Does a messy home (or office) make you anxious and cranky, or is cleaning something you just do before company comes over?

I used to be a clean freak. I grew up in a home where my Mother truly believed the proverb, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. She was doing her utmost to get right up there, close and personal with God. I now know beyond the shadow of a doubt that she suffers from OCD. It is getting worse the older she gets too. As a teen, I would do my best to make her happy. No fun things were accomplished on Saturdays until that house was spic and span. My parents liked opera and always listened to “Texaco presents the Met” on the radio on Saturday afternoons. I still associate an aria with the smell of Comet cleanser and my hands in a toilet. Not a fan now, nope, not at all. Madame Butterfly can send me into an episode of PTSD.

I kept a pretty clean house, even as a Mom with four young children. My husband worked three to midnight and was a full-time graduate student. I would stay up after I got the kids bathed and down to sleep. I would do dishes and make sure all the toys were matched up with their proper parts and stowed in toy boxes and shelves in the family room. I really thought it was some sort of a sin to go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. Now, not so much. I will get them done, but often not until the next day.

I think part of me would like a perfect house. But with five pets, it is impossible – I would have to vacuum the dogs daily. Then they would hate me. So that is out.

I have dust rags, I have a vacuum cleaner. I just do not want to use them every single day. I even have a little Swiffer floor thingee. It grabs up all the dog and cat hair and then the animals come into the room and shed and it was nice for about a minute.

Over the years I have come to tolerate dust bunnies so large that we call them “dust buffalos”. I have learned that when you dust in this house, you will still be able to write your name on the coffee table again in three days, so I kind of have a “Who cares?” attitude. In a really clean house, that is all you do – clean house. I swear my Mom and one of my good friends must get some sort of orgasm over cleaning. I don’t – so I won’t. I would rather read a good book, make some art, cook something, have a glass of wine, watch the sun go down. Basically anything other than clean.

Having my my family come to visit does send me into a nervous tizzy and I run around cleaning as much as I can. Then my Mom still looks around and sort of wrinkles her nose before she sits down because she is going to get pet hair on her slacks no matter what.

Life is too short to waste in worthless pursuits. If somebody judges me over my rat’s nest of bills on the end of the kitchen table and the magazines stacked in the corner, then that is their problem.




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