One of my favourite blogging topics (or not so favourite) is housework.
It’s come to my immediate attention that a clean house equals a clean mind and a clean mind equals a clean house.
Here’s how I got here…
Perpetually labelled the “messy one” by relatives and loved ones, I have long suffered under the belief that I am not a clean or tidy person. I look at friends’ houses with mixture of wonder, awe and envy – how so are they so tidy? It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is to keep things all neat and regular. At some point in my life, I even employed my younger brother, a starving uni student, to spend a few hours cleaning because I have some sort of a fear of cleaning products.
And, I realised recently, that it is just it. It’s not that I am an untidy person, because I really do value cleanliness and tidiness, it is that I have a fear of cleaning.
When I first started uni in Brisbane 10 years ago, I signed up to work as a cleaner for a cleaning/babysitting/ironing agency. My first client was a very sweet lady who lived four sweaty hills away from me in a dusty old Queenslander, with three kids and a fourth on the way. Once a week, I bent on hands and knees and scrubbed and scrubbed her bathroom, her kitchen, the kids’ play area. I ironed a mountain of very crumpled shirts, and spent almost an hour dusting dust that had accumulated from the nearby busy road. In the end, I quit, and left the poor expecting mother to hang out her own washing. I quit, not out of disgust for the forever dirty toilet, or for the pee that had stained the tiles, or for the mould that would not be removed from the shower. I quit out of frustration that I couldn’t remove the grime, and guilt for taking the not-very-wealthy lady’s money each week. I ended up ironing for a lady who spent most of her time in Hong Kong, but when she was home managed to accumulate a small room’s worth of ironing. She was so impressed with my speed, she paid me double, made me a sandwich and drove me home in her yellow convertible.
Anyway, the anticipation of cleaning for me = fear of failure. And to be honest, fear of failure has been one of my greatest motivators not to do a lot of things.
For example, cleaning my kitchen cupboards. I have put the job off for so long, that in the end Greg had to do it on one of his only days off in the last few months. Bad house wifey, bad. Not only am I not a working mum, but I am not a cupboard cleaning mum either.
I have been battling with this guilt for the last few days. But tonight, I resolved to be kind to myself. So I don’t work, and I don’t clean cupboards. But let’s focus on the positives. I do wash up after every meal. I always straighten the living room and play room after Elka’s in bed. I always make my bed first thing in the morning. I do several loads of laundry every day. And I have as much fun with Elki in between as I possibly can. Ahhh…that feels better. It’s not all doom and gloom. And when I extricate that little pestering voice from my head that tells me I am a messy person, I look around my house, and other than my daggy furniture, I realise that I am not really that messy after all. Actually, things are pretty much in order most of the time.
Order makes the mind clearer, and an ordered home reflects a clear mind. Like in that movie Limitless, when the guy gets his new-found power, and all his neurons connect and his brain becomes as clear and functional as it can be, he cleans his house. His new, clear self can’t believe the squalor he used to live in.
The more I become a mummy, the tidier my house becomes. Thanks Elka for yet another lesson in life learnt through you. Just pick up that teddy next time you are passing through.