Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The neverending journey

I need to learn to lower my expectations. I already know that I should lower my expectations, I just don't actually know how to do it. And it is slowly making me crazy.

I'd like my home to look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens. I mean, stylistically, of course, but that's out of my reach. What feels within my reach, though, is a house with a place for everything and everything in it's place. I've aced the 'place for everything' due to a generously sized house with lots of storage space. Everything HAS a place. The problem is that no one but me puts anything in those places.


The kids are just kids. Why spend time cleaning up when time could be spent playing? Or reading? Or aggravating your mother? Or eating for the fiftieth time today? And for that matter, why not combine some of these things? Eating and playing! Reading and aggravating your mother! So they make messes round the clock. And then when I tell them to clean up, they spend their time playing or reading instead. My older son even gives up on everything and just takes a nap. You know he doesn't want to do it when he chooses to sleep instead. He never chooses sleep.


And my husband.... Oh, my husband. He just doesn't care. Messes, dirt, none of it bothers him. I get twitchy in a cluttered room. He just moves clutter aside and makes a spot to sit and considers it good enough. We've been married a while now, and I have long since given up on asking him to do things my way. Why put socks in the laundry basket when there's a perfectly good floor right in front of it? Why put things in the drawer when you can just set them on top of the counter?

The thing I've realized, is that I'm the only one who values a clean, tidy house. My family members don't care. And ultimately, if it's something that matters to me, I need to take ownership and do it. What I'm also still working on accepting is that I can't reasonably have a home that looks the way I want it to when I'm the only one who values it. I keep trying to come up with a good routine to maintain the house, but it's hard to have a reasonable, doable routine when I have four bathrooms and I think each one should be cleaned twice a week. If it was only bathrooms I had to clean, that would be all well and good, but there's another 3000 or so square feet that need attention to.

Lowered expectations. That's what I need to do. Keep them in line with what I can actually do without making myself crazy.


  1. Haha I understand. My 9 year old and I talked about that today as I asked him to pick up his clothes and move them a few inches into the basket. Lowered expectations are good but with the bathrooms what about finding a rhythm for speed cleaning. Squirt, brush, flush, wipe outside for the toilet. Spray and wipe on the counters and mirror. Sweep and pray and wipe with a towel for the floor. Then a quick wipe of the tub. Honestly could be done in about 5 minutes per bathroom, ten max. That might help find a groove to get your bathrooms done the way you want. I really think life is about finding balance and that usually does mean lowering expectations. :)

    1. Yep, it's a balance thing.

      In my case, it's also an OCD issue. I truly cannot just do a quick over. I have to clean the grout, and the baseboards, and scrub the tile, and polish the fixtures, and and and.... It makes everything take a long time, but when it's done it's definitely done right. The problem is that I always feel like I almost immediately need to do it again.

  2. You have 4 bathrooms and 3000+ square feet? Sweetie, you need help. Like Merry Maids just once a week or something. I hear it isn't that expensive.
    Because I don't think you're ever gonna get through to the menfolk.

    1. Oh, don't I wish..... When I was in school full time, we did have a company coming in weekly. I really did stay busy enough just keeping up with the tidying, dishes, and laundry. Then when the boys were in school, we went to once every two weeks because there was less mess.
      But now, with finances being a big challenge, there simply isn't money for it. I wish, because it did take a lot of the stress off.

      And fwiw, it does sound excessive on paper. The house is about 3400 square feet, and to be technical, it's two half baths and two full baths. We do not have four full bathrooms, thank goodness.

  3. Can the boys get to a point where they can just pick things up off the floor before they leave a room? If they could just dump all of their stuff into those cute little storage bins, all you would have to do is put them back nice and neat in their cubbies.

    Pipe dream?

  4. Oh, yes. I know this feeling. I felt like this in our previous apartment all. the. time. I'm not sure if it was the feng sui of the place, or what (okay, it may have something to do with the fact that we have some help with cleaning now), but in all seriousness, I do think that it had something to do with that particular living space. Messes were more easily made there and gave more intese feelings of ARGHHHH!!!!

    I don't know what to say about all of this, except keep plodding away, doing what you're doing. Modifying your expectations while continuing to instill personal responsibility in your kids.

    One thing that I do know is that I'm super grateful for your comment on my previous post re. baby favouritism. Thanks for the support!!!

  5. I'm constantly picking stuff up after people, and cleaning crumbs off floors and god-knows-what-stains off tables, counter tops etc. It's neverending. Sigh.

  6. Oh, you took the words right outta my mouth, lol! I vacillate between caring and not caring. Of course, when I care and the house looks pretty good (for us, that is, with 2 cats, 3 kids and a husband who works out of the house) it doesn't last long, I kill myself keeping it that way, and no one "pops by". Then those times that I give up and say, "who cares?" are the times when everyone I know needs to stop by for something and when trades people need to come and fix something. *sigh*

    To think that before I had kids and when I was working full time I used to have a cleaning lady (what? why?). Like you, I have a lotta house (2700 sq ft). I've had some success with those lists of what to clean on each day but that only lasts for a few weeks before life takes over.

  7. I understand your desire for an always clean home! Thankfully my husband wants it just as clean as I do. We do bathrooms once a week and do a deep clean of the whole house first thing every sat morning. It has really helped me be able to focus on other things during the week-like Homeschool, meals,laundry and just keeping things tidy.

  8. Would I love to have a perfectly clean house, all the time? Yep! But the reality is the others in my house like it clean, but not enough to help, and I have a 100+ pound Golden Retiever/Grea Pyrenees dog that lives in the house (sheds a LOT, and doesn't know how to use the vacuum!) I decided that homeschooling is a lifestyle where education is more important than BHG living room LOL! I altered my expectations. I have a homeschool curriculum that is very organized and keeps great records (Time4Learning), and I have a clean sink philosophy (kitchen sink empty, clean and dry every night before bed)otherwise, we just tread the housecleaning waters in hopes of keeping our head above the mess!