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If you can't or don't keep a tidy home... - Page 2

post #21 of 47
My home is never completely clean. It hasn't been since we moved in, and it won't be until we move out. Each night before DP gets home, and again before bed (unless I'm just too wiped out already) I straighten up the living room and kitchen, put away the toys, make sure all the dishes are done, sweep, etc. But everything just gets trashed again the next morning. *sigh*
The bathroom looks worse than it is because three of the lightbulbs just blew and we can't find the right ones to replace them, and we have mold on the ceiling due to a lack of ventilation (window doesn't open, no fan, and we have to keep the door closed as much as possible because the cat gets in there and pees in the sink and craps on the bathmat - not sure what's up with that). The bedroom is usually cluttered because I am apparently incapable of putting away laundry after I wash it.
Whenever my MIL comes over to babysit, I have to make sure everything is as spotless as I can get it because if there are dishes in the sink, she will wash them. If the bathroom is cluttered, she will organize it. This really burns me because I have spent plenty of time at her house and believe me, it's not much better than mine! The master bedroom is LOADED with clothes, magazines, diet Pepsi cans, etc.
I try not to stress about it, though. As long as my home is healthy and liveable, housework is less of a priority than spending time with my son and having some time to myself to retain my sanity.
post #22 of 47
Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty
This is a constant irritation with my Mom. She likes things perfect. And me, with seven children running around the house that I homeschool all day long, never have an imacuate house.
With seven kids she expects this? If she was my mom she'd better not have a word to say unless she was holding a scrub brush or a dust mop in her hand ready to help!
post #23 of 47
one of the things worth working on is the self-judgement involved here.

it is true that culturally speaking, an aspect of a woman's social currency is her ability to 'maintain a proper, clean home.' as young girls growing up, we internalize this as an aspect of our value, and lacking self esteem development in certain areas (which is common in any growth process, no matter how great the parents are), girls turn to certain social models to define and demonstrate outwardly things that will bring them praise and a sense of 'personal value.'

for many women, this becomes a compulsion or a shame cycle in regards to house keeping. Some women are compulsive about cleaning because deviating from the social normative makes them 'bad women' and they internalize this so deeply that the very concept of clutter will send them into a shame cycle before anyone has actually entered the home to point out a cobweb. Some women feel such shame about their clutter that they won't allow anyone into their home, or they feel embarassed, ashamed, and overwhelmed when it doesn't reach to whatever standard of cleanliness that they're holding themselves to.

but, there's hope. we have to learn (i am still learning) how to remove our sense of personal and social value from our home's 'level of cleanliness.' this does not imply that we let our houses be dirty or cluttered, but that we are able to accept what we can do (and feel good about that) and that we do not feel shamed or ashamed when there are things that we either can't get to, can't overcome (such as hubby's need to hoard clothes), or don't really need (there are social standards out there that aren't functional for me, and for many other women as well, and yet many of us feel ashamed when we can't 'meet' those standards, even though those standards aren't functional for us!).

So, i think that striving to find ways to remove yourself from the 'clean home=valuable woman' paradigm will help you find the work that you are doing more fulfilling and more adequate to your needs overall (you'll be able to find something that works for you and your family, and isn't up to someone else's standard or ideas of what 'appropriate' is).

I wish you all the best. I know that this is difficult to go through. I've been working on this particular space in my head for a couple of years now, and i've gotten through the biggest aspects just this summer. I'm really claiming my power and my fulfillment in my way of life (my house is clean and uncluttered such that it is functional for us, but i still get criticism from mom, sister, neighbor, martha steward, real simple magazine, etc).

many blessings and joys!
post #24 of 47
The person who bugs me the most is DH and its been annoying everytime the kids get sick its because our house is dirty. I really try and I keep it real clean some weeks some one gets sick and the whole thing goes bye bye. I have cycles of perfectly clean home and cycles of clutter. I don't know why but I do. I agree with the shame thing and then someone puts their two cents in on it and it makes me not want to clean it more.
post #25 of 47
I keep up with dishes very well, and laundry never gets too behind. I wipe my counters clean after cooking or eating, and I never leave the house or go to bed if there are dirty dishes out or food messes out. That said, I don't remember the last time I made my bed, toys, books, and other odds and ends may as well stay on the living room floor, because ds will just move them there again anyway. I work FT and I'm a single mom, so I have my cleaning priorities, but that doesn't mean my place is fit for a photo shoot with better homes and gardens.

