A few days ago I read an article on Scary Mommy (I love that site, it’s introduced me to a lot of cool mom blogs) called “Please Don’t Envy My Clean House”. It resonated with me on so many levels, I read it twice and even shared it on my personal facebook page.
Not that I often have visitors, but the few that I do have over always remark on how clean my downstairs is. (I don’t usually take people upstairs.) It takes me a lot of effort not to scrunch up my face and say, no it’s not! I haven’t mopped the floors yet, and would have to every other day for it to be as clean as I like! Or have you seen all the clutter? We don’t have enough storage space and things are on my counters that I DO NOT WANT THERE. Heaven forbid they open the door to my embarrassingly disorganized pantry.
You see, I live in a desert climate. So every week, whether I like it or not, every surface in my house (used or not) gets covered in a fine layer of dust. It’s absolutely disgusting to me. In fact, I dust my whole house more than once a week. Otherwise, I’d be a walking ball of allergies in my own home. I’m allergic to dust. I can’t wait until my husband’s job takes us somewhere greener. Or at least somewhere that my backyard isn’t filled with trash every time the wind picks up. Like I said, disgusting.
There’s a lot of upkeep in my house, and it is never as clean as I want it. In fact, last week, because the last two months had been spent traveling a lot and not living in our house, I deep cleaned my home. I ran myself absolutely ragged doing so, which is possibly why when I got sick it hit me so hard. I scrubbed surfaces and washed laundry, dusted and took the vacuum attachment (which was next to useless) to the blinds and baseboards and I even moved furniture to get the dust bunnies that rolled across my floor like the tumbleweeds outside rolled across the roads.
And all it did was amp up my anxiety. I didn’t see a clean home when I looked around, I saw an even bigger to do list. I saw clutter I couldn’t find a new home for. Things that don’t need to be thrown out because they’re useless, but need a better storage space so they aren’t on top of my counters. Let’s be honest, all they do up there is make cleaning more difficult for me.
Even worse, I found that I didn’t get to spend much time with my son. There’s always something to do around this huge house, and taking care of my husband and son as a wife and mother is an added item to the already expansive to do list that is my household chores.
This morning I cried when I woke up. I knew I wouldn’t get as much done as I wanted to, I never do, because I have a baby. I love my baby, and I’d rather be spending the time with him. But the trade-off is never having a house that I live in comfortably, because all the clutter and dust makes me uncomfortable on a level that most people don’t understand. This becomes the beginning of a very vicious cycle of what I refer to as ‘mom guilt’, where doing necessary chores makes me feel guilty because I should be spending that time with my son.
So when people come into my house and say “Wow it looks so clean, I wish my house looked this nice all the time”, that’s really what’s going on in my head. An endless to do list, laced with anxiety that steals time and happiness from my husband and son.
Does anyone else have something like this? For me it’s not just the house, but the house is a huge problem on my list. Other mamas, do you find yourself wishing you could spend less time on something to give more to your family?
– Monster Mama