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A bizarre thing happened to me this week!

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

So I don't know about you but since I've had kids it's kind of been an unspoken and unwritten rule in our house that I do all the cleaning (yawn! Stay with me - it could be worth your while!)

This was mainly due to the fact that husband was working full time and I wasn't, therefore I had more time to vacuum and clean and I was at home most of the time anyway and I could keep on top of it inbetween school runs and kids naps etc. I was alright with this then.

However, over a decade on and the situation hasn't changed. Well it has... Now I'm working pretty much full-time, including my studies one weekend a month and yet the cleaning still seems to fall to me.

And I've had enough.

I regularly ask my kids to lift their feet up for me to hoover under them while they're sitting watching the tv, silently irritated that no one offers to help me - can't they see I'm doing all this work around them???

And then it dawned on me that they aren't mind readers. If I want help I need to ask for it. And I need to ask for it with the best of intentions ie. rather than saying in a blamey, passive aggressive way:

"no-one ever lifts a finger to help me around here - we all use this house and yet I'm the only one who seems to care that it's clean and tidy"

or some such like.

I needed to go about it in more of a vulnerable, I-need-your-help kind of way, like this:

"guys - now you're old enough, and I'm working so much more, it would be amazing if you could take some of this off my hands, it's becoming too much for me to manage on my own."

And you know what - the response was amazing.

Half the battle won!

Now I needed to make a plan and make it happen - before they all lost interest.

So I set about making a list - room-by-room - of every single job that I do in each. I printed it off and put it on the dining table so that nobody could miss it. And I asked each member of my family, including my husband, to write their name next to each job they were happy to take on on a regular basis.

Then I had to remind them to write their name down. Twice...

However, once each of them had done that, I rewrote the list, making sure that each person had their name at the top and which job in which room was theirs. Then I printed them out and pinned it to the wall in their bedrooms (not mine or my husbands - that would be weird - ours I pinned to the notice board in the kitchen) and I sat them all down and asked them to pick a day and a time where we could all do the jobs at the same time (we each had about 45 minutes of jobs to do so it was fair) and I also asked the kids how much they thought it was fair to be paid for doing that 45 minutes every week.

They agreed £5. (Bless them - I was willing to pay more)

And so I found myself, on Tuesday afternoon this week - sitting on the sofa, with a cup of tea in hand, feeling very strange, as the rest of my family whirled around the house, doing their jobs. So strange in fact that I went and cleaned the ensuite shower (one of my jobs) just to join in.

45 minutes later and our house was clean. Not Jill Clean, but good enough clean. And I had only done one quarter of it. It was GLORIOUS.

And weirdly everyone enjoyed it. I get it - it was week one and novel - but there was something about the teamwork of it that we all enjoyed, and because it was only 45 minutes it wasn't tedious and it didn't feel unfair for anyone.

Long may it continue! I recommend you try it - it could be pretty life-changing. And a great way to work with the current cost of living crisis by not having to afford a cleaner. Let me know how you get on!

More next week, Jill x


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