Donloyn LeDuff Gadson, a writer, wife and mom of eight in Charleston, South Carolina, says, "My husband and children would love to think that I am the one responsible for all of the cleaning; however, family means team. With a family this large, it has to be a group effort. I didn't create the mess alone — I will not clean it alone. That being said, sometimes they need a little 'motivation,' i.e. hollering! It's all hands on deck, for me. Even the little ones can pitch in. My 4-year-old twin girls fold clothes like a boss!"
She also admits to having "no idea" how often she really cleans but adds, "With the constant hustle-and-bustle that comes with life in a household of 10, it is difficult to carve out time to devote to full-on housecleaning mode. We clean in chunks, so it's a continuous thing. Plus, I find it's easier to keep things relatively neat as you go. So when you do have time for full house deep-cleaning days, it's not as bad."
Carrie Le Chevallier works full-time (half outside the home and half telecommuting) and she and her husband have five adopted kids between the ages of 22 months and 7 years old. The Garner, North Carolina couple is "supposed to pitch in equally for cleaning our house, but wouldn't you know it, it ends up being about 80-20, with most of the cleaning landing in my lap," Le Chevallier admits.
She reveals that she tries to do a little cleaning daily, and usually "bangs out more" come the weekends. She adds, however, "if we have something to do, I always choose that over staying home and cleaning; the mess will be there, the kids are only little once. Make memories, forget about the mess."
Self-admitted "domestically-challenged homeschool mom of three kiddos" Genevieve West, who works from home as a relationship consultant, author and marketing expert for her and her husband's liquid nitrogen ice cream business in Portland, Oregon, says, "Unfortunately for my husband, it just makes sense that the bulk of the chores would fall on me and kids, since we're home all day... which means the only time our house is actually clean is when we're expecting company. And then it's all hands on deck for the mad scramble to hide and clean everything. Our cleaning battle cry is, 'We don't want people knowing we actually live the way we live!'"
Jacqueline Fisch is a full-time working mom in a busy consulting firm in Chicago, Illinois who recently launched her startup coaching business. She says, "With a husband who doesn't cook or clean, two kids (2 and 5), and two dogs, I've got a lot going on."
She admits that having guests over is her main motivator for cleaning. "Otherwise, I'm an expert at 'piling' — arranging messes into tidy piles, or filing them away to give the impression and feeling of clean."
She adds, "As an aspiring minimalist, my family of four keeps a relatively small space, so there isn't a lot of room for clutter. Less clutter, less toys means less mess, meaning less to clean." Bathrooms get attention once a month or so, same with the kitchens."
She multi-tasks her efforts — wiping down kitchen appliances while waiting for pasta to cook, or wiping down the bathroom sink after using it and keeping a squeegee in the shower to remove water spots before they happen after every shower.
Full-time working mom and handmaker Jean Kake admits, "I hate to clean! With two boys (14 and 21), it seems like as soon as I clean something, it needs to be done again. Turns out I can overlook a dirty floor or piles of laundry and focus on work. Around the time I turned 30, I decided to let go of the quest for perfection, and I'm a happier mom and person for it. Yes, there may be dishes in the sink, but I'm OK with it most of the time — unless my mother-in-law is coming by. I'd rather develop a new idea, watch TV with my sons or go thrift store shopping than worry about dirty dishes. Life's too short."
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