Author Topic: I might need a facepunch. not sure.  (Read 9949 times)

momo5

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I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« on: March 02, 2014, 05:50:42 PM »
so we're pretty frugal compared to most people, but since joining this site I see that we have a ways to go. its not like my hairs on fire or anything, we're almost done paying for our home, we own one car and my dh's boss pays for his. we carry no credit card debt, school loans are long paid off, etc.
but I'd like to seriously stache build so that we can get to that happy place.
I've been switching out the lightbulbs and lowering the thermostat, etc but really I've been avoiding my one big annual expenditure...cleaning help. we've got 5 kids plus one midsize dog. I dont work outside the home, but I am homeschooling. I did the math and I probably spend around $8000 annually on cleaning help. that provides a few hours twice weekly. I know I should probably do it all myself, but I do feel so much more relaxed knowing that not all the cleaning falls on me. now, before anyone asks where my dh is in this equation, he does pitch in. he does help with the day to day (dishes, mopping up spills, wiping up toilets) when he's home and not otherwise engaged in other maintenance that I dont do (such as cleaning out the gutters or a clogged toilet), he steam cleans our carpets as needed, repairs furniture, washes the windows, etc. but even with his help there is just so.much.to.do.
at what point is this worthy of a facepunch and at what point is this a quality of life issue?
before I took a hard look at the numbers, I was convinced I needed it for my sanity, but $8000 is alot of money, especially when you look at what it could be earning over time, compounded and all.

Frankies Girl

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 05:59:12 PM »
How old are your kids? With 5 of them, even if they are young, you have plenty of cleaning helpers. Even a 2-3 year old can pick up stuff and put things away, and if you have kids old enough to be in school (to homeschool) then they are definitely old enough to do things like laundry, cleaning floors, tubs and toilets and other tasks.

You might have to relax some of your standards as they learn how to clean well, but it shouldn't be a bad experience overall.

It would actually be really smart to train them on how to properly clean and make sure that it's embedded in them NOW so they are responsible and self-sufficient adults. There is nothing sadder and more pathetic to me than a full grown adult that doesn't know how to clean up after themselves, do laundry, or cook basic items.

And putting them to work would save you $8k a year... so that sounds like a win/win situation.

Rural

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 05:59:45 PM »
I think it's a facepunch, but it also sounds like you're in a place where you are afraid to let go of it. Why not cut back to once a week and let yourself see that things are still okay? That's a savings over what you're spending now.

I'd also suggest you have a look at your standards. If you feel you need a service twice a week, chances are they're arbitrarily high. I don't have the children, but I have twice as many large dogs as you (Great Danes) and three cats to boot, so I do understand how messy they can be.

irononmaiden

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 06:03:27 PM »
I agree that $8k is crazy money, and that the kids could help.

What about investing in a few cleaning tools? My life got a lot easier when I bought a Bona mop, because now I can sweep and mop my kitchen floor in 10 minutes. We also got a canister vacuum to replace our upright (both Dysons since we have cats), and now my stairs stay clean.

Rural

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2014, 06:08:44 PM »
I agree that $8k is crazy money, and that the kids could help.

What about investing in a few cleaning tools? My life got a lot easier when I bought a Bona mop, because now I can sweep and mop my kitchen floor in 10 minutes. We also got a canister vacuum to replace our upright (both Dysons since we have cats), and now my stairs stay clean.

+1 on the tools. Even an IRobot vacuum or sweeper and the electricity to power and charge it will run you much, much less than a cleaning service. I have a Braava sweeper since we have all hard floors, and it's changed my life, sappy as that may sound.

http://tstore.irobot.com/

G-dog

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2014, 06:09:05 PM »
How old are your kids? With 5 of them, even if they are young, you have plenty of cleaning helpers. Even a 2-3 year old can pick up stuff and put things away, and if you have kids old enough to be in school (to homeschool) then they are definitely old enough to do things like laundry, cleaning floors, tubs and toilets and other tasks.

You might have to relax some of your standards as they learn how to clean well, but it shouldn't be a bad experience overall.

It would actually be really smart to train them on how to properly clean and make sure that it's embedded in them NOW so they are responsible and self-sufficient adults. There is nothing sadder and more pathetic to me than a full grown adult that doesn't know how to clean up after themselves, do laundry, or cook basic items.

And putting them to work would save you $8k a year... so that sounds like a win/win situation.

