Okay, so it wasn't actually that exciting. In the introductory chapter of the book, Sarah Mae suggests reading through all the Martha challenges to make sure you have all the right supplies and whatnot. If I had done that, I could have saved myself some really hard work in the middle of the challenge and kept my efforts a bit more constant. As it turned out, I had kind of doubled up on some tasks. When I cleaned/organized the bathrooms, I did ALL the bathrooms, including my utility room (yeah, my house is weird in that the utility room has a washer, dryer, sink, and toilet). And when I deep-cleaned the bedrooms, I included the guest bedroom. Our guest bedroom is also the home office, so I'd already done that when the book had it scheduled.
So I did it! And it felt great, even with the anticlimactic nature of the way I finished up. Next up, I'll be doing the Mary challenges. These will, in some ways, be harder for me than the Martha challenges. They require self-reflection and meditation. They also (mostly) need to be done in a quiet place, sometimes while sitting and writing things down. That means I'll need to do them during naptimes; baby is fine watching me work around the house but finds me incredibly boring when I just sit at the computer.
Sarah Mae has now put out new challenges that are more about maintenance, so I'll be doing those as well. They aren't nearly as intense! But a few times a year, I'll go through the original challenges again. Deep cleaning is easier when there is less time that passes in between cycles!
All in all, I feel really good about my home now. There were a few times during the challenge when I ended up having some impromptu guests, and it was so nice to be able to just spend a little bit of time tidying up in order to then sit back and enjoy my friends. After all, that's what this was all about... at least, that was a big part of it for me. Looking back on my mission statement and reasons for this project, I feel like I've been able to accomplish the goals I set out to achieve. How?
- I feel amazing when my home is clean. I have felt amazing! There have been times over the course of this challenge that I looked around and smiled. What's more, I was able to put my feet up sometimes and just enjoy my home.
- I want my husband to have a place of refuge. Over the course of this challenge, he started traveling a bit more, and in addition to having a warm, inviting home, I wanted to make sure he had good meals when he was here. Having a clean, organized house afforded me the chance to plan and make the home-cooked dinners that he enjoys -- and enjoy them with him!
- I enjoy spending uninhibited time with my baby. As the intensity of the challenge has tapered off, I have noticed how much more focused I am on baby when he needs me. I think this has enhanced all his play time. Even when he plays alone, he seems to enjoy it entirely -- because, when do I play with him, I am fully engaged instead of sending him the message that I am distracted by pressing obligations.
- I want to be an impromptu hostess. As above! I don't think anyone who came over would describe my home as perfect, but I think they would agree that my house felt inviting and home-like.
- I work better in a clean house. The cleanliness and organization of my home has helped me to focus better on whatever project engages me. I have done a lot of cooking and baking recently, which is something I haven't been able to say since my baby was born. I know that part of this is the fact that he is more able to entertain himself, but it's also become much more apparent to me that, previously, I was too stretched thin to do any one thing well.