Sunday, August 19, 2007

Keep It Clean

I finally cleaned our shower today, and discovered further evidence that not only should I not be allowed to be a parent, I probably shouldn't be allowed to be an adult either. I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say that there are things worse than mold...shudder.

I used to clean the bathroom once a week - a thorough clean, top to bottom. Then I had a kid, and I sort of let things slide, you know? In my defense, all the literature supported me. "Don't worry about the messy house, just take care of yourself and the baby." All the baby books and parenting magazines say this, and I guess I took it too much to heart.

I do clean, but it's more reactive than proactive these days. Like when guests are coming over and I decide I don't want people to know how we really live. Or, when I finally see the bathroom in daylight, with my contacts in, and realize that a place where people go to clean themselves shouldn't really be that dirty. The shower gets the butt end of my "lick and a promise" cleaning jobs, though. Theoretically, a place that sees a constant stream of water and soap shouldn't be as dirty as other, um, less delectable parts of the lavatory. I have a (no longer) pink and white scrub brush that would disagree with that theory, however.

The problem is, when I'm faced with the choice of cleaning, or playing with a sweet, laughing, toddler, I invariably choose the latter. My first priority as a mother should be to raise a happy, loving child, and let the household stuff slide for the time being. I'm not a clean freak. I'd much rather build sandcastles that are knocked down by two little hands and a sneaky smile. I'd much rather play hide-and-seek in the bushes, and run down a hill with the wind in my hair. I'd even rather fall on my way up the ladder to the big slide and get a bloody lip. That's life. That's living.

But how long can a person realistically let it go on? How often can you "just let the cleaning go" before someone compares you to Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout?? Because the mess doesn't magically go away. No house elves are coming in to pick up after my sorry self. Eventually, someone has to bite the bullet and get down and dirty. By the time I do, the mess is so overwhelming that I just want to run screaming from the house. Or sit down and cry. Or better yet, just walk away and buy a whole new house. A clean house. (Preferably a house with a maid, while we're at it. If you're gonna dream, dream big.)

19 comments:

Kyla said...

Amen. I so understand. And man! Do I ever wish I had a house elf. I'd treat him good, too. ;)

kgirl said...

I hate cleaning. period. seriously waiting for the nesting instinct to kick in. the whole house needs it.

jen said...

i think you should get one of those. i feel the same way...bad enough to want to shower with my eyes closed.

painted maypole said...

You would feel right at home at my house.

Susanne said...

I feel your pain. I'm usually one for the "lick and promise"-tactic too. And I never liked that "Let the housework slide for a while."-rule because, really, for how long? And then? Dirt doesn't just magically go away.

On second thought, maybe I don't feel your pain because my husband just cleaned the shower top to bottom. It sparkles! Now we try to not get it dirty again.

If you get a new house with a maid, could I move in? Or just send the maid over. Please?

Bon said...

i want a house elf, but i do pay $30 a month for these nice ladies to come and clean my bathroom and my windows, plus vacuum. i sweep in between and keep things tidy, and scrub the toilet if it gets too scary and threatens to frighten people, but otherwise...i don't clean.

it is the best $30 i spend all month.

Christine said...

i totally get this. totally. once the kids reached a point where they could play quietly on their own for a while my husband and i realized that we didn't always need to wait for the other to watch the kids or when they were asleep to clean. at 3 and 6 they are old enough now to be told to entertain themselves for a while while we get stuff done. and often they like to help. my son helps his dad dust, my daughter likes helping put clothes way. and they both play the run-from-the-vacuum-game!

as the little one gets older it will get easier, really.

Beck said...

Oh, I totally have a horrifically nightmarish story about this, but I won't share it.

Alpha DogMa said...

My children will not grow up and tell fond stories of how clean the toilet was during their youth. Nah. They'll remember how mom use to engage in lightsaber battles with them.
...I hope.

kittenpie said...

Oh god, do I hear you. On the flip side, though, the bathroom is my starting place, always. Nothing makes you feel like you really accomplished something with your work like a gleaming tub, in my books. my typical plan now is to do all cealning and laundry and errands on a weekday off so I can make the weekends about Pumpkinpie. Except this week, when Misterpie's new classroom took all my cleaning time and I spent the weekend doing it before Something Blue came over, thus hardly seeing my child. Sucks.

motherbumper said...

Wait - there are no house elves?

That explains the mess.

b*babbler said...

This weekend my mother-in-law called to suggest that my brother-in-law could come up and vacuum or dust for me. Think she was trying to tell me something?

However, playing with happy children? There's always lots of time to clean later, you only get one shot at this time together.

Beck said...

I'll happily eamil you the details, but you'll have to email me first - a computer virus ate tons of my computer's memory and one of the things that I've lost is everyone's email addresses.

NotSoSage said...

Me too.

Playing with kids vs. clean house? Playing always wins out.

Then again, it won't be long before we can all play "clean the house" together! Won't that be a blast!

bren j. said...

Where WOULD we be without those 'dual-purpose' shower curtains??

Alley Cat said...

I'm as behind on my cleaning as anyone, but I couldn't help but wonder if I could have cleaned just one corner of the house instead of oh, sitting here at the computer, reading all these blogs.

Bloor West Mama said...

I HATE cleaning. By some stroke of luck I was able to get the Husband to be responsible for the washroom.

I am responsible for everything else :( Still I hate cleaning the washroom.

Mimi said...

Me too. We've been letting it go until (usually) I freak out about living in a pigsty and how could we let it get this bad and we are unfit adults and who can't manage to keep a simple house simply clean?

It's amazing to me the rings on the tub that Munchkin leaves after her bath. I spend more time scrubbing than she does bathing. Ack.

I don't know about you, but I remember my house (growing up) as always clean. My mom musta been some kinda miracle worker. So I feel guilty, in addition to filthy. Nice combo.

Bah. Do what feels right.

LoryKC said...

My kids are older and are being asked to help out more--so I guess I could think of them as house elves...that is, if they actually cleaned what they've been asked to clean, when they've been asked...
My dream house will have real-life maid!