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I read Laura Vanderkam’s book, I Know How She Does It, over Thanksgiving break. I’m still processing much of what I read, but the household management portion of the book struck a chord with me. Laura collected hundreds of weekly logs from working mothers. She found the women who followed “cleaning charts and graphs” spent the most time cleaning. Essentially, the time you allocate for household management and cleaning you will fill.
I work part-time, but I do the majority of the household management. Jordan is actually a better cleaner than I am and has his areas of focus (such as plant maintenance), but I am home more and thus I do more cleaning. Lately, as Phoenix is more active and curious, I feel like all I do is clean and yet, have nothing to show for it.
Vanderkam argues spending 20 minutes straightening up toys after bedtime is potentially a waste of time. There is always something to pick-up, but you won’t get those 20 minutes back. Picking up toys three nights a week instead of four might mean the chance to visit a friend or spend an hour reading alone at a coffee shop.
I do believe in taking care of our belongings, which involves cleaning and organizing. But when does this cross the line between busy work and actual maintenance? When do “stay-at-home-moms/part-time-working moms” limit ourselves by spending all of our time cleaning instead of volunteering or finding freelance work?
Are we creating more work for ourselves? I’d love to hear your opinion on this.