Monday, December 13, 2010

Morning, Afternoon, Evening Routines

In Large Family Logistics, author Kim Brenneman (mother of nine) shares the secret to keeping a consistently tidy and clean house is "as simple as keeping a daily chore time." It encouraged me to read that I am not doing something wrong that my house can get so messy during the course of a day. She writes, "When a large family lives in a home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, things get dirty, messes are made, clutter is left lying around, and small children create chaos. Yes, it will be a mess. That's a fact. But don't let it discourage you, just get to work. Make housework a habit that happens without a great deal of thought, and it will become much easier to do."

When we neglect consistent chore times, our houses can all too easily become pig pens. I've always thought of pig pens as being very messy, but Mrs. Brenneman's description brought new life to the meaning:
"Pigs root around with their noses, turning over anything and everything in order to find something to eat. This process is very destructive to the place where they are kept. They eat anything and everything. Pigs wallow and move their bodies around in dirt in order to create a bed. When it rains in their wallow, it becomes a mud bath where they take residence until cold weather comes. And when they pile on top of each other, they routinely suffocate the pigs at the bottom of the pig pile. This is not a happy site or a model we should emulate!" Imagine papers piled several places, that one shuffles through and stacks; clothes strewn around, traces of meals still in the kitchen; and toys everywhere. New messes are never cleared up entirely but only added to each day. Things sure stack up.

So what's the solution?

Performing a morning, afternoon, and evening chore time, every single day to keep things  from piling up. That way the house is always just a few minutes away from welcoming guests. Yet, if chores are skipped for a few days or a week, the house "looks like a pig pen and will take an extended period of time to straighten and clean." (I've learned this the hard way).

I blogged about creating a morning routine, so let's focus today on an afternoon routine. What does it consist of? Here are suggestions from Large Family Logistics:

  • Pick a time (before Dad gets home if possible, maybe at 4pm)
  • Light a candle, put on some fun music, create a fun atmosphere
  • Get everyone involved
  • Kids pick up and put away their toys
  • Pick up and throw away trash
  • Dust with a feather duster or cloth
  • Older children can be assigned a room to tidy up (after you've instructed what needs to be done)
  • When room chores are done, kids can work on bedroom chores (if they are little, we as moms will have to do the bulk of the work, but our kids should be alongside us so they are training for what they will do soon enough)
  • Mrs. Brenneman suggests doing a deep cleaning chore of the day after room chores and bedroom chores are done (I don't think this would be manageable for me right now)
  • Get yourself ready for your husband's arrival and start dinner
  • Then once the house is clean, assign the kids a sit time, where they can look at/read books, or play a quiet game before dinner (pick-up sticks, Uno, Skip-bo, etc.
An important disclaimer as we go about the process:

Sometimes, I'll admit I get way too stressed out and uptight when the kids toys are scattered everywhere and the house looks chaotic. In an effort to clean it up, I'm an irritated drill sergeant, and it was convicting to read Mrs. Brenneman's words:

"While cleaning is an important task we should approach with focus and vigor, it can become an obsession that is destructive to our families. Clean is not the only goal of the home keeper. The home keeper also wants her family to live with love, comfort and happiness. These are intangibles that have more to do with atmosphere and attitude. The pulse of your children's hearts are more important than excess dirt on the floor. While you need to conquer the dirt monster, don't do it at the expense of your children. Demonstrate to your family that you care more about hem personally than you do about keeping the house in perfect order all of the time. And show them its because you care about them that you want to keep a tidy home."
So may that encourage us today. Tomorrow we'll focus on evening routines.

No comments:

Post a Comment