This week, Mom of Many (MOM, oddly enough) picked the topic: With a nod to Mothers Day, what was the best advice you ever got from your mom?
When I was living under my parents' roof, my mom had a famous saying: "Clean your room, the cleaning lady's coming." As a kid, I thought this phrase was ridiculous. Why should I have to do the cleaning lady's job? I later found out that my friends' moms also used this saying. I figured they must have picked it up in Jewish Mom 101. Then I moved out and didn't have the funds to justify hiring a cleaning lady to come over on a bi-weekly basis. When that finally changed, and I was able to have someone come on a monthly basis, I found myself repeating this famous saying to my kids.
The underlying message was that I should always try to keep and appreciate a clean home. I didn't think about this when my mom was vacuuming while I was watching my favorite TV show. Or when she'd chase me with a dust buster, Danny Tanner style. She would even fight with me about how I kept my apartment so darn messy! I was the one living there, not her. And I was neater than some people I knew.
I really do want my house to be clean. Somewhere between two boys and a new baby, a clean house no longer became a priority. Sure, we still have a cleaning lady over. However, the moment she leaves, one crumb can set off a whole domino effect. Last year, I tried this FlyLady program and it worked for a little while. Then I lost interest when I got pregnant and was too sick to expend much energy on cleaning. Our sitter would help straighten up from time to time, which I appreciated. There was a weekend this past winter that I cleaned the entire basement. Then my boys had friends over and my work was in vain. I gave up after that and put the onus on them to clean up after themselves and make their friends clean up too. It's still a disaster. I can't even look down there! My mom would be in that basement with a vacuum cleaner and boxes to organize things. She would never let my sister and I keep our basement that messy when we were kids. It's not that I don't care, I just don't have the patience to clean it right now.
This week, I decided to give my older son an allowance for helping me around the house. Our first task was folding, sorting and putting away laundry. He complained, of course, until he saw that shiny quarter. I also told him that I had twice as much work as he did when it came to cleaning. I hope this will teach him not to make a mess in the first place, but one can only hope. I'm no better, as I need to find a way to get organized instead of tossing papers everywhere. I'm such a pack rat sometimes. I do wish I carried my mom's "clean gene" sometimes. Maybe it would make me more inclined to keep the house in better shape between visits from the cleaning lady. It's not that I don't want a clean house. It's just that I don't know where to start sometimes. I hope that as the kids get bigger, I can find ways to keep the house cleaner. All I know is that there's nothing like coming home after the cleaning lady has been in our house. The smell of cleaning products combined with the shine coming off of the floors and windows make me savor having a clean house, even if it's only for half a day.