Sunday, May 31, 2009

Housekeeping

One of my favorite Erin quotes of late was one day as she was watching her second hour of TV before school, she turns to me and says "Mommy, do you think you could clean up a little while I'm at school?"

It still cracks me up that she said that. What this really means is 1) she isn't going to do anything about the mess (obviously it's my job-and one that should be conveniently done while she's not there) and 2) I'm not doing a very good job of it because she needs to remind me to do it.

I am going to be honest about my housekeeping skills; I am not great. Sure, I had school as a crutch. Of course my house wasn't clean then. But now... what's the excuse? She was right, I should clean up a little once and a while. In all reality, I do clean up a little. I actually clean up a lot. It feels like I am always cleaning up and it never matters (like stringing beads onto a string with no knot on the end of it). Like today, I already cleaned the whole kitchen, loaded the dishwasher, swept the floor, wiped everything off, made cupcakes and dinner and guess what? I am back to where I started. Dishes are still on the table, crumbs are on the floor and spaghetti is drying on various surfaces that Marissa artistically flung off her high chair.

Every couple of days I get the urge to really clean, to de-junk, to organize everything, to be a good mom. That lasts until the baby wakes up or I have to break up yet another lame fight or until I feel it's time for my nap again (I've always been good at sleeping). Why can't I just be a clean freak? Can this be learned? Honestly, I admire you clean people a lot. It's not that I don't like it clean, it's just not my natural inclination to constantly clean up.

Some days I just have no motivation. The other day I drove Erin to school (you know, a public place) and then looked in the rear view mirror to see myself: un-showered, no make-up, hair completely disheveled, over-sized shirt I'd worn to bed the night before--and it was 11:00 am! I had to wonder how I had let myself sink to such a state. Years ago I would have NEVER gone a day without putting on at least mascara let alone taking a shower. But ever so slowly another good habit has gone by the wayside (rest assured, I haven't dropped teeth brushing quite yet... or deodorant). All right, I'm painting myself as some loser housewife, but I find it hard to rationalize getting all ready when my main objective for the day is to beat my child in Memory. Looking that way at home? Fine. But how has it become acceptable for me to waltz into Target as long as I've brushed my teeth and put on a bra? I don't speak to anyone, and never make eye contact... that's okay, right? Well, probably not, especially since those are the days you inevitably run into someone you know.

And it's probably not okay that my house is so bad that my preschooler is nagging me over it. Last conference there was a talk given about making our homes more like Temples. This struck me as something I need to do, and I have been trying. This is what I want and will continue to strive for, if nothing else to fulfill Erin's request. I guess I'm just in a funk right now and needed to get this off my chest.

8 comments:

Heather said...

oh laura - i had to laugh... only because i had a week like this. i burst into tears when i walked into my kitchen and saw all the clutter on the floor and counters and dishes and popsicle stained shirts.

putting beads on a string without a knot is the perfect analogy of housekeeping with young children around. every room in my house screams 'tidy me' when i walk into it. and we tidy every day. sigh...

i soooo hear you and don't think you're a lousy housewife. i wonder what my neighbors think of me walking to the bus stop at 12:30 without having showered. sigh again...

i think i've decided that it just takes oodles of energy to get anything - even the basics like meals and life stuff - done as a mom.

ok - sorry this is so long. i did my blah-blah whining post here.

http://sunnyside1976.blogspot.com/2009/05/sinking.htm

Keep a goin'! Oh - and another thing is that even when I do teach my kids to do their chores and clean, I feel like I've spent all my energy just encouraging or teaching them how to do it, so there isn't much left to do my own chores. sigh again...

just keep swimming...

Heather said...

oh - that was way too long.. oops!

HeatherIsHere said...

I'm glad Erin helps keep it real around there. So what was your answer?

My "solution" to the beads on a string... I clean once. Before Darron gets home so it "counts". And when your kids get a little older, they actually will be able to help. One of my biggest satisfactory joys is that I can tell Hinckley to scrub the toilets and he can. And does. And LIKES IT! Woohoo!

Anica said...

As a neat freak you would think I would tell you some secret to keeping your house clean. Instead, I'm going to tell you that cleaning is not the most important thing in the world. If you don't get to it, don't care. If you get to it, enjoy it. Life is too short. Take an imaginary spoon and start scooping things off your plate.

Lisa said...

I really like the 'beads on a string' analogy too. I've always described it as 'mopping up Niagra Falls'. Either way, it feels completely futile. Oh well!

That is too funny what Erin said. I was once baby-sitting a boy who said "Why don't you clean up your house?". Sigh.

Brian and Callie said...

Oh Laura I had to laugh. That Erin is such a hoot! Cleaning the house is something that nobody wants to do--and if someone tells you they love it they are totally lying.

Cheryl said...

Maybe Erin can be the clean freak of the family.

Well, If you want to practice, you can come clean my house... Chances are it won't get messy quite as quickly and you can actually see your accomplishment.

Actually, I notice the same beads on a string thing here to a slightly lesser degree, and I don't even have kids around. What's wrong with that picture?

Alan Daniels Family said...

You wear a bra in public? That sounds pretty together to me! Forget makeup and showers, that bra thing is a struggle. Shoes, that one is hard too. I have had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that flip flops aren't appropriate church attire. Besides you haven't let yourself slip too bad. I looked at a picture that was taken of my profile yesterday and I had to do a double take. Then some re-assuring myself that indeed I am NOT pregnant, just a little chubby. I commend you for the fact that you care enough to worry what you look like. Apparently I gave up on that the day I got married! Poor Alan!