- It was another one of those up-and-down weeks. Wednesday morning I woke up feeling…blah. Tuesday I was a powerhouse of productivity – we had a great walk to school, I tackled a bunch of lingering administrative tasks, I was proactive on work responsibilities, I started thinking through year-end/corporate taxes (always daunting) and had a call with our accountant, I paid credit cards, I updated business banking, I went to the grocery store, I fit in a solo run…and then I got an e-mail that just deflated me. It’s a work responsibility completely out of my hands and something that has been an ongoing stressor for years now. Every once in a while the problem rears its ugly head and I just felt so…vulnerable. The e-mail tone was one of utter frustration and even though the take home message was: “I know this isn’t your fault,” even though my head knows I’ve put 100% into this project and the issues aren’t my fault, it still feels like my fault. I want everyone to be happy. I want my hard work to translate into everything falling in to place. But this doesn’t always happen and that can feel hard. So yeah…there was that. Currently working through how to process this (it has happened before and I know it will happen again on this particular project) and be okay with people being disappointed and realizing it’s out of my hands. Sigh.
- Rewinding a bit – Halloween was…great. It was supposed to be raining – with high winds – the whole day. Not exactly the best weather conditions for a homemade cardboard costume held together by hot glue, tape, and some paperclips. About 4:00 pm the rain started slowing and by 5:30, when we headed out trick-or-treating, the sun was out and there was a GIANT rainbow in the sky over our house.
- This is the first year Abby went off with another family + friends, so it was just our Superman in tow. Both kids declared it to be their favourite Halloween yet. It was mild, everyone was deliriously happy that we could actually go out (we were debating setting up little stations inside our house if the torrential rain continued and handing out candy to the kids), we all got home early enough to get settled for bed at a reasonable time + John and I even squeezed in a Sunday night date.
- The kids are off today and we don’t have a full week of school again until the end of November. I’m working on getting some childcare in place (outside of the preschool era, we haven’t outsourced any childcare). We’ve always worked from home and managed to fit things around the kids schedules. While this is still doable, I’m questioning if it makes sense to do it. I have a lead on a high-schooler that could come home with them after school one day a week and am excited to get that set up!
- I survived my first solo-parenting duties in almost 2 years. John returned from Las Vegas on 13 March 2020 and didn’t set foot on a plane again until this week. It has been a huge shift for our family (he travelled about 50% of the time pre-COVID). For almost two years there were no middle-of-the-night taxi trips, no jet lag, no perpetual suitcase in the corner. The kids feel a lot older now (Levi was still in preschool in 2020), and I still have the muscle memory for it. Plus, there were no blizzards or trips to the emergency room or – and this has happened more than once – both issues on the same night. It was fun to pick him up at the airport and see the little trinkets he brought home for the kids (I forgot how much they loved this part; lounge candies, conference swag, hotel toiletries = best gifts ever). And it was just so nice to have him back home again. Moving forward, work travel will be minimal. I’m glad of that – though wish we could have avoided a pandemic to get to this point. I’m also proud we survived one short foray back into a world that was once so (too) familiar.
- It’s getting colder. I looked ahead in the forecast and see temperatures in the negative digits in the not-so-distant future. BELOW FREEZING?! Ugh. The time changes on Sunday, though, and I’m excited to not be eating breakfast in the dark…
- Also, early nights mean we have more excuses to cuddle up and watch The Junior Bakeoff together. The kids LOVE this show, and I love this show and it really is just the best way to spend thirty minutes before bedtime. We’re still watching old seasons and everyone is so invested (#TeamEliza).
My decreased posting schedule means discussions on cleaning have taken a bit of a back-seat and lack the continuity I had first imagined, but I thought I’d wrap things up with a brief chat about maintenance work.
To me, cleaning is distinct from clutter-clearing, which is really the part of the process where I enjoy cleaning. I’ve gone over most of our family habits around dealing with excess clutter and I’ve written about chores, generally, and how we portion up various household tasks. I’ve discussed kid’s clutter, and who does what (and when) to keep our clothing laundered.
But if your household is anything like mine, beyond the clutter and the deep-cleaning, there is always regular maintenance work that needs doing…
do you have a cleaning schedule?
Every two weeks we have someone come and deep-clean (floors + bathrooms, mostly). I only dust every two weeks, but the other cleaning I try to stay on top of in the interim.
I don’t have a schedule for keeping the floors clean; I tend to tackle these frequently, dust-busting/sweeping every day or two. Once a week or so I will task one of the kids with doing this while I clean up the kitchen after supper. We have a long-handled hand vacuum and this works well for them to maneuver in the nooks and crannies (especially under the kitchen cabinets and around the dining room table, the biggest sources of crumbs/dirt). My husband tackles this, too, and is almost fully responsible for floors in the basement.
I try to clean the bathroom sinks + toilets exactly a week after the cleaner has come and I’ll switch out the handtowels at this point as well. I don’t touch the mirrors or bathtubs! This keeps the bathrooms presentable (though I don’t use the kid’s bathroom very often, so will warn impromptu guests I’m not sure of its current state).
what products do you use?
I use a mix of products. I went through a stint of using vinegar and water, but have to admit…I just don’t love the smell. I’ve tried masking it with essential oils, but it just smelled like lemony vinegar.
My favourite is Method all-purpose sprays, especially the Grapefruit scent. It makes spraying down the counters a pleasure.
I remember reading The Power of Habit years ago and never forgot the example Charles Duhigg gives of Febreeze and how they marketed the product in such a way that spritzing a room gave users a satisfying reward. As someone who studied operant conditioning in honeybees, and loves the “Altoid” clip from the Office, I’m not above admitting this works on me, too. While I often just wash things with hot soap and water, using a good smelling spray does make it that much more enjoyable!
what do the kids do?
I have them clean up their rooms periodically through the week, and will often send them on random errands of the housecleaning variety. Emptying garbage cans, straightening shoes in the entryway, picking up toothbrushes scattered around the bathroom (or kitchen – sigh) sink and putting them back in the toothbrush holder.
do you have daily chores?
No. I remember my sister sweeping her floors every day. I try to do laundry every two days, run the dishwasher when it’s full, and sweep when I notice enough accumulation of dirt and other things the kids may have tracked in that it’s obvious and annoying to me. I almost always tackle all the dishes by the end of the day (loading the dishwasher + handwashing anything that can’t go through the dishwasher). I wipe down the stove every day or two when I’m cleaning the kitchen. But nothing (aside from making my bed, which isn’t exactly “cleaning”) that I do every day.
My husband is great about getting the table well cleaned; our son loves honey on toast and so there are always little sticky drips dotted around his places at the table. It really needs to be deep-cleaned every day or two.
While I wish things stayed clean longer, by staying on top of things (mostly), it has just become part of our wind-down ritual at the end of the day. Putting things back in their place, leaving mostly clean surfaces for the morning – when it will all get undone again, because that’s life.