Keeping Ellie’s House

It’s week 13 tomorrow and 3 months on Wednesday. Ellie’s sleeping through the night for now. She’s sensitive about her naps – all of a sudden – where she’ll wake up because she heard something downstairs, or Mama started music in the den, or Coda walked into her room. She gets cranky when she doesn’t nap her full two hours in the afternoon. We’re feeding her a whopping 5 oz each bottle, and we’re starting 6 oz for her last bottle of the night. She’s still a Cry Monster from Planet Shriekscream and is very happy to express her opinions when she doesn’t like something. Most importantly, she’s also a very happy baby who loves ceiling fans, flailing about, her Charley seahorse, farting noises, and Coda kisses. Her absolute favorite thing is her hands – chewing them, moving them, watching them. She’s an overall very easy baby.

Now that Ellie is sleeping through the night, there’s no more need to sleep when the baby sleeps. “What am I supposed to do with all this free time while Ellie is asleep?” I asked sarcastically. One of the obsessions I have is keeping my house clean. It’s a control thing. I know it. But I want my house to be in a state that people can drop in on us and not worry about what the house looks like.

I found a like-minded soul in Clean Mama. I found her on Instagram during Covid lockdown, and I was obsessed. The summary of her plan is you do 20 minutes of cleaning each day and then you don’t ever need to waste a weekend cleaning house. She tells her readers that if they only do five things daily plus add one daily chore plus a couple of monthly chores, your house will always be company ready, give yourself grace, and end the overwhelm.

Her five daily tasks?

  1. Make beds
  2. Check floors
  3. Wipe counters
  4. Tackle clutter
  5. One load of laundry

Doing ONE load of laundry EACH DAY made me so happy. It seemed like a perfect solution to being at home all the time. There was no need for laundry day anymore! I could do a little bit at a time each day and see great results. And more importantly – end my unending feeling of overwhelm.

Then you add weekly tasks:

  • Mondays – All your home’s bathrooms
  • Tuesdays – Dusting
  • Wednesday – Vacuuming
  • Thursday – Washing/mopping floors
  • Friday – Grace day for overflow if you can’t do everything
  • Saturday – Wash sheets and towels

After you add these to your routine, then there are Rotating Tasks and Monthly Focuses to add to your list too. But these didn’t matter to me because…

I got stuck adding the weeklies.

Clean Mama says she cleans all four of her bathrooms in 20 minutes each week. I have two and a half baths, and it was taking me 45 minutes to an hour each Monday. Maybe I’m too obsessive, but I did it for a month and each week it didn’t go any faster. The only plus side was how much running I was doing between bathrooms to try to make the 20 minute mark. I was sweaty and gross after bathroom day. That routine was not sustainable.

The other tasks similarly took too long and didn’t match my lifestyle. I have a Roomba, so why would I spend Wednesday vacuuming every area in one day when I could set the Roomba to go around one area, each day?

So this routine was already falling apart as soon as I tried to add the weeklies, but here’s where I ended up with the daily tasks…

Making Beds? I can handle this and I LOVED Clean Mama’s rule that this is for show more than anything else. Don’t tuck, fold and hospital corner each morning. She doesn’t even use a top sheet on her bed because all she wants to do is pull the duvet up. Only making the bed enough to make it look nice and be easy to climb into at the end of the day? Huge game changer for my time in the morning.

Check floors included sweeping up crumbs and dog hairs every day. If you know my wonder-pup, then you know this is NOT a brief task and could easily take 30 minutes to sweep up doghair around my downstairs. Clean Mama has a shed-free dog for exactly this reason, but I’m not choosing my dog around my need to sweep every day. However, I have been more successful at running the Roomba downstairs multiple times a week because of trying this routine out.

Wiping counters in the kitchen is a must in my house. We love cooking so much that we need a clean place to cook each night. We have developed the routine of cleaning up each evening after our meal because we want to have a clean kitchen to cook in the next day. That was a habit long before Clean Mama, so what she would be trying to change is our bathrooms… each day… wiping down the bathroom counters… each day. Nope.

Little did I realize that the time it takes to pull together a load of laundry, washing, moving over, drying, folding and putting away a load of laundry is an exponential decay model the more loads you do at once. Doing one load every day takes an overall maybe 40 minutes to an hour spread out over the day… each day. Doing all loads of laundry in one day? I can overlap these phases with each other and get the whole process done in a partial day with still time in between to have Ellie time.

I can pile all the clean, folded laundry on the bed and put everything away all at once. I’m not putting away laundry every single day.

For a working Mama who doesn’t stay home with children and keep house all day, her ideas of what was daily and what should be spread out over the week didn’t work for me. However, she has been a huge influence in the way I care for my home while working. Having an understanding of what I want to do daily, weekly, monthly, and so on has led me to create my own routine.

Maybe I’ll start another side hustle as “Clean Working Mama” and get the internet to buy a bunch of electronic materials and cleaning supplies from me. Would you buy in if I created a working mom’s cleaning routine?

Published by @electrickduckdesigns

Eight days into motherhood, I needed a place to be myself again. Follow me as I grow into this new role.

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