The last JusJoJan of the month and obviously, the year because January is finished. Linda has gifted us with a variety of topics from many bloggers.
I was crazy deep in thought today about housework. Yep, housework was on my mind. I did a lot of deep cleaning today which brought up reflections on how I have felt about housework over my lifetime.
I have had a variety of feelings about housework. Those feelings include hatred, apathy, sensibility, enjoyment, and affection. The chores haven’t changed so why have my feelings varied so much?
My feelings have changed because of time and circumstances. As a child from 9 to 18, I was responsible for all the chores in the house. Because of course, I was the girl. I was in charge of cleaning the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and my bedroom. I had to do all the dishes, laundry, ironing, vacuuming, dusting, and care of the pets. In the very beginning I liked the responsibility of the chores. I was proud that I could do it all right. That was short lived of course. I came to be angry at the chaos my brothers caused. They purposely made messes that I was forced to clean up. I wanted to be a kid, not the maid. I resented having to do their dishes and their laundry just because I was the girl.
When I first married at 18, I rebelled against the must-do chores. I had my apartment and my husband. I hated chores so much I lived in chaos most of the time. I shake my head at how horrible I let things get. I was rebelling because I had freedom for the first time since I was a little kid. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t care. I had the choice of living how I wanted for the first time in my life.
When I had my baby, things changed dramatically. My baby deserved to be in a clean house. I became obsessed with cleanliness. As my baby started crawling, I vacuumed the floor twice a day. I washed my windows weekly and all my screens every month. My refrigerator was emptied, and all shelves scrubbed every week. My baby never had store bought food. When the time came, I made all her baby food. I made all her clothes. I was super psycho clean lady. I did it with joy because I was trying to do better for my child that I had as a child. I was on a mission.
When the girls started school and I returned to college as well as all the other homemaker jobs I morphed into a very different type of house cleaner. I did the mandatory things to keep chaos at bay. But dishes were not important, nor was laundry, unless we were out of dishes or clothes. Many chores became so low on the importance level that if we didn’t have company, I didn’t worry about the chores. I was apathetic about the lack of order in my home. It just wasn’t important with all else that was going on. I knew it was not the way I wanted to live, but I I also knew it wasn’t the end of the world.
When my kids grew older, I wanted them to have responsibilities of house cleaning chores, but I did not want them to hate chores because of having to do too many. I am sure if you asked them, they would tell you that I was cruel and unusual because they had to clean their own rooms and the bathroom they shared. They had to vacuum the stairs going up to their rooms because all the debris was theirs alone. I liked keeping my house clean, but I had no desire to be the only one cleaning with messy teens in the house. I had not learned at that point that a grown man should be a part of the process.
When my daughters moved out, I loved cleaning my house. I made the messes and I cleaned up after myself. Everything had a place and I even dusted and ironed with joy. If extra deep cleaning was necessary, I fit the jobs into my schedule. The difficulties arose with my desire to accumulate things. I developed new hobbies and the paraphernalia required to complete them. The contents expanded but the walls did not. Keeping things clean was much easier than keeping things tidy.
When I remarried, I hoped to maintain my enjoyment of cleaning. But alas, I don’t like cleaning up after other people. The pendulum has swung many times these last 25 years. I know I am most content when both parties are contributing to the upkeep of the house. I have no delusions that my partner will ever enjoy taking care of the house. I can only hope that he understands that we make the mess and we need to clean it up. I recognize that when we work together, I am happier.
A clean house makes me happy. If I make a complete mess when sewing or scrapbooking, I take full responsibility for my disaster. Now that I am retired, I spend days on end doing things that make me happy. The rooms I am working in are messy, but clean. I love that. I am grateful for the time I spend in my home doing things that bring me joy.
I have been purging items from my home for a couple of years now. As things leave, I recognize that there is less to take care of. Less to take care of, means less cleaning. It is a win-win.
I no longer must spend all weekend doing chores because I am too exhausted after school to do anything. Now I can clean when the mood strikes me. I am enjoying cleaning again. Truth be told, I like the results. I appreciate knowing that once I am done, I get to enjoy my space.
This morning I put on Sirius Radio to 70’s on 7. I cranked up the volume and attacked some long overdue cleaning chores. I spent hours on my toaster oven, my oven, my stovetop, and my kitchen floor. I was singing (out of tune) while I worked. I decided to also do the floors and laundry and dishes. When I finished, I was exhausted but oh so happy. I am grateful that for now, I am enjoying cleaning again. I appreciate that when I have the time and energy, I can happily keep my home clean. I am not going to worry about what the future looks like. Today I was joyously cleaning.