We got married in 1991 and it is 21 years since we moved into our very own new home. At the time, we had no children and, amongst our friends, we were the only married couple. Being ‘Frum’ was relatively new to our Jewish community.
First we lived in a beautiful, large 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, flat in Berea but my husband did the Torah reading at Pine Street Shul, so every Shabbat we would pack up and move to my mother-in-law. 6 Months later we moved to a rented house near the Shul. However, the foundation of the house was shifting and our front porch was leaning over.
We started looking for a house to buy in the area. The major selling point of this particular house was the large kitchen and the fact that it had 2 full bathrooms and a guest toilet and that we thought we could afford.
The fact that it had 4 bedrooms was irrelevant at the time, since we had no children.
I did, and to a certain extent still do, however, have an open home. Anyone needing a bed or a meal on Shabbat and/or Yom Tov is always welcome. My husband and his, at that time, single 2 best friends, spent a lot of time here. 3 Men need 3 bathrooms! We also hosted Sheva Berachot (after a wedding different people host the bride and groom for seven days with a minimum of 10 men to bestow blessings for married life) for everyone of our friends who got married and, for some unknown reason, I only hosted Friday night Sheva Berachot.
My house was pristine. I was making clothes at the time, so I had a lady to do the buttons and hems. She also did the washing and ironing. Then along came baby no. 1, my boy, AY, who will be 19 this year. My house was still clean and tidy. Just 18 months later came baby no. 2, my daughter, ZS. My sewing lady became my full time domestic, as I needed to return to full time work, she is still with me today. My house was still clean, just not so tidy anymore.
Baby no. 3, another girl, LB, came along 4 years later. It was a long and difficult pregnancy (a story for another year), I lost interest in making sure the house was spotless, as long as it was clean. No. 4 another girl, AT, was born 2 years later. It was time to get a second domestic who is also still with me today.
Things went downhill from there but I was just too tired to care enough. I tried to draw up cleaning schedules for them but because I didn’t check up, my house was now not only untidy, it was also dirty and I was working full time as a nurse, which is really a very tiring and stressful occupation.
This year, in March, I started a new job and things have changed. I now work a normal 9-5 day for a specialist. I have my cleaning schedule in place and I am checking that the work is actually being done. Having 2 domestic workers is not getting my house cleaner because, if something isn’t done, they blame each other.
Now I have re-arranged the cleaning schedule and each person is assigned a specific task and the jobs are divided equally between the heavy cleaning, the washing and ironing,and the normal housework.
I know my house isn’t going to get tidier if I don’t declutter, and it definitely won’t get cleaner. Because what’s the point of cleaning a storage room?
We’ve previously scheduled the kitchen, the dinning room, the lounge and entrance. So now I add the bathroom cleaning schedule. I hope this helps you too!
Wipe down all mirrors, taps, sinks, baths and toilet seats
Mop the floors
The shower doors, if they are glass
Wash the outside of the toilets
Clean the drains and taps thoroughly
Wash the windows
Damp dust the skirting boards and clean the doors
I go through the cupboards and throw out old and expired soaps and shampoos
Clean the cupboards
Wash the doors, door handles, lights and light switches
Wash the shower curtains and check for mould
Wash the walls and ceilings of the bathrooms
Clean the grouting in the tiles
I clear out expired medicines.
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It isn’t going to happen overnight and it certainly isn’t going to happen if we don’t stay on top of it.
Do you have a schedule that works? If you are a stay at home mom without help, how do you stay on top of the cleaning? Let us know, we can all learn from each other.