Saturday, February 27, 2010

House Cleaning: With Kids

I try to have friends over at least once a month for dinner.   It's the biggest motivator I know for really deep cleaning my house.  

Tonight, we're having 3 couples (and their kids) over.   My kids go loopy over the thought of all these people coming over to play, and are actually quite motivated to help clean up their rooms and the play room in anticipation.

I like to start cleaning a few days in advance, to get the really big jobs done, the corners, the cobwebs, under the furniture, behind the toilet, the stove top, and THE KITCHEN COUNTER (shiver!!!).   I was breezing along with my cleaning this week, and the house was looking pretty spiffy (under the clutter -- clutter is always last, because it's impossible to eliminate until the last minute for some reason).   I had only the stove top and the dreaded KITCHEN COUNTER to clean yesterday, when on Thursday night I realized that Luke did not have school on Friday because of a teacher meeting of some kind.   That meant my 3 hours of quiet organizational/cleaning time I had reserved for Friday had just disappeared.

His older siblings left for school, and it was just the two of us.

Here's where I'll confess:  I gave him cookies and told him he could eat them in the living room while watching Spongebob.   He was speechless!  This had never been done before (at least not when I was around), and he watched television for a good hour ("bad mommy!") while I scrubbed my stove top and sink and worked on organizing the chaos on my kitchen counter.   The errant clean dishes that were sitting on the counter because the kids can't reach the cabinet were put away.   The toaster was gleaming.  The counters were scrubbed and the paper work had pretty much all been put away.  I even got the shop vac out and moved the stove so I could clean under it. 

Ah, yes.  The shop vac.

That's when the fun began.  

Luke loves to help me clean.  He loves a big full bottle of Windex, a can of dusting spray, and a shop vac.   I have a spray bottle filled just with water that I give him so he can "clean" the front of the appliances and the kitchen table and the sliding glass door.   But he REALLY loves that shop vac.  And when he heard it, all bets were off.

So I moved the stove and he went to work vaccuming.   I hadn't mopped the floor yet, so I asked him if he'd like to vaccum the corners of the kitchen for me.

While he was busy "helping" I went off to the living room to do a quick dusting and clean up the bigger of the cookie crumbs he'd left behind..   The shop vac motor was humming along, and I was feeling pretty good about how quickly I was getting everything done.

Until I walked into the kitchen.

Luke had discovered that if he removed the hose from one side of the shop vac, and put it in the OTHER side, that the air would BLOW OUT.   This was fun!  This was exciting!  He had blown all the papers off the front of the refrigerator and the few that were left on the counter.  But more importantly, he had blown UNDER the REFRIGERATOR.   There was dust EVERYWHERE!   My formerly clean kitchen was now coated in a blanket of dust.   Gritty dust.  And a few good sized dust balls, too.

But Luke was so excited about how well he'd cleaned UNDER the refrigerator, that I did my "mommy smile" and thanked him for being such a "good helper" and then asked him if he wanted to watch Spongebob and eat some more cookies.

How do you keep up with your housecleaning with kids underfoot????



  1. I'm still in shock over the kitchen being filled with dust. All good mommy plans end in disaster. Maybe not the first time, probably the second.
    Most of my cleaning is done after they go to bed for naptime or bedtime. If failing that, I have DVD time, where they sit and watch a DVD and I get stuff done (or read, whichever).

  2. This is wonderful! I've been an enterprising mom for 30+ years and all kinds of disasters to fill a book. What I appreciate about your tale is the reality of it. Usually I quit reading a mom blog after the first paragraph, because of this mom claiming to be doing things that I know would be super human or take the energy of four teenagers who have never had kids. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face. :)


  3. The staff of house cleaning denver is a delight to have in my home and their work is excellent!