'Cause I saw on Martha Stewart how we're all doing everything wrong.
Kenneth, 30 Rock
Yesterday my April copy of Real Simple came in the mail. I was in the middle of doing a million chores when I decided I just needed a break. So I sat down to read it. Let me set the scene for you. This is where I was reading:
That is the remains of two weeks’ worth of laundry on my couch that I had just ironed/folded. On the piano is a dusting mitt from earlier in the week when I had attempted to dust all of our blinds but was somehow distracted. On the wall you can see four different paint strips. (I think I've finally decided to go with the second one from the left.) Painting the inside of our house has been on my to do list for months.
I just cleared away the laundry and opened my Real Simple. And what was the main article about? Cleaning and organizing and time management for women. As if my messy house wasn't reminder enough, Real Simple had to steal my time set aside for relaxing and make me think about chores.
I should've thrown the magazine in the trash and taken a nap, but I didn't. It was interesting to hear how many women feel like their lives are being taken over by household chores. The problem with the article was that, like pretty much all magazine articles, it left me in need of a solution. I understand the problem all too clearly, but how do I fix it?
Because even if I schedule time to relax, it is plagued with guilt that I should be doing more. And when I do make a valiant effort, I feel like I'm doing it the wrong way. (I’ve tried everything and I can’t get my towels fluffy like in the commercials.)
Am I the only one whose house is a complete disaster at least once a week? I’m not a perfectionist. I’m not talking about a dish in the sink or a misplaced sofa pillow. And this isn't one of those "Look! My life isn't perfect" posts. I need to know, how do you all do it? Day after day and week after week. I mean, I know how to clean. I do a pretty good job when I actually do it. But the thing about cleaning is you do it one day and then you have to do it again the next day or, at the very least, the next week. It's never ending. There is no sense of accomplishment or even time to enjoy what you have done. I'm starting to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog's Day.
I've always liked the philosophy: "A house should be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy." I feel like our house is clean just messy. I am good about cleaning the kitchen counter tops and the bathroom and all. I guess maybe I let things pile up? I'm really not sure.
I don't think it's about laziness or apathy. I want my home to be a place where I can relax and enjoy myself. I am willing to work hard, I just don't think it should take over my life. Really, I think it comes down to a mental hurdle. If I timed myself, I probably don't spend that much time actually doing the cleaning. (In the time I wrote this post, I probably could've finished most of my chores for the day.) But it's the list making and the guilt and the time it takes to get up the motivation to do it. Do any of you have solutions for that? Does it just come down to discipline? Do you ever feel finished? If not, how are you able to accept the feeling of not being finished? Is anyone at just as much of a loss as me? (Oh, and please no comments that start out, "Just wait until you have kids..." I'm taking things one step at a time around here.)