Mr. Clean’s Army

As the day came to a close, I realized that my house was clean, and I did very little of the tidying, putting away, and cleaning. It feels good!

For some reason I thought chores did themselves. Maybe my mom was at home and so efficient that I never realized how much work she finished by the time I got home from school. The house was always clean, clothes always folded, dinner always on time. ALWAYS. So it wasn’t a surprise that I wanted to grow up to be a housewife. And after my college education and 1 year of work experience, I did just that.

It wasn’t too hard to keep the house tidy. One, two, three, four babies came in 5 1/2 years. The house was still looking good. Laundry piles still small, since my children were also small. But dinner was never on time. I think I’ve served dinner on time less times than years I’ve been married.

My oldest started kindergarten, and so did the messes. I didn’t think homeschooling would be too tough. It’s just kindergarten. Even with a one-month old, I wasn’t worried. I managed to keep my cool, although frazzled by Friday, and time on the weekend to shove the messes under the carpet.

Then my darling baby girl came, a big surprise after her four brothers. Two in school, two in diapers, and the tears flowed. I was completely overwhelmed. Why was my house so much messier? If onlys and should’ves occupied my thoughts. How on earth would I have time to do it all?

And THEN, I was visiting a friend one afternoon and happened to see a chore chart she made for her children, her oldest the same age as mine. Seven year olds doing chores? It couldn’t hurt. The Lord knows I need some help! And did it help!

Baby six and seven, and now four in school. I have an army of cleaners, ready to take charge of whatever I dish out. Yes, I remind them, over and over. Yes, they complain, over and over, and YES, my house is relatively clean. And I spend LESS time cleaning it than I did when we had ZERO kids!

I want to encourage anyone out there who excuses their mess due to the number of people that live under one roof. It doesn’t have to be that way. Part of a child’s education is teaching them how to clean up after themselves, even how to clean up after others. They have come to know and expect that Mom’s got something for them to do. They ask me more frequently, “What can I do?” “Can I help you?” And yes, yes, yes! you can and will help me. I need it. I’m finally humble enough to admit it. Thank you, kids, for contributing to our household. I know you will grow up someday to be fine contributors to society.

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