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April 3rd, 2008

pregnancy is like crack

However, I do know that I can't do everything and that being pregnant is the worst time to start a major project. So while I have lots of ideas when I'm pregnant for books to write and businesses to start I. . . don't.

But this one may get me.

I've read a lot of parenting and relationship books (no, really! :-). And a common theme of the parenting/relationship books is that if you want your marriage to survive the arrival of wee one(s), you'd better not have too high a housekeeping standard. If you do, you won't be able to unload housekeeping tasks on anyone else because they won't do it to your standard, you'll make yourself exhausted and crazy, the wee one crazy, etc. Unfortunately, whenever the authors of the aforementioned books get going on this topic, they say something like, you don't have to vacuum today, you can do it next week.

I'm thinking more along the lines of, next year. Next month if there's a particularly bad incident involving crushed cheerios or something.

Here's the book idea, to be marketed possibly as humor, but from my perspective, as real advice on how to maintain your household, no working title. How to do the minimum. The ideal readership would be couples (married, roommates, whatever) who are perhaps not as extreme as Felix and Oscar, but, say, one of them changes the sheets yearly if they remember to, and the other changes them weekly. The book would try to move them in the direction of, say, quarterly or monthly or something like that. J. suggests using adolescent boys in sock feet to clean kitchen floors (I find this particularly appealing). Advice about laundry that starts with by-the-pound operations, and, if you want to do your own, do everything on cold/delicate and then don't worry about the color or what the tag says because everything (including most dry cleaning) will probably survive this treatment. Childcare advice that sez pack up or protect your stuff and dangerous items, then pad everything pointy and let the kid have at it. Etc.

Suggestions (including, omigod we're reporting you to child protective services! altho ideally, further tips you would ordinarily not divulge on how you maintain a house in a more-or-less presentable fashion without putting any real effort into it) welcome.

Ironically, R. is, at this point, the cleaner person in this household. I _used_ to be quite obsessive; I've been working this set of strategies and a host of get-the-OCD-under-control stuff pretty hard for a while.

Oh, and if you know of a book/magazine/website along these lines, I'm interested. I am _not_ interested in advice on how to get the house _really_ presentable/nice/clean/etc. really efficiently. I'm specifically looking for minimum effort/barely acceptable outcome.