In This Corner...Kangaroos

Not all women have it. A few of us were still asleep the morning they handed out the I love housework gene.

“Dust bunnies are for wimps” became my motto when I discovered dust kangaroos, with families of dust joeys springing out of their pockets every few days to stir up some fun.

Because we live in the parsonage and my husband’s desk is a pulpit, I figure I should try to appear neat once or twice a year. So I force myself to clean by inviting guests to dinner.

The only problem with this clever plan is that I wait until the day of the party to start my cleaning mania. I race around the dining table disrobing chair backs of their sweaters, flinging them into shocked closets. The windowsills resent my removal of the dust that’s kept them warm for the last six weeks. My kitchen floor gets tipsy on Spic ‘n’ Span.

After the guests leave, I flop on the couch and moan. “Why do I torture myself like this? What possessed me to invite seventeen people over? Well, at least the house looks sparkly. Let’s keep it this way forever!” I know I am duping no one but me. It’s as realistic as stating, “I will never overreact again.”

The only time I enjoyed housework was when we were first married, and the pride of reigning as queen over my own domain spurred me to dust, mop and scrub. That cleaning frenzy lasted two whole weeks. After that, I concocted my brilliant invite friends over scheme.

Once we had kids, I began worrying: what if they asked their Kindergarten teacher what a dustpan was? To avoid this embarrassment, I gave them chores at very early ages. But we had to hold off when our daughter whipped a sewing kit out of her pocket and offered to mend her preschool helper’s ripped jeans.

When the kids were eight and eleven, we took them to a discount store and let them pick out their own laundry baskets. On the way home I casually asked, “Guess what we’re doing today? I’m going to teach you guys to wash clothes.”

From the rearview mirror, I caught our son’s eyes roll as he snorted, “I knew there had to be a catch!”

“Someday you’ll thank me,” I said.

As teenagers, our kids did all the cleaning except changing the sheets on our bed. It worked beautifully. Until our daughter moved to college, and my son and I divided her chores between us. He got his done all right, since I raised his salary two dollars a week. But mine…well. I always have had a fondness for baby kangaroos.


  1. Ha! Now that's what kids are for! LOL I'm totally training mine to clean. I might like cleaning, but that doesn't mean I want to do it all the time. *grin*
    Awesomely cute story Jeanette! Thanks for sharing it. :-)

  2. My boys think I'm the Original Egyptian Slave Driver, too! I tell them, someday there will be four women that will kiss my feet and call me blessed for all the work my guys can do.

    I go into exactly the same frenzy. Stuff happens when guests are coming that seldom happens otherwise, I'm tellin' ya.

    Good job!

  3. Very funny! Well done, Jen. And I so relate!

  4. Jessica: Thanks for stopping by. I love you for teaching your boys to clean! You are one awesome mom.

    Rhonda: Thanks for commenting. I'm looking forward to those kisses from my future DIL, too! If you have four sons who can do housework, you deserve a tall trophy!

    Janna: Thanks, dear, your compliment means a lot to me!

  5. ROFLOL! Oh, we are more alike then I thought! Skippy used to tell me that I didn't need to clean the house.....that's why we had kids, so THEY could do it! :> )


  6. Great post! My kids (4&5) to housework too. It gives them a sense of responsibility and they feel good when they see what has been accomplished by their cute little hands. :)

  7. Hi Jen -

    Love your sense of humor! I never had kids, so I'm stuck doing the work myself. :)


  8. You continue to amaze me with your humor. But aren't you supposed to be babysitting???LOL

  9. Need to start my kids doing more. I use the excuse of inviting people over to really clean the bathrooms. Gotta have that clean if nothing else, right? :O)


  10. Hi,Jen:
    I tried teaching that to our son. But, hubby wasn't much help in that department. My motto was, the looks of the house is the responsibility to ALL who live there. But, Alas, it doesn't work like I wanted it to.

    Except one thing used to work in December, I told our son that "The man in the red suit doesn't come to a dirty house." It worked for a few times.

  11. I taught my boys how to clean. They forgot. Either that, or they know they can hold out longer than I can.

  12. Ha Ha!! Love this, Jeanette! It reminds me of when we taught our kids that being old enough to go to kindergarten went hand-in-hand with being old enough to make their own beds and their own brown bag lunches before leaving for school. They grew up thinking those tasks were privileges, not chores.

  13. Thank you, one and all. It comforts me to know I'm not alone in my quest for someone else to clean my abode.

    I also encourage myself that in Heaven there will be no dust, grime or grease. Hallelujah!

  14. It's great the way you got the kids in the act and buying them something certainly helped. The floor you talked about in this story, isn't that the one you slide across? I bet you secretly have loads of fun cleaning. At least you make it sound like fun. Welcome to your new home at ermas. You are a perfect fit.

  15. I can totally relate to hating housework and saving it for when I invite people over. I clean furiously, the house looks great, I try to keep it that way and fail.

    My mother was never big on housework, so I didn't have a good role model. :)

  16. When I married Bill, he brought an ironing board into the relationship. My kids, who had never seen one, argued for weeks over whether it was a spaceship or a playhouse.


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