+5 to Frankie's Girl.  I was also thinking the kids could/ should be helping out.  Even if you still end up paying for some outside help, the kids could really pitch in and it would serve them well for them to know that they have a role in contributing to the whole family's well-being.

mm1970

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2014, 06:11:46 PM »
I'm going to start off straight off with: I'm not very good at this, but we are working on it.  And I have cleaning help (more like $2000 a year, I get every other week).

But I found this, and I'm working on it.  Plus, my youngest is now 18 months, so on one hand, he's getting easier.  On the other, he can make a mess SO FAST.

http://thehappyhousewife.com/home-management/age-appropriate-chores-for-kids-printable/

plantingourpennies

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2014, 06:14:36 PM »
I agree that $8k is crazy money, and that the kids could help.

What about investing in a few cleaning tools? My life got a lot easier when I bought a Bona mop, because now I can sweep and mop my kitchen floor in 10 minutes. We also got a canister vacuum to replace our upright (both Dysons since we have cats), and now my stairs stay clean.

+1 on the tools. Even an IRobot vacuum or sweeper and the electricity to power and charge it will run you much, much less than a cleaning service. I have a Braava sweeper since we have all hard floors, and it's changed my life, sappy as that may sound.

http://tstore.irobot.com/

Totally agree.  We got an iRobot roomba 3 years ago - a HUGE time saver.  Sure it doesn't get every speck from every corner, but it easily picks up 99% of the stuff off the floor while occupying just a fraction of my time.  When we replace our flooring next year with nice new tile I'll probably get a Scooba (the iRobot mop).

homehandymum

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2014, 06:15:08 PM »
Homeschooler here, so I know it's not as straightforward as saying 'the kids should help'.  Well, yes they should, but frankly they clean the toilet like incompetents and it takes them an hour to do a quick clean of the bathroom, and vacuuming is more about seeing how much of their t-shirt fits up the hose rather than actually removing pet hair from the carpet.

I had a cleaner once a week when my youngest was a baby.  When he was a year old I ran the numbers and decided we could spend that money on better things.

BUT this is something only you can decide.  Money is to be spent mindfully on things that really give us a worthwhile return.  If your cleaning standards are high, then that could well mean that you hire a cleaner.

When I stopped the cleaner I had to decide between lifting my own game or putting up with more mess.  I opted for more mess, because I'm that kinda girl.  I also am slowly and deliberately training the children in cleaning a house etc, but for the most part the house looks like it is being cleaned by a pack of wild monkeys.  On the flip side, if my house is too disastrous, particularly in winter, this has a negative impact on my mental health. 

At the least, though, have a think about other options - dropping the number of hours of cleaning, comparing prices of different cleaners, maybe a teenager from another family would appreciate a bit of money?  There may be ways of cutting that $8k without doing ALL the cleaning yourself :)

momo5

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2014, 06:17:41 PM »
I think it's a facepunch, but it also sounds like you're in a place where you are afraid to let go of it. Why not cut back to once a week and let yourself see that things are still okay? That's a savings over what you're spending now.

I'd also suggest you have a look at your standards. If you feel you need a service twice a week, chances are they're arbitrarily high. I don't have the children, but I have twice as many large dogs as you (Great Danes) and three cats to boot, so I do understand how messy they can be.

wow, I think you hit that nail on the head.
I think you are right, its the fear, which is silly. whats the worst? I let it go and then bring it back if I'm miserable and living in filth and squalor? and cutting back at first is pretty obvious, I dont know why I didnt think of that.
I know that my standards are probably on the high side, I'm an anxious person and function better when my physical environment is in order. clean and neat is my zoloft.

as far as the kids helping more, yeah, you're all probably right about that. I tend not to require much from them probably because I had a miserable childhood being the adult since I was about 8 or so.

and btw, I love Great Danes! I really wanted one but dh wanted a smaller dog.

MDM

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2014, 06:18:35 PM »
Having had both 5 kids and no outside cleaning service, we know it can be done.

Just curious though, in case we are missing something: what exactly do the cleaners clean?

momo5

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2014, 06:34:58 PM »
Having had both 5 kids and no outside cleaning service, we know it can be done.

