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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cleaning....is it really necessary?

Let me start by saying that I grew up in an IMMACULATE home....you could eat off the floors at any given moment and there was never any clutter anywhere!  I never thought about it, it's just the way it was.  If I'm being honest I never cared.  Probably because I wasn't the one doing the cleaning.  I also remember that whenever I was given a chore to do (rarely) my mother always redid it.  That was the beginning of my self-esteem issues and the fact that I often feel like nothing I do is ever good enough.  I also felt like a clean house was too important to my mother.  I remember asking her if we could do something and it would always be prefaced by I have to vacuum first or whatever chore had to be accomplished.  I promised myself that when I had children I would never do that.  And I didn't.  I went a bit too the opposite side and my house was often messy when they were little, but I could not put the emphasis on cleaning that my mother had.

I may sound like I'm judging here, and that's not my intent, but I feel like people who obsess over how clean their homes are could be avoiding dealing with things beyond their control.  Cleaning the bathroom is something you can control, you don't have to think about it.  It's matter of fact.  And it makes you feel good about yourself---I always feel better when the house is clean.  However, dealing with my daughter's issue with the class bully is not as cut and dry.  Sometimes, I'd rather throw myself into cleaning the baseboards then deal with the emotions and feelings of my teenager--because I can't fix that and tie it into a nice clean package.  It's messy, and exhausting and doesn't always wind up the way I want.  However, the dirt will be there tomorrow and my kids will not always be!  The vacuum will not remember the bonding time we shared---my kids will!

The other day I overheard a conversation between two women bragging over how much they clean, I have a friend that will have a 20 minute conversation with you about how she washed her walls...BOOOORRRRRIIINNNG!  People pride themselves on how sparking clean their home is, but is there any fun going on there?  Do people feel comfortable there?  Do you clean the dishes off the table immediately instead of sitting and enjoying after dinner conversation?  Is having a spotless sliding glass door more important than playing a game of Sorry with your 8 year old?  Are you too tired at the end of the day to bake some cookies with your preschooler?  What's wrong with this picture?  Don't get me wrong I am not advocating a filthy house by any means!  My house is clean, a bit messy I'll give you, but it's clean.  Is it perfection or pristine?  Absolutely not!  But guess what...who cares?  Tomorrow is another day and there will always be more dirt and mess and streaks to take care of.  But your 4 year old will only be 4 for a short time.  My 10 year old daughter will not always want to play a game or make bracelets or bake cookies with me, my 15 year old will not always want spend time watching a movie with me or talk to me about what's going on in his world, and I am completely blessed that when he comes home from college my 20 year old will spend 3 hours talking to me about everything under the sun---these moments are fleeting! Think about that the next time you tell your kids "as soon as I finish (fill in the blank)...."
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