Welcome back to the March MAIDness series! In this series I am talking about routines that help me – a homeschooling and homemaking mom, with a side-gig – maintain household sanity.
I am sharing this series not because I have it all figured out, but because I know we are all constantly searching for solutions to our household problems and bugaboos.
By the way, did you know a bugaboo is “something to frighten a child, fancied object of terror?” Ha!
My simple solutions and routines are shared with the intention of inspiring you to think through your individual struggles and offer a different way of thinking. These solutions are as advertised – simple. You will find nothing earth-shattering here. But I humbly hope to encourage you in your homemaking and homeschooling pursuits.
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Homemaking & Homeschooling Struggles
I have been extremely vulnerable here on this blog. I have shared our struggles with finding routines which work for our family. The floundering we have done in search of simple are a frequent topic around here.
I consider myself a problem-solving parent – always looking for solutions to make our lives run smoother, our house a bit calmer. So, the early years of our homeschooling experience were a series of trials and errors, for sure!
We struggled to figure out how to actually do the homeschool thing. That took two and a half years.
Then we struggled with how to have dinner on the table at the end of an exhausting homeschooling day. That took a bit longer than I like to admit.
Lastly, we struggled to figure out how to keep the house in some semblance of order. Figuring out a time to not only keep the house tidy, but do the deep cleaning my soul deeply desires took the longest time.
Usually, I would spend the entire weekend trying to get the house clean. Frustration with the inability to keep it clean throughout the week would set in by Monday afternoon.
My Homemaking While Homeschooling Epiphany
Last year in my planning for the school year ahead , I had an epiphany. I love when solutions jump out at me after a long struggle – it makes them all the more beautiful!
As my kids are getting older, we have worked toward more independent learning. We have also worked on helpfulness around the house. These two factors have allowed the for the epiphany I had to work for us this year.
Ready for my life-changing (and house-changing) epiphany? I set aside a day every other week to clean house during school hours.
That’s it! It took me over five years of homeschooling to come to this grand solution. Let me tell you – I have mixed feelings about sharing that with you. Yes, it is in fact an obvious solution. And yes, I ought to have come up with it long ago.
There were a lot of factors that went into this not feeling like a solution for those five years. “My kids need me!” “I can’t leave them to run around the house.” “They can’t be trusted to work independently.” “We can’t take a day off of school!”
Why this Solution Works for Me
We are already in the habit of keeping the house relatively tidy throughout the day. I detailed that routine here. And I already have days set aside for various chores which I switch up on a bi-weekly basis. I detailed that routine here.
This bi-weekly cleaning day approach works for me because I get to do the deep cleaning I desire on a fairly regular basis. Yes, there are hiccups along the way – messes which must be cleaned up immediately. And yes, that means my floors may go two weeks before they are properly and intensely mopped. But I am ok with those things.
It is the routine that matters. I am not quite ready to commit to doing this deep cleaning thing every week – my kids need me, after all. But this simple two week solution is really helping me to have the house I desire.
What 2-Week Cleaning Looks Like
As I mentioned, daily chores and regular tidying are a part of this routine. Well, other than the fact that the routines go hand in hand. Let me explain what I mean.
I cannot accomplish one without the other. I know I will be physically exhausted by the end of the my cleaning day if we have not been diligent to do the dailies and the tidying along the way. Throughout the week, my house looks as I want it to at least 3 times a day because of those practices. They are the maintenance cleaning that keep me from going insane.
So, that intense cleaning day is made all the easier by the fact that I don’t have to clean up clutter along the way. I can simply get to cleaning – deep cleaning.
Here are the big things I like to focus on during my bi-weekly cleaning day:
- vacuuming and refreshing the carpets
- dusting the blinds and ceiling fans
- mopping and steam cleaning the tile floors
- scrubbing the showers and the bathtubs
- cleaning our stainless steel appliances (Why did we purchase stainless?)
Making that list is kind of shocking – how little is required of me – on my chosen day of “deep cleaning.” The simplicity is due to the settled routines I have throughout the week. Maintaining those routines affords less time spent overall.
What My Kids do While I Clean
My kids are still figuring out the 2 week cleaning routine with me. Frankly, they struggled with this new routine a bit more than I did. Since I love to clean, I could just pop in my earbuds and listen to an audiobook or podcast and get to work – blissfully unaware of what was going on downstairs.
The first few times I would head upstairs for my deep cleaning, I would return to find a massive mess downstairs. I quickly discovered there were going to have to be some kid ground-rules for this cleaning day.
Thus, my kids have a number of things they are allowed to do while I am cleaning:
- Schoolwork – homeschool doesn’t stop for my kids on cleaning day. I simply shift all the “independent” work to my cleaning day and the work continues
- One task at a time – my little ones know they can work on one task at a time – meaning they have to clean up one mess before they move onto another mess. This one requires lots of reminders, but they are getting pretty good at doing this.
- Play outside – this is my favorite (and the kids’ favorite) part of cleaning day. They can go outside and play!! Once their school work is done and they have tidied up their play and school area, they are set free to the backyard.
- An educational movie or video – every once in a while we do have a movie or program I want to show my kids. I tend to put those on and listen in in the background, while I keep at my cleaning.
I am constantly upstairs and downstairs throughout my cleaning day, so I am keeping a good eye on my kids. They are not left to fend for themselves. But I do think this practice is helping to instill much-desired independence in my kids.