Of all the Hallmark holidays, Mother’s Day is arguably the most important. That’s because moms are so easily under-appreciated and taken for granted the rest of the year. Whether you are a mom, have a mom, or are married to a mom, you probably don’t really think too much about just how much moms do every day for our families.
The Mental Load
Too often, aside from the day-to-day mothering activities, moms are shouldering an extra burden that tends to go overlooked. That is the burden of the Mental Load, that invisible responsibility we moms tend to take on for keeping track of all of the logistical necessities that keep a household running smoothly. You know what I mean: Who is the one person in your family who sets up all of the kids’ doctor appointments, who keeps track of the field trips and permission slips, who arranges the babysitters, who remembers to feed the dog or buy the toilet paper, who knows things like where the scissors are, or when the first day of school is, or when the last time the sheets have been washed, or when Aunt Mary’s birthday is?
Even if you have a supportive spouse who helps out around the house a lot, the mom is too often still the one doing all of the directing and managing, usually on top of her “real” job and all of the “regular” mom duties involved in keeping children alive… Seriously, the role of carrying the Mental Load in a family is nothing to sneeze at, and most of us—moms included—have never really even given it a second thought.
All Moms Want the Same Thing
So this Mother’s Day, which is Sunday, May 13, if you truly want to show your favorite mom how much you appreciate everything they do, seen and unseen, I’m going to offer you the only gift suggestion you’ll ever really need. Hallmark may not like this too much, because it’s not something you can find in their greeting card racks. It’s also not flowers, or chocolate, or jewelry—although all of these things are lovely and would make a fine secondary gift.
Take it from a mom: The number one thing ALL of us want and deserve this Mother’s Day is a four-letter word: TIME.
Different Kinds of Time
Here’s the tricky part. The KIND of time a mom needs will vary depending on the phase of motherhood she is in. The mom of a baby or a toddler might just really need some alone time, ie., a chance to go to the bathroom by herself, take an uninterrupted nap, get her nails done, or even go to Target or the Mall without having to drag along a diaper bag, a car seat, a stroller, and a wriggly, energetic kiddo.
Or, maybe what she’s really wanting is some couple time: a time to reconnect with the father of her children, to go on a date, to have an excuse to put on nice clothes and make-up and laugh and not have to cook or discipline children or even be the one to arrange the sitter.
If her kids are teens or if she’s an empty nester, maybe what she’s really craving is quality family time—a chance to enjoy just being with the children that aren’t around as much as they used to be. That kind of togetherness can come in the form of a meal together, a game night, a hike, a movie, whatever—it doesn’t really matter. After all the time they’ve spent on you over the years, moms deserve some of your undivided attention for a few hours.
So, there you go: I’ve given you the key to the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Your mission now is to figure out what kind of time the mom(s) in your life really want this year, and come up with a plan to give that to them.
One easy way you can literally buy mom some time this year is to let her off the hook for at least one good house cleaning. To that end, Immaculate Clean is offering a $65 off special for the month of May for all moms and moms-to-be! Give them a call at (410) 549-0727 to set it up, then send Mom out to enjoy whatever kind of time she will appreciate the most!
Yes, your home really does need a Spring Cleaning.
It’s officially spring… The sun is shining, the trees are budding, and Pinterest is buzzing with pins that say things like, “55 Cleaning Hacks to Make Spring Cleaning More Productive and Fun!” and “The 30-Day Spring Cleaning Challenge,” not to mention free spring cleaning printable checklists galore.
All of which makes me sit back and contemplate: How did any of us function back in the dark ages before there was Pinterest to give us all these unrealistic ideals to aspire to in our daily lives? Not very well, evidently. I can remember being a young newlywed living in my first house, and visiting with my grandmother one weekend. In an attempt to make conversation, she asked me, “So, did you get your spring cleaning done yet?” And she said it so matter-of-factly, kind of like you might ask someone in December, “Have you finished your Christmas shopping?”
I remember being completely taken aback and flustered by the question. Spring cleaning? That’s a real thing that people do? Not just some quaint notion or cute saying from the past?
