Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'll Tell You, If You Tell Me

I've been wondering a lot about this since becoming a stay at home mom (a.k.a. the best job in the world.) What you ask? This...this the greatest of all questions...

Why is every one's house cleaner than mine?

And then I get all philosophical and think, they can't be...they just can't. I clean, I vacuum, I dust, I sweep, I mop, I scrub toilets, I wipe down sinks, counter tops and tables, I place items in their "homes," and... AND I only have one child so clearly not every one's house is cleaner than mine. I think my mind plays tricks on me. Like how I look in the mirror and see obesity and then see a girl walking down the street and think, is that what I look like to other people and Shawn who sees me eyeballing said girl (without me saying a word) looks at me with a furrowed brow and says with a tired tone, "no, not even close." I really do think that my mind plays tricks on me, I think other people's dirt is invisible to me because while I used to think they were just better house keepers I'm starting to think the more likely scenario is that I'm delusional.

So I ask you this...is it invisible to you too? Do you guys see other people's dirt? Do you feel like everyone else's house is cleaner than yours even though they work full time and have 17 children? Or is your house really, truly immaculate all the time and if so, how much time do you spend cleaning? Actually, even if not so I'm curious, how much time do you spend cleaning?

I feel like I clean a little everyday but the job is never done. If everything is vacuumed and swept and put away and neat and tidy I start to notice that he floor boards need to be dusted or Heaven forbid the blinds. Don't get me started, don't even get me started.

I realize things are only going to get worse as my family grows. I saw on a local talk show the other day some "expert," an expert on what I have no idea, saying that it is impossible to raise happy children and have a perfectly clean house. Expert or no, I want to believe. (Believe that she is right that is, so that when my house is filthy I can think to myself, "Wow, what an incredible mother I must be!")

So incase you care, here's a list of things I try to do once a week:
Vacuum
Dust
Sweep (more like everyday with my child's experiements in sending Cheerio's into flight)
Mop
Bathrooms
Laundry
Wipe mirrors and glass

Every 2 weeks-ish:
Vacuum Stairs
Organize something like a closet

Even less often:
Wipe base boards
Windex windows

Never:
Blinds

How about you?

16 comments:

kathleener said...

don't beat yourself up too much--keeping up on housework is NEVER-ENDING. and you're right, having kids only means more messes! i always try and differentiate between "messy" and "dirty". basically, just sweat the stuff that will cause child protective services to take your kids away: kitchen, bathrooms, sheets and towels :-). keep up the good work! (and, i'm right there with you on the blinds...although they are currently driving me crazy w/how dusty they are...)

Van Ry Clan of Layton Ave said...

well lets just say I wait for company to come over :O) because with my kids I clean one room and I turn around and it is completely destroyed again, oh it drives me crazy, I try to dust once a week, vacuum every couple of days, laundry twice a week if I'm lucky, I clean the kitchen usually as I go, except I mop on occasion and the bathroom gets done the most often cause kids and dirty bathrooms just don't mix.

Mary said...

The dirt never stops, nobody sees yours, you'll always see it, don't sweat it.

Anja said...

I agree with previous commenter :) I try to keep things people see when they come to my house the "cleanest" ie: my kitchen and living room. That means that I vacuum and sweep those rooms more than the rest of the house. Then I focus on the bathrooms when I can't stand them anymore and I rarely clean my baseboards (mostly b/c I rent and could care less) and I refuse to actually wash blinds, I dust them. (once again, a rental so I don't care so much about those right now) Anyway, that's what I do, I usually make the kids pick up there own messes and try to keep the main areas clean :) Good luck!

Mame said...

Dear Whitney -

I believe you have a case of the crazzzzzies. I mean in this in the most loving way I know. I say this merely because well, really, your house is one of the cleanest I know. I am not saying compared to mine, well bc everyone is cleaner than mine, josh keeps the house 'neat' but I am not great at the house work part of being a stay-at-home-mom. But I mean your house is one of the cleanest ones of all those I visit. Of all those I hang out at. Of all those I have seen. Just fyi .... i love you even when you have the crazzies :o)

laura said...

well, i'm sure it's no surprise what i'm going to say on the subject. i'm definitely a woman that's comfortable with a little more mess to spend a little more time with my kids. but i have to tell you for me the cleaning hasn't gotten harder with more kids, the mothering has. more bodies=more chaos so i find i take more time to clean just to keep me sane. it's bittersweet though, because i know every clean area of my house was one more time i had to say "not right now" to one of the kids. so i say if dirty blinds are getting you down, go buy some shades to replace them and enjoy some more guilt-free time with that ridiculously good looking baby. love ya, whit!

Natalie said...

What an ironic post because yesterday as I was sitting in your living room I was thinking, "was my house ever this clean when I only had one kid?" I think your house always looks good.

Rebecca said...

