Monday, April 26, 2010

Cleanliness is next to godliness

If you've read just one or two of my blog posts, it's no secret to you that I'm not exactly a neat freak. I like things neat, I just don't like to do the work to get them that way. I laugh now, because before L was born, I always used to say that I didn't clean because "I didn't have time." Now I would love to go visit my past self, kick her in the rear and yell in her face, "SERIOUSLY?!?!"

Let's just be straight: Old Me didn't clean because Old Me didn't want to. And Old Me was sticking it to her upbringing by spending Friday afternoons and evenings lounging, watching tv, hanging out with friends, going out to eat....anything but cleaning. If I was still living at home, that behavior would be unacceptable. Every Friday, my brother and I were expected to do our chores. Or face the wrath. So when I moved into my own house with no parents I would tell myself, "Just this one Friday I will slack off. Next Friday, I'll get it going." Then the next Friday would come, and I'd tell myself, "Who says I have to clean on Fridays? I can clean on Saturday." You get the idea.

Now that I'm New Me (meaning, now that L is here), I really understand what "no time" means. It has a multitude of definitions. "No time" can mean that there are literally not enough minutes in the day to accomplish all you needed to accomplish. "No time" can mean that you have a child who refuses to nap, stop crying, or be put down. "No time" can mean that on the list of 529.2 things you have to do during the week, cleaning ranks somewhere around number 516. Especially when a simple solution to not cleaning is to just not allow anyone to come inside your house.

I'd say that, in general, I have a solid mix of any and all types of "no time." So needless to say, house cleaning doesn't happen much. Last week, our house was literally disgusting. I was disgusted every time I looked around. I was disgusted when I walked in the door. Disgusting.

I had taken the afternoon off work Friday so I could help my mom get things ready for my dad's retirement party on Saturday. I was going to leave L at daycare so I could run around and just get things done more quickly. So Friday morning, I called my mom to ask what she needed. Surprisingly, she released me from any duties because she apparently had everything together.

While I was driving home, I was thinking about what I'd do with my new-found freedom. I could nap, catch up on my depressingly neglected DVR, work out, shower for longer than 3 minutes... But then I got a crazy idea. I was like, "Wow, at least 4 consecutive hours with no D, no L...I could clean." And then I got really excited at the prospect of blasting my music. And then I got really worried because I thought an alien had maybe taken over my body. But I decided to go with it.

So I went with it. I harnessed whatever strange strangeness had possessed me and I cleaned. And I mean cleaned. The type of cleaning where you actually move things that permanently live on the counter (like the cookie jar, the microwave, the knife block) and wipe under them. AKA the cleaning that doesn't often occur in my house. Oh man did I clean.

I jammed to my iTunes library and cleaned my little heart out. I spent almost 4 hours cleaning the downstairs. And. I. LIKED IT! It felt so good to do something so productive with my hands. (Besides pawing through clearance racks, of course.) I scrubbed, vacuumed, dusted, washed, sterilized, antibacterialized... And boy did the house look clean. And it smelled good. And when D stopped home in between lawns, he almost dropped dead. And then he almost cried from joy. I'm not kidding - I think I saw a wee tear streak down the dirt on his face. That night, when we were watching the hockey game in the clean living room in our clean house, he was like, "This makes me want to have someone over."

And craziest of craziness, I am actually committing myself to keeping the house clean. I know, right? Gasp! Novel idea. Did you know (and I know you probably didn't because it's taken me 25 years to come to this genius conclusion) that if you actually straighten things every night and clean a little every day, the house stays clean? Yeah, you're welcome.

So when my son finally decides to stop screaming while he's on his tummy and realizes that he can move himself out of that position and around the room, I won't have to worry about him picking up who-even-knows-what from the floor. Because my floors will be clean. Anyone who knows me (but especially my dear college roommate Barb and my mom) will probably laugh at this and not believe it. But believe it, sisters! Cuz it's happening.


Maggie said...

love it!! yeah, i am a stay at home mom, and there is still no time! it seems like the baby knows exactly when you need to get something done or exactly when you want them to take a nap....what a joy, though! so happy you love a clean house now! it's not everthing though! clean as you go, but don't freak out if it's messy- spend time with your boys! that's what is important! love you so much girl!

shasta said...

You also have a baby that screams the entire time during tummy time??? Me too! I feel better about myself. =) Oh, and congrats on the deep cleaning. I applaud your stamina!

Kiara said...

It is so true - you dont realise how much time you had when you have a baby and then have NONE.
Well done on the big clean!

ps. my little one also hates tummy time :)

Nicole said...

I loved this. Loved, loved. Almost spat coffee onto monitor at the bit about the knife block. Because I did that just last weekend. Leading up to those (very) occasional times where I have the inexplicable motivation you describe, my husband and I actually refer to our existence as "living in filth" and have for years, pre baby even pre-marriage. To the point where if his friend is on the phone and wants to come over and my husband hesitates, his pal will ask, "Ohh, what? LIF?"