Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why would we want to eat off the floor anyway??


Last night I went to a Relief Society weekday meeting centered around cleaning.  I joked to several people that I wanted to go and learn some cleaning tips, and then have someone else do them for me.  That was not really a joke.

I like to think that I’ve made my peace with my house.  While I enjoy having it clean, I seem to have been born without the “spotless house” gene.  Having a spotless house has never felt like my top priority, especially as I have added things into my life that make that goal more difficult—lots of children, homeschooling, and most recently moving.

I am generally pretty clear on what I am capable of achieving and what is really not possible.  I know that I could put my small amount of free time towards more cleaning, but for the most part I choose other, more creative (and to me, satisfying) pursuits. 

It’s funny how hard it was to hang on to all of these decisions & beliefs for the hour last night that I sat and listened to woman after woman proclaim the virtues of a clean home.  While I joked with the woman sitting in front of me, a part of my heart sank lower and lower in my seat, listening to what felt like a 60 minute reinforcement of my faults and inadequacies.  The fact of the matter is, I am just not all that worried about germs and sanitizing stuff.  But maybe I should be.  Maybe this indicates a flaw that I’ve been burying my head in the sand rather than see.

I’m sure I’ll recover my equilibrium soon.  I’m sure I will never have to say, as one woman said last night, “my kids probably would tell you that I was a mean mother, but a clean house was important to me.”  I’m more like the woman (who unfortunately only spoke for 5 minutes) who said that her mother made them clean all of the time, and that she has chosen as a mother to make sure that there was more going to the park and reading aloud with her kids. 

Here are my goals, just to remind me:

  • our home is livable
  • it exists to support us, and not the other way around
  • no one has any questions about what (who) is most important.

Deep breath…and back to my regularly scheduled (not cleaning-filled) program.


PS—I am left with a wonder.  I wonder if, when I am talking about something I am passionate about, I leave people feeling inadequate because they do not share or embrace the same passion??  I can tell you exactly how things should have been different last night to make me feel better—less “you should do it this way” and more “these are options.”  The last thing I ever want to do is make people feel bad because of who I am.  I’m completely aware that who I am is not quite normal, and I don’t need anyone to feel like they “should” be like or think like me.  But do the things I say come across that way?  Definitely something to work on.


  1. I certainly felt that way after they did the RS evening thing (not-homemaking not-enrichment not-really-named-thing) on organization. I was doing the same sinking in my seat thing as this woman described how everything in her life is in a labeled folder and no scrap of paper ever gets lost and every bill is paid on time and on, and on...I felt like the most disorganized person because I didn't do it her way.

    But when I left that evening, I went, wait, just because I don't do it her way doesn't mean I'm failing. What needs to be organized in my life is, more or less, in my own way, and for the most part things get done and paid and remembered. If they weren't the way I liked them I'd fix them, right? I felt a lot better after that. Her level of what she calls organization is simply different than mine.

    I do think it's when we push it on each other that it gets claustrophobic for our listeners. Which is tough not to do when you've spent a lot of time and effort coming to the conclusions and setting up the systems you're using, you know?

    I will think about this too. I probably need to work on presenting options instead of bestowing answers on the benighted.

    And yeah, I didn't get the clean house gene either. Thank heaven. I don't want to spend my whole life doing that, because that's what it would take!

  2. Would it help you to know that i feel terribly guilty for the amount of time I spend cleaning? And exercising?

    A really neat, interesting lady in my neighborhood stopped me the other day and exclaimed that she sees me running every morning, and my house is so clean, and I have four kids- she only has one and what's wrong with her that she's not doing any of those things! She said it in a self-deprecating, complimentary way, not in a "I'm really unhappy with myself" way, so I'm not too worried about her, but this woman is hugely active in the school and the community (she's still doing stuff at the elementary school even though her son is in middle school!).

    Also- thinking of you and Becky, and each of your homes always felt like a safe haven to me, in different ways. I am so glad we're all different. Must remember that next time I'm feeling inadequate...