I'm always intrigued (that's my nice word for, um, well, you get the idea) by those mommy bloggers who give tips on how to find time to clean your house with the kids around. I once saw a list of how to clean your whole house in one month doing just a few chores a day. I mean, surely, the little buggers will stop pestering you and sowing destruction for 30 minutes while you do your few chores a day. I can't even get my kids to leave me alone when I turn on the TV and the fact that I appear busy doing something non-kid related just activates their intense, immediate need for that vitally important piece of lint that fell behind the sofa.
And the ones I really ponder hard are those titled "How to Keep Your House Clean." Keep your house clean? None of these posts start with "Don't have kids" as the first step in keeping a clean house, which, of course, is what you should do if you want a clean house.
For years, I've thought that the kids had to be completely out of the house or comatose in their beds for me to clean anything around here. Imagine my surprise when one night I had a sudden inspiration and burst of energy. One kid out with his dad, I plunked the younger two in the tub and looked around at the kids' bathroom. And sighed. Three feet and below on the walls and cabinets, everything was coated in grimy fingerprints and footprints (yes, footprints on the wall. no, I have no idea how.) It always amazes me how dirty our bathrooms get when they are the only rooms in the house with TWO faucets and lots of soap.
So I grabbed a container of bleach wipes and started wiping down everything in sight while the kids happily ignored me. While I wiped floors, walls, cabinets and counters, they were quietly pouring water from one container to another. I swear, they could do this for an hour. Some afternoons I just put them in the tub and let them play while I read a book in the bathroom. (That's a bonus tip for you. You're welcome.)
I also lock myself in the downstairs bathroom and clean it while they pound on the door. I'm not saying that I like this arrangement, but it is one way I can get a few minutes without the 21 month old hulk mauling me.
And when I'm finished I breathe in that clean smell and admire the room before they get out of the tub or I open the bathroom door. Other than the kitchen, this is the only room in the house I have a system for cleaning.