Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is There a Substitution for Housewife?

I tend to see mothering, especially the stay-at-home type, like a cookie recipe. Mostly because the more you can relate to cookies, the better. Anyway, there are the main staples that all recipes use in varying amounts and then there are the individual spices that make each recipe unique. The key is to find the perfect balance to your family's needs and your talents (which means continual tweaking of your mom "recipe").

Hmm, cookies, can you hold on a sec?

Orrie (gulp) I mean, sorry, had to go find a cookie. Anyway, one of the staples happens to be 'housewife'. Which in my mind is the housekeeping and cleaning part of being a mom. I seem to always be running short on this staple. But, as my sister recently found, it is hard to find substitutions for the staples. So every once in a while I have to buckle down and add some 'housewife' to my recipe.

Which is a long way to say I had a cleaning day on Wednesday. I started out with the lofty goal of cleaning the upstairs: the playroom, both boys rooms, and the boy's bathroom. If I started at 9, I could finish by lunch and then go to the library. I grossly underestimated the amount of 'housewife' I was going to need to finish this job.

The playroom floor might have been a jumbled maze of piled high toys. "Climbing" into the room might even have been a more accurate description than "walking". But I'm not admitting to anything other than the fact that it took me 4 1/2 hours to clean that one room.

All toys back in their labeled bins, all furniture moved around, folding table brought up so the TV wasn't sitting on the floor, and big inside toys- that were always intended for that room and left outside all summer until I "got around to it"- finally brought inside. Granted I could have shaved off a lot of time if I hadn't insisted the two preschoolers stay in the room with me (read dumping toys OUT of their labeled bins at nearly the same rate they were thrown placed inside), but the rest of my house really didn't need destroyed while I was cleaning.

So I finished late for lunch, but only by 2 hours. And as I ate lunch I noticed my kitchen was a little messy. Normally I would consider my 'housewife' portion of the recipe more than filled, but the front door pretty much opens on the kitchen and I have a paranoia that the owners of the house might decide to drop by unannounced sometime. Fear is always a great motivator. So after a 30 minute lunch/email pause, I cleaned it.

It only took me 2 hours. This truly boggles my mind. I cleaned it Monday and was gone all day Tuesday. Logically, it should have been nearly clean. Logically, I should have tied all my kids to the couch at this point.

So it is now 4:15. I have 45 minutes to "relax", then a whirlwind of dinner and clean up before Peter takes the boys to football. I mentioned to Peter that if he took the little boys with him to football I might be able to finish their room and the bathroom and thus complete my goal. This was more rhetorical musing than anything else; until he grabbed their shoes and took them! I figure he must have noticed the playroom and knew I was close to losing my mind. Maybe he noticed the rope and duct tape I left by the couch in case I became logical.

Now I had a choice. I could finish off the upstairs or I could do nothing. After all, I had used the word "might" hadn't I? But then I remembered that if their room wasn't done today, it would be done tomorrow and then I would have my two "helpers". So I cleaned the boys' room. I put away all the clothes dumped out of their drawers (to give you an idea, their drawers were empty when I started), folded the blankets (why was the entire closet of blankets in their room? I may never know), and scrubbed the carpet stains (ice cream, pepperonis, fingernail polish, ink, and a few I tried NOT to figure out). Then I moved to the bathroom all 4 boys share. I don't think I need to elaborate. 2 hours later I finished, just as Peter pulled up with the kids.

So sum it up. I added 8.5 hours of 'housewife' to my Mom recipe, all in one day. I think that leaves me half-baked. Where are those cookies?


  1. I think you filled your quota for the week. When do you get to add the dazzling woman-about-town to your recipe?

  2. Ha Ha, I remember talking to you on the phone when you were just starting your kitchen, I thought we had agreed that you should be done, thus justifying my being done. I kept my end of the deal and am now dealing with the mess that insued, but you, ah, I am so disapointed.

  3. Boy, do I understand about having "helpers"! Wouldn't it be great to clean up a room and actually have it stay clean for 5 minutes? I don't even remember what it feels like to be done with the daily chores. sigh doesn't look like it will ever get any easier.

  4. I'm still one of those 'helpers' ;) Really, no one does our room. It's been messy since moving down here...

  5. I think the substitution is labelled "Molly Maids". In eight years, when Ricky's done with residency and fellowship and we're rich, I'm adding that into my rotation. For now, I just ignore bathrooms until they are too gross to handle.

  6. too funny. My little helper doesn't mess up, but he hangs on to my pants like a life line, making it next to impossible to do anything. He also screams like a banshee if I leave the room he's in. Yes, I know he's spoiled, but aren't all oldest children?? By the way, I was expecting a post on your birthday and got a housecleaning one instead...

  7. I must still be recovering from all that cleaning because I forgot to link to my sister's post where she kept running out of essentials when making cookies. I will fix it now.
    Here is the link

  8. You know you should put those 6 kids to work, then you wouldn't have to do any housewife duties. Teach them to do all your chores, and your set.

  9. You totally posted about my house!! Except I am using the excuse of being 1 week shy of 9 months pregnant for the reason for not getting it all done. :o)

  10. Wow! You are amazing. My little helpers don't help me clean the room but Madison is "kind" enough to "watch" Dallin for me while I try to clean. Needless to say if we get another inspection soon I'm in trouble!

  11. I can't think of a thing to say. Housecleaning is a chore that never ends. You always have someone coming behind you an messing up.