Have you had the experience of walking into someone’s home and feeling the peace of cleanliness and decision-making? {By that I mean there isn’t overwhelming clutter and commotion, but mostly calmness and order underneath the daily activities of cooking, creating and learning?} Maybe that describes your house!

I remember thinking that if you had young children you’d have to pick between having a clean house or a happy family.

In my mind, I thought that in order to keep a nice home you’d have to be grumpy all the time and constantly reminding people to take care of their stuff or not make messes!

A wise friend then pointed out to me that those two things were not mutually exclusive! Imagine that. You can keep order and be happy together. Children, even very young children, love to contribute to the work of the family and can be taught to not only put their own things away, but also to help with maintenance. I have learned a lot about that idea since then and I continue to learn more every day.

This is really a conversation about boundaries isn’t it? 

About practicing being kind, gentle, respectful and FIRM all at the same time.

{For me, it does take a great deal of practice!}

I am continually working to create a vision in my head of how I look and sound when I am upholding boundaries with respectful kindness, while also being very FIRM in my understanding of what boundaries are mine to make.

For instance, the boundary that is the perimeter of our home and property clearly marks “our” space; my spouse and I are in charge of making decisions for everything within that space. It’s like this:

If we decide that we want people to remove their shoes before entering, that expectation will somehow be stated and kindly enforced. Maybe there will be a sign posted by the door with a rack or basket for shoes.

Or if we would like coats to be hung on the laundry room coat hooks, then that will be made known and expected. {Hmm, I need to free up a few of those hooks!}

This space is ours. We can claim it and engineer it and love it and confidently share it!

On the flip side, if we don’t value our space; if we don’t make decisions and teach others how we want our space to be treated; if we don’t show by our actions {keeping our personal things in order, or having the right tools for the jobs we have to do, or speaking respectfully about our jobs,} that we value the work that we do in our homes, we’re not doing anyone any favors. Everyone, particularly children, deserve to be respectfully taught how to behave in ways that will help them to be respectful of the property of others and responsive and considerate to others’ needs.

Homemaking is an art, or it can be! Do you value the challenging and ultra-important work you do in your home every day? It is literally what makes the world go ’round. Making orderly and inviting spaces where people can fully function, feel loved and belong means more connections, and more connections can mean less despair, addiction, divisiveness and sorrow…and those connected individuals go out into the world and create more places of love and connection and your work ripples out to bless many! Yes! The work you are doing is at the heart of a functioning and healthy society.

I challenge you to value your contribution! Speak highly of your role! Create a vision for yourself that gives you the drive to learn, to make changes, to rise above the past, to excel in what matters most to you!

Much love to you for a great weekend!
Jacque

P.S. A note about tools: I’m in the process of trading in a rag mop that has reached the end of it’s usefulness, for a flat mop with removable pads and I’m trading in my cleaning rags for a microfiber glass cleaning cloth. {I’m so excited! My friend loaned her glass cleaning cloth to me for a few days and I couldn’t believe what a difference it made in all the reflective surfaces I cleaned with it! My stainless steel fridge has never looked so clean! Same amount of effort on my part, but a much better and longer lasting result.} And, I just traded in a wonderful old vacuum for a new, while inexpensive, awesome one that is simpler to use and more effective in getting at the details like woodwork, stairs and corners.

Think of it, if you cleaned houses for your profession, wouldn’t you invest in the right tools so that your work would be as efficient and effective as possible?

2 comments on “Cleaning House”

  1. Jacque,
    I smiled at your comment about hanging hooks in the laundry to hang coats on .
    It reminded me of a story from many years ago.
    A wife tried to keep the entry / mud room straight but her husband continually came in and dropped his coat on the floor. No amount of asking nicely or pleading would change anything . One day as he entered the mud room he tripped over something . It was huge HUGE nails pounded into the floor . In a huff he asked his wife the heck was up with the nails in the floor. She smiled and told him as long as he insisted on dropping his coat on the floor she would provide him with “hooks” to hang it on.

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