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Saturday, March 8, 2014

I Hate Housework

NOT my room.
My mother kept an impeccably clean house.  I guess that's to be expected, since before becoming a nurse, she cleaned houses for a living.  My father was just as fussy about cleanliness.

I, on the other hand, was born a slob.  I think it's a good thing my parents only had one child;  if they had had more children like me, their clean and tidy lives would have soon become absolute mayhem.  My mother was constantly after me to clean my room.  She threatened to declare it a disaster area with an enter-at-your-own-risk sign, many times.  But that didn't work.  I rarely if ever made my bed.  My clothes were consistently strewn anywhere I took them off, especially socks.  When I was about ten years old, my parents bought me a new desk and dresser for my room and my mother lovingly painted them.  Then, with pencil, she wrote on the edge of each dresser drawer what it would be used for; "socks, underwear", "shirts", "pants", etc.

Much to her disappointment, that didn't work either.  The pencil marks wore off and I was always going to be a slob.

I lived on my own for several years before I got married.  Heaven!  No one to tell me to clean my room or to do the dishes or vacuum, or anything!  I made slobdom an art.  There is no such word as slobdom, according to spell check.  But I know it exists because I lived it.

I could easily have married someone who was impeccably clean like my parents; a marriage that would have lasted maybe a month.  Instead I married someone who was pretty much like me, thank goodness.  We were not hoarders, nor did our living quarters invite rats.  But we certainly weren't vacuuming every second day.

Something was happening to me, though.  I started to get tired of the mess.  And I had two children. Not only did I start to feel guilty about a messy house, but the work to keep it clean began to grow.  And I got angrier.  My daughters learned to stay away from me when I was in a housecleaning fury.  In fact, all of my family would disappear when I got like that.  Eventually, I learned to clean house when they weren't around because I really hated seeing them all sit there and do nothing while I did everything. EVERYTHING *** **** it!  I found myself exactly like my mother (surprise!) pestering my children to clean their rooms, to put away their dishes;  our favourite line to throw at them was "when you're finished play, put it away!"  They could repeat that rhyme with gleeful little smiles, but they rarely actually acted upon it. That's when it struck me.

Did I somehow psychologically realize at a very early age that I would eventually be in the same position as my mother?  Did this give me an excuse to be a slob in my early years because I was going to have to be the resentful house cleaner later?  I think there's something to that.

I can't tell you how many times over the years I tried to schedule my cleaning around everything else. Well, I could clean on weekends, but aren't weekends for relaxing a little after a long week of work? That wouldn't last long.  When I started working from home, I thought "Perfect, now I can put time aside every day to clean."  That didn't work either.   I've discovered every excuse in the book NOT to clean.

  • The garden needs weeding (I much prefer gardening to cleaning)
  • I slept in and I can't possibly start cleaning in the AFTERNOON
  • I need to go shopping.  For that new top.
  • I have to go out tonight and I don't want to exhaust myself
  • There's always next week

For those of you stricken with a similar malady, please add your excuses to the list. I'm 56 years old and I'm still nowhere near the housecleaning busy bee that my mother or father was.  The only real impetus to clean like crazy is when we have company coming.  Heaven help me if my friends see how we REALLY live. And you can't have a dirty house when the dishwasher repair guy comes.  What will he think?

I've even heard of people who will clean the house in anticipation of their housekeeper coming to clean. Well, outside of the jealousy I feel that they even have a housekeeper, I understand completely. You don't really want them to know, do you?  What a pig you are, that is.   There, that felt better.

Over the years I've put a name to this sickness:  "chronic chore disease". And apparently, I'm not alone. This disease affects two in every three of us.  Okay I made that up.  Research has shown that the only known treatment for this affliction is to clean.  But the affects wear off for about a week before symptoms arise again.  We need more funding to find a cure.  Please send all cheques to me.

Today, I have a new excuse.  I have a cold, thank goodness.
IJ

(By the way, that picture above is not my room.  It's NOT.)