At the age of six I started cleaning bathrooms. I distinctly recall being coached by my father on the how-to’s; being six, I had lots to learn. Sesame Street did not include it in their curriculum and the public schools naturally deemed it out of their scope. So my parents made it part of their mission to teach us how to clean house.
As my siblings came of age they joined the cleaning team. By the time we settled into our home on Redland Road, we had a Saturday rotation set to clean house. Between the four of us the rotation went something like this:
- Master bathroom
- Shared bathroom
- Downstairs bath and laundry room
- Dining room and living room
We scoured the toilet bowl, scrubbed the bath tub or shower stall, wiped down the sink and mopped the bathroom floors. As our cats ate in the laundry room, I dreaded picking up the fish head bones scattered to its far corners. In the communal dining and living spaces, we vacuumed the rugs and dusted off the furniture. The dining table needed to have a fresh table cloth placed on it. This involved taking off all the redundant salt and pepper shakers (See Dinner Time Processes– Take 1) and sundry other items that lived on the dining room table.
We did all of these household tasks without being paid, i.e. no allowance. Part of family membership involved pitching in–a Meixner family core value. Vestiges of rotating household cleaning tasks reverberate at the homes of my nieces and nephews. They, too, take turns in maintaining the household with their parents. Cleaning house taught us responsibility at a young age. Why not continue the tradition with the next generation?
Have a productive day,
Dear Reader, what memory does this piece spark in you? What did Saturday mornings look like in your household? Please share your comments or stories. You, too, can write for the Engineers’ Daughter–see “Contribute” for more Information.
I did a quick internet search on the topic of children learning to clean house. This article captured how my parents viewed the topic.
2 Comments Add yours
Great post. I was treated like a slave by my mother. A true patriarchy. I wish I had done this with my own kids.
LOL, not sure I would describe the situation as being a “slave.” I do recall my mother saying that each of us around 6th grade or so realized that our classmates received and allowance for performing household tasks.