Wednesday, 6 October 2010


My biggest downfall as a daughter was my inability to clean up after myself. I think my sister would agree that this was her biggest downfall as well. It certainly wasn't intentionally out of a lack of respect for our mother, more a lack of respect for the act of cleaning. I just could never understand why bother cleaning something if you were just going to mess it up again.

I remember when Claire and I would hear our mother's car in the driveway there would be a mad dash to put dirty plates into the kitchen sink and move school books to the bottom of the stairs to avoid being yelled at.

It's only recently that I've got a bit better at cleaning and especially with the addition of Eloise there is a certain level of hygiene I try and maintain for her safety. But there's a lot of cleaning tasks that I am still rubbish (ha!) at.

When my mom would tell me to clean my room, a hot rage would burn in my stomach. It wasn't so much that I minded cleaning my room. If I was in the right mood and with the right "cleaning" music, I could actually quite enjoy it, and certainly enjoyed the satisfaction of having a clean room. But something about being told to clean up would make me seethe.

These pictures have nothing to do with the post. But someone needs to knit me that sweater in a mom large.

I know my sister's and my inability to pick up after ourselves drove my mom crazy. And who can blame her. Single mother, working hard, and her two intelligent, thoughtful daughters can't muster up the energy to keep their mess in check. I'm impressed all she did was yell.

I want to do whatever I can to avoid this struggle for cleanliness between Eloise and me. So I've made a point of singing songs* as I clean-up small messes, or putting on good music to clean a whole room. I'll use the vacuum to suck up her shirt to make her laugh. I read a tip saying that when your baby is old enough, get them to help with the cleaning. If they throw all their food on the floor - no problem, but when you're done with the meal, get the kid down there with you helping to sweep up.

I don't know if what I'm doing is going to have any impact in the long run, but this past week Eloise has snuck baby wipes behind my back and started wiping whatever surfaces she could find. The other day while I was wiping the food that missed her mouth off of her highchair, I turned around to find her wiping my chair clean with a baby wipe. And you better believe I praised the shit out of that behavior. My voice shot up 8 octaves "Good Girl! Are you cleaning? You are so clever! Mama's little helper! That is some REALLY GOOD CLEANING ELOISE".

So of course now that she has shown an interest in wiping down surfaces I am doing what I can to show my support as a mother in what my daughter enjoys. Which lead me to what happened yesterday when I found myself sitting on my fat ass with my feet propped up drinking a cup of coffee while my child was on her knees below me mopping the floor with her own toilet paper.

*Does anyone know of any good clean-up songs apart from that horrible "Clean-up, clean-up, everybody everywhere.." that makes me want to punch myself in the head?


  1. "The more we work together, together, together. The more we work together the happier we'll be." is a good one to sing. Someone needs to sing that one to my husband- maybe he'll take to dishes and the mop once again.

  2. On a related note, my niece has taken to cleaning as well. She not only helps her mom Swiffer, but has insisted on a spray bottle to carry around, so her mom filled it with water (Maddie is none the wiser) and she wanders the house with this spray bottle and a wad of paper towels cleaning any and all surfaces. Keep up the good work!

  3. That sweater! that smile of Stephane's! I've always been fond of any motown music or Stones or anything just played loudly.
    p.s. you did grow out of your messiness. xxxooo