Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where'd the maid go?

I struggle with housework. I like to think that the me living in an alternate universe, lives in a very orderly, clean flat. (Apparently the me in another universe lives in London and she has found a signature hairstyle.) The real me, has all the abominations of an American hausfrau - clutter, chaos and three kids who don't pick up after themselves. (I included my husband in that count.)

I'm very good at coming up with a system. I just struggle with sticking to said system. A few years ago, everyone was responsible for a "room". One room. Every day, you cleaned your room. Erik had the kitchen. Lula had the bathroom. Hazel did the bedroom she and Lula shared. And I was in charge of the Livingdiningmasterbedroom. This prompted my mother-in-law to say, "You must be alot of fun to live with." And I really don't think she was kidding.

A few weeks ago, I tried the write-rooms-on-tiny-scraps-of-paper-and-pull-one-out-of-the-jar routine. I added one blank "free choice" slip. And one "computer" slip. Then I set the timer for 10 minutes. Lula pulled the "computer" slip on the first try and got to spend ten minutes playing games on disney.com. At that single moment in time, we both felt like I was the smartest mom in the universe. This game went along swimmingly for over 40 minutes, drawing different slips in ten minute increments. Just when every room was starting to show signs of cleanliness, we ran out of steam. Still it felt somewhat like success.

After barking orders like a drill sergeant one day. "Pick up those shoes! Pick up that backpack! Is that where your toothbrush belongs?" Lula explained that it was much more effective to write down exactly what needed to be done v. rattling off a list that was hard to keep straight. "Brilliant!" I trilled. (Using my alternate English accent.) Behold the Sunday list:

I'm particularly fond of #5, Talk Nicely. It doesn't do the laundry, but it makes the picking it up off the floor a lot less stinky.