P.S.--my landlord is STILL blaming me for the bug problem. My father happens to work for a pest elimination company, and told me himself (and he would know, he's taken classes and seen things firsthand the past 10 years of working there) that CLUTTER doesn't attract bugs, FOOD and WATER do. When I suggested maybe one of the other tenants had a dirty place causing the bugs, he decided to label me "the dirty one" after he had the other units treated.
post #26 of 47
I used to be very ashamed of my house keeping ability. However, I have learned over the last few years that I only need to please my DH and me. I don't have to please my Mom or anyone else. This released a HUGE weight from my shoulders.

I no longer strive to please my mom. My house stays cleaner and I am a lot less stressed about it. My Mom still irks me about it, but now in round about ways. She now brings it up the my children, telling them that they should keep the house cleaner and that they are not being very good and such. So we don't talk much right now.

But just striving to please me and my DH has really helped. I have decluttered so much and that has helped. But with a house full of children and a busy schedule, I am sure we will never have a perfect house. But that is ok for us. We are happy. And not stressed over it any more!
post #27 of 47

Truer words never spoken!

Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty
And me, with seven children running around the house that I homeschool all day long, never have an imacuate house. She just can not understand.

Life with many children does not easily lend to a spotless house. There is always clutter, toys on the floor, and stuff where it does not belong.
I homeschool to but I only have 4 but my family cannot relate! Pun intended! LOL!

I have cobwebs on the ceiling in a couple of rooms and dried up Playdoh on the laminate waiting to be cleaned up from earlier this afternoon. There are 3 new LEGO structures on *display* making their rounds of the house for art appreciation and I helped make 2 fabric lunchbags with my girls on their sewing machine and a shirt and skirt for their American Girl doll (but that gets cleaned up asap since my youngest could get hurt from sewing supplies).

A clean house means no one had fun that day!

Debra, homeschooling mom of 4 ages 9 1/2, 8 1/2, 6 1/2, and 38 mos
post #28 of 47
I no longer strive to please my mom. My house stays cleaner and I am a lot less stressed about it. My Mom still irks me about it
i've started firmly, yet kindly, standing up to my mom and MIL.

my mom was here last weekend and i was sitting on a chair that was near the wall. i was leaning on the wall.

my mom said "don't lean on the wall! you'll get oils on it! it'll get dirty!" and at first i moved, jumped away from the wall actually, and then i said "wait a second, these are MY walls, and i can put oil on them if i want to."

and my mom said "you're right." and then when she said "you really need to sweep your floors." she then said "well, they're not that bad, and they are your floors. If you're happy with it, then i guess that's ok."

so now, my mom is off my back about it too! even though i don't have kids, she recognized that i do have bunny--and he sheds in summer (i have 'dust bunnies' literally everywhere from bunny fur) and i clean his stray poop up once a day (not much, usually localized around the litter box) but sometimes a few get accidently kicked around--and i'll clean it up in that area when i see it or during the once-a-week super sweep.

so, she gets it.

it's ok to stand up and say "mom, this is my house--and this is what works for us. your standards are not appropriate for my household."

my mother in law takes it personally. but her house is WAY more cluttered and WAY dirtier than mine. I don't point that out, i just kindly and firmly redirect with "this is the schedule and lifestyle that works for us. it is a safe, clean home."

and that's that.
post #29 of 47
I struggle with this because my mother was so nuts about cleaning when I was a child - the house was never clean and she made this into an issue worth screaming over every single day. Seriously - she could not get herself out of the mindset that her messy house was our (really my) fault. Of course now her house is as messy as it ever was - it makes me crazy to see her kitchen, filled to the gills with crap, stuff all over the counter, food crammed and rotting in the fridge, her recycling taking over the whole space...

