At some point in my education, I was introduced to the Greek myth about Sisyphus. Here's a quick summary from Wikipedia for those not familiar with this character.
Sisyphus was "a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity.The word "sisyphean" means "endless and unavailing, as labor or a task."
Never have I sympathized more with poor Sisyphus that I do now. Lately, this sums up the state of my house. Endless and unavailing. Everyday, I do dishes, I do laundry, I sweep and swifter the floor, I help the kids pick up their toys...and a few hours later, I have to do it all over again. The boulder is right back at the bottom of the hill.
For a time, Max contended that the state of the house was my fault. I let it get this way. The whole disaster was 100% preventable if I just cleaned as I went, made the kids put away each toy before playing with the next. I tried to explain to him that the water was simply entering the boat faster than I could bail, and trying to fight it was futile.
However, Max refused to believe me and continued to do very little to help me clean the house. I was getting very frustrated and resentful. Several people I knew told me to "just talk to him". Hmm...well, I've tried that several hundred times, got any other ideas? Unfortunately, the whole "communication" thing wasn't really working in this instance. So I decided to escape. When Daniela was a few months old, I took up cycling. I left him alone with all three kids for several hours while I biked and "forgot" to take my cell phone with me.
When I came back from my ride, the house looked like an episode of Hoarders. The boys were still in their pajamas and eating from an open bag of Cheetos, half of which had spilled onto the floor and been ground into the rug. Daniela was still wearing the diaper she had slept in which was so soaked that it was hanging off of her. Her face and hands were covered in chocolate pudding. When Max saw me, he immediately jumped off the couch and headed for the bathroom. Could I believe it? He couldn't even take a shower with these kids. Umm...yeah, I could believe it. Why do you think I cut off all my hair and dress like a bag lady? The kids don't leave you much time for grooming. Or anything really.
So after several bike rides, Max finally caved and admitted that the house being a disaster was not my fault. The minute one mess is cleaned, another appears, no matter what you do. And he started helping...a little.
So, I agree that communication is key. If you want a clean house, all you have to do is communicate this to a cleaning lady and go for a long bike ride. Maybe someday, I will be able to afford that cleaning lady. Until then, well...my boulder awaits.