Thursday, September 25, 2008
First off, the title of this blog is much better than its content (as is largely the case with blogs in general), but if you read on, I hope you will find the content to be liberating.

I'll be the first to admit that my abode is a terrible, terrible mess. (Except for the nearly once a week I can do a pick-up.) I hate cleaning and tidying (tidying more than cleaning, but they are interrelated.) HATE IT! Perhaps more than I hate peanuts. It is tedious, boring, unfulfilling, and tedious, boring, and unfulfilling.

However, I'm starting to understand I am not the only one who lives like I do and I'm trying to liberate myself from the guilt associated with being a poor, unenthusiastic, unorganized housekeeper. It isn't that I don't care for my things and my home. It isn't that I don't appreciate a clean and tidy home, but the battle to keep it so is going to shorten my life. And I appreciate living more than a clean and tidy home.

In my defense, everyone has their thing and so do I. I can't stand dirty sheets. I love "Clean Sheet Night" so much that my sleep is substantially improved when I have clean sheets on the bed. (I am a life-long insomniac.) I can't stand plates and cups left overnight in the living room. (I'd rather them sit by the empty dishwasher!) I really hate dirty floors. Not so much the Cheerios and other dust-bustable food debris, but real sticky, gritty dirt.

Things I don't mind so much though include laundry hampers full of clothes (dirty or clean), dirty dishes in the sink, general clutter, and fingerprints on the TV screen.

For many people, these things could only be resolved by a divorce. Fortunately, I have a patient husband who doesn't necessarily agree with my point of view, but understands that there is more at stake here than just a clean and tidy home.

The funny thing is that before I had kids, I found it largely manageable. I had one room that was not safe to enter under any circumstances, but the rest of the house was tidy and clean. (Except for the occasional unloaded hamper and a disorganized closet or two.) Perhaps because I had a professional life that kept me out of the house which helped keep things tidy and kept my brain busy with other tasks. But when I had kids, I just gave up. Not immediately, mind you. Mostly after having my second child.

I realized that I couldn't possibly keep up so why bother. As I'm cleaning one room, my little tornadoes-Jack and Emma-would be uncleaning the room next door. I realized that there are so many other things I'd rather be doing that keeping up with the stuff I hate doing was killing me.

I'm also realizing that instead of feeling inadequate and guilty about my lack of motivation (and my desire to live a long, healthy life), I should put my self on the frontier of a new cultural revolution. Let's call it "Authentic Living". On my platform of "Authentic Living" I propose that we stand up against the oppression of housekeeping and judgemental living and be free. Free from the expectations of others. Free to maintain our lives the way we see fit. Free to live authentically.

Now I know this is pretty self-involved and selfish. I know that there are generations of proud, hardworking housekeepers behind me who did an excellent job with these things despite limitations such as mine and even despite being a reluctant warrior such as myself. But I do dedicate about 98% of my life to my two small children (the other 2% to Facebook) and I am a fairly busy person with volunteering and what little professional work I can do. The time I do have is precious. I don't want to part with it if I don't really have to. I'm also sure I could probably manage my time better, too, but that's a whole 'nother post. And, finally, as you can tell, I'm pretty insecure about it. Hence, this lengthy justification.

If cleaning floats your boat, great! My life would be much easier if it did mine. (Perhaps you can even give me some tips.) But don't clean and tidy at the expense of living. It's ok not to live in perfect households. Really. Clean and tidy should help you live a better life. Right now, my life is better without it.


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