As school and work pick back up, I realized that I would have a hard time keeping up with the house cleaning. We clean the kitchen regularly, at least wiping down counters and washing dishes every night, and I spend a little over an hour each weekend making sure all the bathrooms are clean (read about my bathroom routine here). Laundry also gets done about once a week, with my son preferring to do his own, which cuts down on the number of loads I have to do.
But the one place we tend to fall down is when it comes to dusting, vacuuming, and dry mopping. I usually wait until either we are having company, or it gets too gross to stand. My spouse doesn’t like to do any of those chores any more than I do, but is bugged by it all the same, and suggested that we hire a cleaning lady or cleaning service. In speaking to a friend, I found that a cleaning service would set us back at least a couple hundred dollars a month, and I really feel uncomfortable giving strangers keys to my house. But what was the alternative? I don’t mind doing SOME cleaning on the weekend, but I don’t want to blow my entire weekend doing more work!
My kids both get a fairly small allowance since we pay for most of their needs including gas for my son and the occasional movie or football ticket for my daughter. My son makes extra money walking a neighbor’s dog, mowing the lawn, and picking up after our dog on a weekly basis. My daughter always felt a little put out that she didn’t have a way to make extra money like her brother. So, I thought, why pay someone else to clean my house when I can hire my daughter? Some people might feel it should be a kids chore, either associated with allowance or not. But I think they approach it a little more positively when it is something they choose to do to earn money, rather than something they are being forced to do as a chore. Both kids understand that if they don’t do the job well, they’ll either have to redo it in order to get paid, or they’ll lose their job, just like in the real world. We also have them deposit half their “pay” into a savings account so they can build up a nice nest egg for a worthwhile purchase, maybe a down payment on a car when they are a young adult.
So today I walked my daughter through her cleaning routine. I will continue to do bathrooms and laundry, but she will be paid for a weekly cleaning of the family room, dining room, living room, and office. Her tasks include dusting, washing all glass tables (we have 5!) and the glass on the front and back doors which the dog slobbers on, vacuuming the carpet, and dry mopping the hardwood floors. Even in the training phase, it took her only about an hour. She will be paid $10, half of which goes to the bank. When she was done, I asked her if she thought it went ok and whether it was too hard, and she said it was fine.
So I am hoping this will work out. My daughter is pretty diligent about most things, but has been known to decide things are a hassle and give them up a little easier than her brother, who watches the lawn like a hawk, willing the grass to grow so he can make a little extra money:). Both kids know that if they put one of the jobs off too long, it will be done by a parent and then they won’t get paid. Never been a problem with my son, so I am hoping it becomes a habit for my daughter.
For now, though, I have a new cleaning lady, and I feel good about helping my daughter learn some new skills and make some extra money. A friend even suggested that if my daughter gets good at it, she might hire herself out to some neighbors who might not want or need the skills of a fully-fledged cleaning person. We’ll see how things go in the next few months and then I might suggest that to my daughter.
Sigh, now if only I could convince a kid to go weed my flowers beds!
Wishing you a lovely weekend and a clean and organized house,