Real Mom: A Cleaning Schedule to Help Save Your Sanity (and your weekends!)

Growing up I never assumed that I would be a stay at home mom.  It just didn’t seem like a job I wanted.  I wanted kids, sure, but I remember watching my grandma work so hard to keep every little detail of their world running in perfect order and I always swore I’d have a “real job”.  Then I became a mother.  And being able to stay home with my son is the single greatest blessing in my once career minded world. 

That being said, I still have not developed the knack for cleaning that my grandma possessed.  If it’s genetic it apparently skips a couple of generations.  (I can say that fairly confidently.  My mom never possessed it either.)  And even though one of my roommates I had prior to getting married was an obsessive cleaner, she made Danny Tanner look like a complete and utter slob, I still didn’t embrace the desire to clean to that degree. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love when my house is clean.  It actually has a pretty major negative impact on my mood and ability to relax when things aren’t clean.  But after my son was born I found that I was getting overwhelmed.  .  I seriously found myself in a state of depression because my house was a wreck. But because I was depressed I didn’t care about cleaning it.  Which made me angry.  And more depressed.  And more apathetic.  It was a vicious, vicious cycle.  Even to have to wash out the dog bowl was a daunting task because I would get distracted so easily and it would end up taking an hour just to do it.  You know how it is: You look down and see the fly in the dog bowl.  When you pick the bowl up you realize there is a little funk around the top of the bowl.  As you move away to take it to the sink you realize there is a perfect ring on your floor.  They need mopped.  When was the last time you mopped anyway?  So you get out the mop, but of course you have to sweep first.  So you sweep and mop the kitchen.  But it attaches to the laundry room so now you have to do it too or have to stare at the distinct line of swept/cleaned floor and unkempt floor.  Put all of that away and its back to the bowl.  But there are the dishes you washed last night that you just stacked in the dish drainer in the sink.  You can’t just dump nasty dog water on clean dishes so you have to put those away.  Those are put away and it’s back to the dog bowl.  Dump the water, wash the bowl, and refill it then finally you can put it back down on the ground.  Oy.  Seriously?  All of that for a fly?

I found myself fighting a never ending battle.  I WANTED a clean house. I really did.  But everything was so overwhelming I just couldn’t concentrate on anything long enough to actually accomplish a single task.  Not with a toddler demanding my attention and a husband that works a strange, rotating schedule.  Throw in three dogs? Forget about it.  So what’s a mom to do? 

I developed a system.  It looks a little something like this:

v  Monday

  • Bathrooms
    • Scrub toilets, sinks, shower, tubs, mirrors, and counters
    • Sweep and mop
    • Take out the trash
    • Toy Room
      • Clean up and put toys and books back in their place (son helps)
      • Sweep (Vacuum)
      • Laundry
        • Gather from both bathrooms, son’s room, and master bedroom
        • Wash and dry (obviously)
        • Fold and put away (same day to alleviate the constant pilfering through piles)

v  Tuesday

  • Kitchen
    • Scrub counters in their entirety
    • Store any small appliances that have been left out after having been cleaned in the past few days (horrible about putting the crockpot back out on the assigned shelf)
    • Organize cabinets that a certain toddler may have infiltrated
    • Organize the pantry that always seems to fall apart an hour after I clean it
    • Sweep and mop
    • Dining Room
      • Clean random piles that have gathered off the table and put them away
      • Sweep (Vacuum), shampoo carpets as necessary
      • Laundry Room
        • Clean off the washer and dryer
        • Clean the seals around the washer door (front load washer)
        • Sweep and mop

v  Wednesday

  • Living Room
    • Pick up whatever doesn’t belong in there and put it where it goes
    • Sweep (Vacuum) and shampoo carpets as necessary
    • Clean off the mantle
    • Dust
    • Clean and top off fish tank
    • Toy Room
      • Clean up and put toys and books back in their place (son helps)
      • Sweep (Vacuum)
      • Laundry Room
        • Clean off the washer and dryer
        • Clean the seals around the washer door (front load washer)
        • Sweep and mop

v  Thursday

  • Bedrooms (all of them)
    • Put all dirty clothes in the “washy” pile if they aren’t already there
    • Clean off dressers and flat surfaces that beckoned hubby and son all week to place random things on them
    • Sweep (Vacuum) and shampoo carpets as necessary
    • Dust
    • Change the sheets on the bed (master and son’s room weekly, guest room as necessary)
    • Hallway
      • Sweep (Vacuum), shampoo carpets as necessary
      • Laundry
        • Gather from both bathrooms, son’s room, and master bedroom (yes, again)
        • Wash and dry (obviously)
        • Fold and put away (same day to alleviate the constant pilfering through piles)

v  Friday

  • Kitchen
    • Scrub counters in their entirety
    • Store any small appliances that have been left out after having been cleaned in the past few days (by now the bread machine has made an appearance)
    • Toy Room
      • Clean up and put toys and books back in their place (son helps)

 

  • Entire House
    • Sweep (vacuum) and mop (typically takes less than fifteen minutes thanks to the Dyson and the mop with the washable pad and refillable solution pod)

v  Saturday

  • Family Day – Enjoy your family in your nice clean house or go out and have fun, knowing you don’t have to worry about a mess waiting on you when you get home

v  Sunday

  • Lord’s Day – For me this is teaching Toddler Church during the morning service and then attending the evening service.

This cycle has worked in helping keep me sane and I have even passed it on to a couple of friends who now use it and are able to work it as mom’s with jobs outside the home as well.  This is the schedule that works best for us.  Monday’s are kept pretty light because our biggest commitments are currently on Monday’s.  The beauty of the schedule is its flexibility.  If you have a lot of commitments on Thursday, but not so much on Monday, just swap the days out (bathroom cleaning for me can be done, both bathrooms, in about thirty minutes).  I hope this helps someone else as much as it has me!  Seriously, this thing that use to be a dark, ominous cloud of a never ending cycle hanging over me that ruined so many days is now so much easier since I’ve broken it down into much smaller sections five days a week.  The promise of a Saturday free from any major cleaning and not having to rush around on Sunday between services has been enough to make this something I’m able to execute fairly easily.