Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Clean house = bad mom?

Informal a lazy and untidy person [Irish Gaelic slab mud]

Hi, my name is Krystal and I'm a slob.
Just ask my husband!
Really, even though it's true, somehow it smarts when it's brought to my attention. Like last night for example. The laundry has been piling up lately. Some of it was clean and folded and sitting in a basket waiting to be put away. Some of it was clean and unfolded in another basket. Some was clean and still in the dryer. Some of it was clean and wet and still in the washer and even more was dirty and waiting in the hampers.
I DO NOT know what my problem is when it comes to keeping the laundry done. It's like that crap crawls into the corners and multiplies itself when I'm not looking, and it becomes completely overwhelming.
Same with the dusting.
And the junk on the island counter in the kitchen.
And occasionally the dishes, but I pretty much do them every day, they just pile up very quickly because we are a family of 4 and I actually cook.
Honestly, even Logan has me pinned.
Case in point, I was frantically cleaning one day, and he looked at me and said, "Is Grandma coming over?"
A completely innocent question, and yes, my mom was on her way here.
And yes, it made me feel bad when he asked that.

But back to the laundry.

So, there are all these clothes--clean and dirty, wrinkly and folded--hanging out in various parts of the house and poor Hubby is getting frustrated because he can't find anything he needs. I head to the gym for a walk on the treadmill and get home and there he sits, folding laundry on the couch, with a rather unhappy look on his face. I tell him he doesn't have to do that.
Then he quietly utters five words.
"Someone has to do it."
They hit me like a slap in the face.
I mean, I KNOW I'm a slob. I KNOW I fall off the wagon again and again and again. I KNOW it's frustrating to him when he can't find his clothes
But still, somehow, when he says something like that, it hurts. It screams YOU ARE FAILING AT YOUR JOB!
After all, I'm a stay-at-home mom. Also known (on insurance forms and the like) "homemaker." My job is to stay at home, raise the kids and, well, make our house a home. Cooking, cleaning, etc. Women have been doing it for years and years.
So why do I find it so hard? I am trying to identify the root of my problem, but I just don't know what it could be.
I do know that once I get on a cleaning roll, I can get kind of crazy about it. And the ONLY WAY I can keep things clean is to clean constantly and obsessively, pretty much ignoring my children. I still haven't learned to take little steps to keep my place clean. Even if I try my hardest to clean up the dishes after every meal, somehow there are always more. I can wash and dry and put away all the laundry in a day and somehow, the next day, both hampers are full again.
I'm kind of at a loss, but I know I need to do something!
Anyway, I know my husband loves me, even though I'm a slob. He knew it before he married me. I think it just gets to him when it starts to affect him directly.
And if I'm going to lay it all out here, then yes, sure, of course I would love to live in a clean home. I get so much satisfaction out of having a clean house that I will repeatedly walk down the hall to look at the bathroom, for example, after it's been cleaned. I LOVE clean rooms. I love sparkling surfaces and floors you could eat from. I love the smell of a clean house. I like walking barefoot through the kitchen without particles sticking to my feet. (Oh, yeah, I DO sweep the kitchen floor pretty much every day, sometimes multiple times, but it does NO good whatsoever. Especially around the table!)
So, I don't know what else to do except vow to try harder to keep my house clean.
But then there are the kids.
I DO NOT KNOW how my grandmas raised seven and three kids, respectively, and managed to get everyone fed and dressed in clean clothes and everything else they did. I have a hard time managing with two. It seems like every time I start to do something, I am needed. And if I do by some modern miracle manage to get the house looking decent, it means I did not do anything with the kids all day because I was cleaning.
Somehow, there's a delicate balance in there that I'm missing.
Seriously, moms, HOW? How do you balance keeping everything neat and clean, serving good home-cooked meals, hauling everyone to their school and activities, gym time for yourself and spending quality time with your children?
WHAT is the secret?
If anyone has any tips, please, leave a comment. Let me know. Help a girl out!


Christina said...

I feel your pain. I just really try to take it one day at a time and do one area/day with a quick but thorough clean and then trying to pick up the main areas (namely kitchen) a bit more often since that's what you see more. Laundry - I'm NO help there! LOL

Sarah said...

Do you have a cleaning schedule?? I force myself to do one thing a day while my son sleeps. After a month I was just in the habit of doing certain chores on certain days.
Trust me, though, I force myself to do it...I just don't always want to be overwhelmed with chores/cleaning because I dislike it all so much!