I realized tonight that when I clean my house, all of my faults and failings come and stand over me and jeer.
Not just the faults related to housecleaning. All of them.
Somehow my failings in housekeeping (and they are legion) seem to invite every other messy part of my life for a "sit on Anne" fiesta, or whatever the opposite of a pity party is. So by the time I have been at it for half an hour, I'm ready to throw in the dust rag, kick the cleaning bucket, and, since I can't beat 'em, join the dust bunnies.
At least the vacuum commiserates with me when I say, "I suck."
I know all the psychological tricks which are supposed to make me work happily. For instance, dirty dishes mean I have many mouths to feed and many mouths are a blessing so washing dishes should feel like a blessing.
Well, I'm sorry but it doesn't. If feels like what it is. An effect of the fall.
Now, please don't think I spend a significant amount of my life obsessing over this. I don't. And my kitchen floor can attest to that. But when I do tackle more than whatever is required for mere survival, this crushing weight of failure lies like a heavy mantle of wet wool on my shoulders.
And then when I have friends and sisters-in-law who actually seem to enjoy housecleaning? It gives them a sense of accomplishment? They can't sit down until everything is spotless? Huh? Does not compute.
Believe me, I want to be like that. I could use a little more OCD in my life. I want to be this woman:
Actually, I'd rather be this woman:
At least the first one looks like she's happy to be cleaning and that's what I need, rather than feeling like a failure as a wife, a mom, a homeowner, a person, a human being before I even grab the squirt bottle; feeling like my friends and neighbors and family must be shaking their heads, either in condescending pity or plain old disgust.
And then when my kids are terrible at cleaning their rooms and cleaning up after themselves all over the house, who is to blame?
Yes, John could pitch in and he does, but really for better or worse, I'm the main home keeper so it falls on my shoulders.
I'm an averagely intelligent woman, not more than averagely slothful, and I really do love living in a clean home. So why is this so difficult?
I think it must be because, deep down, what I really believe is that
For instance, think of all the good books waiting to be read (or written, for that matter).
So, anyway, when you come to my house, come to see the people; we're all reasonably clean and rather nice usually and we love to talk.
And when there's crud on the bathroom mirror and ground in something in the living room carpet and you have to move a pile of clean laundry off the couch, don't be surprised.