To Clean or Not to Clean

I found myself in the ridiculous ritual of cleaning before a playdate. . . yeah, that’s right, cleaning for the seven year old boy who rode the bus home from school with my middle guy today. Honestly, I did find myself pondering, what is my real reason for doing this, because it certainly is not to impress the seven year old. (though loose lips do sink ships and seven year old lips are pretty loose) A recent post by a fellow blogging Mom at My Kind of Happy addresses the way we Moms tend to clean before having other Moms over, and how that then gives the visitor the impression that we must keep this pretense of clean house, good wife, good mom. I liked the message, because I don’t believe anyone should feel the need to change her appearance or appearance of her home to earn someone else’s approval. At the same time, I laughed at this personally, because, well, anyone who really knows me, knows I don’t really fall into that category of trying to earn people's approval. It just isn’t my thing. What you see is what you get. So, how to explain cleaning up before playdate with the seven year old??

You see, the fact is, I like my house clean (whoa don’t go anywhere, that doesn’t mean it is clean all the time). But I do, I like it to be clean and moreso I like it fairly clutter free, which means basically I become overwhelmed by the clutter and stuff that is three kids, now two of which who love to cut paper items into tiny pieces and leave scrap piles all over the house, the size you can’t just vacume either. I look longingly at the old photos with a new baby on a playmat in the middle of a clean room, shining floors, clean furniture, clean rug, no toys, no paper scraps, no . . .whoops, ahem, lost in a dream there for a minute.

Anyway, what I have come to realize is I need major motivation to clean or do household chores around here, and my own personal joy in a clean house just doesn’t cut it most days. Sooo. . .my husband knows this. Some times he will say, “Who can we invite to dinner this weekend?” He knows once I have a real deadline I will stop procrastinating and get it done. (He also knows I clean when I am angry, so has been known to razz me up just to get me moving. Grumble.)

You can see why teaching was a good career for me. Teachers are on a schedule, a deadline, you can’t just hang out and look at books all day, you must move on to math, or lunch, or phys. ed or something. And I could handle that. Imposed structure and deadlines agree with me.

One summer I actually bought a planner so I would be sure and have a certain number of actual activities planned, even if it was just “Go to Lake”, or “Take kids for a Hike”. I had found previous summers of lollygagging along and chillin’ with the kids was somewhat disasterous for the family harmony.

So back to “Why was I cleaning for the seven year old boy?” Well, it is also Friday, that is another motivator. Messy house when the weekend hits = crabby mama. And crabby mama= crabby boys, crabby girl, crabby husband. That is a big motivator too. The fact of the matter is I need that motivation in order to get things done. So if you come to my house and it is reasonably clean and uncluttered do not feel pressured to do the same. Just know that your pending arrival inspired me to kick it into gear. Think of yourself as a motivational visitor and know I thank you! I thank you for those few hours, or minutes of floors not covered from wall to wall in toys and paper scraps, the laundry that is now hiding in the basement near the washer so it may actually be washed soon, the freshly emptied dishwasher (so I could shove all the dishes in that were on the counter till 10 minutes before you arrived) I thank you. Also, know I respect you and your cleaning or uncleaning style, whatever works for you. I will not judge you on the cleanliness of your house. I visit you for you!

Best, A


Lisa W said...

This made me laugh. I also love my house clean and it can be a touchy subject when I have it clean just like I want it, and all of a sudden every one is home and poof clean house...is now gone. ugh!

mwr2sbr said...

Yep. I understand this perfectly. Sundays have always been my least favorite day of the week because come Sun all of the hard work that went into "prepping" the house on Friday is out the window and everyone is happily lounging around in the disasterous rumble that was my santuary and I am MISERABLE tripping over stuff in every room, overwhelmed by the sheer amount of SH*T that accumulates in two days with 5 people in a small house!UGH!!!! I too love to have a clean home, and struggle like the dickens to keep it that way. Creating much inner conflict and feelings of inadequacy. If I were rich, this problem would be lifted away like magic, having someone keep my house sounds heavenly. It truly does! ;)

Amy said...

Um. . .yeah. My Mom came over today--a mere 24 hours after I had every counter clean and shining and said, "Oh it was just a story"--Me "Mom it was clean yesterday, really"- :-) Floors are still a little clean though :)

Kim Muench said...

Enjoyed this piece Amy! I like a "clean" house as well...for me that means going over everything once a week, keeping clutter to an absolute minimum (which is not easy w/3 kids under our roof, hubby and 2 dogs as well. Suffice it to say "in depth" cleaning (like washing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees) happens every 3 months if I'm lucky. Sheets and bathrooms though...every week. We all have our standards and priorities;o) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Amy said...

You are very welcome! Thank you for reading! These struggles we Mom's face are so universal! :) A

laura o said...

That is so me!! I procrastinate until last minute to get things clean. Rich... That would be nice Maid...Ok I am awake now. I enjoy reading your blogs keep up the good work :)

Amy said...

Thanks for reading! Love to hear what others can relate to!