Workingmums’ guide to housework

Does your heart sink at the thought of housework on top of all the other many things you have to get done in a day? Do you feel like you are constantly picking up the same stuff and that as soon as you pick that stuff up, something else has been dropped somewhere else? Do you feel like you are on an endless hamster wheel of shunting the same bits of plastic around the house? If so, is here to help with its guide to housework.

1. There are two schools of thought on housework post children: you can either (1) lower your household standards, even if they are already fairly low or (2) get someone else to do or share the work, whether that is through payment or bribery. In the absence of the money required to do (2), bribery through non-monetary forces or some kind of barter system with other family members is often the only realistic solution. The important part, as with all things, is the negotiation process. Ensure at all costs that you get an even spread of the more enjoyable tasks from the offset. Take into account the time needed to do each task and the effort involved. For instance, does taking out the bin out once a week or mowing the lawn in the summer time really equate to cleaning the toilet on a daily basis? For children, create a non-monetary, Olympian-style reward system that sounds really important [unless, of course, they are teenagers in which case money may be the only option]. Throw in badges and medals.  If you have more than one child making it some sort of mildly competitive sibling thing can, in the short term, prove beneficial. In the long term, though, it will probably end up with your children at each other’s throats, an even messier house and months in therapy [for all involved]. As with all things children, there is a fine line to tread between cooperation and total chaos. Establishing a regular rota can work, but you will have to take charge of it and ensure it is kept to. Build on your children’s natural skills – for some reason tasks like mopping can be strangely sought after – put on some inspirational cleaning music such as Mary Poppins and watch them get to work.

2. Some housework tasks have solutions. If you hate ironing, buy clothes that lose all their creases when you hang them up. Alternatively, if you find ironing lulls you into a Zenn-like state, ensure it is one of the tasks that you bagsy at the beginning of the housework task negotiation process.

3. Do occasional clean-outs where you basically go around putting everything that has no confirmed sentimental value into a bin bag. You could turn this clean the clutter activity into a gameshow type event, although this risks them voting to rescue all that stuff you were wanting to throw out.

4. Do laundry on regular days so you can look forward to the day after. It may not sound like much, but psychologically speaking it can make all the difference.

5. Ban all cookery-related programmes. They only encourage avalanches of mess.

6. Get the kids to clean their own rooms under the guise of changing their rooms around. Call it a 60-minute makeover. Encourage them to do it as a Youtube tutorial. It will keep them busy and, hopefully, tidy the house at the same time. Unless, of course, they get distracted by the technology and leave you to finish the job.

7. If all else fails, walk around with rose-coloured spectacles on. Literally. It will make your home look so much cleaner.

*Picture credit: ntwowe and


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