Monday, March 11, 2013

I Don't Clean My House

I don't clean my house.  Really.

There is too much pressure for a "clean" house, and I believe it is  impossible.  Housework never ends and there is always something that could or should be cleaned. As an at-home Mom, I can't just leave work and come home to relax because I am surrounded by a visual to-do list. 

I don't make my house clean, but I do make it cleaner.  Instead of getting the office "clean" by filing every paper, dusting, vacuuming, getting the computer files organized, putting away the pictures that have been in a giant tub waiting to be placed in photo albums for over a decade (No, that is not an exaggeration and please don't judge me), I simply set a timer for 15 minutes and get the office cleaner.

Did you catch the difference?  "Cleaner" vs "Clean". 

By re-framing the situation with a linguistic flourish, I suddenly go from failing at finishing a never-ending list of chores that will just need to be redone anyway to succeeding at my goal.  Improvement is my goal, not an arbitrary level of perfection.

I became a triumphant champion by verbally lowering my standards.  It's like a Jedi Mind Trick. 

I can look back on my days, even with laundry piled knee deep (again, not an exaggeration) and think "Well done!  The laundry is not up to my thighs anymore."  I have done "some" laundry instead of doing "all" the laundry.   The kitchen floor might not be washed and there could be dust clinging to the tops of my cabinets, but it is "cleaner" with the dishes washed and counters scrubbed. 

Striving for perfection is depressing.  I will often settle for bare competence when dealing with keeping a house with six children, age 10 and under living here.  And I'll feel good about myself in the process.

No, I have not gone this far in avoiding housework.  But she sure does look happy with nothing left on her to-do list.

No comments: