If you haven’t guessed by now, I could be described as neurotic (in the most lovable way, hopefully). I have actually been diagnosed with depression, but it’s quite well-managed. I’ve always been high strung and a card carrying member of the type A personality club. I was an overachiever throughout my schooling and I hold myself to a very high standard. Cleaning may be the area where I fall short though.
I’ll start by saying that I hate cleaning! My mom is a sweet, dear woman who in most respects was the best mom ever, but she spoiled me in the sense that she did everything for me. She worked a highly professional, demanding job, yet still kept a very clean, well-functioning home. And she did pretty much all the daily work, so my dad and I were able to indulge in our couch potato nature. At the time, I loved it, but now that I have my own home to maintain, I feel like I would be much better at the upkeep had I had to do more chores as a child. So part of the reason I hate cleaning is that I’m lazy!
The other reason I hate cleaning is because it doesn’t stay clean!!!! And it’s never clean enough. If I really let my freak flag fly and turn into my pseudo-OCD self, cleaning just might drive me crazy. If I actually managed to get every square millimeter of space cleaned (i.e., not a speck of dirt in the whole house), it would just get dirty again within seconds. Actually, by the time I got done cleaning that last millimeter of space, I’m sure my starting point would already be collecting dust. So my compromise, the only way I can keep myself from getting overwhelmed by cleaning, is to let it go. My idea of “letting it go” is to clean the (almost) bare minimum. Basically, I keep the house from looking like a pig sty (most of the time) and I clean the bathrooms, kitchen, dust, and vaccuum on a biweekly basis. The biweekly thing is actually fairly new and it used to be more of a “when I can’t take it anymore” or “we’re having company” kind of thing. As it stands now, I’m confident that when we have kids no one would take a look at our house and call social services, but I certainly don’t earn a gold star for cleaning.
Cleaning is something that stresses me out though when I think about the future and having kids. I’m always tired after work, so cleaning is usually the last thing I want to do. Instead I devote time (sometimes several hours) to it on the weekend. But when we have kids, especially once my mat leave is over, I’m going to want to spend my weekends playing with them and going on excursions. So when will I find the time?! Or energy for that matter, as I seem plagued by fatigue. Also, I picture them crawling around on the floor and I get to thinking about how I’ll need to keep it extra clean. I have these grand ideas of how I’ll be super scheduled with my cleaning when I’m on mat leave, but from the stories I hear from friends, I’ll be lucky to get out of my PJs. Also, I think about how as the kids age, they can help out more and more. I truly hope I do put them to work, for my sake and for their own, but I have such a hard time asking J to pitch in (i.e., I usually just do it myself to avoid becoming the nagging wife), I worry that I’ll just do for them as my mother did for me.
At the end of the day, striving for perfection is an unattainable goal and I expect that motherhood will make that all the more certain for me. I figure something’s gotta give and for me it just might be having the cleanest of homes.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
– The Beatles