The problem I’ve never solved

Sometimes I look around at our insanely messy house, at the dust on the bookshelves and the crushed goldfish crackers on the dining room floor and the small cars  lying underneath every piece of furniture, and I feel like curling up into the fetal position and gibbering like a crazy person.  I have not, in ten years of marriage and six years of motherhood, even come close to figuring out how to keep this place clean.  My grand housekeeping experiment of earlier this year came to nought, mostly because in our family of four, I am the only person who seems to care about keeping it clean.  (Could this be related to the fact that I am the only  female in the household?  I wonder.)

It is at times like these that I need a reminder like this:

“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”

So said the great Erma Bombeck.    She has a point, right?

Something to ponder.

6 Responses to The problem I’ve never solved

  1. I am highly inclined to agree… Housekeeping has never been my strong suit, never will be. When I made peace with that, a long time ago, I began to relax a little.

    Yet, I still think of a less cluttery house! It is just never *our* house!

  2. While my mom is big on cleanliness she has always said that the most important thing was that our house looked “lived-in.” She never strove to keep rooms like the living room so spotless that my brother and I couldn’t play there. And sometimes that meant legos on the coffee table and barbie dolls sitting on the couch.

  3. I struggle with this so much. I agree with Erma, but her advice only works if you as cleaning to satisfy someone else. I do not like cleaning at all, but disorganized and dirty spaces make me tense. I try to let it go, but recognize that when I do so, I feel a growing sense of tension whereas when I get things clean and organized, I feel needed peace. I haven’t yet found the solution to 1) setting needed priorities (in hich cleaning necessarily takes a back seat) and 2) living in a non-tension inducing space. Deep sigh as I feel your pain! :-)

  4. Love Erma’s take. But I’m also with Therese – too much dirt or clutter makes me cranky and tense. I finally hit the wall with my inability to keep the house in a reasonable state, and I recently hired someone to come in and clean for 4 hours. It was a huge mental hurdle for me to clear, and certainly a financial investment as well, but it literally made a huge difference. I am hoping to treat myself to this every so often – I had no idea how nice the house could look when it was dusted and mopped and windows washed! So it’s still a balance between letting go off the little things that really don’t matter (especially in a house with little boys!) and asking for help when I realize I need it.

  5. I feel so much better for reading all of your comments! I know that housecleaning is minor on the spectrum of world problems, but still … I like knowing that I’m not the only one who struggles with this.