Friday, June 15, 2007

The Mundane of Daily Necessities

I've changed my "About Me" section a bit because I woke up this morning and realized I neglected my nightly routine of "picking up." As I was bending and stretching and bending and stretching and breathing and (feel the burn) I grew more and more frustrated. I let out a cry, "I am so tired of picking things up only to turn around and pick them up again!" Dave, in his merciful wisdom said, "Okay, stop sounding like a mom cliche'."

Seriously though, I get so frustrated with the never-ending duties (or are they privileges) of housekeeping. In order to stay ahead of the clutter I must perform my household aerobics daily. This has not sunk into my psyche - ya'd think after 16 years of picking up after kids (okay 18 years picking up after my husband, dear husband) I'd get over it.

I've read countless articles from Women's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple (in the time when I subscribed to those mags) about how to declutter, best ways to organize your kid's toys, quickest cleaning tips, etc. It all comes down to laziness and doing what you have to do...plain and simple.

One aspect of the daily chore that I've come to appreciate is the exercise involved. Our dishwasher broke down months ago and I don't want it repaired. Why? More calories are spent washing dishes by hand then placing them in the dishwasher (My sister prefers washing by hand because it's her only quiet time, no one comes in the kitchen to bother her in fear they will be asked to help!).

My mother had a routine at night. She would (after we brushed our teeth) clean the bathroom sink. No one was allowed to use it after her nightly ritual. She abhored water spots. In this realm, I am not my mother's daughter, almost. I have come to find that nightly cleaning is the most satisfying. I know, for those brief hours in my sleep, that my house is organized and spotless.

Well, the dogs have tromped mud through the kitchen, again. Time to pull out my least favorite mop (which I'm beginning to appreciate more since I found I can refill the cleanser with my own mixture of water and vinegar - cant do that with the Swiffer!) and, once again, mop the floor. But hey, it's exercise!


Valerie said...

What? You're not buying into Madison Avenue's idea that kids and husbands making a mess is adorable? When you walk into your front room and see clothes, books, and etc. strewn all over, you don't shake your head, tilt it to the right, shake your head again and smile?

You are definitely NOT a Bounty mom. Instead, you are the greatest mom to the Moody Family and an inspiration to all moms you meet.

Whenever I am feeling a bit down in my role as a mom, I like to think of a conversation I had with Hayley when she was a little over six years old. Princess Diana had just died and the news was saturated 24/7 with coverage of her death, the aftermath and then the funeral.

Hayley asked me why there was so much media coverage (not her exact words) about Princess Diana. I told her that when well-known or important people die there is a great deal of news coverage, like when presidents or celebrities die. and the only thing I could think to say was that she was an important lady in the world.

I then asked her, "Who do you think is the most important lady in the world? And she replied, "You, Mommy!"

Marti Smith said...

Ha - Valerie's words make me think of something I saw a few days ago. I was walking through the rec center lobby and the TV was on with no sound. An ecstatic-looking woman was holding a bright green fluffy thing - and then it started to whirl and spin. A new dusting device, to make housework a joy and game! She held it aloft, glowing (she was glowing as so was the device). Cleaned lamp shades - table-tops - blinds. Wow.

Real life is more about picking up... day after day. I find a pleasure in bringing order out of disorder but as a single woman it's hugely different. I dust, vacuum, mow, and keep the kitchen and living-room clean-ish. Other than Deb's dishes, rarely do I have to deal with 'other people's messes,' that mainstay of mom-hood.

But one of my single, live-alone co-workers is experiencing this now. She's with a team in S. Europe on a research project, and eight or so of them are living together in one house. These eight include two kids who grew up in a very large family, and one couple accompanied by a willfull two-year-old. So tidiness can be an elusive dream. The stress of community living has been rather high, sounds like. They actually wrote 'keep the kitchen clean' into their team covenant, apparently, but still, there are those crumbs, all the time, and they are someone else's crumbs...

Hang in there!