I’m sitting here looking at the dirty living room (most of which was left by my grandchildren) and the dusty furniture and even the room in which I am sitting which is still cluttered with things that need put away after moving in about a year ago – and I’m wondering to myself why I don’t feel the urge to get up and clean it all? Why am I content to sit here and type away and write about it, but do nothing about it. I’m not a lazy person – I worked full-time while raising four children with my husband. We worked opposite shifts so we wouldn’t have to pay for childcare — so we were basically single parents the first 14 years of our marriage – so I know how to get things done – otherwise my children would still be in diapers (which would be awkward since they are all in their 20’s). I can clean quite well when pushed to it by being utterly bored or if there is someone coming over I want to impress (which I’m rarely bored because I love to read and there really isn’t anyone I think is worth impressing – if they are impressed by my housekeeping skills, then they have some serious problems which need to be examined with a psychotherapist!).
My mother wasn’t a super housekeeper. She worked three jobs to support us and at the end of the day, she did just enough to keep mice, vermin and social services out of our house. We didn’t suffer for it – and our house was never dirty – it was basically cluttered. My mother’s solution to spruce up a room was to paint – not paint a picture – but paint the walls! She was a heavy smoker and whenever she felt the room had gotten a little dingy, we simply bought a can of paint and went to work. When you have five daughters and four walls — things go pretty darn quickly! The greatest invention as far as my mother was concerned was wrinkle-free permapress. Think about it — 5 little girls, lots of pleated skirts and frilly blouses – and lots of ironing! Usually by the time it got ironed, we had all outgrown the item – so what was the point! The dishes were always done – eventually – it could be the next day if she didn’t beat us at cribbage right way – but they were eventually done. There were always clean clothes — and most important — all of us were clean! So – I think Mom had it right — at the end of the day, it is better to sit and enjoy your family than spend what little free time you have doing housework!
I’m afraid I adopted my mom’s attitude — housework is very low on my list of priorities — even now when my children are grown. When they were little, it was more important to help them with homework, read their favorite books, watch a TV show with them and just relax and enjoy their company. As they got older, it was more important to go to their sporting events, band concerts and plays – and just relax and enjoy their company. And now that they are out of the house – it is more important to just relax and enjoy the company of my husband – and occasionally a child or grandchild when the stop by for a visit.
I really don’t care about the mess. It’s not dirty – it’s just cluttered. There are few crumbs on the floor and if we get a new dog, that will handle that problem – just kidding — we can’t have a dog in this apartment – so I will have to vacuum occasionally. Dust? I’ll teach the kids how to write their letters in it! Dishes? Well, those I will have to do occasionally but now I have an automatic dishwasher instead of a dishwasher named Pat — so I can spend more time just relaxing and enjoying his company!
Basically — as my mother loved to quote an unknown source – no tombstone ever read – ‘I wish had cleaned my house better’. I think it’s a pretty good motto by which to live my life – and just relax and enjoy the company!