Thinking back even further, I do recall my mom spending a day every year taking down the curtains and washing them, while my dad went outside and washed all the windows from a precarious position atop an aluminum ladder. And I remember the smell of Ajax and Murphy’s Wood Soap emanating through the house from the deep cleaning they’d give the kitchen cabinets and the floor around that same time…
Voila! Apparently, THAT was “Spring Cleaning!” I just never thought about it that way. My parents always kept an immaculate house anyway, so I think I thought these were just some quirky things that they liked to do for fun—wash and iron drapes and scrub windows and cabinets.
It took a few years of filth and dust building up on my own window sills and inside my cabinets before I really understood the value of giving your home a deep cleaning once a year. However, I don’t know about you, but I get overwhelmed enough by the day-to-day responsibilities of running a household, like working, and picking up shoes and towels and coats and dog toys, and cooking, and washing dishes, and taking out trash, and doing laundry, etc. A checklist of 101 spring cleaning tasks, no matter how well organized and cute the graphic may be, only tends to make me feel stressed out and inadequate.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone around you is to call in a professional. Fortunately, Immaculate Clean is having a spring cleaning special: $50 off a One Time Deep Clean. This detailed cleaning includes cleaning the interior of the fridge and oven, vacuuming under family & living room couch cushions, hand wiping baseboards, window sills, fan blades, cabinet fronts, and more.
So, this year I’m making my own spring cleaning printable checklist, and it’s going to look something like this:
- Do all the usual daily chores
- Declutter a closet or two
- Stay off Pinterest
Give us a call at 410-549-0727 to avail cheap house cleaning services in Sykesville, MD.
For the past year, I’ve been paying $187 per month on a storage unit. Based on the number of storage places around town, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one wasting money to keep old junk we just can’t seem to part with. But, enough is enough. It’s time to let go of the past.
The past means something different to each of us. For some, it’s memories of our own childhood. We’re not ready to give away our high school varsity jacket or the single bed we slept in. Others of us are holding on to baby items from our children who are now in their 20s. While some of us are holding on to a life that no longer exists.
I recently dragged my son and a few of his former football-player friends to my storage unit. There wasn’t much left. Mostly just the big stuff that I couldn’t throw in the back of the car during one of my frequent visits to the unit. This time I had a truck and brute strength with me to get the job done.
The boys—or should I say, young men—filled the truck with the items. I let them organize everything, not wanting to micro-manage the situation. Nothing was so valuable that I’d cringe at it getting damaged. So, I let them have at it.
I knew the toughest item would be the large, wooden desk/hutch that sat in the middle of the unit. It had taken five other young men to get it in there. I wasn’t sure three were going to be able to manage it. Then again, it’s not as hard to move things when you don’t have to worry about their well-being. And, for the first time in 20 years, I wasn’t worried about what happened to this particular piece.
I remember when we bought it. It was one of the first “fine” pieces of furniture my ex-husband and I had shopped for. We found it at a store outside of Denver. It was the perfect thing for our new house.
Back then, computers took up a lot of space. You needed a shelf for the monitor and one for the keyboard, as well as a place for the awkward hard drive tower that had to be attached. I didn’t have an office space so I wanted something that could hold everything but also hide it when company came. This piece did exactly that. It had shelves and drawers for everything, but doors to close and cover it all up. It was perfect.
That furniture followed us everywhere we went; one house after the next. It eventually morphed from a desk to a television cabinet that was kept in our bedroom. And, when I moved out during our divorce, it was one of the first items loaded on the truck.
Since then, however, I’ve moved again. My current house is too small to hold such a large item.
And, so, it sat in the storage unit along with all of the other items that would never find a place in this new home. Until recently.
When I lifted the door of the storage unit, it all of a sudden hit me. It was time to let go of that desk/hutch/television stand/oversized item. Fantasies of posting it on Craigslist to find a new owner vanished. It finally appeared as it actually was—a large pile of wood that needed to be disposed of.
When the boys started inspecting the item for how they would carefully get it on the truck, I suggested we get a sledge hammer and break it to bits.
They looked at me a bit bewildered and then one of them said, “Well, if you don’t care what happens to it, we can just scrape it along and push it into the truck.”
“That’s fine,” I said. “We just need to get it out of the unit.”