I remember going to a dinner (adult) party at someone's house and seeing a great big cobweb in the upper corner of their dining room. My inner self did a little dance as I whispered "YES" to myself. I became very good friends with her after that. Cleaning and scrubbing can wait, enjoy your baby. He will be grown up tomorrow.

Apryl May said...

not EVERYONE'S house is cleaner than yours. but you and i both know that! p.s. please follow my photography blog. it would mean the WORLD to me myself AND i. that's 3 of us. thanks ;)

http://aprylmayphotography.blogspot.com

Melinda said...

I'm sure your house is cleaner than ours! And I don't have the excuse of having a child, haha! I clean one area/room on Saturday and do laundry, and that's it because I'm too tired at the end of the day from teaching to do any cleaning on the weekdays. Our dishes pile up quickly and our kitchen gets messy fast because I cook every week day too. If we have company coming I go crazy and clean a lot more. Maybe I should use your list!

Jessica said...

I know that being a daughter of Sandra Sechrist means that you definitely know how to keep a house clean!! :) So, I have no doubt that your house is a clean one, even if you think it's not. Plus, you have to remember that you have more time to notice and think about dusty baseboards now because you're at home all day as opposed to when you worked (outside the home) and probably didn't give it a second thought. Just concentrate on the areas you live in more - kitchen, family room and when you have people over, they're mostly downstairs so that's all they're going to see. Don't stress over it!

Sommer said...

I love your honesty Whitney! You do way more cleaning then me. I put away and do dishes every day and am good at keeping up with them so my house always looks clean... but not deep down clean. I only vacuum, dust, mop, and do the bathrooms every other week but I do do laundry every week. I agree though, I get really overwhelmed and burnt out by trying to keep my life balanced. I'm starting to relax and give up a little on that. I just can't do everything I have to with church, kids, and my home.... I don't know how people do it. It's something I'm still trying to figure out.

Anonymous said...

WHIT

FUNNY THING IS THAT I DO THAT EXACT SAME THING ALTHOUGH JOEL IS NOT AS KIND AND SOMETIMES HE IS LIKE....I'M NOT COMMENTING. SO I KNOW SOMETIMES I'M SPOT ON.(COMPARING WEIGHT) UHG. ALSO, ALTHOUGH I DID FEEL THAT MY HOUSE WAS VERY CLEAN UP UNTIL AUBREE WAS BORN...NOW A DAYS I JUST PRAY THAT FOR 10 MINUTES DURING THE DAY, THE HOUSE WILL LOOK CLEAN. AFTER THAT...ANYTHING GOES. JUST YESTERDAY JOEL ASKED ME IF I COULD PICK UP JACKSONS ROOM. IT WAS A DISASTER. NOT 2 MINUTES AFTER I HAD PICKED UP HIS ROOM HAD HE PULLED ALL THE PILLOWS OFF THE COUCH, EMPTIED EVERYTHING IN THE BOTTOM TWO ROWS OF THE REFRIDGERATOR, AND WAS OUT THE DOOR IN JUST HIS DIAPER PLAYING TBALL. I GAVE UP A LONG TIME AGO. AS LONG AS I HAVE THOSE 10 MINUTES, I CAN HAVE PEACE IN KNOWING IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A CLEAN HOUSE...ITS JUST NO LONGER NECESSARY TO KEEP IT THAT WAY ALL DAY. THIS GIVES ME PEACE IN ITSELF BECAUSE I STOPPED BEATING MYSELF UP ABOUT IT AND I CAN RELAX EVEN THOUGH ITS NOT UP TO PAR. ITS NOT WORTH THE PAIN AND HEARTACHE. TRUST ME IT ONLY GETS WORSE WITH MORE CHILDREN. NOW THAT THE GIRLS ARE OLDER....THEY CAN HELP OUT...BUT ITS USUALLY A FIGHT AND ITS EXHAUSTING. SO SORRY FOR THE LONG COMMENT. FOR THE RECORD, EVERY TIME IM AT UR HOUSE I FEEL IT IS NEAT, CLEAN, AND ORGANIZED!

Ashley said...

Oh Whitney... if you came to my house you would feel MUCH better! Seriously. I have given up on organization. I feel for you. I would clean and clean and turn around and it would look like I never did a thing. I think that you would be surprised that you do a lot more than most people do. I think it is hard because both of our moms are neat freaks! I have resigned myself to the fact that my house will NEVER be as squeaky clean as my mom's. As much as I wish it was, it is just impossible with a toddler. Don't beat yourself up!

beckie said...

I have to laugh because once you pointed out this woman and asked me "is that what I look like?" and literally the woman was the size of a house.

You're nuts. And your house is cleaner than mine.

Valeria said...

Whitney I used to feel like you do about this, but I have decided that it is all in my overly competitive mind. It took several years (decades) for me to realize that even if I missed something one day or week, it will not be the end of the world. Besides, you have more important things to focus on: child & hubby!