Cleaning vs Life

I hate housework. With a passion. I always have.

There is always something else I’d rather be doing, something more important and meaningful. Anything! Like skating, going out for lunch, spending quality time with my family, living life.

Cleaning house together, as a family, is not quality time in my books.

I sometimes think, usually as I’m vacuuming or scrubbing the toilet, that if the world ended today I’d like to have spent my last hours doing some truly important things, not cleaning the house or doing laundry or dishes.

But this rebellious line of thinking is ridiculous because I hate having a dirty house. And it’s not going to clean itself! I hate it so much, in fact, that I kind of surprised myself this week. I always thought it was my husband who was a bit OCD, a bit overly clean. But for the past week, we’ve been having some construction done and for the past week, I have cleaned the house thoroughly every single evening after the guys have left.

Every. Single. Evening.

I hate it. But I hate the filth more.

We usually clean the house as a family on Sundays. Each Sunday, I complain and grunt and groan and mope about it. But now, after cleaning it every day for a week, I think the once a week cleanings will feel luxuriously lazy. At least for the first week. Then I’ll go back to hating them.

I remember being about nine years old, standing in the cold, damp basement in our cottage, ironing napkins in the summer. I felt the same then as I do now, though possibly with a greater vehemence and passionate hatred for the household task at hand. I knew that upstairs and outside, the sun was shining and the cool lake was beckoning. There were better things to be doing. I hated ironing, hated that I had to do it, was sure that I was being treated like a slave.

I’ve heard my son mumble the same things about his chores.

Which means, I guess, that we’re doing something right here. He’ll grow up knowing how to do important things like ironing and cleaning, he won’t be spoiled (ok, he won’t be as spoiled as he might otherwise have been), and he’ll have a sense of responsibility and an understanding of the importance of contributing to the running of the household. And as a bonus, he’ll make a lucky girl (or boy) very happy one day because he won’t live in mess and filth. Or maybe he will, in rebellion, but I won’t have to live with him at that point.

These values we’re trying to install in him have already started paying off, in fact, and not just in reducing the amount of chores have to do – though, score! But seriously, people have commented on his helpfulness and his lack of preciousness. Good stuff!

This is life. He might as well learn that now.

Sometimes you have to do the things you hate to do.

Sometimes, you have to clean house, do the chores, iron the napkins, help out.

But as long as you have a family that suffers through it with you and that loves you enough to introduce you to the way life is, you will survive.

And when the chores are finished – and they’ll be finished faster if we all work together – we can go out and play.

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20 thoughts on “Cleaning vs Life

  1. Well, you certainly described the dilemma I have when I contemplate housework. I love the feel, the smell, the order of a clean house, but I don’t love the process of cleaning it.
    I like your voice. I’m glad I found your blog. Laurel

    • Thank you so much, Laurel. That’s very kind of you to say; I’m glad you stopped by, too. As for housework, I guess we’re all in the same boat. At least, those of us who like to live in a clean place. Sometimes I wish I could enjoy the filth!

  2. I never did much housekeeping as a kid. Later, I worked AS a housekeeper at a ski resort. It was piecework, so I learned how to clean a ton of stuff quickly, efficiently and correctly.

    This is how I approach life now. If there’s something I really hate doing and can’t get out of it, I figure out the best and fastest way of doing it so I can spend as little time as possible.

  3. Magnificent! You’ve brought back memories. My chores as a kid were dusting the dining room oak furniture, table, chairs, china cabinet and server – washing dishes, and ironing everything with spray starch: shirts as well as napkins, pillow cases and table cloths. My mother wouldn’t touch starch with a ten-foot pole now, she also is a firm believer in ‘permanent-press’, if it has to be ironed it doesn’t get purchased, if it’s discovered it has to be ironed it’s devastating, but none of that helped me then. A good housewife spent hours on housework, which did not make her children happy.

    I learned from the italian side of the family that cleaning house is as important as maintaining good relationships between countries – even according to their standards my mom was a little bit overkill – anyway, be responsible with the small stuff and you’ll manage the big stuff just fine. There are much better things to do besides housework. I’m a follower of figuring out the best and fastest way. It makes free time happen. Oh yeah…

    • Thanks for sharing your childhood memories. All very familiar! I had to dry dishes, load and unload the dishwasher, set the table, make salad and salad dressing…and the hateful ironing. My son dusts his room, sets the table, sorts the garbages, vacuums the basement and cleans the door handles throughout the house. And I try to impress upon him the benefit of not dawdling so that he can get out there and do what he really wants.

      • Mom never believed in dishwashers… I sure did. 🙂 Your son will appreciate more when he’s older managing his own. My son does the cooking as well as cleaning. His wife digs it.

  4. I hate a dirty house ten times more than i hate cleaning. And because i hate a dirty house, sometimes I don’t mind the cleaning. More than hating the cleaning, I hate that the cleaning is required and that nobody else seems to care to do it. And then I go about hating the fact that I am the only one who cares. There’s a whole world of hate in a dirty house. And maybe this is at the bottom of why I feel the necessity to clean it. 😉 (chew on that!)

    • Ha! I like that. I think my husband would feel your pain. He tends to clean, or to want to clean, a bit more than me. But we do all chip in so we’re all hating the cleaning together but we’re at least all doing it together. Sometimes you just gotta jump in and do it without thinking about it.

    • Thank you thank you! I’m touched you have honoured me with the vulgarity chain mail award! Though now I have your chain mail man in my head again. But still, touched. Thanks.
      I will now revel in the honour without actually doing anything about it.

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