And it has taken me years to get out of the mode of feeling ashamed and trapped because I'm so "messy." So now our house is somewhat untidy, but still sanitary, on any given day, and I don't mind much, and my mother is still not happy. Blech.
post #30 of 47
Originally Posted by RacheePoo
I HATE.ABHOR.DESPISE.housework. My house is never what you'd call clean. At any given time, there are piles of clean laundry on beds or couches, waiting to be folded. I give the sweeping/dishes/toilets a "lick and a promise" as my mom calls it. Honestly, the only time I ever deep clean is if my mom's coming to visit. I'm the family slob. Yes, it bothers me...but not enough to change it. I'd far rather be doing art projects with my son, scrapbooking, gardening, etc because to me, housework is the most boring thing on earth.
this is me, except I told my mom to get over it. My office is a 5x2 'cove' in our kitchen/dining room and it's constantly piled with papers, candles either still in the shipping boxes or on my desk waitting to be matched to a holder and business card. IT's also piled with everything everyone hands me expecting me to put a 'proper place for' out of my yoni.. or worse and there is a constantly rotating pile of clothing in a corner of our bedroom because with dh's uniforms and pts and other military related garb, our antique dresser is running over and even paring down to 1 set apiece of 'nice' work type clothes and 'nice' weekend clothes, 2 dresses and 2 skirt sets for me, and a set apiece of exercise and other 'lazy day' clothes, that's still more than this thing can handle. {It was made by a former landlord of my parents for his daughter in 1942, and it shows} The kids room is, well, a kids room. Clothes they don't want to put away, toys that even a few days later they're 'not done playing with yet' and so forth... The dishes are done twice a day, including stuff that has to go in the dishwasher and stuff that can't, because with all the people in our house and those who float in and out, there's always a pile of dishes. And then I go on one of my cooking sprees and that certainly doesn't help matters... But it's not nasty or drawing roaches or smelly or anything. it's just not going to make the cover of midwest living any time soon..
post #31 of 47
to zoebird!
Thank you for such a balanced perspective. I. too am struggling with this. I think I've inherited every clutter gene in the family tree, although over the past year I have gotten much better. I find that if I allow myself to let go of my fear of being judged about the way I "keep house", my de-cluttering and cleaning skills blossom. Who would have thought?
post #32 of 47
I consider myself a mother b4 a housewife.
I rather play with the kids and make sure they are happy than have a super clean house.
Priorities please!
As long as the house is reasonable and my family is happy then that is more important to me.
post #33 of 47
I feel the same way all the time.
post #34 of 47
A bit of a rant from a lurker/newbie...

[QUOTE=treemom2] I mean, if we had really clean houses it would mean 1. Our children watch way too much TV which is how we get the cleaning done, 2. We don't get any sleep because we are up all night cleaning up the messes from the day, 3. We aren't playing with our children or letting them play enough, and 4. We are way too stressed about having a clean home![/QUOTE]

I consider myself a mother b4 a housewife.
I rather play with the kids and make sure they are happy than have a super clean house.
Priorities please!
As long as the house is reasonable and my family is happy then that is more important to me.

I just wanted to comment on this... I've seen it stated a lot that, "sure, I can have a clean house, but I'd rather care for my children, etc" and I kind of take issue with it. (Not a personal attack on you, treemom & mama naturale, just a general statement!

You can have a clean and orderly house and still be a caring and involved parent. I do what I can to keep my house at the level of cleanliness I am comfortable with and I don't do it instead of playing with my kids or meeting their needs.

I also:
1. Don't have a TV
2. Don't do any housework after 7:30 pm
3. Play with my DS often, and allow him to play (whatever that means)
4. I don't think I'm too stressed about having a clean home. I need order and cleanliness for a positive state of mind so I do whatever I need to to maintain a house I can feel peaceful in.

