Tuesday, December 16

Is It Just Me...




…or do we care less about housework as we get older and more involved in the things that truly interest us...like writing? Once upon a time, Mondays and Tuesdays were housecleaning days at my home. I worked my rather round ass off scrubbing floors and bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, doing laundry…the list was truly two full days of cleaning. And at least twice a year, everything got removed from my kitchen cupboards and my china hutch and was washed and put back away, all shiny clean. I reorganized closets at least four times a year, washed windows every spring and fall, and even got dust bunnies out from under the shelves in the garage.

But things have changed. In the last few years, scrubbing the corners of the kitchen floor with a toothbrush seems way less urgent than writing just another few pages on the work in progress. Dishes have been known to sit in my sink from breakfast until after lunch, and horror of all horrors, I confess–I haven’t cleaned my oven since July. Often a whole day will go by before I make the bed–yes, I’ve actually made the bed at five p.m. on more than one occasion. I know, at that point, why bother?

What happened to all that dedication? Well, frankly, once I started writing, it went the way of weekly meal plans, fresh baked bread, a vegetable garden, and all the other wifely ways I once took such pride in. I’m not dissing those things–not at all! I feel guilty that I’m not the perfect housekeeper I used to be. But not all that guilty because I’d rather write than clean out cupboards, and I prefer editing to lying on the garage floor on my belly, brooming out dust and leaves.

And here’s the best news: No lightening bolt comes down to strike you dead if there’s dust on the good crystal wine glasses. Hell, they clean up just as easily if you wash them right before you need them as they do when you take them out and wash them two times a year. The housekeeping sheriff doesn’t show up if you skip a week’s vacuuming, and the health department has not once been to my house to red tag my kitchen floor.

Mostly, what I’ve done is set myself free from the all the “must do in order to have a perfect house” tasks to allow time for me to write and it feels fantastic! Don’t get me wrong, I get in a cleaning frenzy every so often and I scrub until the house glows, but I no longer feel the need to spend two whole days a week at it. Once the bathrooms are cleaned, the sheets are changed, the laundry’s folded, and the kitchen is scrubbed…well, I’m done… Now back to those revisions…

14 comments:

  1. You still clean circles around me! I still feel guilty that I didn't get the housecleaning gene, but it's too late to do anything about it now. :-) I'm glad you've re-prioritized some things, though--it sounds like more fun!

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    1. Never feel guilty, Liz! Housecleaning is a necessary evil and I'm so glad I figured that out and stopped beating myself up over dust bunnies, Such a waste when there are books to be written, friends to visit, stories to tell... ;-)

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  2. I hate cleaning. Once a week RadioMan and I break out the dust rags, vacuum and mop ... he does the bathrooms. I leave the heavy duty stuff to a crew of cleaners we have in every 6 weeks or so. It makes me happy. :)

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    1. A crew of cleaners?! That sounds glorious!

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  3. I'm with Sandra!

    My bed is always made before the last person leaves the bedroom. But, that's a Mike thing. Had I not married someone who cared, who's to say if I would.

    Although, I do like the dishes to be done after every meal. But the rest of the house? Don't stop by unannounced, that's all I'm saying :)

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    1. Wow, guys, I'm feeling the love here today! I may forego cleaning before my MIL comes to dinner this week!

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  4. Friday's used to be my ritual cleaning days but now I just keep telling myself, "It cane wait for another day or two." ;)

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    1. And so it can, Chrys! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I was like you when younger and with a family. I had set days and I exhausted myself. Now I deep clean when the mood strikes, but I pick up and tidy surface things every day, because then I'm free to write. ;)

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    1. I try to stay tidy, but I'm not a daily tidier. It's even harder to be one with a retired spouse in the picture. He's a collector of paper...need I say more?

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  6. This is too funny--I still do most of that; windows, closet cleaning, china cabinet in the fall and spring. And I clean weekly. Between the kiddo's bathroom and the dog shedding hair everyday, I can't stand it if I don't. But I do have my writing and reading time.

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    1. How do you still do that? You have my respect, Julie--seems as if time just slips away from me, and I'm not sure how that happens. Thanks for coming by!

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