My Mother's Rule in Action

After dinner clean up today I thought, "The floor needs to be mopped."  Before the implementation of my Mother's Rule, this thought would have caused my head to spin, my heart to beat more quickly and my temperature to rise. Not today. Instead, I walked over to my cleaning schedule and there, typed out under week 3 and after Tuesday was "mop." I let out a sigh, then said out loud for all to hear, "Next Tuesday we mop. I can wait until then."

What a relief. What a joy. What an amazing thing it is to plan and have a Rule to follow.

A couple days before the schedule was posted and the Rule ruled the day, I panicked. As usual, I had spent way too much time and energy on the scheduling part and not enough on the prayer. In my head and on the pages of my notebook were an amazing plan for cleaning, if I wanted my house to look like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens.  I panicked because it was more than I wanted to do, and more than I could keep up on, especially with school starting soon.

In order to clear my mind and find some peace, I took my panicked brain and my children on a camping trip.  Out in the hot, dusty woods, next to a cool creek I took a deep breath and placed my Rule in God's hands. Slowly, my head cleared and somewhere in the dark place of my mind, maybe my soul, came some new thoughts on my Rule:
1. I already do a pretty good job at cleaning. Why am I so focused on that when my system works? 2. Meal planning, food prep and shopping are the places I need more focused attention. That alone would bring down the stress in my life. 3. I probably ought to cut down on some of the prayer time. I can pray while I work.
As soon as I returned from camping, I got out my notebook and got to work.  First, I came up with a meal plan based on what I already do, I just added some fun names and a little more organization:
Souper Sunday: the day we eat soup
Home Cooked Monday: food with a little more effort
Taco Tuesday: tacos and any kind of food with a Latin flair
Sandwich Wednesday: you may not think this is cooking, but I do
Throw-together Thursday: unplanned meals such as pizza or leftovers
Meatless Friday: for Jesus
Salad Saturday: keep it simple 
The next step was to think about what I already do in terms of house cleaning, then assign days and weeks to the tasks. For instance, I know I only mop once or twice a month (unless the floor gets super dirty), so "mop" was put on the schedule every other Tuesday and "vacuum" on the opposite Tuesday.  I know that at times I'll have to vacuum or mop a little more than twice a month, but sometimes, like today, instead of mopping, I'm writing, because I know my day to mop is coming soon. Most importantly for me, every Monday is reserved for meal planning, shopping and food prep.

The kids are more involved now with the daily chores and that has been fantastic. There now is a breakfast helper, lunch helper and dinner helper. Earlier this week we had company and Grace, my dinner helper, helped serve dinner and then cleaned the entire kitchen while we were able to visit with our guest (of course, the next day she expected me to do all the dinner prep and clean up because she needed to rest, but it was still amazing). Daily the kids make their beds, tidy their rooms, empty the dishwasher, open curtains, feed the cat, empty the garbage and surface clean the bathrooms. My daily chores are to keep up on my bedroom, kitchen tasks, and laundry while I also crack the whip behind the kids (it's taking some time for them to understand these chores happen every day and daily rewards are not necessary).

There are some deep cleaning chores I rarely or never used to do (please don't tell my mom or Martha Stewart). This became embarrassingly apparent after our last move. The fridge was filthy and the showers required some major attention that, if I had thought to offer my scrubbing up in prayer, may have helped some souls out of purgatory.  Also, the moved furniture revealed spider webs and disgusting layers of dust.  So, on top of the daily and monthly schedule, I made up a yearly schedule where I will focus on one room a month to get down to the nitty gritty.  As I come to each room this year I will make a list of all the deep cleaning duties and divide the tasks up over the month. I plan to include the kids in this work as well. Here is how I divided up the rooms:
January: kitchen
February: dining room/living room
March: girls' bedroom
April: my bedroom
May: Eli's bedroom
June: garage/guest bath
July: kitchen (notice this room is on here twice for a reason)
August: home school room
September: my bathroom
October: girls' bathroom
November: laundry room & hallways
December: Christmas  decor, etc.
There are changes I've made in my Prayer, Personal and Partner categories that I may have to write about in another post. Sadly, my watch just beeped to remind me of the time and my Rule says it's time to get to bed.

To be continued...


  1. nice! i am adopting your yearly cleaning list, i love it, and need it. my cleaning skills are lagging behind my cooking and meal planning, so it's good for me to compare notes with you. :) i am not as organized about meal planning as my mom... she had a day planner all my life in which she had meals written out for usually about 8 weeks in advance, with shopping lists ready to go for weekly grocery store trips. me, i am more of a post-it note writer, with thoughts for the week, often based on whatever i know i have that i need to use, like whatever fresh veggies i got from farmer's market, and then i kind of fill out my post it as i go along. doesn't sound very impressive, but when it really shines is when i can't think of what to make, and i can flip through those old post-its (i keep them in my recipe box) for ideas. better than pinterest, for me anyway.

  2. brilliant! i should do a room by room focus. "don't tell my mom or martha stewart"... haha! love your humor :)


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