I live with 3 males and a guinea pig. I could really just leave it at that. But I want to be clear that I don’t believe I was created to be their maid service. Yes, the major house cleaning is my responsibility–both to do and to delegate. So it is my mission to prioritize…

I told David before we got engaged that I strongly prefer to live in a clean house but I’m not OCD about it and I don’t believe I’m solely responsible for it. 16 years down the road, add the fact that I don’t want my sons going out into the world looking for someone to take care of them. That makes for unhealthy relationships. So laundry, cooking, and basic sanitary maintenance skills are practiced regularly by all in my house.

…whether I’m cleaning or I’m delegating, what exactly is the level of housekeeping priority for us as a family?? It’s the burning question. Organization and cleanliness are very important life skills. AND–I will not live in pig sty!! But I’ve had to face the fact that some clutter is going to be a part of my life, and embrace it a little. It’s been a challenge, to say the least. I’m all about the sanitary nature of things. I’m a sink scrubber, counter wiper, bathtub and toilet cleaner, floor and carpet spot patrol, vacuumer, put things away person. However, I’m one of four people living here. Apparently my open and obvious expectation that they do things without being told falls on deaf ears. And I just can’t stand to harp at people all day.

I’ve noticed that in social etiquette it is the queen of any household who is ultimately judged on the cleanliness of the house. It’s a mindset that we’ve dragged through generations. I think it’s long past time to make some changes. Bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…any of that sound familiar? I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard some version of “she isn’t much of a housekeeper” whispered with a disgusted look in reference to someone else. So as I compromise I’m left to wonder what people think of ME. Maybe I’m a little paranoid but I think that bar is pretty high for the average woman in 2011. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending hoarding or laziness! But I just don’t measure up to many people I know, and I find myself wondering how anyone lives in their house and enjoys their life without some evidence of that fact hanging around in the open. Paying someone to do it for you doesn’t count. : )

About 5 or 6 years ago I began to really take stock of what will have been important to me when I look back on my life. I have to tell you that having spent all my time on a pristine clean house doesn’t rank high on that list. Erma Bombeck was one of my idols and remains inspirational in keeping me on this path. Thanks to her I burn the pretty candles and drink out of the crystal. There is no “formal” room in my house that is only used on special occasions.

Let’s face it, life is messy. We do what we can do. There is so much more to life than being the maid or the drill sergeant all day every day. So there’s a little dust, but a lot more laughter. I’m good with that. But I must confess, I can’t put my dishes in the dishwasher dirty.


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