14 April 2008

Home freakonomics

Cooking really doesn't bother me. I'm convinced enough of the importance of my spending some time actively engaged with the kids every day that I usually do it despite not liking it (evil enough for you?). But cleaning is barely on my radar screen. My husband hassles me about this regularly, and it's really mean, like teasing the girl with buck teeth about having buck teeth. I'm torn between my guilt and my conviction that as long as we don't have rats and owls and jackals it's really not that bad.

Here's what only I can appreciate: it's not as bad as it was. So there are still breakfast crumbs all over the table, but I cleared the counter! The bathtub ledge is hairy but what do you think happened to all those globs of toothpaste in the sink, huh? The office is a disaster but I hung up all the coats in the entryway and got the shoes out of sight. Anyone who was here an hour ago would think this place looked great now.

I would really love to have a beautiful house such that I didn't panic every time I see someone walking up the porch steps unexpectedly. The kids are a legitimate impediment to this, especially the baby. If I'm not carrying him around, I'm feeding him or bouncing him (that last one is how I get my blog on); I usually use his nap times to do stuff with the other kids. Then there's the task of just maintaining the baseline: everyone being fed, dressed, and groomed takes up a good chunk of my non-baby-holding time. But the pervasive problem is that I am totally unable to de-clutter. I just don't know what to do with stuff. I do my best and then have to settle for putting the rest into neat stacks, when I get to it at all. Entropy kicks in within minutes and the place is a mess again. I am a worm and no mom.


Liz said...

Have you ever thought of asking a jr. high/sr. high aged gal to come over after school and take the kids or do some basic house work for you? Consider an exchange of service (if you help me; then I will teach you to play the piano or whatever) or find a family who is part of the courtship movement and market yourself as a mentor.

Gauntlets said...

I clean to avoid spending time with the kids. You know those days when Dad comes home and asks, "So, kids, what did you do today?" and they answer, "Nothing," and he gives me that eyebrow? I can point to the vacuumed floor. How's that for evil?

I'm trying to be less wicked, though. I've got a plan! I'll let you know if it works out.

liz: I'm with you; communities should be helping each other out. Those who worry about their daughters getting into to trouble after school are welcome to send them to my house. I'll keep them nice and safe and teach them how to use pumice stones to magically remove those irritating rings in the toilet. I'm really, really nice like that.

Kelly said...

Oh the clutter. My problem is that I am a perfectionist clutterer. I want to get it gone, but I have a grand vision - and it seems that if I don't have the perfect storage bin, shelf paper, etc. etc., I put off decluttering until the magical time when I do. Which seems to be the 5th of never. Because I don't have everything on hand to make it perfect, I don't do it.

I am really frightened about what's going to happen to the cleanliness of this place when baby comes. I like to picture myself like one of those Amazon women slinging baby to and fro while I go about my daily chores, but ultimately, who knows what the reality will be.

There is some sort of website called "The FLY Lady" that is kind of like a Dave Ramsey makeover for cleaning and organizing your house. It would probably be a pretty good system, but they send out scads of emails every day, and this Flylady is always perky and chipper. Had to take out my giant swatter and unsubscribe myself from that one.

Rebekah said...

Liz, interesting idea. I've been thinking about my marketable skills:

1. Salad Tossing
2. Tuba Performance (BYOT)
3. Dog Paddling

I think there's a lot of potential here . . . :D

Kelly, I consult the Flylady occasionally but she's way too much of an overachiever to let in my inbox.

Gauntlets--PUMICE STONES?! It's like we don't even know each other any more.

Rebekah said...

Oh, and my husband wants me to tell everybody he's not really mean to me. Of course he isn't; if he really were it wouldn't be funny to put on my blog. Husbands these days, they're so sensitive.

utahrainbow said...

Yes, yes. With four children, the STUFF is times six, thus EVERYWHERE all the time, and I seem to be the only one who cares (and obviously I don't care that much either or maybe the place would look nicer, I don't know). I tried the Flylady too, but she is like hearing a cheerleader everyday, and the inspirational stuff brings out the rebel in me. So, I, too, comfort myself in that it used to be worse because I usually swish the toilet and clean out the toothpaste each day...and usually the dishes, and I mostly put a load in the washer because someone doesn't have socks/underwear, etc. A full basket of unfolded laundry is pretty much a permanent part of the decor in the living room. Life is lead in general messiness, but I've begun to look at it like family life in general. Messy, but home in that sinner/saint sort of way. Perhaps I've been broken in...until I freak out the next time because I feel buried by stuff, toys, and more stuff!

By the way, I've been lurking around reading your blog for the past two weeks, and enjoying it immensely. I found it doing a search about the Issues, etc debacle, amusingly enough, when you made that funny post a couple weeks back.

Rebekah said...

Oh no, don't tell Bring Back Issues Dude! Glad to have you here, utahrainbow. ;)

Gauntlets said...

LOL. All is made know at the proper time.

utahrainbow: I respect that basket of unfolded laundry. I have its relative in my living room and I like it just fine.

Reb. Mary said...

Kelly: I've been trying to explain to my husband for quite some time now that our house would be in much better shape if I weren't a perfectionist about it. The poor guy tries to devise systems to organize me, but I can always think of exceptions to his neat rules, and so the piles continue.

Rebekah: Your baby is still young enough that you shouldn't even be worrying about a clean house (at least I'm trying console myself thusly about our house nowadays).

Utahrainbow: I like the "simul" application to housework. Saint/sinner...Sparkly/Scummy...yeah. You're definitely on to something here.

Reb. Mary said...

I would also like to add that the mythically clean house DOES NOT EXIST. Remember, when you see others' homes, it's usually upon specific invitation--and they're likely to clean for expected guests, especially if it's the Parson or Frau Parson. (Because they are afraid that you, being Rev. and all that, have some freakishly high standard!) So really, we should think of a little bit of dust and clutter as actually making people feel more at home, both at our house and theirs. Eh?