To know me is to know that I loathe housework. As in, I’d rather do pretty much anything instead of clean or do laundry or cook or basically do anything pertaining to keeping my house in order. I’m not a neat freak by nature (despite years of my father trying to turn me into one) and keeping my house clean takes work. Work that I’d rather not do. Because I feel that my energy is better spent reading or playing with my dogs or hunting the mouse that’s moved into my house and is currently taunting me with his Houdini-like escape escapades.
Pretty much anything but domestic work.
However, it has to get done. I can’t afford to hire staff (believe me, I’ve looked into it) so that leaves only me to do all the work. An in addition to the fact that I not only can’t stand it, I’m not very good at it either. You should have seen the fight I had with my vacuum a few weeks ago.
Long story short, the vacuum won and I spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch.
But my house (and my child. Let’s not forget about her) needs to be clean. And I often have to take a moment to remind myself of the reasons why I have to get it done.
I’ve talked before about how my anxiety levels rise when I’m surrounded by clutter. Something about seeing the mess and chaos causes my mind to start thinking that way, too. Then depression starts to set in and it gets even uglier and I’m unproductive and sad and it’s just unpleasant for everyone around me. So, to ward it off, I organize and clean the areas of the house I’m in the most daily (kitchen, living room, my office) and at least once a week, I go through the bedrooms and the bathrooms. I don’t like it but the feeling of calm that I get when I’m done is worth the effort.
You know how I live in the country now? And you know how when you live in the country you have to contend with bugs and rodents and spiders and all kinds of disgusting things that are attracted to dirt and garbage? Well, I dislike rodents and spiders more than I dislike cleaning so I do my best to keep things as tidy as possible to prevent those fuckers from seizing control of my house (you know the mouse I mentioned earlier? We might be locked in a battle but I will prevail). Cleaning is probably the cheapest form of pest control there is. So I’m all for it.
My daughter did not ask to be here. As such, I have a responsibility to provide her with a clean home and clean clothes on a daily basis. I couldn’t live with myself if she came home from school to a dirty, hoarder-like environment and went to school with smelly, stained, and filthy clothes. Whenever I don’t feel like doing her laundry or vacuuming her room, I think of the part in Big Daddy where Julian’s teacher tells Sonny that Julian is the smelly kid in class. I don’t want that. So, I force myself to do the chores I need to do to prevent that from happening (and I don’t just newspaper to clean things up). Also, it sets a good example for her that this is how you maintain a house (note: my husband helps, too. I’m not the only one who cleans. For instance, he cleans the bathrooms. But that is born from an argument we had 13 years ago and I’m really, really stubborn).
Please don’t be mistaken that I live in a house that’s at the cleanliness level of say, a hospital or museum. It’s not that clean. I mean, compared to a number of houses I’ve been in as a probation officer, it’s immaculate, but in reality, it’s just your average house of average cleanliness. But it works for me.
And that’s what’s really important.