Day 11: Keeping Life Together Takes Hard Work

Did I mention that my mom works full time, and has six kids? I thought so. Yes, she always had dinner for us (Okay, so sometimes it was 8 p.m. for dinner, then time for jammies–what do you expect when she doesn’t close the store until 6?) . She also did an admirable job of keeping the laundry from swallowing the house whole…that’s a lot of laundry loads.

Because of this, not only was she a good example of how you have to work if you want to keep life under control (we all have different ideas of what it means to have things under control–sometimes that may mean the house is spotless and the laundry is all put away–other times it may mean there are clean clothes waiting to be folded, and we remembered to run the dish washer–and we’re feeling good that most of the floor is still visible. I’ve found the situation dictates what I’m willing to live with.) No woman does this without a little help around the house–in other words, we had chores every day. Generally we were expected to complete them *before* school, and we rotated our jobs weekly. This kept things simple enough, especially when the jobs were done every day. No matter how many showers we went through a day in our single bathroom (Yes, one bathroom, six kids, five of them girls–it was a blast!), it wasn’t much of a hassle to clean when it got cleaned EVERY DAY.

And the same theory applies to every part of the house–except the dishes, and maybe the laundry. I’m convinced they have parties when my back is turned and multiply wherever they are when I go to bed. The laundry baskets fill overnight and even though there was only one plate on the counter when I went to bed, the entire span of countertops is full of dirty dishes when I get up in the morning. Then again, maybe my cats are having parties at night…Or they could be cooking treats for the geese and ducks I hear causing a rucus in the back yard at 2 a.m.

But I digress. We cleaned daily–that does not mean we all cleaned *well* daily–but something is better than nothing and generally the house stayed under control–which is incredible when you consider that we had four teenagers at once. The important thing is that she taught us all how to clean every part of the house. There were no women’s chores or men’s chores. I took out as many garbage bags as my brother, and he did roughly the same number of dishes.

Not only did we know how to clean, and how to do it well–which was a major advantage when we got out on our own–but we had Mom’s example that sometimes you have to work all day and then come home and work all evening. She and my dad both still work insane numbers of hours every day at their business and then come home and work some more–this instilled a work ethic in us, and helped us see that life isn’t supposed to be lazing around. We were meant to be busy.