Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Cleveland, OH
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This is complicated. I choose to have a clean house, so generally, I do most of the cleaning. However, I've also got a couple things going for me that means that this fact doesn't lead to an unequal partnership.
One, my husband and I got married when we were 19. That doesn't seem like it should matter, but I really think it's a contributing factor. It basically means that we've become grown-ups together and he has been really well trained, for lack of a better word. I don't ask him to do things he doesn't do well or enjoy and lucky for me, he doesn't do so for me either.
Two, my husband cooks all our meals, when he is home. I don't cook, ever. So I'm pretty free to clean as much as I want.
Three, I'm a natural clean freak. I just like it, so it's easy to feel compelled. I also don't try to stress myself out about it too much. When things are not super crazy-busy, I do one big thing a day - grocery shopping, errands, dusting/vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, etc. and just rotate as needed. I also usually have one or two days a week where I don't do jack. When things are crazy-busy, I do a lot of cleaning in one or two days and errands as I can fit them in. Today I have to do both because I'm not going out this evening, but did on Sunday and Tuesday and will on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I'll vegetate. Plus we're having out-of-town guests this weekend.
Four, my kids are little, so I don't expect much of them. I do ask that they help pick up and sometimes I get all crazy about that and say things in ways that I don't mean, but most of the time I try to encourage cooperation by talking about community and family and helping one another in order to make our lives happen and in order to do the fun things we love to do. It works...sorta. I don't have huge expectations of the kids at all though. There's no chore chart or anything. I'm thrilled that my 6 year old brushes his teeth and gets himself dressed for the day when asked and gets his shoes and gets things ready to go. He does a lot, really. I'm trying to convince them more often to do small things regularly, like taking their dishes from the table to the kitchen.
Five - I have a good organization system, so me doing a lot or my husband picking up quite a bit is not a problem because finding where things go is really easy for all of us, even the kids.
Six - I have a small house and try to declutter as I go, sorta constantly. Makes it easier.
I hope that helps a bit. I guess mostly it's luck of natural tendencies and the unique situation I found myself in. Cleaning should not, imo, be more important than doing other things like projects with the kids or going places, or whathaveyou, but sometimes I am guilty of prioritizing cleaning over other things. I try to just find a way to integrate it into my life in a non-stressful way. I'm really really really busy these days, so if we have a bad run, things can go to hell, but my friends assure me that my version of my house being trashed and everyone else's version of a house being trashed are two very very different things.
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