Have I told you all that I have family coming for Christmas?
Yup, my mom and dad and my sister and niece will be here to ransack some presents, tear into major goodies, bask in the glow of Christmas lights, and generally have a wonderful time doing so.
But do you know what all of THAT means?
I have to clean my house.
And as any good lazy mom will tell you, when someone is coming over, a moment of sheer panic takes place. It's a moment of, "Oh dear Lord. My house is a disaster and there could be witnesses soon." A moment of, "We can't let people know we live like this." A moment of, "I'm denying I ever lived there after it's been condemned."
Now, because they are family it's not as bad of a panic as it would be if they were friends or even strangers. Does anybody know why that is? I'm guessing it's because family you can swear to secrecy... friends and strangers? They have to be taken captive, guarded at gun point and never be seen in public again in order to assure silence. And that's just not always feasible.
But you see, the problem with cleaning your house only escalates when you have kids. Because the problem with cleaning when you have kids is the fact that, well, you have kids. Cleaning with kids suddenly becomes all about one little word: timing.
Yes, you've got to time the cleaning of your house JUST right. It can't be too early, it can't be too late.
Too early, and thanks to those little darlings of yours, you're house will be back in state-of-emergency status before your company even arrives. Then you have to clean ALL OVER AGAIN. This is a lazy mom danger zone. It's what I like to call, "stupid cleaning." You clean too early, you're cleaning stupid.
Now on the other hand if you clean too late, you're running around like a wild crazy woman trying to get everything done before your company pulls in the driveway. This is another lazy mom danger zone. It is what I call, "mean cleaning." Because heaven knows you'll be irritable, bark orders at people and generally be mean. You clean to late, you're cleaning mean.
So what's a lazy mom to do? How does she get this timing right? Not too early, not too late. Not too stupid, not too mean.
It's tough being a lazy mom.
Well, you could dust off some of the approaches listed in the Fake Fixes post I mentioned yesterday. But these will only help you cut corners, not necessarily get the timing of cleaning down just right.
No, for me I think the best way to get the timing right is to enlist the "enemy."
Yup, bring the kids over to your side and work together. It's the lazy mom way actually, so you might as well do it.
Now I know what you're all thinking...
"It takes me longer to clean when the kids help."
"My kids complain the whole time and I'd rather not hear it."
"Pfff! I can't even get my kids to help!"
But listen to me here. Divide and conquer. Assign and enact. Enlist and enforce. Command and... oh never mind. Just do it.
I give my kids one job at a time and they come back to me when they are finished.
When the whining starts up I give them a break or a "treat" to re-motivate them.
When they hide in their rooms so they won't be noticed as not helping I say something along the lines of, "You better get down here right now before I give you FIVE extra jobs to do and take ALL your presents back from under the tree!"
Or uh, something like that.
No really, when I make it a team effort I'm not cleaning too early or cleaning too late, the "timing" always seems to work out just right. (Wait. This reminds me of some story about three bears and a girl with blonde... oh forget it.)
In fact, my kids are even better about trying to keep it clean longer because they've put some of their own elbow grease into it themselves.
Now, as much as I'd love to stay around and chat more about this, I simply can't. I've got company coming over and some serious cleaning to do. Geez, pay attention already.
But before I go I thought I'd post a picture for you of what I look like when I'm cleaning.
Yes, that's what I look like right now. Totally.