How did the way your parents keep their house affect how you keep yours? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 08-08-2011, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Not really sure how to word this, so I hope I can get my thoughts across clearly...

 

Is it how they kept their house? (dirty, messy, comfortable, spotless, whatever) Or is it how they related to you with regard to how they kept their house?

 

We had daily and weekly chores as kids. It was routine, happened religiously. My moms house was always perfectly clean. But it didn't help me learn how to manage a house.

 

Around 8 years ago, I worked retail part time for some Christmas money and my eyes were opened to how purposefully damaging and manipulative marketing was. I stopped mindless buying/shopping, and I started a deep decluttering process. I always had much less stuff than everyone I knew, and I felt like I couldn't even figure out how to manage that appropriately (despite me being a very organized, neat person by nature), it always made me feel worse. Keeping house was like living on a seesaw - I really was only taught how to keep a perfectly clean house, but my life didn't allow for that (five kids in 10 years, varying degrees of ppd and anxiety, a procrastinating - albeit trying to be helpful - husband who came from a disgusting house). Keeping things at a lived in, comfortable level has always been my goal. But reality is, I'd go from utter disaster to raging lunatic freaking out get it clean, then I couldn't maintain and it would slip back to disaster, and start all over again.

 

Now, my youngest is four, I have no clutter, and I've had 12 years to find out what works for me and what doesn't. I have a much better handle on things (or did, until my car accident and have been bedridden for 7 weeks, but that's a different story!). 

 

I'm wondering what other people think the best way to have kids involved in the housekeeping process is, and how your experience growing up affects how you involve your children...

 

I believe it is my house and I am responsible for the level of cleanliness I find appropriate. But I also think the kids live here and there is a level of personal accountability. I don't believe in chart systems or tying allowance to chores that are basically cleaning up after yourself. Their bedrooms are theirs to decide how to maintain, although my limit is garbage and dishes. (Although, sometimes, it can get too much for me and I will ask if I can clean it for them, or if they want help cleaning. Honestly, I have slipped to freaking out and telling them they had to clean their room, but that was out of being overwhelmed and feeling disrespected, not that I think thats the best way to handle things.) I feel like the best way is for them to be involoved with the upkeep of the house in a positive way. The olders know how to run the washer/dryer, clean a bathroom, all of them can fold and put away their clothes, the three big ones can do dishes, trash, sweeping and mopping. The littles are learning, too. Lots of times I ask everyone to give a few minutes to work all together to do a general pick up when I'm feeling overwhelmed by things being messy. 

 

My goal is they are involved enough in the maintenance of the house to learn the skills necessary to maintain their things and their living space comfortably, and that they apply those skills and their own preferences, which I'm sure will change as mine have over time, to create a healthy, comfortable home. I don't want something so basic as keeping a house to be something they struggle with as I did. And I hope me figuring things out all these years doesn't impact them negatively...

 

I'd love to hear any thoughts, ideas or stories anyone feels like sharing!

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#2 of 25 Old 08-08-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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My parents did affect the way I keep my house, I think, but not directly.  Our house was always clean enough, but never really nice.  We were latchkey kids with mom and dad working full time.  I was always a very distracted little girl.  I was told angrily "go clean your room" but I didn't know where to begin, and would always digress and never get the job done.  I was creative and imaginative and not particularly focused.  What I needed was some guidance on what to focus on first, what to ignore for now, etc.  What I got was more verbal abuse, words like "pig sty" as in "I don't know how you can live in such a ....."  Real old-school parenting crap.

 

Fast forward.  My house is a mess most of the time.  Usually toys.  The bathrooms are clean, the kitchen is messy but clean.  The floors get swept and damp mopped.  Laundry and dishes get done as needed, but not necessarily RIGHT NOW.  So, the house is a wreck, but oh well.  My fridge is probably cleaner than most.  Etcetera.

 

What I bring to my family from my upbringing is the desire to help my kids not mind chores.  To not belittle them like I was.  To help them figure it out.  They like cleaning, when they do it.  I've even told DH not to say anything when I clean the toilet because cleaning shouldn't be seen as drudgery.  What they think of cleaning they can figure out for themselves, I don't need to indoctrinate them.  They don't get allowance for chores.  

 

Maybe I've swung us too far in the other direction.  The girls are visibly calmer and happier when the house is tidied up and beautiful.  Now they are older, I've got more time to keep it clean, but this year the gardening and good weather is keeping us focused outside.  So, things will get easier and easier, I know they will.

 

The funny thing is, now I am a housekeeper!  I'm self-employed and stumbled on housekeeping per chance, because when I do clean, it's beautiful.  Now I clean a huge house once a week and a local farm/conference center for events.  I'm really good at what I do.  Go figure!  

