Vacuuming an Octopus
by Patty Wysong

Our home is an equal opportunity household. Everyone gets to share in the chores and that means our three boys know how to do dishes, sweep, vacuum, and (vaguely) how to do laundry, and our girls know how to mow and (vaguely) help their father with repair jobs. When a child is big enough to run the vacuum, he gets added into the loop of divide and conquer--the household chores, that is.

Now, with five children that gives us a lot of hands to get the work done, but that also means we have to clean far more often than a typical American family with 2.5 children. To compound our dirt-factor is the fact that with homeschooling, there are six of us home 24/7, we live in the country and we have a contracting business. All that adds up to a lot of dirt and a lot of cleaning. So we divide it and conquer it.

Although the kids do much of the cleaning, I work myself into the rotation to make sure that each chore gets done correctly every now and then. I don't know if you've watched a child, or even a teen, vacuum lately, but they just don't do it quite like a cleaning professional does. A kid will stand in the middle of the room and pretend to draw octopus tentacles around him, using the vacuum as a paint brush. When the octopus is complete, the room is vacuumed. Oh, and did I mention that the faster they make their octopus the happier they are?

That's not how a cleaning professional does it. They start at one side of the room and slowly and methodically work their way across and out of the room, leaving in their wake a room well vacuumed, and, depending on the kind of carpet, a sea of neat vacuuming lines that seems to make them smile.

So tell me, which kind of vacuumer are you? Do you stand in the middle of the room of your life and create an octopus as you vacuum the dirt and sin out of your life, or do you do it the professional cleaner's way and slowly and methodically cover every inch and get every particle of dirt possible? When you're done confessing and communing with our Heavenly Father, is the carpet of your life such that it's inviting to stretch out and relax on or would you cringe at the thought of setting a baby down to play there?

How about your approach to Bible study? Do you hurry through, making an octopus around you, then declare it done when you've only made tentacle swipes here and there? Or do you approach your Bible study time methodically and prayerfully, with a pen in hand?

I think it's time for me to get out my own vacuum and be a professional cleaner and not a hurried housewife and mom. I do much more than just vacuuming an octopus, but in the confessing and communing department I think I need more practice.

Patty Wysong is a Christian wife and homeschool mom of 5 who is passionate about wrapping lessons in pretty packages that will point others to God.


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