Monday, January 30, 2012


Anyone ever get grumpy about doing their job?  Don't judge me...I sometimes do!  Don't get me wrong, I love and enjoy many things about being a wife, mom and home maker.  BUT, most of the time I wish that my job description regarding the house read: "Keep from becoming a complete disaster and clean for impending company." However, I have been very convicted over the last few weeks that that's not actually what my job description says.  It actually says something more like: "Keep the house as clean and clutter-free as possible, while also teaching the children to live neatly and value organization."  Gulp.  Not doing such a good job with that.  But, I have had some light bulb moments recently.  Some of them are:

1. I am my most productive in the mornings.  This is why I have often felt I have to choose between accomplishing something or schooling the boys on a particular day.  I've realized this is because I really struggle to be productive in the afternoons.  It has definitely been made worse by the fatigue that comes with Lyme, but I think I have always had this tendency.  I often will get a "second wind" in the evening and do work projects then, but not always.

2. I need to do a better job of consistently doing general upkeep on the house so that the problem areas don't get out of control.

3. I need to do a better job of teaching my children to keep their things orderly and to train them to be helpers around the house.

4. I spend too much time "under the line" (i.e. quadrant's 3 and 4), according to Steven Covey's Time Management Matrix, see below.  While the matrix doesn't specifically speak to a mom who stays home with her children, you can figure out where most of the things that fill our days fall.  Some words to help further describe these quadrants are #1 Necessity, #2 Proactive and Productive, #3 Deception (they feel urgent, but aren't) and #4 Waste.

People tend to see me as a very organized person, which I guess is true in a lot of ways.  So, I do really well on urgent, important matters.  If something NEEDS to get done, I get it done.  Period.  Where I have been having a problem is with the things that would fall into quadrant two: proactive productivity, which in my house would mean general cleaning, organizing, de-cluttering and intentional time with the boys.

So, what I am doing to improve?  First, I've been honest with myself and raised the expectations for what needs to be happening around here on a regular basis. Second, I am "requiring" myself to do at least one "proactive" task a day, usually in the afternoon when I normally would not be productive.  Today that means cleaning the main floor bathroom before small group tonight so that it doesn't smell like a bunch of boys use it.  (They do, which is why it smells that way...)  Third, I completed a huge purge, de-clutter and organization of the older boys' rooms and we set expectations for how they need to keep it clean...tied to an incentive.  More on that later.  Lastly, I have committed myself to training my boys to be better helpers with the upkeep of the house.  The older two especially are old enough to help significantly.

So,the incentive?  The boys are able to "earn" the privilege of watching a 30 minute video and having a treat after dinner.  This system has been in place for a long time, but has generally been tied to them having reasonably good behavior and not "un-earning" the privilege rather than really earning it.  We've changed that. They are now on a point system where if they don't make their beds and have clean floors and surface areas at the end of the day, they lose points.  On the other hand, if they have done those things, they earn points.   But only enough to either have a treat OR watch a video.  If they want to do both, the will have to complete a work project to earn additional points by helping out around the house: cleaning bathrooms, organizing bookshelves, vacuuming, etc.

So far, so good.  I've been accomplishing things in the afternoons and making my way through some big projects around the house and the boys have been motivated to look for ways to be helpers, as well as to keep their own spaces organized and neat.  So, here's hoping this becomes habit and that if you happen to drop in on us on short notice from here on out that you'll find a mostly neat house instead of a mostly messy one!


Angela said...

Renee wrote: "Way to crack down and make it happen. That's awesome."

Angela said...

I kind of like for organizing cleaning tips.

Also, three tips for the bathroom "issue."

1) Solid or gel based fresheners seem to work the best at keeping the odor neutralized. I'll send you a pic of the freshner that we currently have that has lasted quite a while and been amazingly effective.

2) If you have a shower curtain in that bathroom, try spraying it with fabreeze or another fabric freshener such as Lysol before guests come over. We have found that the Glade pet odor one is the most effective.

3) Mop N Glow seems to actually remove the odor from the floor.