Well, dear reader, you're never going to guess what I've been doing all week. I know you won't be able to guess because I can barely guess it myself and I'm the one doing it!
I have been cleaning.
And not your average "Oh, it's chore day! Let's clean!" or your not-so-average "I'm so sick and tired of all this junk filling out house so we're going to purge, purge, purge and purging begins now, people!" either. It was a consistent, "this needs to be done, so we're going to do it without complaint, without expectation, and without blogging for four hours straight" type of cleaning.
I think I've turned a corner in my domesticity skillz.
Oh, sure, this is probably a rarity and I'll find myself on the couch for days at a time (hmmm...perhaps when the next depression cycle hits?), but for now, I'm relishing in the following facts:
1. I cleaned the entire family room and play room while the girls were at school; #3 helped a little bit (#4 ran around laughing), but most of it was me. And I wasn't angry while I did it. I spend so much time forcing the kids to clean up the basement, I figured every once in a while I could just do it myself, giving them a break from the constant cleaning, and me a break from the constant yelling (or is it the other way around?).
2. I cleaned the yard! I know! The mind is still reeling! I cleaned up trash, threw away broken toys, swept the patio, dug out toys and trash from window wells, fixed the landscaping bricks #3 removed whilst-a-lookin' for bugs, and I even cleared away cobwebs from corners (shudder).
3. The kitchen has been clean every night. Every morning this week I have woken up to a clean kitchen. The floors are swept (although last night I didn't do it because I was getting my hair cut/colored), the dishes are done, and the food is put away (let's not talk about the times when food doesn't always get put away, okay? Okay.). Waking up to a clean kitchen has got to be one of the most blissful things in a family's life. Seriously.
4. I'm almost caught up on laundry. For those who know my intense dis-like-ness of laundry, you understand how this blows the mind!
5. I've been making the kids keep their rooms clean and I've been on top of them to pick up toys, clothes, and make beds. However, I noticed it wasn't anything different from what I've done in the past, except this time I made sure they actually did it.
6. For four straight days, I would not be embarrassed if someone came to my home unannounced. There would be no shame because there is no weird smell, or sticky floor, or crumb-infested carpet. I could totally entertain someone with pride! (as long as they didn't notice the dust. Maybe I should dust...)
But here are the best facts:
A. I do not have resentment towards my family for the cleaning. I'm just doing it. The fact that Brandon works long hours and can't help? I'm not angry right now (much). The fact that my kids whine when I tell them to get their butts in gear and pick up some toys/clean their rooms/stop throwing toothpaste does not phase me, much to their chagrin. I don't back down, either, much to their other chagrin. See, I'm actually okay with the cleaning. And this is major progress for me, dear reader. Majorly major progress!
B. I have found that when the house is cleaner, I have more time to remember things like appointments, activities, homework for the kids, schedules, phone calls, etc. Which is weird. But perhaps it's because I have all that time to think whilst-a-cleanin'? And I actually know where the papers are because the kitchen desk is organized? Who knew?!
C. My mother told me a long time ago that we don't clean our houses for other people. She said if I cleaned my house, it needs to be for me and my family, not anyone else. She also told me that if I kept a clean house (within reason; we're not doing the white glove test, here, people), I would be happier.
Who knew she was right?!
And why did it take me 10 years to totally get it?!
I was talking with my dad on the phone yesterday and I mentioned these things to him and I asked him why I felt happier with a clean house. I mean, I was disappointed I didn't have time to sit and blog and read like I usually do, but for some reason I was perfectly elated by all I had accomplished --even the daily grind (like dishes, etc.). He said it was because I didn't have those things looming over my head, so I didn't feel constant weight, guilt, pressure, etc. to do what I needed to do because --Ta da! -- it was done. And burden, weight, guilt, pressure, etc. taken away makes for a very pleasant afternoon!
C. When I just do it, instead of whining internally (and sometimes externally), I find it easier to do. I've been telling my kids this for years --"Stop wasting so much time whining and stalling! If you would just do it, it would be over faster!" --but did I ever think to stop and just do it myself? Hmm?
D. I'm realistic enough to know that this new found Queen of Domesticity will probably turn out to be a once a month type of thing. But it takes what...21 days? to make a habit? Maybe I could convince myself to do this for 21 days, and then it'll become habit. Not cleaning like crazy, but cleaning a little bit everyday (kind of what I mentioned in my most recent post). I could handle that habit. I think I want to handle that habit. In fact, I know I do.
So, dear reader, have you gotten to the place where keeping your house clean isn't really a burden? Have you found ways to make it enjoyable? Have you experienced anything I have where you realize how much more peaceful the home is when it's clean? Or do you think I'm just off my rocker and should be committed because I think a clean house is a wonderful and worthwhile thing even though it's cutting into my blogging time? Hmmm? It's okay. You can be honest; I can take it!