by humanmama on June 23, 2011

To paraphrase an old friend, in the Midwest we clean our asses off all day and then when you arrive at our house, we say “Oh, don’t mind my house. It’s a mess.” That’s just what we do.

I once heard someone liken cleaning the house (ESPECIALLY for the stay-at-homer) to threading a necklace with no knot on the end. You spend all day with the beads and, just when you’re going to go to bed, you look back on your handiwork only to realize that there’s nothing there, you need to begin all over again the next day. This is the best analogy I’ve ever heard. I don’t like cleaning, at all, but I find that I do it all the time and even when I’m on vacation I begin the inevitable picking up and sorting out when I have down time. That is to say, I don’t like cleaning at all, but I love a clean house.

Growing up most of my family had a philosophy where the house is moderately messy until people come to visit, and then you pretty much throw the entire mess into some unused room (bedroom, den, basement) to be sorted through later. And usually, this method backfires because the pile is never gone through and you’re stuck wondering where your files for your 1977 taxes went. (The really exciting part is that when you move, you find some really valuable things, like savings bonds, and old photos, and baseball cards, and your 1977 taxes.) I didn’t mind that method as much when I had a spare bedroom, but now, since we utilize all three of our bedrooms, there’s really no place to put anything and it ends up having to be gone through. At 1am. The night before the visitors are supposed to show up. I wish I could be more together, but I’m telling you, it’s in my genes.

Actually, I’ve gotten pretty OCD about cleaning since I had kids. It’s just one more thing on the list, and I’m always looking for ways to simplify, but it’s just what I do all. day. long. And it gets so tiring. And it never stops. But it’s just what I do. I’m always thinking, Helena just watched one hour of a movie and I’m not even sitting with her enjoying the time because I’m hoping I will get these chores done before it’s over. Or Lilly naps for two hours. Maybe I can get the whole downstairs clean by the time she wakes up. It’s a miracle I garden, or even find time to procreate, with the amount of cleaning around here. I try to tone it down but have possibly been caught cleaning out someone else’s bathroom sink on occasion, when there was a sponge lying around. It’s like a bad addiction. And it is a bad addiction. Because addictions are supposed to be fun, right?

If I were to become extremely rich and famous, my first two splurges for me would be a cook and a cleaning person. I mean, those are the two worst things, right? If you had someone cooking and cleaning for you the only two things left would be to have a fantastic time playing with your kids and–what?–maybe develop a hobby? If I had all the time that I spend cleaning this house back, I am sure I would live well into my nineties, maybe even past one hundred. As it is, I’ll probably suffer a stroke on my knees, wiping up stray hairs and pee droplets from behind a toilet somewhere.

Pray that it’s at my home and not at someone else’s. Yikes.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana June 24, 2011 at 7:12 am

I always think about the beads on a necklace analogy ever since you mentioned it to me — especially in the summer when I think, “Oh, I’ll catch up now!” Right. Now I just try to clean while we live in the house all day, (translation: kids tear it apart all day) instead of leaving it for the day and coming home to the mess we left.

This winter we finally decided to hire someone to clean every other week for three hours — I found that with working full time, I was ornery on weekends when I was trying to get everything else done. It WAS heavenly. Even Tim said it was a great investment (in our marriage, too!) Now that it’s summer we’re taking a break until fall, but I really miss that feeling of coming home to a sparkling house (that I didn’t have to clean)!


aj June 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

a GREAT investment!


Erin June 24, 2011 at 9:59 am

I’m with you…if I ever come into some BIG money I am also immediately hiring a cleaning and cooking crew!


Holly June 24, 2011 at 10:07 am

I just paid someone to clean the house, and someone else to do the laundry. It cost less than $150, and it made me feel like a millionare. I am giving this as a gift to all my mom friends from here on out. There is seriously nothing better.


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