The extreme clean is gone. Well, at least it is in my house, compared to what things were like when I had "only" two children. No way I scrub and clean as well as I used to, given my other responsibilities. No, we're not filthy-grimy and hanging out with the hounds in the back of the pickup truck. No, we don't smell of possum or head lice. But the big, BIG blessing of having a larger family means that there are more people to care for, and consequently less time to keep house as METICULOUSLY. We still keep our house relatively nicely, though. Here is my list of confessions:
I no longer take a Q-tip to the woodwork to get the grimy nooks and crannies each week. I do not guarantee that eating off my floor is a very good idea at all. Um, I wouldn't try it. Vaccuming's a weekly thing on a good week, with the exception of the area the baby plays in. That's at LEAST twice a week; I'll give myself that much.
My sink is not polished every day. FlyLady is for people with three or fewer children. Or for really obsessed people with more children who want to clean all day, and I'm not one of them. You can be grateful if I rinse the dinner chunks down the drain by breakfast the next day and put the dishes in the washer. You're welcome.
I no longer wipe walls on a daily basis or touch-up paint every couple months. I've painted it, and I'll wipe if it's really gross, but otherwise, I get all the "touch-ups" done the next time I paint the wall. Wait a few years and it'll look good again.
Everything is no longer put away in its proper place. Tons of 'stuff' gets strewn about my house and I don't have the energy or time to put it all away. I occasionally nag my children about their own messes, and clean up some of my own, but generally speaking we no longer differentiate between architectural terms like Victorian or Craftsman when we talk about our rooms having a unifying theme. It's "Lived-In." Except the garage...that's "pig sty" and I make no excuses for it, and put no effort into cleaning it up.
Do NOT ask about my refridgerator.
"Cleaning the bathroom" now consists of flushing the toilet, changing the trash and opening the blinds. Yiww. OK, maybe I do the countertops and sometimes the floors as well (I'm starting to have a hard time getting back up after scrubbing, though). But G gets a *dollar* to do all the toilets in the house. He's a boy and most of the time I let things slide when it's done to his manly standard of cleanliness. At least it gets done weekly, though. Cross that chore off my list.
I need to clean out the kitchen cabinets very badly. I used to have a *great* system for all the kitchen items... but I keep getting busy and we keep buying things in bulk. The only problem with that is occasionally we will misplace something because we don't stock properly (oldest thing out front, just like in the grocery stores) and wind up with BLACK ketchup in the cabinet when we're searching for a "fresh" bottle. In my defense, at least we didn't use it. We're not that frugal.
Yes, we do hand-me-downs. These are clean, but stained and worn. Shoes are scarecrow-worthy by the time the fifth little boy is done with them. We don't donate to thrift stores; we look like their beneficiaries. Our hair is combed and we usually smell pretty good if we haven't been eating too much of D's chili, but "clotheshorse" describes... no one in our family.
Haircuts are done at home, further contributing to the ragamuffin look my children sport.
I'll draw the line at the homemade shampoos and laundry soap made from soap flakes or dish detergent, though. We use Suave, White Rain or "whatever is on sale" for the older boys. The younger still use baby shampoo because I manage to get soap in their eyes occasionally no matter how careful I am.
But guess what? I'm saving about $60 in haircut fees every eight weeks or so, when you figure in the cost of my five boys plus D. No telling how much I'm saving with the hand-me-downs. And homeschooling the younger children makes them not need new backpacks, lunchboxes, shoes and other items nearly so often. I think that's a hidden benefit to homeschooling most people don't look at. I think there is some guy out there named "Bob Jones" who gets all that money I'm saving though LOL!
One thing that I find very strange is this idea that one's CAR or van can become yucky on a regular basis. Mine does not. With the exception of our annual family drive to look at Christmas lights and eat bunches of sugar cookies in the van, there is NO eating in the van. NO bringing in bits of paper. No books or toys. No TVs with DVDs. Guess what that means? NO mess!! My van is wayyy cleaner than about any other mom's you could think of. Too bad I just can't transfer those rules to my house.