have monthly chores, which I usually just throw onto the side of my calendar {it’s paper and Dave laughs at me} to tackle when I have  a bit of time throughout the month.

So, the challenge will soon move to the ‘how’ of cleaning. I am excited about that…and I will be pulling in tips and advice from my favorite e-books and articles. If my children allow, this place may actually be presentable soon. Or, you will find me with three screaming children as I hide in a closet eating {very expensive} coconut milk ice cream and vegan lemon pie. I make no promises. Hey, I am actually putting on real clothes everyday. It’s all about the baby steps.

Oh, and I realize I didn’t put ‘make beds’ on the list of “sanity” chores. I am still thinking it over. If my bed is made, I will miss out on finding Legos, K’Nex, books, and the occasional robot…


I love being a boy mom.

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