Monday, November 15, 2010


This is one of those posts that is really just an excuse to get feedback from you guys. Specifically to assuage my oh-so-typical feelings of inadequacy.

How good are you about keeping your living space clean? Because, I gotta tell you, lately, this apartment is wrecked. ALL the time.

I have always been a pretty average housekeeper. But, I never let it get to the point where you'd need a hazmat suit to enter. We're not talking Hoarders conditions here. And, if it starts to get a little slimy, I suck it up and get the job done. But, even then I pretty much do the bare minimum.

Lately, though, I've been finding myself pushing the cleanliness of our place lower and lower down the priority totem pole. I pretty much do everything else on my list before I will tackle the bathrooms or pull out the vacuum.

The one exception is the kitchen. I have to keep the kitchen clean because I cannot cook in a messy kitchen, and cooking is one of my higher priorities.

I would say my top concern each day is that Charlotte gets to do an activity she really likes. I am fortunate enough to be at home with her, so this usually means we get to go to the park or the bookstore, or any similar activity, every day. If we have a bunch of errands to do, or I have to drag her all over town for some reason, I try to at least squeeze in a walk somewhere (She's particularly fond of the little path at Whole Foods.)

My other priority should be playing with her. This is where I drop the ball sometimes. I complain about Charlotte preferring to play with Chris over me, and it's true that it makes me sad. But, I have to accept responsibility for the fact that I use the time that Chris is playing with her to cook. Sometimes, yes, cooking is a necessity. But, it is also a hobby of mine, and while I think we are all entitled to our hobbies and interests, I have to realize that if I stopped what I was doing more and sat down to play with them more frequently, she might be more interested in playing with me. I also have to gain some of the patience that Chris has to do the same thing over and over, no matter how boring it is getting. I'm working on it, and I think I've made some progress with her over the last couple days.

Then there's my writing and my leisure time. Too often I pick watching television or screwing around on the internet over writing. And reading! I hate the quiet at night, so I'm much more likely to turn the TV on than I am to a book. This bothers me. So, this is another area where my priorities get all jumbled. I want to read and I NEED to write, but in the moment all I ever seem to do is vegetate.

So, you see? Cleaning doesn't even fit into the mix. I really do try every day to clean up the clutter because I know it's good for Charlotte to be in a more organized and less chaotic environment, but as for scrubbing bathtubs and dusting the bookshelves? Only if my mother-in-law is coming over.

I realize this is not entertaining at all. I just needed to get it out of my head. And, I really want to know: What are your priorities? How and when do you manage to keep the house clean? Am I a disgusting pig?

Wait. Don't answer that last one.


  1. Ha. HAHAHAHA.

    Whew, ok, so I'm not laughing at you, I'm just laughing at the idea of being a good housekeeper. Ask my husband, he'll laugh at that idea too.

    I hate cleaning. Like, hate. I'm an *adequate* housekeeper. My husband is a good one. With the kid though? So not the top priority. (Did you see the comic today on Noodle Knobs?) We keep things good enough--the kitchen gets a little better treatment--but unless guests are coming over? It's generally not the top of the list.

    So, uh, don't feel bad :-)

  2. Phew!

    Glad to know I'm not alone. Seriously, it's like, I JUST sat down to eat dinner. I don't have time for this crap!

    And, I didn't see it. I will go check it out now. :)

  3. Woman!

    I am 99.9999% sure that your apartment looks better than my entire house! The kitchen is the only area that I make a gargantuan effort to keep clean, but everything else is just a little over the bare minimum -- unless we're having company, and then I go into overdrive.

    (It doesn't help that the Wonder Twins swoop in and wreck my shit the INSTANT I manage to de-clutter it!)

  4. We are alike in a LOT of this, like the watching tv instead of writing. Ooooh, how I'm guilty of that. But as for cleaning, here's a confession I doubt you're ready for: I haven't scrubbed out our tub since right before the baby was born. So, a year and a half ago.

    Blergh. Even I know that's disgusting. I keep the kitchen clean because it's small, and cleaning it is easy. I will even wipe down the fronts of the cupboards occasionally, which I think is a major win. My husband vacuums once a week. I pick up after E a couple times a day, and get everything back in order before bed. I clean the sinks in the bathrooms when they are visibly dirty, and the mirrors the same. I dust when I see dust, because that's simple.

    But the tub? Nope. It's grimy. We have a spare bathroom where we bathe E, so he gets the clean tub. Please tell me you're not totally grossed out.

    I did see this tip about scrubbing the tub with a grapefruit half and sea salt, though, so I might try that just because it's fun and good-smelling.

  5. The way I see it you can spend the time out enjoying your kids, or spend it cleaning. I usually keep the kitchen clean so we don't get botulism, laundry running so we have underwear and I kick a path through the playroom once a day. After that...whatever. Vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing tubs, all that gets done when it is really needed and you know what, we are all just fine. I am not saying it is impossible to keep a clean house with kids, but it sure is challenging and frankly, that is not a challenge we need to face too often TYVM.

  6. @Lex- Yeah, that's part of the problem, isn't it? Even when you do keep things clean, kids just follow you around, messing it up again.

    @Perpetua- I do NOT think you're gross. In fact, I don't clean the sinks every time they are visibly dirty, and I don't dust. Like ever. So, it sounds like I may be worse. Let me know if you try the grapefruit thing on the tub. I tried baking soda, and it just isn't cutting it.

    @Alexis- THANK YOU. Exactly. I do keep laundry running pretty regularly, but yeah, mopping and vacuuming happens when it absolutely has to, and not a minute before. I'd rather spend time with my kid. And, yeah, it's probably possible to do both, but that would mean cleaning while she sleeps, and I need to recharge. Makes me a better mother.

  7. We try to keep the place tidy ..1 because we are both anal retentively routined and we have a routine to do it and 2 because we have Simon's brother living with us.

    I/we give the place a good vacuum and clean only once a week (sometimes i cant be arsed though, im tired and it depends how many "floor snacks" there are) and then after dinner and kids have hit the sack one of us will clean up all my books that zj has thrown everywhere and his toys and give the kitchen and dishes a go. it takes about 10 minutes tops. And then we go die on the couch with a beer.

    Also, cant cant cant cook in a untidy kitchen. I go crazy.

  8. You are not alone. My house, (with the exception of the kitchen which I am obsessed with keeping clean... just like you, so I can cook) is a mess. I actually stayed home from work today to clean it (which Audrey is at the day home) so that it is clean when family arrives tonight. This massive cleaning will probably have to last at least a month or two before I get a chance to do it again.

    I make my husband vaccumn and take out garbages. I quickly whip down the sinks and toliets once every couple of weeks. We keep up with the laundry so we don't have to go out naked. That's it.

  9. Oh, and my husband found this great quote
    "You can have a clean house or you can make art but you can't have both." Replace art with...well, anything, and that's my motto.