I've decided to send out my motherly advise to you all, instead of just Becky. So, here is my new one. Having gone through all the life cycle except for the very elderly, I have some insight to share. This one is on housekeeping. I have been at all stages; single, newlywed, small children, teenagers, and empty nest. Through all of these stages I have struggled to always keep my house looking like Better Homes and Gardens--at least as clean. Now, not only am I empty nest, but one week out of each month I am alone. The only time my house is as clean as the magazines is during that one week when I am alone. Even then I can hardly sit down until 3:00 in the afternoon, just picking up after myself. So this is what I conclude.
1. You have to train every member of the family to clean up after themselves--like never leave the bedroom without making your bed, never take off a piece of clothing without hanging it up or putting it in a hamper, never use the last of the TP without replacing it, or eat anything without replacing all the ingredience to where they belong and cleaning up the mess afterwards, etc. (you get my idea). This training can never end not even when they reach 18 years old or return with their family to visit. This training is much harder than "just doing it yourself", but it will result in the look you desire for your home. If you are not willing to live like that then:
2. You don't own ANY STUFF. Or
3. you relax, throw away those blasted magazines, do the best you can, and enjoy life before it is over. Mom