They got it onto the truck rather quickly after that. We drove home and I backed the truck to the edge of the curb.
“Just drag it out and put it there,” I said, pointing to the curb. “Someone will take it.”
And, they did.
I was out for the evening and came home after dark. I didn’t notice it until I got out of the car. That piece of furniture that I had held on to for all of those years was gone. Taken away by some faceless, nameless person. I had no idea where it went or what would happen to it. It was just gone.
Strangely, I didn’t shed a tear. In fact, I was relieved. Somebody else could deal with that huge, heavy item from now on. It was gone from my life. It was in my past, and my future seemed that much brighter.
As for the rest of the items, they will hopefully be sold in a yard sale. It’s the perfect way to get rid of a lot of junk at once. And, with no more storage unit, I now have an extra $187 per month to spend on a cleaning service. Life really is good.
I swear I was just writing about preparing your home for the winter. How is it the middle of February already? And, the weather is just adding to the confusion with temps in the 60s.
Personally, I love the nice weather, but it really does draw attention to all of the dirt I’ve been avoiding. After a weekend of extraordinary temperatures, I noticed a few things I need to get to as soon as possible. A deep cleaning will come eventually, but for now, here are a few things to kick-off the process:
It really is a bummer when the sun is shining in and all I can see are the spots all over the windows. Not to mention, when I go to open them, I notice the cobwebs and dead bugs caught between the windows and screens. It’s definitely time to give them a good cleaning.
Use a good window cleaner and a lint-free cloth on the glass. Spray the cleaner on the window and give it a minute to set before wiping it clean. Make sure you wipe the outside of the windows too. If your windows are difficult to reach, it’s worth calling a window cleaning company for best results.
After wiping the glass, give the frames and sills a wipe down. A vacuum hose works great for this task.
The mud season is rapidly approaching so now is the time to get rid of the winter residue. Start with the area rugs. If washable, throw them in the machine to get them clean. Otherwise, take them outside and give them a good shake.
While the rugs are getting some fresh air, tend to the hard surfaces and carpeted areas. For hard surfaces, make sure to get rid of dust and debris before mopping. The professionals at Immaculate Clean suggest using a handheld vacuum rather than sweeping. When mopping, vinegar diluted in water is sufficient for wood floors, but Mr. Clean Professional Floor Cleaner is highly recommended for the best clean. Wipe down the baseboards for a complete cleaning.
As for the carpeted rooms, start with a good vacuuming and edging around the baseboards. However, they’re probably also due for a professional cleaning. As we learned in What’s Hiding in Your Carpet?, professional cleaning on a quarterly basis is recommended to best maintain your carpets.
Between the car tires and kids’ boots, the garage floor is a disaster by this time of year. Of course, I’ve also dumped a bunch of stuff that I didn’t want to deal with in the cold weather like cardboard boxes to be recycled and exterior holiday decorations that I didn’t get around to putting away.
Take advantage of the nice weather by pulling everything outside and really cleaning the floor. As with the other hard surfaces, sweep first, then mop. Mildly soapy water is perfect for the concrete surface. Don’t forget to clean any windows and wipe down the corners where spider webs might be hiding.
Once the floor dries, you can start organizing what needs to go back in and what you can get rid of. I’m thinking a blog on organizing the garage is on the horizon.
Now that the snow is gone, I can see all of the trash and debris that has collected on my yard. Having just gone through a renovation project, I’m finding all kinds of construction scraps, too.
Personally, I’m not a yard-work type person. I generally leave it to the professionals, but there are some basic things needed to be done to ensure a minimum level of curb appeal.
Start by getting rid of any leftover holiday decorations and dried out planters. Next, pick up the trash and any large branches that may have fallen. Finally, sweep off the walkways and porches. It may not be worthy of a landscaper’s stamp of approval, but it’s a start.
Spring hasn’t totally sprung yet, but it’s not too early to get started. You want to get going before the mud of the upcoming season makes its way in the house. If you’re too overwhelmed with everything else going on in life, leave it to the professionals at Immaculate Clean. Give them a call at 410-549-0727. Voted the “Best of Carroll County” for the past 7 years!!