I follow a lot of my fellow parenting bloggers on all social media platforms. I have to say, last night I broke out in a cold sweat after reading some of Housewife How-Tos blog entries. With every entry on weekly sheet washing, daily vacuuming, and monthly baseboard scrubbing, I sunk deeper and deeper into an anxiety-riddled panic attack.
Wash their dishes after every meal?
What the fuck are baseboards?
Not only was I on the verge of a mental break, I also felt significantly less like the trophy wife I pictured myself being. My poor husband! That poor man is stuck with a stinky wildebeest when he deserves a delicate flower who presses his undies.
Then I snapped out of it.
There have to be more women like me. So, I googled “brilliant messy women” and a quote from the glorious J.K. Rowling popped up.
“People very often say to me, ‘How did you do it? How did you raise a baby and write a book?’ and the answer is, I didn’t do housework for four years! I’m not Superwoman, and living in squalor that was the answer.” –J.K. Rowling
This! This is who I want to be! I am not June Cleaver. What I am good at is half-assing this housework thing like a boss.
So, without further ado, here are my tips for how to cut corners like a mom since you have better things to do than scrub. Like, anything. You don’t have to be writing The Sorcerer’s Stone. You could be taking a well-deserved fucking nap for all I care.
1. Wash your dishes once a day.
Don’t feel like it? Wait until tomorrow. My rule of thumb is when you run out of Tupperware lids to use as plates, it’s time to buy more paper plates.
2. Wash your sheets when they smell bad.
I’m assuming the weekly sheet-washing is for people who have sex more than once a full moon, but either way, sheets do not need to be washed weekly. Are they dirty? Peel those suckers off and try not to cry about the stains on the mattress because you were too stubborn to admit to the mattress salesman that mattress pads are a good investment.
3. Train your husband.
This was not really necessary for me since my husband’s level of utter pristine cleanliness is my level of filthy European hostel. However, I know some of you ladies have significant others who expect Leave It to Beaver when they walk in. Make them a deal. Something with sexual promises always works. Maybe if they overlook the heaping hamper, you can dust off the marital drawer next to the bed tonight and pull out a special treat you bought back before kids? Works like a charm. Plus, since you didn’t break your back washing dishes 14 times today, you actually have energy for sex.
4. Enforce an “Is It Gross?” rule.
Sure, you could be the mom with a laminated checklist on the side of her fridge outlining monthly, weekly, daily, hourly cleaning tasks to be completed or you’re an utter and complete failure. Or you could clean shit when it’s gross. See something filthy? Clean it. Don’t feel like it? Look away. My floor scrubbing tends to be done when things start to look a little CSI around here. However, the bathroom sinks and toilets really give me the skeevies almost daily. I’ve also been able to train myself that the hamper doesn’t need to be emptied until clothes spill onto the floor. Baby steps.
5. Teach your kids to P-L-A-Y by THEMSELVES.
Gasp! Did she really just say that?! Yes, I went there. I mean, what is the flipping point of having four children if they can’t entertain each other? Sure, they beat the snot out of each other and fight 95% of the time, but I like to think this is teaching them something good. What does it teach them if Mom is constantly jumping up with Pinterest-ready playthings and an eight-hour schedule to entertain them? This gives you more time to clean/write/nap.
6. Perfect the “People Coming Over” Clean.
I honestly believe no one can whip a house into shape faster than me when I know company is about to arrive. By “shape” I mean, I clean and scream for a solid hour and still have to give the obligatory “please excuse this mess…kids” excuse whenever anyone steps on our property. You don’t have to have “Martha Stewart”
clean, but “halfway house clean” is perfectly acceptable when you have kids.
7. Refill your prescriptions.
Did you let that Zoloft script go after your PPD wore off because you felt great? Well, enforcing my rules might cause your anxiety to boil up again. It takes a little training to look past the sprinkle of dog hair, pile of laundry, and mountain of dishes. If you’re like me, you need a little medical crutch to get through the itch to do it all.
8. Remember YOUR dreams.
Yes, this has something to do with cutting corners, because while you’re dusting places people don’t even see, you could be pursuing your passions. I like to write. So instead of organizing my shoe closet, I have created Shoe Mountain, and I get time to do things that make me happy. Isn’t the phrase “happy wife, happy life,” the damn truest statement ever written? When you are feeling fulfilled, heard, like someone other than a 24-hour hotel maid, you stop furrowing your brow all day and start laughing with your kids. You stop feeling like an old used-up tissue at the end of the day and actually entertain the idea of sexy time with your husband. You are a person. You are not Cinderella. Shit, even Cinderella got a night on the town. You deserve to be happy too.