(and, yes, I realize this is coming from an extremely traditional place, where the women do much of the work in the home and the men put their feet up. But, seriously, there are very few, if any, homes I know where this isn't the arrangement. I am definitely in charge of the house and all of its functionings, whether I like it or not. (And, if I can be blunt (why stop now right?), sometimes I don't friggin' like it.)
Because, let's face it, it's not easy taking care of the house.
So, the way I see it is:
1. There are those of us who are not good housekeepers but stress about our messy homes.
2. And there are those of us who are not good housekeepers but we don't stress about our messy homes.
3. And there are those of us who are good housekeepers, because we're obsessed and anal, and keeping house is what we worry about and spend all our time doing.
And, okay... maybe, just maybe, there is a fourth woman. (but I seriously doubt it.)
The woman who keeps a nice tidy home while not stressing about it and not spending an infinite amount of time on it. But, if this woman exists, a) I haven't met her yet and b) I can guaranfuckingtee she doesn't have children.
(and, if I have somehow missed this awe-inspiring trait in one of my friends, please identify yourself to me immediately!! We need to bottle you for distribution pronto!)
I kinda vascillate between all these; the fluctuations likely a result of my hormones. (Which is my excuse for everything, you should know. And rightfully so.)
At different points throughout every month, I am all of these women.
I am most relaxed and happy, though, in a clean, tidy, organized and otherwise aesthetically pleasing environment. (That's the lovely Libra in me.) But I don't spend a lot of time cleaning. I find that there's more than enough daily-routine-and-maintenance crap that has to be attended to and that combined with the farm chores, there's no real time for cleaning. And I don't want to be one of the moms who spends her 2 hours taking care of the house while her kid's in preschool a few days a week. I use that time to make ME better, not my house. That's when I run.
However, I, like many, require a tidy and clean home when guests are coming over.
(Well, mostly clean.. except for cobwebs. I don't do cobwebs and I live in a lodge-style home with cathedral ceilings and a vast number of spiders. So, there are a lot of cobwebs up high in out-of-reach places, as my friend M pointed out to everybody at a girls night gathering a few weekends ago. Thanks M!)
So I long ago learned that having people over helps to maintain a tidy home. But this also creates a very neurotic and slightly homicidal mother...always trying to keep the house clean. It's a losing battle. And one that I often temporarily just give up on.
Until we are having guests once more, and I have to set about preparing the house.
Which was the case today because T.Rube was having a playdate with her best friend C. And C had never been over for a playdate alone before and her mom is a good friend of mine, so I wanted to make a good impression.
On a 4 year old.
When I started to contemplate that further last night as I prepared to clean the house, I realized I was fucking crazy. And that cleaning the house for a 4 year old playdate, where the mom wasn't even going to be here, was going beyond what was necessary. And bordering on anal. The house was not that bad. The floors could use a vacuum and the bathroom a quick wipe down, but otherwise things weren't bad.
But I went to T.Rube, who was awake but lying in bed and I said, "Soooooo.... when you were at C's house for your playdate, was C's room, like... clean?" To which T.Rube answered, "Well.... no. It's really messy. Like, not on the bed but on the floor, there's like toys everywhere and stuff."
And just as I was about to ask about the rest of the house. (because I would've.), T.Rube offered up, "But, the rest of the house is totally clean. There's nothing anywhere. There's like no toys anywhere."
I decided,though, to just retire to playing some guitar before bed, and settled on vacuuming and cleaning while the girls were playing the next day. That way C would report back to her mom that I spend my days cleaning the house. Which, somehow, in my little world, has become a desirable thing.
About a half hour into the playdate, C approaches me in the kitchen where I'm doing dishes and washing the million eggs that I wash everyday. (okay, of course it's not really a million, but it sure as fuck feels like it some days). And she politely and sweetly (like the darlin' girl she is!) says, "Ummm, J, your house is a bit messy."
I sighed and said, "yeahhhh, it kinda is a bit messy, isn't it. Probably not like your house. But, that's okay." And then, because I couldn't just leave it at that, said, "What is it that you notice as messy? What do you see? Like, if I were to start cleaning right now, where would you recommend I clean first?"
And she suggested I should probably vacuum the floor because there were little pine needles all around the front door area.
So, a bit defeated, I did.
And now my house is back to clean. Which may not be such a good thing.