Who needs a clean house anyway?


Relax and Enjoy!

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!


6 responses »

  1. You and your mother have the right attitude. My mother was a clean freak — our house was spotless. Every Saturday we had to get up and clean, and if the room we were cleaning wasn’t perfect, my mother made us do it again. There was a mid-week cleaning, too, which wasn’t as thorough, but all the bathrooms got cleaned twice a week (midweek and Weds.), and the floors were vacuumed, as well.

    While my parents read to us, I wouldn’t say they spent time relaxing with us. After dinner the dishes had to be cleaned immediately, as well as the stove, the counters, the floor, and the table. Then, if homework and chores were done, we could watch t.v. If not, homework first, then chores.

    I don’t remember our growing up as being fun or relaxed. Our house was spotless, and any person on any day of the week could walk in and eat off the floors, not that anyone did! The catch? My mother didn’t like unplanned visitors. If we had visitors, we had to clean before they came, anyway, so the house would have been cleaned just for them.

    Having the cleanest house out of all my friends isn’t the best memory to have. Having the types of memories you have are better. And really, if I were you I’d consider sneaking that dog in to take care of the crumbs . . . I bet the grandkids would love it!

  2. I forgot to add, I know how to clean quite well. I could probably do it professionally. But I don’t like to clean, and my house is always cluttered and a bit dirty in the corners, etc. Why? Because my mother made us clean, relentlessly. So I think whether your mom cleaned a lot or a little, in this day and age people aren’t so focused on a spotlessly clean house, and guess what? Kids do just fine w/ a little dust! Love is more important than spotless cleanliness.

  3. I guess you got your attitude on your mother’s side. For me in our house my father always instructing us to clean our home. He kept on saying these lines to us “Even though our home is small we won’t be afraid to accept visitors to come in our house cos it is very clean”. We used to divide the task to my other siblings. And living in a clean home is very happy and less of stressed.

  4. Just stumbled upon your blog – congrats on being freshly pressed!
    I love this post Katie you make me feel so much better about my guilty “lived in house”. I have 2 boys and a husband. Before we had the kids I would be a clean freak, basically thats the environment I was brought up in. We didn’t play – we cleaned at the weekend! Once I moved out I found I took the clean freak with me and tried to get my husband to do the same but he wasn’t having any of it. It would be the one thing we would argue about – my obessiveness for a clean house.

    Thankgod this went once i had my kids and went back to work full time. The kids have a busy social & sporting life as do I now so I really don’t have time to clean skirting boards and doors. We don’t have mice so thats as neat as it gets. I am too busy enjoying my children, my own social life and the dust and cobwebs can stay put! My children will certainly look back and remember playing with mum and dad in the evenings, going on days out at the weekends and living in a comfortable and happy home where we all loved each other.

    As a 36 year old I still get a hard time from my clean freak mother and sisters – but I have built fantastic memories for my kids to have and I am busy enjoying my life! I work hard all week so why not enjoy my spare time instead of doing something I was forced to do as a child and teen.

    Great post!!

  5. Julee – my mother was JUST like YOURS! Arg! We also cleaned the bathrooms twice a week and kept to a strict “cleaning schedule” – and the best part – my Mom started a cleaning service when I was in High School. But all the more power to her, may as well make money with your obsession.

    As an adult, I also rebel by slacking on the cleaning – no cleaning “schedule, wait to clean the dishes ‘the morning after’ if I feel like it, and wait to write my name on the TV screen before dusting.

    The end result? More time for the FUN STUFF!

    Katie, thank you, thank you for putting up this post.

  6. My Mom always tells us she can’t see the dirt, if she doesn’t put her glasses on. I don’t wear glasses (yet), but I am getting better at ignoring the dust and clutter. I enjoyed this post. Thank you!

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