Just curious though, in case we are missing something: what exactly do the cleaners clean?

lol, I know it can be done. I'm from a large family and I was the one who cleaned the house.
what does the cleaner clean?
you know, bathrooms, kitchen, floors, dusting, fridge, vacuuming, she also does some ironing. I keep it up on the days she isnt here but its nice to miraculously have a spotless house twice a week without having to do anything. aside pay for it, of course :)

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2014, 06:41:13 PM »
We live in the SF Bay Area, we both work long hours, we have a young daughter and a dog, and we spend about 2K per year for a janitorial service to come in every other week. I've got far more face punchy material in line before this item.

I think you should set a baseline and lower it over time. I.E., Take your 8K per year down to 4K and then...yes...2K. You're looking at a car payment for a Lexus SUV with the kind of money you're spending....OOPS!!

Roses

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2014, 01:37:41 AM »
If you have help a couple times a week it sounds like it's more for the daily chores that need to be kept up with or they'll pile up - dishes, laundry, pick up, etc than for deep cleaning.  Those things are pretty easy to teach a kid.  Assign one to empty the dishwasher daily, another to fill it, another to fold laundry, etc.  Then lower your standards with other things like sweeping, vacuuming, dusting and only do those every couple days.  Keep the cleaner once or twice a month for the deep cleaning.  I think even that will give you peace of mind and something to look forward to every month.  Older kids should definitely be responsible for picking up their own toys, school materials, clothes - teach them to do their laundry asap!

At my house we keep up with dishes/laundry as best we can but we only sweep the wood floors every 2 or 3 days even though food is constantly being dropped on the floor (I did get my 4 year old a tiny broom to sweep the mess under the table when necessary).  We only vacuum once a week, if that.  We launder and change sheets about once a month unless there's an accident.  Then, once a month I have a cleaner come and do the deep cleaning.  No way do I let her waste time picking up toys and doing dishes.  I make sure all that is done and the house is picked up so she can focus on the real dirty work - thoroughly cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing toilets, mopping floors, scouring the kitchen, oven and maybe fridge, serious dusting and de-cobwebbing, cleaning stains off walls and other things (rug shampooer a couple times a year).  That takes almost a full day and I feel it's well worth it.  We spend about $1500 a year on the cleaning lady.

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2014, 08:24:32 AM »
We have five kids (soon to be 6) under the age of 10.  The oldest 4 have daily chores (taking out bathroom trashes, empty the dishwasher, etc), plus Saturday work (clean your bedroom plus one other room, which rotates).  We've never had a cleaning service (my wife would love it, I'm sure, but there's no way we could afford it), but we still manage to have the house pretty much completely cleaned every week.  Sure, it only stays clean for about 5 minutes, but at least we get it to that point.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2014, 08:41:03 AM »
I'm of the opinion that if you are making good progress toward your goals, you should be able to spend some money on something you value.  That being said...

I also am going to join in on the side of teaching your children responsibility.  I have nieces and a nephew who have never had any responsibility in the house and it's become a disaster.  The future spouse of your child will thank you if you will teach them how to work and be responsible now.  I have six kids and they can all do something to help and can make basic meals for themselves.  It's a lot of work to teach them... probably more than doing it yourself, but it's worth it. 

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2014, 09:58:09 AM »
We have 4 kids and My wife does nothing now but make a list. From wiping down baseboards to vaccuming to cleaning windows you name it the kids do it all. And like some said the younger one luv to help. In fact we have a two story with a finished basement and my nine year old vaccums 2x's a week and stairs and he did better than any of them. 8 year old takes garbage to end of driveway everyweek.  Our house remains spotless (not ocd spotless but very clean) and its all because the kids. We do give them spending money or allowance but its not based on doing there chores but more on there attitude and what they do over and beyond.

greenmimama

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2014, 10:54:56 AM »
I'm not going to give you a face punch, I have cleaning help, 2 hours once a week and it costs $1200 a year, I am thinking of cutting that down to every other week as the kids are getting to the point where they can help a lot. At 2, 4 and 7 it varies with what they can do and the 2yo tries to undo it all the time, but I am amazed at what they can do, I had to have surgery and they really helped out with so much.

We home school also, I know it can seem like a lot, really you have 2 full time jobs.

I would suggest hiring a different cleaning person, one that would charge a lot less, ask yourself what are the exact jobs that you want that person to do and then maybe cut down to once a week, as a trial, you can always up it again. It took me awhile to find this person, but she is very good and only charges $13/hour.

Let us know how it goes.

