First off, let’s clear the air on one thing: This photo is not of any space in my home. It’s not of any place I have ever been. This is a free image straight off the good ole internet. It may have appeared in many of my dreams, but never in my reality.
But, none of that is the point there.
I am sure many of you are like me. You find yourself at the end of a hard day answering the age old question, “So, what did you do today?”
If you are a stay at home parent, your answer is usually something like, “I cleaned. All day. That’s all I did was clean up after people. For eternity I have been, and will forever be, cleaning.”
If you work a job outside the home, your answer is probably more like, “I went to work and then I came home and cleaned. I am still, and will forever be, cleaning.”
Often, after I have uttered these words aloud, I find myself in a sort of conundrum of conscience.
Did I REALLY clean ALL DAY?
Have I ACTUALLY been cleaning since I got home from my paid job?
Am I stretching the truth? Justifying? Straight up lying?
To avoid any further confusion, I have created the following list of guidelines so each and every one of us can feel confident in our answer. Please feel free to use and/or share any and all of these with your friends. We are all here to help a mother out.
- If you have spent all day doing laundry, that’s cleaning. So what if you managed to watch an entire season of your favorite show on Netflix. You still get full credit for cleaning. You should not be punished for multi-tasking. (If you emptied the dryer lint, bonus points.)
- If you have gone to open the refrigerator to make a plan for dinner, and subsequently shut it back because you had to wipe peanut butter off the door handle, that’s cleaning.
- If you have taken all the random crap that’s lying around and put it in a laundry basket and hid it in a closet to “deal with later”: cleaning.
- If you have piled all the pairs of shoes from around the house on the stairs for the kids to put away, cleaning for sure.
- If you used a broom to sweep the carpet in your bedroom because you left the vacuum upstairs like a month ago, that’s cleaning. This also falls under the category of exercise, so bonus points. Take yourself out for ice cream later.
- If you sat down to create a list/spreadsheet outlining the cleaning chores for the day/week: cleaning.
- If you ran your finger across the top of the television because you weren’t sure the last time you dusted it, that, my friends, is cleaning.
- If you ran a sink full of hot, soapy water to “soak” the dishes, that’s totally cleaning. If you remember to dump the cold water out and fill it with hot water again before dinner, bonus points again.
- If you dramatically threw clothes to the floor of the closet because they didn’t fit, that’s cleaning. If you actually placed them in a bag to get rid of “later”, cleaning still. If you flailed around in anger at how you’ve “let yourself go”, bonus points again for exercise.
- If you reached over into the tub to pull out the large ball of hair covering the drain, and then grabbed the closest towel nearby to wipe the edges of the tub clean so you could take a “relaxing bath”, that’s all cleaning. Not even up for debate.
- If you lit a candle to cover up the lingering odors of kids & pets, that’s cleaning.
- If you read an article about how to streamline your cleaning, you don’t get to count it as cleaning unless it was from like Southern Living or Better Homes & Gardens. If that’s the case, give yourself credit. That’s research & it still counts.
- If you took a trip to Dollar Tree or Ikea for some various sized containers to organize things in & then came home and put the bag on the floor and promptly forgot about it, it still counts as cleaning.
- If you looked under the kitchen sink to verify that you are, in fact, out of glass cleaner & then took time to notice that you were also out of bleach, dishwasher detergent & Lysol, that’s all cleaning related, therefore, it’s cleaning.
- If you moved everything around in the pantry praying to locate one, single pack of Kool-Aid so the kids will stop complaining about there being “nothing to drink”, that’s cleaning. It’s also organizing, so good work!!
- If you re-started the dryer so the clothes could “fluff up”, count that as cleaning. No one in the family deserves wrinkled clothes.
- If you rifled through the Tupperware drawer/cabinet/basket trying to locate a lid for the leftovers from the night before and managed to match a few other lids with their partner containers, count it. That job is basically one step away from the entrance to hell itself and deserves to be recognized as such.
- If you scraped dried Fruity Pebbles off your comforter so you could sit down and rest a second (because, duh, you’ve been cleaning all day), that’s cleaning.
- If you shoved all the random crap from inside your car quickly into the trunk because you forgot it was your day to take the entire volleyball team home after practice: still cleaning.
- If you wiped an unknown gummy substance off the screen of your computer/tablet/phone so you could log into Facebook, that’s cleaning.
- If you opened the “junk drawer” and, while looking for one AA battery, managed to take out and throw away all the old, dead batteries that your family for some reason decided to save, that’s highly detailed cleaning and it counts majorly. Reward yourself with a break.
- If you sprayed cleaner into the toilet so it could “soak a bit”, that counts. Even if you forgot to go back later and actually scrub the toilet, give yourself cleaning credit. Your intentions were good.
I am sure there are many more we could all add to the list. Feel free to add them.
Take it easy on yourselves, mommas. This world would be a dirty place without you.
And so there is that…