I doubt anyone here is sticking their kids in front of cartoons so they can scrub their shower with a toothbrush to win some Better Homes and Gardens contest! It just seems unfair to equate a clean home with neglect of the children.

I wash dishes as we use them, clean up toys at regular times throughout the day (before nap, before bedtime), wipe up spills as they happen - all as part of the rhythm of the day. DS helps sweep and dry dishes and loves to be involved in clean-up time. I don't see how doing these things implies a crisis of priorities!

If you are comfortable with the level of cleanliness in your house for your family, that is all that matters. I would not be so quick to judge others and assume that their cleanliness is the result of compromising priorities and familial neglect.

Ok... I'm done!
post #35 of 47
Originally Posted by hipumpkins
Does anyone else ever feel judged b/c your home is less than immacualte? :
Yes.. my mom refuses to visit. She feels mt home is dirty even though we keep it clean.. she doesn't like animals in the house and complains about my house smelling bad. She feels people shouldn't have pets in their home and can't possibly keep it clean.... also my children are assigned various chores of cleaning and she doesn't believe children can do that good of a job. That I should do it all. So my house wont be clean enough for her until my children are older and gone.
But we are happy with it. I am ruthless about tossing unused stuff. We vacuum and sweep and swiffer daily. Wipe down things and dust daily. :
I don't worry about her standards of clean anymore.
Enjoy your children .....be happy!!!!!
post #36 of 47
Originally Posted by babybun
A bit of a rant from a lurker/newbie...

You can have a clean and orderly house and still be a caring and involved parent. !
No, "you" can have a clean and orderly house and still be a caring and involved parent.

So could I, when I only had two kids, and neither had any special issues to consider.

With 4 kids (3 dx'ed with celiac disease, one with ADHD/mild Aspergers, and one with asthma and developmental delays)...and homeschooling...I can NOT keep a clean and orderly house right now.

Something has to give, around here. I choose housework to be the thing that 'gives'.

In the future my house will be very clean again. We are probably one year away from my house being consistently "orderly". I am learning to accept that.
post #37 of 47
i have to add my story:
I have 2 kids a roomate a husband 4 dogs (terrier/sheepdog mix 2 grman shepherds and a husky/chow mix) 2 cats and ALLOT of smells! My basements leaks and stinks....
my dh works 6 days a week and I work 4 to 5 shifts at a local resturaunt. my best friend whose husband work out of the house 2 days a week and she bartends 2 nights a week came over and tells me that basically my house is gross. Im not sure what to tell her, its not fair for her to judge me like that - i do the best I can... she tells me she'd help me, but then she doesnt. I am constantly depressed at the state of my house and I DONT need people (who love me) meking me feel worse.
post #38 of 47
Townmouse - I only meant that those who have clean houses are not necessarily neglecting their children for it!

I did not mean to imply that everyone should have a clean house all the time, or that something is wrong with not cleaning - just that I often feel the judgement the other way ("Well, sure, she has a clean house, but she probably doesn't love her children!).

Sorry if I offended
post #39 of 47
Yes, I do feel judged on this a lot. I am not a bad person, but I am not a great housekeeper. I'd love things to be better. i've tried S.H.E methods, I've tried fly lady, I've tried my Mothers method, I've tried cleaning one room at a time, I've tried tips from books, magazines, and tv shows. In short, I've tried it all, and I've failed.

The only time my house was ever clean was when my husband and I were 1st married and didn't own much of anything.

Now here we are 9 years later, a house, and 2 kids. We have LOADS of crap, most of which we don't need and I don't know how we ended up with it even.

I get tired of people making judgement calls on me based on a pile of clutter or baskets of clean laundry in my living room. We don't live in filth. I don't have but one housepet, and the litter box is in the cellar. I clean it out once a week totally and scoop it every morning. I wash dishes a minimum of once everyday, but usually I run the dishwasher at least twice a day. I don't let food sit, I take out the trash and do laundry and etc. All The Time, but you can't tell. Any and all flat surfaces have some form of clutter on them. There is a massive pile of clothes on the sofa, there are books and stuff on the steps.