Kaminoge

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2014, 11:23:22 AM »
Just to make you feel a bit better I'm a single person, no kids and I have a cleaner. AND I keep my house pretty neat by myself so she's probably the world's most under worked cleaner. I also suffer from guilt over the fact so I don't leave dishes or any mess around. In fact one of the advantages of having a cleaner is it makes me tidy the house thoroughly once a week!

But you know what:
1. It's a real treat coming home once a week to a spotless house.
2. She really needs a job and I can afford it.

Only you can make the call on whether or not the cleaner is worth the cash to you. In my opinion being Mustachian is about being mindful about spending - not about spending as little as possible at every point. If the cleaner is adding $8000 worth of quality of life then I say go with it. If not then cut back and see how you go.

Cassie

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2014, 11:38:35 AM »
i would not cut it out but merely cut it down. Maybe once or twice a month would do it. I have one that comes  once a month & love it! 

nereo

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2014, 12:04:21 PM »
I'm a pacifist by nature, so I don't like to give face punches. I say if it makes you happy and you can afford it, who am I to say no? 

But, in the interest of evaluating how expensive this service can be, here's a simplistic scenario: imagine you dropped the service and instead invested $7800/year and averaged a 6.5% return after inflation (about the historic norm).  The remaining $200/year we'll budget towards cleaning supplies of your own.

Under these broad assumptions, after 5 years you would have $44k in savings.  After 10 years: $105,000.  And in 15 years $7,800 invested annually (instead of paying for a cleaning service) would net you over $188,000.

pipercat

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2014, 12:45:45 PM »
If you get a facepunch, then I guess I do too!  I only had help coming twice per month, but I dropped it to 1x/month, just last month.  So far, things have been fine, I'm just not ready to completely pull the plug!

I agree that you should maybe try to wean yourself off slowly.  Drop back to a couple times per month at first, and make it a family goal to teach the kids to do the work on the off weeks.  We had a family clean day on which everyone was given certain chores, and the instructions to complete them.  If you do that, you can even have a reward at the end of the day, something like game night or choose your own dessert, or whatever!  Of course, I only have two kids and you have five, so I know it won't be as easy as it would be for me.

Good luck!

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2014, 02:09:15 PM »
I would never consider paying someone to clean. That is money down the toilet.

If you "need" a cleaner, you either need instead to lower your standards, get a smaller space, etc.

My house begins and ends the day with zero toy clutter. Vacuum and sweeping every day or as needed. Dusting and bathroom are probably every two weeks or so.

This does not take much time! And before you play the "my time is worth $X" card, it is GOOD to have some simple, meditative work.

ChiStache

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2014, 02:25:41 PM »
The concern I have with hiring a cleaning person when you have kids is that you're missing an opportunity to model stewardship of your home and your stuff. I want my kids to see me and my husband sweeping and wiping sinks and all the rest, because it shows them that we have to take good care of our things. If you just hire it out, aren't they potentially missing that lesson?


1967mama

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2014, 02:55:09 PM »
Have you thought about hiring a neighbourhood teen to clean? I had a friend who did this and was very happy with her having a "mother's helper" type of role (the girl was homeschooled) and so it freed up the mom to do some of the housework too.

The teen did the heavy housework, like the bathroom and vacuuming/mopping, and the mom did the kitchen, etc while the teen played with the little kids.  It worked well for her for a few years. Ultimately, it was much, much cheaper than hiring in a professional cleaning service.

And I'm with the above posters who have the kids doing more housework. I have a daughter and 7 sons, and boy, can those sons work! They are a great work crew and we can get this place cleaned up in no time! My daughter is the oldest and has a full time job, but contributes to the household by vacuuming regularly for us. I, too, will need a roomba when she moves out!

momo5

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2014, 07:05:37 PM »
I would never consider paying someone to clean. That is money down the toilet.

If you "need" a cleaner, you either need instead to lower your standards, get a smaller space, etc.

My house begins and ends the day with zero toy clutter. Vacuum and sweeping every day or as needed. Dusting and bathroom are probably every two weeks or so.

