I wish someone would have told me this was done only once a year!! Growing up, every single Saturday was spring cleaning day. I grew up thinking that’s what everyone did each Saturday morning…everyone.
I am the middle child out of five, and we each had our own list of chores, a very looong list. We didn’t get to sleep in. We didn’t get to watch cartoons or go outside to play until our chores were done. Let me tell ya, that’ll put a hustle in any kids giddy up and go. Well maybe not now-a-days, ( I don’t think kids have chores anymore) but back then ( I’m talking the 70’s) there was no way I was going to miss Bugs Bunny or Wile E. Coyote and then have to wait an entire week before they came back on. Waiting isn’t an option in today’s world for anyone, let alone a child, am I right or wrong here?
How many of you had to clean the base boards through out your house every week? None of you, really?? Come on, I feel like at least one other kid in the world had to do that besides me. Hmmm, okay how about cleaning the kitchen cabinets with lemon Pledge, anyone do that? I would purposely spray a LOT of it so it would get on the floors and when my brothers or sisters walked by in their socks, they would start slipping as if they were running in place. Kinda like Shaggy, from Scooby Doo, running through the air. Oh geez, that was kinda fun to watch actually! The one chore I absolutely hated and still do to this day…cleaning every surface in the bathroom, eww, I hated it. We only had one bathroom for a household of 7, try that now a days and someone might actually lose their mind. One bathroom in a house, can you imagine the complaining and fights that would happen today?
I would try to trade chores with someone in order to get out of “spring cleaning” each Saturday. That was allowed, you could trade chores if you had the skills to trick or convince, someone to trade with you. Just picture that for a minute, all 5 of us kids gathered together trying to one up each other, geez. Hey you, I’ll dust all your furniture if you’ll wipe down all the walls for me. No way, I’ll clean the cobwebs from the corners if you clean out the toilet. I’ll clean the toilet if you sweep the garage floor. We learned how to negotiate this way. We had to do it quick though because we didn’t want to miss cartoons.
My mom was our inspector, if we did a half ass job (her words) then we would have to start all over again. Seriously, who wants to scrub the linoleum floors again from start to finish? There were no mops, we had a bucket and scrub brush…a brush!! We did it right the first time, we learned that very quick. Everything had to be in the right place too, you couldn’t leave your shoes by the door, they needed to be put away immediately in your own closet. Everything had to be put away immediately when finished using it. I think that part stuck with me because it drives me crazy when items do not get put away after use.
Spring cleaning was a weekly event growing up and I can make fun of it now but I really did learn some pretty good lessons with all the chores we had. Staying neat and organized actually helps with efficiency and time management, and so does doing it right the first time. We learned how to negotiate, how to be part of a team and how to get work done quickly so we could have our play time. My kids had chores to complete when they were young before they could pursue their own interests, not as many as I did, but weekly chores nonetheless. We were a family, we helped each other out. It was never just one person doing everything, the kids were involved with chores. I wonder about kids now, do they have chores, do they understand the importance of them? Are kids learning how to problem solve or conflict resolution, how to take care of themselves, how to become independent and responsible? How to see something through to the end and that there are consequences for their actions? I watch some kids who whine and complain and want everything taken care of for them and think, “Oh Lord, these are our future leaders, please help us!”