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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Momma, Fools and Cleaning Ladies

Growing up I learned a lot of valuable lessons from my mom.  How to starch sheets(thank god I don't do that anymore)... how to polish shoes(I've learned to move to sneakers or suede)... how to clean an oven (mine now self cleans) and polish silver(if you don't have any you don't have to polish it)... how to cook (although I still haven't mastered rolling up that ice cream roll without breaking the cake).  But there were a few lessons that although I learned them, I never quite understood until I got older.

One was the lesson called  "Clean Closets Happy Cleaning Lady." Anyone who has a cleaning lady knows a good one is a pearl beyond price. There just aren't a lot of GOOD 'environmental engineers' out there today. Yesterday's cleaning lady is now the CEO of her own company, no more vacuums and dusting or scrubbing for her! So once you find one, you'll do ANYTHING to keep her happy. I guess it wasn't so different when I was a child.

As a child, Rose was our cleaning lady. Rose arrived at our house like clockwork every week. She was our ever efficient cleaning lady who helped my mom make order out of our house of chaos. Not an easy feat when you have four kids under 10 running around under foot. Rose also worked for my grandmothers, so I guess you could say all our family 'dirty' laundry and houses kept Rose busy. 

The oddest thing about Rose's visits didn't have anything to do with her cleaning or with Rose herself.  Instead it had to do with the day before Rose came. The day before Rose came to clean, we had to clean so THE CLEANING LADY COULD CLEAN! What's wrong with this picture?

I suspect I'm not the only one who had to clean her closet and under her bed before the cleaning team arrived. But I still find it odd. I mean we were paying Rose to clean, so why was I cleaning before she came?  I've always wondered just what Rose thought of all the tidy little closets of four children under the age of 10. I mean, wouldn't you have wondered? 

The key lesson I learned from my mother was WHEN to clean. My mom's answer to that...ALWAYS.  Do it everyday. Don't let it get ahead of you. All valuable lessons, but the most important lesson was when MUST you clean?

The answer? Before the cleaning lady gets there! God forbid the cleaning lady knows that the rest of the week your closet is a mess! Or that your shoes are under your bed!

Maybe I didn't train my kids right. But at that age their closets(and under their beds)were never THAT neat. Of course I don't have a cleaning lady either(Ah! I knew I had an out there somewhere.)So I've adapted the reason to clean and when to clean for my children to suit our family. To my children I say, clean your closets frequently enough so when you open the door what's in it doesn't land on your heads. And don't put stuff under your bed and you won't have get down on your knees to clean it out, just occasionally vacuum. Better yet, buy a bed that has drawers under it so you don't even have to vacuum under it because dust couldn't get under there is it tried! 

I'm all for the easy route! (sorry mom!)  But most important of all I wanted my children to grow up knowing their 'momma didn't raise no fools' and they are smart enough to adapt my rules for their lives just like I did my mom's.

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