This does not take much time! And before you play the "my time is worth $X" card, it is GOOD to have some simple, meditative work.

last first, its not about what my time is worth in terms of dollars. its more about do I want to be spending all that time cleaning when I could be doing other things, such as playing a game with one of the kids or meeting a friend for coffee. I guess if I were giving up paid time to clean the money argument might make sense, but that is not the case here.

in my pre-baby life, my day started and ended without clutter. but now, five min after tidying up, there is clutter everywhere, only not everyone considers the clutter 'clutter'. they seem to think that sculptures made from the neighbor's garbage is wonderful, or that torn strips of newspaper is collectable (we can make it into a pillow one day, mom!). I spend 5 min every day in each room de-cluttering every morning and every evening but that still doesnt render the house clutter free.

while I admit that my kids definitely could do more around the house, its not like I'm raising a bunch of useless princes/ses. they pick up their rooms, put away laundry, help with meal prep, and we do have a family clean up hour on sat nights (kids will wash floors or sweep or whatever is on the list).

I cannot downsize my space right now, we are happy in our neighborhood and we happen to already own the smallest house on the block. we did consider adding on a few years ago, and didnt primarily because I didnt want to have to clean a second story.

as far as your cleaning schedule, I get the sense that we have very different family structure. my bathroom needs to be cleaned daily, with so many people (read:boys) using it, it has a tendency to get pretty grimy pretty quick.

I'll admit to having a high need for clean, possibly what you would consider unrealistically high expectations. I'm re-examining that as well.

momo5

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2014, 07:07:42 PM »
I'm a pacifist by nature, so I don't like to give face punches. I say if it makes you happy and you can afford it, who am I to say no? 

But, in the interest of evaluating how expensive this service can be, here's a simplistic scenario: imagine you dropped the service and instead invested $7800/year and averaged a 6.5% return after inflation (about the historic norm).  The remaining $200/year we'll budget towards cleaning supplies of your own.

Under these broad assumptions, after 5 years you would have $44k in savings.  After 10 years: $105,000.  And in 15 years $7,800 invested annually (instead of paying for a cleaning service) would net you over $188,000.


lol, I did that same math this morning! and you can add back that $200 for my own cleaning supplies because I already provide the supplies (which are minimal, we use cloth rags, and mostly vinegar and baking soda to clean)

momo5

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2014, 07:12:49 PM »
The concern I have with hiring a cleaning person when you have kids is that you're missing an opportunity to model stewardship of your home and your stuff. I want my kids to see me and my husband sweeping and wiping sinks and all the rest, because it shows them that we have to take good care of our things. If you just hire it out, aren't they potentially missing that lesson?

If I left all the cleaning to our cleaning person, I'd be knee deep in filth. I sweep/wipe sinks etc five days that she isnt here. I dont think the kids are missing out on that lesson.

Weedy Acres

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2014, 07:35:18 PM »
Quote from: momo5
my bathroom needs to be cleaned daily, with so many people (read:boys) using it, it has a tendency to get pretty grimy pretty quick.

The fastest way to get boys to aim better is to have them clean their own toilets.

Greg

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2014, 08:13:21 PM »
The fastest way to get boys to aim better is to have them clean their own toilets.

Or sit on the seat.

1967mama

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2014, 08:42:23 PM »
Agree with Greg!  My boys sit .... reduces the mess by 1000%!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 01:24:55 AM by 1967mama »

goatmom

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2014, 06:44:56 AM »
I have never heard of a grown man sitting down! I know I had my little boys do it when they were learning.  i have had a cleaning person in the past.  My problem is that I am not a very good cleaner, yet I love a clean house.  But, it is hard to justify now that I have no babies and the bigger kids can help.  I want them to be better cleaners than I am. 

momo5

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2014, 06:22:29 PM »
I wasnt even referring to the pee on the seat, more the dirt they bring in from outside and honestly I cannot understand where all the grime comes from but its all over the tub when they get out.

but that's neither here nor there in terms of the initial question, I just couldnt go 2 weeks without cleaning my bathroom.

I think I am going to reduce the cleaning help to once per week for the next few months and then maybe ditch it altogether. this conversation was very helpful, thank you to all who responded.

Greg

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2014, 10:06:16 PM »
Might I suggest a shoes-off policy for the house?  We clean our house in about 2 hours every weekend. That's a full vacuum (hard floors) 2 bathrooms and kitchen.  Kid has to clean her own stuff, and helps with the baths and kitchens.  She's also doing her own laundry now, has her own basket.  11 years old.

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Re: I might need a facepunch. not sure.
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2014, 10:24:52 PM »
Do you know why the Amish have so many kids?  2 words: Free Labor.

As said before, get your kids to help.