Becoming a mother of four has lead to various life changes. Firstly, less sleep. Secondly, personal toileting time that is inversely related to an increase in time spent toileting four other people in my house. Thirdly, more wrinkles. And fourthly, dark eye circles that no Estée Lauder potion can boast to cure.
Aside from those EXCITING new developments, I have had to make some serious changes to the way I do things around these parts. Even though I am one who truly loves to clean up after other people *insert raised eyebrow emoji here* I am finding that even this affection can be stretched by the Ecclesiastical futility of life that is the family washing basket (who am kidding?! BasketS!!).
In a house of 6 humans I have found it to be practically impossible to maintain household cleanliness at my preferred level without spending all my waking hours with this sole purpose. (Interestingly, spending all your waking hours cleaning and looking after four kids are actually mutually exclusive activities, but I digress…). As I mentioned before, it is a fruitless endeavour – what was clean only a moment ago is (if not already) about to be annihilated by the sand-covered, carefree two-year-old who has just decided he needs to show me the remnants of a sand castle he also just annihilated in the sand pit.
And while I heartily agree it is very important to teach our children that they have a role to play in maintaining the family abode, I firmly believe there are ways to do it that assist the carer of the children in maintaining their sanity. Because teaching a 4 year old to clean their entire room, on their own, in one go, with no parental assistance is, if not the actual definition of insanity, pretty darn close.
And so I invented this little piece of ‘housekeeping with 4 children’ GOLD. (I make no promises that this was not thought of before my grey matter came up with it – high functioning brain capacity is most definitely NOT something I currently claim to possess – although 8.5 month old Leo did sleep through for the first time last night, so yay!!)
Allow me to introduce the 10 Minute Super-fast, Ultra-speedy, Super-hero Speed Clean. (The kids named it.)
It’s simple. So simple in fact, that you don’t need to watch a boring, speeded-up video of me and my kids actually conducting a 10 Minute Super-fast, Ultra-speedy, Super-hero Speed Clean (pity, my videology skills really aren’t used as much as I would like them to be), so instead, waste your time watching this absolutely hilarious video of a man punning at Ikea. (Please, it’s important you watch it. I neeeeeeed you to watch it.)
Let it be abundantly clear that I have no psychological studies to back me up on my 10 minute theory. I can’t be bothered to actually do any research to support my theory, so this is completely anecdotal evidence. But in my experience of trying to clean a messy room with a small child, ten minutes is about the longest time a child and adult can co-clean without experiencing any level of mental stress. After this, the situation quickly deteriorates and it’s every human for themselves #lordoftheflies
Now, if you are thinking ‘My 4 year old has a much better attention span than that’, please don’t misunderstand me. In an ideal situation where your 4 year old has something totally fun and exciting to distract them (read: 4 year old is watching Nick Jnr on the telly while acing the Lego Batman game on the iPad with one hand and feeding themselves a box of Smarties with the other) I am sure their attention span can probably extend far beyond the 10 minute mark. But this is housework. Boring stuff that involves putting away the fun things, not making a mess with them. Hence, 10 minutes.
But wanna know what I really love about the 10 Minute Super-fast, Ultra-speedy, Super-hero Speed Clean? Yes, the name, of course, but besides that, it’s that, despite what the name may lead you to believe, it’s not JUST for kids. It is also ideal for sewing/crafting/creative mess-making adults who are far too distracted by the latest creative idea they’ve had to clean up their earlier messes.
I know what it’s like to need to act on that creative spark that’s flaring inside your head. You need to fan that little flame, coerce it out, give it a chance to grow before it runs out of oxygen and sputters out of existence once and for all. Ain’t nobody got time to clean when there are creative sparks fizzling out everywhere! But, as you may have read in my post about finding your lost sewing motivation, a clean work space can actually help those creative sparks find their feet and really begin to grow. So, if you have to clean, at least you can make it a Speed Clean!
Finally, let me point out that this Speed Clean is not meant to get you from cesspool to Pinterest-worthy in one go. It’s intended to be a progressive approach, because if there are two rooms that can overwhelm with just the thought of having to clean them, it’s kids’ rooms and craft rooms. Amiright?! Just try 10 minutes a day and see where it gets you!