I Get High Five Days a Week

All work and no play makes both “Jack” and me very dull.  But all play and no work makes for sloppy, stressful living. 

I call it an “accomplishment high.” And is it ever! I like it. And I’ve figured out how to get it often—five days a week, to be exact. I’m on one right now, actually…so pardon my bliss as I write from cloud nine. 

Allow me to frame this accomplishment so you can learn to share in it. 

I have a husband and two sons (21 months and 5 months—yes, only 16 months apart) and a cat. I also work part-time. I also facilitate a weekly class and help build up leaders from this class. So, I have a few roles I’m called to. 

I’m called to be me, and remain true to myself. 

I’m called to be wife (and all that entails). 

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And I’m called to be mother (and all that entails). 

I’m also called to be sister, daughter, friend, and employee—and everything these relationships require as well. 

But I only have twenty-four hours daily. Like everyone, I’ve struggled with simple day-to-day tasks for running an efficient household and being a good mom, wife, etc. 

My problem is, I like to play…I thoroughly enjoy playing! I enjoy playing with my boys, my friends, my husband. I could play all day long! But then I’d always have dishes in my sink, dirty laundry, dirty toilets, unswept and unvacuumed floors, and a house torn to shreds. 

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All work and no play makes both “Jack” and me very dull. 

But all play and no work makes for sloppy, stressful living. 

There has to be a balance, right? Sure! So what is it? Well, I don’t have the solution for everyone, but I’ve found one that works well for our family—and it comes with that “accomplishment high.” 

After the birth of our first son, I was working part-time and didn’t adapt well at first to this whole new “mom thing.” The dishes never got done…and forget about the laundry…and as for house cleaning—HA!  

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I tried out-sourcing the cleaning. With money I’d saved, I paid friends to clean bathrooms, kitchen, and floors. But they soon realized the deal wasn’t really worth it for them, and it fizzled out. 

Now, mind you, I had the time to clean; I just chose to play instead. Baby boy is up from his nap? Perfect! Let’s go grab coffee with a friend, or show baby boy off to people at the park, or go for a walk and get ice cream, anything but stay home and make happen what needs to happen. And when baby boy napped—oh, forget about cleaning; that’s when I worked from home, or on days off work I caught up on texting friends and sisters-in-laws, sharing my mishaps and experiences as a new mom. 

Cleaning just wasn’t important. But I felt the lack of it, because when weekends came my poor darling husband spent his Saturday doing my chores. Which made me upset, because he would not come out to play. 

Something needed to change. I took a day and thought long and hard about my schedule and calendar, and I asked the Lord for help. Here’s what He showed me: Set aside a half hour every day for focused housework; do it Monday through Friday; then on Saturdays you can play! 

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What? Permission to play and have a clean house! Too good to be true? Nope—amazingly good and amazingly true. 

It took a few weeks of tweaking, but over time I could maintain and keep clean our three-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 1,500-square-foot home, and have time to play. 

Here’s my current schedule for it:

  • MONDAY: Sinks, mirrors, and countertops in all bathrooms; and one load of laundry (my husband’s and mine)—wash, dry, fold, and put away.
  • TUESDAY: Vacuum and dust entire house (which doesn’t take long when it’s regularly done); sweep kitchen floor; one load of boys’ laundry. 
  • WEDNESDAY: Toilets, and one laundry load of sheets and towels.
  • THURSDAY: Vacuum and dust entire house; sweep kitchen floor; one load of boys’ laundry.
  • FRIDAY: Sweep and mop bathroom and kitchen floors; one load of laundry (my husband’s and mine).

I’ve timed each of these chores. Now that I have the hang of it, the longest any of them takes (not counting laundry cycles) is about seventeen minutes. Which isn’t that long, really. And if I stay on top of it, it can take less.  

But aren’t there other things that need to be cleaned and maintained, both inside and outside the house? Absolutely. And we plan for them. I call it “Project Monday,” and use my boys’ midday nap time to focus on that. 

This focused weekday cleaning time frees me up to give my sons focused play time (which is mostly for me, ha!), and to really relish in our family’s fun activities on the weekends. I get to play! And I get to have a clean home—my accomplishment high! Five days a week, baby!

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