I dropped my kids off at school and turned up the music. As I cruised down the narrow 2-lane road home, a speeding dump truck approached and before I knew it, it had veered across the middle line. I hugged the right edge of my lane, hoping I didn't skid into the ditch to my right or get hit by the dump truck to my left. As I made it past the dump truck safely, I choked on a sob, realizing how close I had come to being hit by a 30-ton steel beast.
I'm the sort of person who thinks about the fragility of life a lot. As I drove the rest of the way home, my body shook with adrenaline and my mind raced, thinking about what would have happened if I was suddenly gone. I thought about how my six kids would be affected. They would need me in so many ways over the years. My 3-year-old would only vaguely remember me, and my baby wouldn't retain any memories. I thought about the intricate partnership my husband and I share, and how much we rely on each other to keep life running, to care for our kids, to offer unconditional friendship. I thought about how I've only recently begun to think I could have dreams; how I'm just starting to love myself.
Why do I bring up my morbid thoughts on a cleaning blog?
I used to spend a lot of time feeling closed down and frustrated about my environment, and I wonder if you do? My messy home made me feel cranky and overwhelmed, and I don't want that for anyone else. When face-to-face with a dump truck, not one thought went toward the cleanliness of my home. So I wanted to talk to you about how I got a handle on my home, so I could spend time on the stuff that really matters to me.
I firmly believe that we often view ourselves as reflections of our homes, and become influenced by the state of our environment. I know countless women who've said that they can't keep their homes clean and it makes them feel depressed, as though they're failing at life.
Experiencing covid quarantine with five young kids pushed me to confront why I struggle with housework and how it affects my mind and mood. I've spent most of my adult life feeling like an incompetent woman-child because I couldn't keep my spaces clean and organized. I decided I just couldn't feel like that anymore.
I tried to learn how to clean from other people, in the past, but I never saw an accurate reflection of my life and limitations on social media. I knew that I physically couldn't "marathon clean" due to my autoimmune diseases. I also knew that my system could not be overly complicated, because I don't have much time or energy, and simply don't like cleaning. I needed something with structure so I didn't get off track, but also something that would keep working if I felt bad in a given week and couldn't do much.
I sat down and wrote out a cleaning plan that broke down daily, weekly, and deep cleaning tasks. I decided how much time I could commit per day, and how to keep myself on track if I had a week where nothing got done but the essentials of keeping my kids cared for and happy.
I tested out my "adaptive" cleaning plan for a few months, and it actually worked for me! My home isn't pristine, but it only would be if I had a housekeeper come every day, or if I didn't let my kids do anything.
I'll have an empty nest one day, but for now, I don't want to spend one more moment
irritated with my kids for leaving their toys on the ground, or silently berating myself because my bathroom needs cleaning. My home is clean and comfortable, I'm not overwhelmed, and I have time for the things that make me happy. I'll take it!
If you want to see what my Adaptive Cleaning looks like, I make content on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, and I have a booklet and customizable lists on this site. As always, if you have questions, or requests, please let me know. It makes me
extremely happy to provide content that speaks to you and
supports your journey.