Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chores and My Messy House!!

People who come to my house regularly tell me it is so clean. I am generally baffled by this, because in my eyes, it is regularly NOT CLEAN! In fact I cannot believe I live within these walls of filth most days.

My Dad was a vigilante about the house. He claims my Mom was the vigilante, BUT I was on the receiving end of his wrath not hers when it came to deciding whether my results were satisfactory (You might guess that my results were usually UN-satisfactory!) chore completion . So, I will stick with what I know!

If the laundry wasn't perfectly folded and creased crisply...
If the handkerchiefs weren't perfectly pressed into quarters...
If the baseboards were not vacuumed after you dragged out the furniture to vacuum the carpet underneath...
If the bed was not made to Navy standards (read bounce a quarter on it)...
If the bathroom floor wasn't fit to eat a meal on... 
If there was any portion of pristine white covered by any speck of dirt in the bathroom...
If your room showed any signs that an actual person resided in there...

You get the idea, yes??  Well if it wasn't perfect, it was done over... and over, and over and over -- usually while he was breathing down my neck yelling about getting it done right. Mind you, he moved out when I was 13, so all that pressure began very young. After he left the chore regimen was SIGNIFICANTLY less stringent.

When I moved out on my own, I kept my room clean. When I moved in with a roommate, I roomed with someone who was as clean freakish, if not more-so than I was. When I moved in with the man who eventually became the Hubster, I was impressed that his bachelor pad was neat and tidy, but I was scrubbing it down almost from the get-go.

We moved into our first house and I was a vigilante pressuring only myself, even though I had a 5 y.o. and was 5 months pregnant. Our house was on a 1/3 acre lot with A LOT of grass. The neighbors thought I was insane. I would go out after Hubster and daughter left in the morning and I would mow for 20 minutes the take a break for 20 minutes, repeated until the job was completed HOURS later. At which time I would go in and begin dinner. After dinner I would scrub down the kitchen, even if I only made something from a box.

When we had friends over, I cleaned the house from top to bottom for 3 days and up until 15 minutes before the guests were to arrive. After they left, if it wasn't the middle of the night I started over. If it was late I did the kitchen and then went to bed and spent the next 3 days cleaning up after our filthy heathen friends left. (Love you guys! lol! :-) Once I started I could not stop. We had our son in late July, and he liked to puke... EVERYWHERE! When he started sitting up in the bouncer he would smile at me while he spit up. When he started crawling, he left trails around the rooms. I thought I was going to DIE from the cleaning!

18 months later we had yet another spitting child, and I began to waver in my vigilance. I could not keep up. I would be in tears if I even thought about picking up a sponge. And so I learned to fake clean. I had very few items out to get dusty, so I could hold a baby in one arm and a dust rag in the other and zip through it. My son loved to vacuum and so I gave him the vacuum and set him to work on one side of a room while I did the other side. I decided to ignore base boards that were behind furniture and I stopped moving the furniture all the time. I picked one day a week to do laundry and that was the only chore I did that day.

I was lucky for a short while that we were financially flush enough to have a local woman come in to clean house. She was affordable and about as anal as I am! That was great, except I cleaned for the cleaning woman... EVERY TIME! I miss Kathy very much. She made things look easy, but I know it is always easier to do someone else's house because you are not attached.

In the here and now, there is no money for a house keeper. My kids are all old enough to have chores. They vacuum, dust, clean bathrooms, take out trash and recycling, and clean up their bedrooms. They are not very good at most of it, BUT I resigned myself to this a while back. If something is so badly done that I cannot stand it, I will go behind and fix it my way, BUT by and large they do a passable job. They hate their chores, as I did as a kid, and the drag their feet and grumble, however they have it easy. They just don't know it yet!

Do your kids do chores? What do they do? How well do they do them? Do you feel like you live in a sty, even as visitors tell you how nice and clean your home is? I often wonder about that phenomenon!


  1. i think i do a decent jobs cleaning the bathrooms thanks! lol. love you momma.

  2. Well, that is true... I was mostly referring to your siblings, but since I did not clarify, I can see where you might feel the need to speak up! =] You are becoming anal like your mother -- that is my sweet revenge! LOL! LOVE YOU BACK BABY! XOXOXO