Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughtful meanderings of cleanliness

So my last post has me thinking... why is it we have to portray perfection? Why is it we want our houses to be spotless when people come to visit, when that is really not who we are and really, whose family could live that way?

I have met people in my life who tried so hard to have the perfect facade that they neglected their children and their husbands and their entire lives. And for what? A clean house? What's the point if no one can see it but you because you are so busy cleaning you have no time to spend with anyone.

No, I am not that girl. I am the girl who remembers someone is coming to dinner tomorrow and spends the whole next day scrambling to get what someone might see clean and barking out orders to those I love. Sorry boys.

So back to my question... is it a learned behavior to want people to think that we are really that tidy and neat? Or is it more innate in our beings? And if we learned it, then was it our mothers who "taught" us? And hers that taught her and so on? I tend to think so.

I feel like somewhere along the lines we all got shafted when that lesson was taught. It makes us all strive for something we are not and while we know that we are not perfect, we all walk through each others homes and lives judging each other and our cleanliness as if we didn't know the true secret.

So in the spirit of being honest with myself and my friends, who I try not to judge but often fail miserably. Here is my laundry list:

~I am a piler, stacker and a hoarder- check any closet in my house
~I come from a long line of pilers, stackers and hoarders
~I judge those that are too clean
~I judge those that are too dirty
~I will buy into almost any organization tip or trend to "help" my junk collections
~The junk I own is pared down from what it was!
~I am very sentimental
~I can't help it
~I can help it
~I hate the pride I feel when someone comments on my house
~It feels like fraud

There, there you have it most of it. I am sure the wine in my blood is helping me to forget a few but you get the jist. Life is a work in progress but as it is such it is our jobs to continually try to do better.

And not just with cleaning our house!


Marlyn said...

You are too cute and too funny!

Okay, I will readily admit that ALL drawers and closets in my house are SCARY!!! But here is the thing, I clean my house for NO ONE but me. I need space, open and clean and fresh. Without, I am uncomfortable. Counters must be clear and clean. Floors, shined and unfettered. Beds made, towels hung. It's NOT for anybody to see -- it/is/me.

I clean the drawers and closets regularly as well. They are the slack takers. And they need relief. From time to time.

Jenni said...

Okay, okay, you're right! I'm a shallow fraud....

Heidi said...

I agree with Marlyn that I clean for me. I feel much happier, content and organized if my house is clean. However, when it is a mess and someone comes over I feel the need to apologize for the mess, as if acknowledging that I know it's a mess. If I'm doing it for me, I shouldn't be apologizing for the mess. If we are fessing hall closet just has stuff shoved in there and the pool is green and it is driving me nuts!

leslie said...

Hi-Just passing by. I have been following your story since before your angel was born. I have felt compelled to respond to this latest entry. :)

My sickness is much worse. I'm pretty tidy but it has slipped since having a baby. My illness isn't that my place may be cluttered. I am embarassed for people to see that I live in an apartment. How awful is that? I have not joined any mommy and me groups because I know the other Moms will have mortgages and I'm ashamed. That confession, too, was probably driven by the wine in my system, but I just had to get it out. What is wrong with me? Ugh. Oh well, at least I get to stay at home rather than working, right?

Jaimey said...

Leslie- Honey, Let it go! Sign up for those groups have fun and be confident in who you are! Just because someone has a mortgage doesn't mean they don't have problems. It just means they have a permanent bill that is often larger than they would like it to be! Let me tell you. I often cringe when I think of that giant bill and our lack of jobs... thanks for popping in and reading. Nice to "meet" you by the way!

eireann said...

i am such a piler. it drives my husband nuts. i try to be better because i really enjoy my house more when it is clean and uncluttered.

i think the cleaning frenzy (for me) is about courtesy and politeness to my guests. it's okay for me to deal with the clutter, because it's my clutter. it's okay for brian to live with it because he loves me anyways (so i tell myself!). but it's a little much to ask my guests to have to shove aside that pile of papers on the kitchen counter so they can find a place to set their water glass.

Geneva said...

I copied you and referenced you on my blog. If you want to see photos of MY filthy house, check it out...if you dare. ;) Thanks for sharing. You rock.

1snappyfamily said...


I LOVED this post! I think most women out there can relate to everything you said, in some way or another. I'm proud of you for confessing...because for me that's sometimes the hardest part. I do my frenzied clean up, because I truly want people to think that's how my house always looks! Because when I go to those same people's homes, they always look perfect. But maybe that's because they do the frenzied clean-up before I come over, as well.

Anyway, thanks for the inspiration!
Love you!