Submitted by Kathy Haselmaier
Few people I know find it easy to keep their house clean while raising kids, and we were no different. But I need some semblance of order to be able to think (and I mean that quite literally), so we kept things under control by hiring someone to come in and clean once a week. We actually started doing this the month we were married and didn't cut back to every-other-week help until our youngest left for college.
One of the biggest benefits of cleaning help is that you have to pick up your stuff before they arrive. Otherwise they'll spend too much time just moving stuff around. So one night a week (the night before cleaning day) we all engaged in a mad dash to put our stuff away. Everyone pitched in, and it always felt like a crisis. There was whining, there were accusations, and at least one of us was usually disgruntled about something. Then, when the task was finished, we rewarded ourselves with ice cream.
I get that not every family is in a position to hire someone to help with cleaning, but every family could modify this idea to meet at least some of their own cleaning needs.
It's also worth noting that the older the kids got, the less they whined about it. By the time they were in junior high or high school, it was just a thing that they did. What I liked most was that it kept things from getting totally out of control, and the ice cream enabled us to end on a good note.
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