The Great Housekeeping Slide, 2010-2015

When I was growing up, my family’s house was spotless. Maybe not really, especially when my siblings and I were young, but that’s how it always seemed to me. That has been the standard to which I’ve compared myself since the beginning of my adult life. However, it’s occurred to me recently that my cleaning and housekeeping habits have…shall we say…evolved over the years. For me, the beginning of marriage and of my adult life occurred at the same time–2010–so this is where I’ll begin to describe what I’ve started to think of as the great housekeeping slide.

Year 1 of Marriage: 2010-2011

  • apartment
  • full time job
  • no dogs
  • no kids

The first year that we were married, Jonathan and I lived in your classic one-bedroom, one-bath, nondescript beige apartment with wall-to-wall carpet. Jonathan vacuumed and I cleaned the bathroom once a week on Sundays, and I cleaned the kitchen every night. This was super simple because we cooked probably less than 20 times the whole time that we lived there.grelot apartment

cleaning-lady

I’m so happy to be cleaning my beige apartment!

Year 2 of Marriage: 2011-2012

  • small rental house
  • full time job
  • one dog
  • no kids

Marriage year two began with our move to North Carolina. We moved into a charming but grungy 1920s bungalow in the student area of town. This house was very not clean when we moved in. Our landlord had no policy regarding the condition of the house upon tenants vacating, so when we moved in the house required some very serious scrubbing, the kitchen in particular. While we lived here we got a puppy, Zelda, who was (and is) sweet as can be. With the dog came dog hair, but luckily this house had one of those very old, very weathered wood floors that show almost no dirt. I vacuumed and cleaned the bathroom in this house every two to four weeks. I don’t remember Jonathan really cleaning at all while we lived here.

Bruce St. Bruce St. kitchen

Years 3 and 4 of Marriage: 2012-2014

  • small-medium house of our own
  • full time job
  • 2 dogs
  • pregnancy and delivery (2014)

In May 2012, Jonathan and I moved into our own first little house. It was a split level that ended up being not entirely practical for our family, though we weren’t thinking about that at the beginning. We redid the floors and I loved them. Shortly after we moved in, we added Juno the dog to our family. Juno’s a long-haired pup, so that upped the dog hair level in the house considerably. I tried to clean pretty frequently, until…I got pregnant.

hill n dale

In 2014, I was teaching 2nd grade, pregnant and constantly tired. I just couldn’t bring myself to care too much about the state of the house when I could be doing much more urgent things like sleeping.

10478693_10202119895627975_1095742937698967676_n

Jonah was born in December 2014, a week early due to my preeclampsia. Someday I’ll write his birth story. The first month of motherhood passed in a happy haze of diapers, breastfeeding and sleep deprivation. Obviously no cleaning happened during this time. After I started to get back on my feet I tried my best to get things under control, but I found it very difficult to manage work, motherhood, marriage and taking care of the house.

Year 5 of Marriage: 2015-2016

  • medium-large house
  • full time job
  • 2 dogs
  • Jonah, sweet baby boy

At the end of July we moved into our current house, the “old girl”–so named because of the exterior color scheme, and because it was previously owned by an elderly lady.

audubon house

I love this house so much. I love everything about it–the size (roughly double the size of our old house), the backyard, the neighborhood, the layout, the colors, the quirky details of a house built in the early 50s. It’s a great fit for our family. I can’t see myself wanting to move ever again.

My priorities have changed as a result of motherhood, and I have learned that that’s okay. Where I used to feel guilt if I didn’t get around to housekeeping, now I tend to give myself more of a break, and realize that I’m just doing the best I can. Because honestly, when do I have time to clean? I’m either at work, taking care of Jonah, spending time with Jonathan or sleeping, essentially. During my stolen moments to myself, do I really want to spend time cleaning? No. I’ve leaned that an important part of being a good mom and wife is taking care of yourself, and if that sometimes (often?) means that things don’t get cleaned, that is alright. It’s more important to me that I am a good mom and wife, and someone who has time for my own interests and hobbies, than that I have a Pinterest-worthy house.

(I do know what I’m requesting for Christmas and my birthday, however!)

cleaning-service

I’d love to hear from other working moms: When do you clean? How do you find time for it in your busy schedule? How in the world do you ever have time to get it all done?

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6 thoughts on “The Great Housekeeping Slide, 2010-2015

  1. Hi sweet girl! Loved the article! Like reading a story about myself.
    I clean on Thursday nights-heavily clean. I do this so that it’s done, but my weekend is family time (except the occasional laundry). Kitchen is done every night and I “pick” up every night. This still gives me mommy time and wife/husband time. The pick up comes after all babies are in bed. Just a quick run through to make floors and most surfaces clear. I learned from my mom that if I do just a bit every day then it won’t become out of control. One thing she taught me that has been a life saver…fold the laundry as soon as the dryer stops and put all the clothes up right then.
    I feel I am still able to maintain this monster of a house and mommy 3 kids (girl 8, boy 6 and baby girl 17 months), a husband and a full time healthcare job!
    You’re doing great and I’m so proud of you! Jonah is absolutely adorable.

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  2. Hi Chesley! Thanks for your comment! I like the idea of just setting aside one night during the week and doing all the major cleaning then. Jonathan and I used to do that on Sunday afternoons but haven’t since Jonah was born. Congratulations on your marriage, by the way! 😊

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  3. I feel the same as you! I tried to maintain cleaning as much as I used to after I had my son, but I soon became burnt out. Waking at 5am, working full-time, and fitting baby/husband time in has been a struggle. The kitchen gets done most nights. Some nights I leave the dishes for the next day. I feel that I may never have a clean house again! I give credit to the women who are able to handle it all!

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  4. I am pretty much the same! The kitchen is my top priority because dirty dishes are gross. But even those occasionally get left…

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