Friday, April 25, 2008

A Cluttered Mind

Cleaning the house has always been my job. Sam could care less if we sat knee-deep in our own waste as long as he could lay on the couch undisturbed. Growing up in a filthy household (I do mean filthy but won't elaborate right now), I swore my house would never, ever, ever be a source of embarassment to me or my kids. Never would they be afraid to bring friend's over because of the mess and smell and I would not be ashamed to have anyone enter my front door again.

I realize this obsession is my own neurosis and of my own making. But I can NOT go an entire week without cleaning my house. When I say cleaning I mean vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, dusting, cleaning bathrooms and all surfaces. Every night before I go to bed everything gets picked up and put away, the dishes are in the dishwasher and the house is right. I have relaxed a little as time has gone by but I still get all discombobulated if the house isn't thoroughly cleaned at least once a week.

When I worked full-time before my daughter was born, it wasn't as difficult to keep the house clean. We had a townhouse which we didn't even use the basement so that was two small floors to clean and one child to pick up after. It might have taken me an hour and a half on a Saturday morning. Then when I was home with my daughter it was therapeutic to get everyone out of the house after the weekend and get the house back in order. Now that I am back at work full-time, I hardly have time for anything let alone keeping the house to my standards.

Every once in a while I will discuss this with Sam and tell him how unfair it is that the responsibility falls to me alone and that it seems the rest of the family's mission is to undo what I worked so hard to clean. He looks at me like I'm crazy and tells me that the house isn't even dirty when I clean it. Let me assure you that I have NEVER cleaned my house when it is clean. Never happened and never will. I might be a bit OCD but I am inherently lazy and would rather sit on the computer or read a book than clean the house. It's just that my brain won't function right knowing that the house is a mess. I make half-hearted attempts to get Sam to help and enlist the kids in their help but it never fails that about 30-45 minutes into the forced cleaning session they are all driving me crazy, are in my way and not doing anything right so I kick them all out. Go to DC to a museum or go to lunch but just go.

After some thought I have decided to get a cleaning service. I realize I have spent way too much of my kid's childhoods cleaning this or that while they ask me to come see this or that or take them to the park. So I came to the conclusion that it doesn't have to be me that cleans the house. Cleaning services are professionals with much more experience than me in this area so I can trust them to get the job done, right? I have pretty much convinced myself of this fact. Now I can spend more time on the weekends with my kids doing whatever we want to. My soul is a bit lighter today knowing that within the next few hours my house will be spotless. I won't go home tonight and look around at all of the cleaning I have to get done and wonder how much of my Saturday morning will be eaten up. It is a very liberating feeling.

Of course I won't mention the amount of time I spent cleaning up last night so the cleaning service won't think I am a complete slob. I really need therapy ; )


Amanda said...

good for you.

I think it's strange how even nowadays, old gender stereotypes can still die hard.

the weird thing is, my dad has always been the one to clean the most. He's a neat freak, and my mom doesn't care that much- so on the weekends, he always cleans. He always cooks too.

thewishfulwriter said...

uh oh. yer one of "those".

my mom was one too.

we always had to clean for the maid. I never understood that and never felt "damn it, Heather - do it because I told you to" was a good enough answer.

i'm more of the "sit in my own waste" kind. Sam and I would love each other. you and April would have an immaculate home.

my mother also used to make us clean the bathroom whenever we had company over. The sink and toilet I undrestood. She'd make us clean the bath tub too. I only asked "seriously? are your guests planning on taking a shower?" once....