I read the above article and was fascinated, a little envious, and mostly just slightly depressed. The writer contends that she doesn’t clean her house on a regular basis and is okay with it. She’s all zen about it, she’d rather read with her kids, walk in the apple orchard, hang out with her husband. And I’m with her, I’d rather do all that as well – but I’m nowhere near as relaxed and happy about it. I’m neurotic and irritated by a messy house. I feel as though it’s a personal failing on MY part when my house looks like three kids live here. When there are plastic cups and bowls scattered all over the floor by the cabinets because Julianna has been rearanging and the magnets are all off the fridge because Sam was doing something (what???) with them and then got distracted. When shoes are piled up in the closet and toast crumbs are on the table, when clean diapers are scattered across the floor because Julie recently figured out how to take them out of their drawer and deliver them to me.
I’m not relaxed about housecleaning. I’m guilty and stressed out and irritable about it. The first thing out of my mouth when people stop by is to apologize for the mess. I don’t know why – I don’t think mean thoughts when I go to someone’s house and it’s messy. If anything, I’m relieved that it’s not just me.
Because the facts are that I’m a crappy housekeeper. I don’t LIKE it, I don’t derive any real joy from cleaning, I just like the finished product. And even on my best day, my house is never as clean as it should be. I rarely, if ever, dust, I’ve only ever ironed that one time and didn’t enjoy it. My dishes are almost always done, and my clothes are almost always washed and dried (folded and put away, not so much). But beyond that – there’s always some sort of clutter or mess that shouldn’t be there…
I wish I was more relaxed about it, more at peace with the mess. It seems as though I should be either one or the other. Maniacally focused on cleanliness, driven to get rid of the dust and clutter or relaxed and laid back, not caring that my house is in shambles. Instead, I’m neither. I wish it was cleaner. I just don’t care enough about it to devote my life to it. Because I like my kids, I like my husband, I like my books and my crocheting and my life. I don’t want to clean.
Twenty years from now – my house’ll be spotless. And I’ll be lonely and wishing for the days when Julianna threw the plastic bowls all over the place, and Jessie’s art projects littered the table and I couldn’t walk without stepping on one of Sam’s little army guys.