Gold Star For Cleaning

The other day, the fabulous Empress Alexandra from Good Day, Regular People posted a primer on making the most of common sense and a mother’s precious time alone. She gifts you with tips on conning showing your family how hard you work for them. Many of her tips involve ‘making’ dinner, so I can’t use them. My family knows better than to think I actually spent my day cooking. I mean, I blogged about that one time I made lasagna because it was such a huge deal. Anyway, today, I offer an extension of the Empress’s phenomenal lessons.

You know what I did today? I unpacked our suitcases. (Well, not did, am doing. I had to stop to write this awesome thought. And maybe surf the net. And then forget what I was doing before this.)

Why is it significant that I’m tackling this chore today? Well, we arrived home from Texas seven days ago. So, those suitcases have been crowding the dining room since then. Am I lazy? Maybe. But am I also a genius at getting recognized for my hard work? Yes. Yes, I am. And this brings us to the tips:

If it’s not messy, how do you know when it’s clean?

God bless you people that have a neat house at all times. You are awesome. But are you getting credit for your hard work? If your family never sees the horrible, how can they appreciate the beautiful? You know what gets you noticed? Turning a pig sty into a livable home. Sure, you have to let things pile up on counters and floors, and your socks will need extra bleach when you get around to washing them, but it’s worth it to get a big grin from the people who no longer have to navigate your family’s daily detritus.

The squeaky wheel gets the praise.

Email your spouse: “Hey, be careful when you get home, the floor may still be wet from mopping.” (If your job is weeks after the mess or done in a haphazard manner, he’s a fool to bring it up. On account of the emotional issues you have and what not.) What generally happens is a big ‘ol “Thank You!” from a person grateful he will not stick to the floors anymore.

Other possible email laments include:

“I tried to get my chores done, but the boys wouldn’t nap. I only got half my list done.” Half of how much? What chores? Don’t sweat it; there will only be praise not suspicion. (Just to be clear, I NEVER clean during nap. That’s me time.)

“Since the boys are back in school today and won’t be here to make a mess, I’m going to be able to clean the bathrooms.” Oh! That’s why she hasn’t cleaned! The boys are just making things dirty all the time. Why clean when it only lasts five minutes?

Make an impression.

Whatever you are doing when your spouse gets home is what he thinks you’ve been doing all day. I learned this lesson from my dad. My dad always wanted to know what we had done to be productive that day. Shouting your supposed accomplishments from the couch while watching TV didn’t promote confidence in your story.

The suitcases that will be gone any minute now. Please also note the vacuum. It will stay there until someone tells me, “Good job” for using it.

So, try not to be on the computer. (I know, it’s hard. That’s where the people are. The people who don’t whine when their banana has brown spots.) Leave the vacuum out. Water should be running somewhere. First load of laundry or fifth? Well, since clean clothes are always out waiting to be folded, no one will ever be able to tell how much was added today.

Your darling children can help with this as well. All day, whenever they ask you to play with them, say, “Sure sweetie, I just have to finish this chore.” Then, never show up. You can count on them coming back to remind you of your pledge to play. Answer with, “I’m sorry honey. I had one more chore I really needed to start.” They will for sure complain to Daddy that all Mommy did all day was chores. Thanks kids!

That’s it! It’s that easy to get daily gold stars for things you should be doing simply out of love and your fine sense of responsibility.

You’re welcome.

Full disclosure: I am not this messy or devious (though I am this needy for praise). I’ve exaggerated for humor. How exaggerated? Eh, let’s not get into such details.

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