I've had horrid things said to me by many folks over the years, and it hurts like the dickens.

I wish we were independantly wealthy so I could hire the housekeeping done and just focus on my kids. Then no one would give me any flack about not being wonderwoman. But, since I'm home all day there is that assumption that I don't have anything else to do all day, so I should just be cleaning and tidying.

Also, I get really irritated when the kids try to help. I know , I know, it is importnant they are included, which i try to do, but I just really Hate them helping me. It makes the task that much longer and that much more complicated...

No help, just chiming in...me too. Or 3 , or how ever many of us there are out there .

I must say that I've watched some of those organization shows on DIY or HGTV, and really wished I could get those people to come to my house and help. I am not good at doing stuff alone. I do far better if there is someone working laongside me to help keep me motivated and help me reach my goal of a cleaner/less cluttered and messy house.

I always think I missed the housecleanign gene as well. My Gramma Berthas house was/is always a mess. If you want to sit on a chair you have to lift the piles of newspapers off of it, or the cat, or both. She just always has stuff all over. Not bad stuff or rotten stuff, just, Stuff. Ditto my house. I just have Stuff all over.

We have way to much stuff, and I think if we had less Stuff it would be better, but I lose motivation to get rid of the extra Stuff after an hour of trying to sort through it and having the kids bug me or beg me to keep things that I know no one wants, really.

Right now, there are 6 huge rubbermaid totes in a closet upstairs full of toys they haven't played with in over a year. I need to sort those out and get rid of Mucho toys, and find the things like the wooden puzzles I know my 3 year old would love, but the thought of all that work makes me cringe.

And the CLOTHES ! Can I just say right now how much I LOATHE dealing with all the damn clothes ? Because I do. I have clothes that are too big, too small, etc. in every room. I have clothe form when I was 19 years old, and I'm 30. They haven't fit me since I was 25, and they aren't going to fit me anytime soon. I've got so much clothing up in my room right now that doesn't fit Any of us that I want to scream... or just start throwing it into a dumpster out the window.

I hate all this tuff. it makes me feel like that muppet character in the Labyrinth movie..do you remember her ? She carried All this STUFF on her back and it was used to try and distract the girl from getting her brother...

Well, I'm beginning to think my Stuff is doing that to me as well. It is slowly choking the life out of me the way a creeping weed will kill another plant. I want it gone , and yet..I have no idea where to start.
post #40 of 47
My place is a big mess too. Strangely enough, my friends don't seem to care about the mess. Not even my neighbor up the street whose house always looks great. I think most of my judgment problems stem from my own mom and now my internalized issues.

My mom is the worst. She cannot relax at my house when she comes to visit. She and my dad have helped us do tons of work clearing out clutter and stuff, but I'd rather have spent time enjoying their company. They live 3 states away and stay at a hotel when they visit. We don't have a guest room so part of it is that they don't like the sofa bed, but I think my mom just can't stand my house either.

I still find myself apologizing all over myself to people all the time if they come over.

I'm hoping to get a handle on this soon. DD (who is 3) just the other day mentioned something to someone who came over about how we need to clean up the mess. : I don't want her to have my issues. I figure I can either learn to be tidy or learn to live with me as I am - and I don't anticipate becoming tidy.

Now I just work on little bits here and there. I think what is so frustrating with housework and kids (and DH & dog in this case) is that other people seem to undo a lot of what I am trying to do. What frustrates me most about housework is that it's never done - even when it's done - because it just starts all over again. And if I don't take care of it or assign it, it doesn't get done at all. That's just the way it is. DH will help out, but I have to be the manager. This drives me crazy. I'm tired of having to feel like I'm in charge of everything here - but I'm trying to get over it. At least he's willing to help out.

OK. I guess that was a bit of a rant. This is obviously an issue for me. I am really going to try to work on being at peace with life as it is. Ironically, things seem to go better for me (including housework) when I stop obsessing about it.
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