Thursday, October 22, 2009

House Work

I've never lived in a magazine house. That house where everything has a place and everything is in it's place. I don't have a place for everything and if I did, it wouldn't be there. At my house, and most houses, we go for sanitary. I don't expect to eat off the floor, but who really wants to? We are cluttered. There is always something going on, and whatever that is, it's paraphernalia is out. My mom says that's just lived in. Some of it drives me nuts. Some of it, I've given up on. "Pick your battles" I always say. So here's a bit for those of us who live in the real world.

First, don't apologize. I still do it. You know, "Excuse the mess." or "Sorry about the clutter.". Try this one, "If you came to see me, come in. If you came to see the house, stay outside." That's a better attitude. One friend of mine says that if you have to apologize for it, change it. Which I think applies to life, personalities, houses, etc. So, although I still catch myself apologizing, I don't do it as often. I also look around at why I'm asking forgiveness. Right now, it's the clutter behind the couch. Ok, I can deal with that much. The laundry that is always out doesn't faze me anymore. I try to keep it in baskets so that if someone comes over they have a place to sit. There's a game box out and the baby food jars that my son was using for his bug collection. The game is in the box, so good enough. I'll remind the kids when they get home. The jars need to be packed back up and put in the shed. My son can do that. First priority is that mess behind the couch that I feel the need to apologize for.

That brings me to the second thing that I have come to accept. Prioritize. Dishes and laundry are #1 here. Those things we need to use. The animal cages and food. They are living things and if you're not going to take care of them, find someone that will. #2 is pick up your garbage, your dishes, and whatever you've gotten out. If it's not yours, pick it up anyway, someone else will do the same for you. Let's not make things worse. #3 the floors. I was told a long time ago that a clean floor makes the room look better. If you only have time for one thing, do the floor. It's true, partly I think, because I tend to move things to vacuum so some picking up gets done as well. After that it's all gravy. If I can get my craft stuff organized or that flat spot that collects everything cleaned off, then hallelujah. I live here, and my family lives here, and I don't keep life from happening so that it looks good when someone comes over.

The next thing is just kind of an observation, take what you will from it. A friend told me a while back that she was reading a book on self confidence or something. In it, the author pointed out that women judge themselves on their houses, husbands, children etc. Which tends to be true. We don't look at what we've accomplished, we look at the mess we made doing it. Anyway, the author then says that a quick pick me up is a clean kitchen sink. I get that. Then my friend said that she would clean out her sink by putting all the dishes on the floor and scrubbing it out. That's where she lost me. She then went on to give the stainless steel a coat of cooking oil so that it was nice and shiny. I didn't read the book, but I don't know that this is what the author had in mind. I told her with all that work she could have actually done the dishes and thereby truly accomplished something, and that now her sink was oily and would need washed out, (more work). I realized that I have a few things that make me feel better and make my life easier, like a cleaned out sink or a clean table. I put those things higher on my list. I then pat myself on the back and reward myself and my family with fun time when they are done. I have to resist the urge to say "Since we're on a roll....." and try to keep working. It also reiterated the old saying "If your going to do something, do it right."

That's my rant on housework. It stinks, but some of it needs done and the rest will wait. Doing things with my family is more important to me. Of course, I want my kids to know how to work, and I do work them. Just ask them. I just don't want it to be the only thing they remember about me.