Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm Missing the Clean Gene

The secrets to a tidy house are:

1. Set a cleaning schedule. Tackle one room each day.
2. Follow your children around all day with a DustBuster
3. Disable your Facebook account.

Ah, screw it, who am I kidding? I hate to clean. It's the most unsatisfying and counterproductive activity. If you're reading this blog looking for cleaning advice then you should probably log off now and waltz with your Swiffer.

Don't get me wrong, I really love walking into houses where there is no clutter in sight. So neat, tidy, almost museum-like. The kitchen counters are bare. The toy room has built in storage containers where everything is neatly organized and tucked away, as if there are no children actually living in the house.

But then I wonder, where the hell are they hiding all the dead bodies? They must have crap like me but where is it? This makes me very suspicious! And how do you function in a kitchen without a coffee pot or toaster in sight? It's all unsettling to me!

I know people who spend the better part of the weekend scrubbing their bathroom tile and vacuuming their garages (no lie). Honestly, if you vacuum your garage monthly, and there's nothing in your garage, then you have clearly run out of things to clean and should re-examine your priorities in life.

For me, cooking is so much more gratifying. At least when you roast a chicken you can plop it in the middle of the table for your peeps to enjoy. There is laughter and conversation. But if your time is spent in a threesome with Tilex, rubber gloves, and a sponge then well, where's the joy? After the tub is cleaned, do you invite your company over so you can all sit around the tub with a glass of Pinot, admiring your reflections in the chrome?


I think the clean gene skipped a generation. My mother cleaned the house every Saturday like clockwork so I can't blame her . Grampa Rico was a bit of a pack rat so I'm guessing I inherited my dishoarder from him. Unless we are having company, I will let things go for a while until the dust bunnies are back-talking. Now granted, we don't live like pigs and I do keep the important stuff clean. But battling the clutter, paper, toys, and stickers is a never ending battle, one that I feel like I'm always losing.

I am a bad mother. Or am I the BEST mother? I let the kids paint, do crafts, etc on the kitchen table. I don't banish them to the basement for these things. So there is always paper paper everywhere! They love to be creative just about anywhere in the house. And as much as I know we should limit where they do projects, well...I'm just not that strict. There are battles to be picked and for me, this is not one of them.

I heard recently that a cluttered brain makes for a cluttered house. If you've been reading this blog over the last year, you have probably deduced that I do have a lot of strange thoughts running rampant. I foolishly thought that writing a blog would help clear out the cob webs in my house and my head. Not so much. My brain is still swirling like a tornado and certain corners of my house look like they've been hit by one. There goes that theory.

I do wonder about kids who grow up living in the museum houses. Do they feel confined? Are they ever allowed to make a mess? Do they rebel later on in life like the kid who is raised a vegan and then in college he goes hog wild on Big Macs daily?

I don't think it's healthy growing up in a sterile, stark home. Nor do I think it's healthy to grow up in squalor. I really just want to find a happy medium. I want to like to clean, even just a little to get me by. I want to be neater and more organized. But I also want our home to feel and look like people live here, eat here, and play here.

So, looking back now at the beginning of my blog, I should at least follow #1. I don't own a Dustbuster and disabling FB is not happening. Perhaps every time I get the FB urge, I clean something? I come!

ps. Please share your thoughts below. Looking to hear from the clean, and not so clean : )



I totally agree with you that "balance" is the key to winning the "clean v. lived-in battle."

Anonymous said...

Spending time with your kids is far more important than having a sterile house. Screw the cleaning and have fun with them. You'll never regret it... Believe me.

Amy said...

I am with you, Becky.
Arts, crafts, crayons, pictures, games, and legos are all a part of our kitchen/living areas as well as "art" that covers my doors and windows throughout the house. The kids love to see their artwork and know it is worth putting up.

I also like to be organized and have a place for (nearly) everything (even in the kids' playroom & bedroom). I make good attempts every month or so to put things back where they belong ... and gradually as they are played with and used they are out & about. I can live with the piles and the papers for quite a while and then the get on a purge kick and it's clean for a day or two.

My important stuff is clean - bathrooms 1/ week, counters lysol'ed daily, laundry washed & folded (though not always put away...), and the animals fed & cleaned (human and non-human). I don't fret about the small stuff --- I'd rather spend time with the kids, my photography, surfing FB ... or reading or exercising...

:) amy

Ginny said...

Don't worry about the absent Missing Clean Gene.. Enjoy the time with your kiddies. Don't under estimate your cleaning skills. Your house is lived in (the way it should be) but never dirty.

Becky's Big Bytes said...

Thanks everyone! I think my biggest obstacle is keeping things organized, and not so much "clean". I think you all know what I mean : )


I conked out last night with my 9 mo old, so I didn't finish cleaning the kitchen until I woke up around 4 AM. Now my daughter's toys are clean and ready to go... and by go, I mean, on to the floor as she experiments with gravity while sitting in her high chair!