(Oops, I left this in my drafts instead of queuing it up for the weekend. I didn't really mean to miss a post for NaBloPoMo.)
This morning we cleaned the house together. All of us, boys included, and the boys are now in a place where their contributions are extremely helpful. They cleaned two of the three bathrooms and vacuumed all of the wood floors plus the Persian rug (along with their own rooms). Papa cleaned the master bathroom and the kitchen (and mopped all the bathrooms). I dusted all the living areas and my bedroom, polished furniture and some of the wood trim, cleaned a door that had been missed last weekend, touched up the windows, wiped everything in the laundry room, and vacuumed my bedroom. We were done in a little over two hours.
Last weekend we did a fall cleaning and the boys were incredibly helpful. They helped with everything; in addition to their regular weekly housecleaning chores (see above) they deep cleaned the breakfast nook, helped scrub walls and baseboards, and helped me clean up outside, including scrubbing all the outdoor furniture.
I had to clean house when I was a child, and yet until the last year or so my boys did very few chores. Oh, when they were little they might follow along in imitation, dusting and wiping here and there, but it didn't lighten the work load for the adults in the household. Off and on we've hired house cleaners, depending on my health. When I started feeling better a couple of years ago (and got unhappy with yet another cleaning service) Papa and I decided that we would clean the house together as a family and that the boys would learn how to do it. At first they did little more than clean their own rooms, but over time they have learned a lot of new tasks and I am so proud of them for stepping up and doing a good job.
They also help with the daily house maintenance, doing quick wipe downs of two of the bathrooms each day and vacuuming all of the public areas of the house each day. They take turns with dinner dishes, wipe the table after each meal, set the table for dinner, take out the garbage, and do all of the dog chores. And really, they rarely grumble about any of it, which tells me that they understand that this is simply something that has to be done. The bigger lesson is that we do what we have to do and that having a cheerful attitude makes it more pleasant.