I hate housework. It’s horrible. Some days I think I’d rather have my head shaved then be made to clean my house. At least having my head shaved would be quick and painless.
Most days I work under the theory that messes should be cleaned in order of importance. For instance, if it isn’t flammable, obstructing my path to the refrigerator or classify as a biohazard, it can stay where it is until I manage to clean up the things that are.
I like to think of it as a process. Baby steps, if you will.
The other day I was in my son’s room. It looked a little bit like a nuclear bomb had gone off in there and I announced it was time to clean. In response to this happy declaration, he made a noise that sounded like a cross between an angry cat and a chainsaw. Then, the lawyer in him came out and I was forced to state my case as only a mother can.
He wouldn’t be able to find anything after it was done. He actually walked over to a GI Joe that was laying in the floor, picked it up, and explained to me that if he cleaned his room, he may never see his GI Joe again.
Who was I to keep that poor, pitiful child from his GI Joe? A GI Joe that had probably sat there, untouched, since his birth?
I asked him, once he put his things up, how he wouldn’t remember where they were?
“Once I clean all this junk up, I’ll be too tired to remember where it all is.”
I’ll give him credit. This made perfect sense to me, even though I couldn’t say so out loud.
A mother must always been on guard when considering agreeing with the logic of her children. .
I counter-argued my case by telling him that I wouldn’t be a good mom if I allowed my son to be buried alive under a mountain of action figures, candy wrappers and video games. When this didn’t do the trick, I simply informed him that if he didn’t get off his rear and help his mother clean, his Wii might just end up in one of my garbage bags on accident.
We did finally get his room cleaned up. All it took was a box of industrial sized trash bags, a gas mask, a pair of steel toed boots, earplugs to keep his moans and groans from deafening me, and of course, the patience that only a mother who really, really….really, loves her child can have.
Those pictures you see from the 50’s of perfectly made up, high heeled housewives vacuuming the carpet fascinate me. I can barely walk from the car into a building three feet away in heels, let alone vacuum.
And who wears a dress to clean house you tell me? Unless a moo-moo counts as a dress, count me out.
I like to think of myself as quite the modern day lady. You’ll not see me taking the June Cleaver approach to housework and raising a family.
I work, therefore, my version of Ward and the Beav need to chip in on the chores. I think it’s a nice, diplomatic approach to getting things done.
For those of you who can hire a housekeeper, I have only this to say to you-I hate you. No, really, I do. I just don’t think we can be friends. Unless of course, you’re in a giving mood and might want to let me borrow said housekeeper; maybe then we could work something out.
Both my husband and my son are pretty good about helping out when I ask. I like to pretend they do it because they love me. No doubt that has a little to do with it. Mostly, I’m thinking it’s because they don’t want hear me complain when they don’t.
Whatever the reason is, I’ll take it.
A clean house makes you feel better. It’s a truth you just can’t escape. Unless you’re the next candidate for an episode of “Hoarders”, everyone is a little less stressed out when you’re not surrounded by your own dirt.
We’re busy people, all of us. So long as we’re not living in mounds of garbage and our houseguests can find a seat not made up of last week’s pizza box, I think we‘re doing just fine.
Until next week, remember: A newspaper can only cover spills that are proportionate to the size of the newspaper itself.
Mandi Hayes-Spencer is a columnist for The Greenup County Beacon and author of the upcoming series The Crantz Chronicles. She lives in Flatwoods, Kentucky with her husband and son.