Make no mistake ladies, my feeling two steps behind isn't going to get you off the hook this morning, nor will I be exempted from my duties. It's a Monday, and while I have heard that some thoughtful husbands cleaned up after dinner, I'm sure there are plenty of chores giving you the evil eye this morning.
I hope everyone rested yesterday. Several people asked me if I followed my own orders, and my answer to that is yes, and I took it to the extreme. I felt like my insides had been scraped out like a Jack-o-Lantern, and nodded off all through Mothers Day brunch, and afterward, while grocery shopping with Todd, I had to excuse myself to sleep in the car. Upon returning home, I passed out on the couch, and basically my body was cement the entire day.
Thankfully, 55 non-sequential minutes of sleep was enough to reboot me, so I wanted to post today's plan in time to be seen by any eager mamas or Jacobs who feel up to the challenge.
HERE ARE OUR GOALS FOR THIS MORNING:
1. Drink your coffee/tea first thing, no guilt! You'll need that boost. But mamas, please don't neglect to eat something too, lest you crash like flight 1549 into the Hudson around 3:00. (I can make this blithe reference because it's funny and because everyone on board survived that crash.)
2. Take a mindful stroll through your house, starting at one end and going to the other. Grab a moist dishcloth first. You needn't bother with side rooms, bedrooms, etc., unless you want to. I'd like you to move slowly but deliberately, opening your eyes to the things that are amiss. This could be towels on the floor, hanging photographs that are dusty and/or askew, cereal bowls on the coffee table, junk mail, a smudgy wall or window, a stain on the linoleum, you get it. Set your watch/phone/timer for five minutes and see what you can achieve in a slow stroll across your house. Five minutes ladies, I've pushed a baby out in that time, you can certainly pick up some laundry off the floor. :)
3. Those of you who have kids old enough to boss around, instruct them to pick up everything that they do not want thrown away in, you guessed it, five minutes. These things should be put in their bedrooms with some sort of purpose, rather than just thrown in haphazardly. Every kid is a little different but teaching them the correlation between tossing shoes/coats onto the living room floor and having to pick them is a habit whose benefits you will happily reap later, once it becomes habit. (FYI: Putting a shoe rack by the door, as well as a coat rack [or step stool in the hall closet] and drilling into your kids to put their things away will make a huge difference in the clutter that assaults your eyes daily.)
4. Get a load of laundry started, pile all clean clothes onto whichever bed or couch you prefer to sit on to fold later. Once you hear the hum of that washer, head to your kitchen, take a deep breath, and do the following (don't forget music):
a) Scan your kitchen and dispose of every scrap of garbage/recycling you see.
b) Toss all food scraps, whether into the compost or (gasp!) the garbage.
c) There should only be dishes remaining, so move them all to the sink.
d) If the dishwasher is full, have a child unload it, or curse a lot and do it.
e) Start some warm water and load, starting with cups, ending with silverware.
f) Run your dishwasher and arrange your remaining dishes in a neat stack on the left side of the sink, preferable soaking in soapy water, and be sure to soak all pans in scalding suds. This will cut the fear factor in half later. Scrub right side.
g) Use the wipe(s) of your choice to scour all kitchen counters, making sure to get under coffee makers, canisters, toasters, etc. Do not be scared of the stove top. Get out a Brilo pad and see what you can do. Personally, I don't cook, specifically to avoid undue messes, but I know stove tops are scary. Perhaps Jacob will pipe up with a helpful hint.
h) You should be feeling pretty good, taking it step by step, and all you have left to do is sweep, possibly Swiffer, the floor.
I'm guessing this took, at most, 30 minutes, and now your kitchen is clean and you need only watch for that pile of dishes that sneaks up on you throughout the day. As I've said, wash 'em four at a time.
i) It's probably time to rotate laundry now, so do that, and then do five things in your entry room that you'd do if you were suddenly expecting guests.
That's it. Find a time later to fold that laundry, and you've made a major dent in your week. Spot check that kitchen, don't let those dishes pile up, load them up as you cook lunch and dinner. Ladies, I swear to you it only takes seconds longer to clean as you go, as opposed to hours or days longer to slay the dragon that is your entire house later.
I'd like to issue a few personal challenges to some close friends:
Sam--If you have time, I'm challenging you to set your timer for five minutes and clean your computer desk. Set your brain to determining in an instant whether something is essential or non-essential, and place it accordingly. Then wipe it all down, empty the waste basket, toss the garbage. And no re-thinking what gets pitched. Once it's in the garbage, it's dead to you. :)
Gail--If you have time to read with company there, I want you to limit yourself to three tasks each day they're there. You worked your ass off preparing to have them, and I want you to enjoy your visit. I know you must cook, but aside from that, three tasks, on your honour. (And yes, adhering to this command makes you eligible for the Starbucks drawing.)
Megan--Breathe. Try to maximize the precious few moments wherein Ivy allows you to stand up, and get one box unpacked and/or one item placed/hung/tossed/whetever. If you can, fold some laundry. Maybe keep those dishes to a dull roar, extra hugs to you for having no dishwasher. Let me know when you want my help.
Jacob--Yes, Moxie even has a trick up her sleeve for you my dear. Your job is to venture into those unknown regions of your pantry and do five things that will make your cooking easier, soothe your eyes, create space, whatever. Five things, and straightening a box of cous cous a millimeter doesn't cut it brother.
Pamela--I know your house is in a (perpetual) state of flux, but I want you to go through your house, starting in your office and bedroom, up the stairs, into the kitchen, living room, and the down the hallway and into the bathroom and whichever bedrooms in which you have permission to enter. I want you to take two garbage bags with you. One is for garbage, one is for give away or the garage sale we're having this summer. Don't think, just go. If you haven't touched something in three months, it's outta there. Okay? This will take you ten minutes. Do it.
Bethany--I've not been in your house, but I have a challenge for you too. I want you to cull five toys from Tavy's collection and either throw them away if they're broken, or set them aside for a swap. No excuses. She's already drawing, she doesn't need as many toys as she has. Now, get rid of five garments that are swap-bound or too stained to be of use. No, these are not play clothes, these are garbage. Five and five in five. Go!
The rest of you, whose homes I don't know, feel free to adopt any of these challenges as your own. And don't forget to post your achievements, I want to know if these steps are reasonable, and if they're helping. Send pictures if you want.
What I did today before sitting down:
Made the beds
Finished loading the dishwasher, started it, and scrubbed the sink.
Wiped the counters
Folded throw blankets
Ate, made tea
Read and answered 20 emails
Tried to inspire my Moxiecleaners
Onto the real work (which adds up fast when you take one day off!)
Get going ladies, and tell us how it went.