Monday, October 31, 2011

Catching Up When You're Behind

In this season of life, I am falling behind with housekeeping. Not that I want to, it's just too busy right now to stay on top of it all. However, with company (my mother-in-law and sister-in-law) coming to visit, I knew last week I had to get real busy, fast. (Plus, my mother-in-law is super, super neat. She's admitted her standard is very high). Talk about pressure.

Some things that helped me get caught up:
  • Teamwork (taking a night to work with my husband; having the kids help pick up, too)
  • A friend offering to watch the kids for a few hours, so I could have some focused work time (my now 3-year old stayed with me, and I gave him a microfiber cloth and a bottle of Basic-H spray, which is non-toxic, and he helped me spray and wipe. "There's a spot, Mommy! There's some spots!..." Yes, lots of spots.)
  • Simple meals and clean-up (time for paper plates!) (A friend who knew my predicament ordered pizza for us one day so that I wouldn't have to make lunch. Bless her!)
  • Focusing on two rooms to clean well, instead of picking around in multiple rooms and continuing to feel overwhelmed at the lack of overall, measurable progress. After two rooms were cleaned quite well (kitchen and living room), I chose to do the best I could with the time I had left in the rest of the rooms
After all that, ultimately, I just had to humble myself. The house was as good as it was going to be. At that point, I needed to loosen up and let people in anyway--focus on enjoying their company, rather than feeling anxious that it wasn't up to my erroneous pre-conceived notions of people's reactions.

I think we judge ourselves and others' expectations more harshly than what the reality is. I was expecting to feel embarrassed. Yet, I was wrong. I was putting undo pressure on myself. Family and friends understand we can't do it all, and they don't expect us to. People are often much more merciful (and willing to help) than we think they may be. 

Now that things are somewhat caught up, it takes discipline to keep them that way. Put things away where they belong right away. Keep pickup routines in place. Stay caught up on the laundry. Stay off the computer!


  1. I'm so thankful that my mom and mother-in-law both don't stress about the condition of my house. Well, they both feel the need to 'help' when they are here, but I don't feel much pressure to have things perfect when they arrive. My problem is the undue stress I put on myself to maintain that pie-in-the-sky "perfect" home. It will never happen with 9 of us living in it. You should have seen our home when I had 3 under 6! It is so much better now because of my helpers. :-) Your day is coming.

  2. Love this post...we do put crazy pressure on ourselves! I am working so hard starting my day earlier and trying to keep on top of things from the get go. :)