By the end of the week, our house is looking less than orderly. The kids’ beds, which at the beginning of the week had fresh sheets and a solid tuck-in from me, now have random lumps and bumps, which make them look dishevelled, even when made. Our bed isn’t much better.
There are baskets of clean laundry, some even folded, that have yet to make it into drawers and closets. Some of them have been rooted through to find a missing sock or favourite shirt.
The TV room (which is supposed to be a dining room, but functions better in our house as a kid space) has remnants of various kid activities: dried up play-dough, glue blobs, little bits of paper, scattered crayons and markers, etc. The kids clean up the big stuff, but the little stuff lingers.
The counters need a good scrub, more than the hurried wipe they get each morning and evening. The dishes that have been left “to soak” have soaked enough and need to actually be washed and put away.
The floors. Ugh, the floors! The carpet needs vacuuming; the kitchen and entranceway need a good mopping. The whole upstairs needs a damp cloth to catch the dust and bits.
The crazy thing is, the kids are only awake in the house for about 4-1/2 hours a day during the week. Part of those hours are taken up with eating and reading and bathing, leaving not much time for all this mess-making. And yet, we are faced with this end of the week challenge every week.
Anyway, for the past few weeks, we’ve been doing Tidy-up Fridays. Homer buys Lisa and Bart a special treat (like, they split a bag of Cadbury eggs, or he buys a cheap kid movie). When we get home, Homer starts dinner while the kids and I tackle the house. The goal is to get most of the tidy-up work done before dinner is served. While cooking, Homer does the kitchen. If the kids participate enthusiastically, they get the special treat.
You know, it has worked pretty well. I still have things to do on the weekend (never-ending laundry, changing the beds, cleaning the bathrooms…), but the stuff that used to really annoy me is dealt with during a flurry of activity on Friday evening. Not exactly the way I would choose to use my Friday evening, but it’s something.