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#3 of 25 Old 08-08-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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Interesting question! The house my parents (or mainly my mom) kept when I was a kid is vastly different than their house now. My mom was always cleaning, kept it tidy, did ALL the laundry, cooking, cleaning for a family of 7 with no help from her 5 kids, husband, or any hired help. I didn't learn to do laundry until I went to college (something I'm not proud of...I mean, seriously, she had 5 kids and we NEVER helped!) Our house was always "clean" but generally a little cluttered. It felt lived in, well-worn, but clean.

 

Their house now is heavily cluttered - my mom doesn't get rid of anything anymore and has some shopping issues. It's a fairly big house and she can't keep it all clean on her own anymore (being almost 70) and my dad is no help since he never helped before (so why start now?) So it's always a little grimy now. Their kitchen counters are piled with papers and books and shopping bags full of stuff. All 5 bedrooms have packed closets (even though we have now taken all of our childhood things out). I tried to help/convince/cajole them into decluttering and moving to a smaller home or condo...but, alas, change is hard.

 

As for what I learned - very little actual housekeeping skills, but I did get a sense of my mom's pride in her home, how she felt it was noble and worthwhile to toil away on the home for your family. I feel that now. I get a huge sense of accomplishment and I feel like I'm showing love for my family by keeping the house tidy and clean. But I HATE clutter and throw things away any chance I get. My mom thinks I'm crazy and harsh for getting rid of so much - she helped me go through my kids' baby clothes when they last visited and was shocked that I didn't just save everything (I kept an outfit or two for each child that reminded me of their babyhood). I would like to "clean" more regularly, but the bathrooms, floors, etc. don't get scrubbed nearly enough.


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#4 of 25 Old 08-08-2011, 11:23 AM
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Gosh, what an interesting question.  I had to really think about this. Honestly, my mom cleaned a lot.  She liked a clean house.  My sister and I, we were not orderly kids. LOL As I get older I find I look for more order/neatness in my house, but I *HATE* cleaning.  Our house is perpetually cluttered.  I think that perhaps part of it is that we (my daughter and I) are big picture folks.  We like having everything laid out at once and seeing how it all works together.  My mom is usually roughly appalled at the site of my house. LOL

 

We're going to start doing chores with the start of our homeschooling kindergarten this fall...we'll see how it goes.


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#5 of 25 Old 08-08-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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My dad did most of the heavy cleaning at my house, and I find myself deferring to DH and expecting him to fill that role, too. And my dad also would always do my cleaning for me, and I never really learned to clean. I knew how to do laundry and cook, load a dishwasher, and vacuum because my mom and I were alone in the evenings. But I didn't HAVE to do those things. It's taken me a long time to figure out HOW to clean and keep a house that way. And I still struggle with it. MIL has a "clean" house, but doesn't really do deep cleaning like the dusting, scrubbing, washing linens regularly, etc. Which is what I'm used to. So it's very hard for DH and I. Because he sees a clear counter and empty sink and says the kitchen is clean. I see the grease spots on the stove display, the splatters on the baseboards from muddy kids running in from the yard, and I think the kitchen is filthy!


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#6 of 25 Old 08-08-2011, 02:44 PM
 
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Growing up our house was always messy and very cluttered, getting worse the older I got. Most of my life we were in a small 2 bedroom house with my parents plus six of my siblings so it was just always jam packed. My dad is also a bit of a hoarder. Once we moved to a bigger place and I had my own room, I always kept it clean and generally organized and do the same in my own home now. Of course clutter does happen but overall I'd say I'm on top of it. 

On the flip side, my dad is an avid gardener and always tended our yard & flower and veggie gardens beautifully and while that would be my ideal, I can't keep anything alive outside. We have a bunch of houseplants but our yard and garden are seriously embarrassing!

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#7 of 25 Old 08-08-2011, 11:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

What I bring to my family from my upbringing is the desire to help my kids not mind chores.  To not belittle them like I was.  To help them figure it out.  They like cleaning, when they do it.  I've even told DH not to say anything when I clean the toilet because cleaning shouldn't be seen as drudgery.  What they think of cleaning they can figure out for themselves, I don't need to indoctrinate them.  They don't get allowance for chores.  

 

Maybe I've swung us too far in the other direction.  The girls are visibly calmer and happier when the house is tidied up and beautiful.  Now they are older, I've got more time to keep it clean, but this year the gardening and good weather is keeping us focused outside.  So, things will get easier and easier, I know they will.

 

The funny thing is, now I am a housekeeper!  I'm self-employed and stumbled on housekeeping per chance, because when I do clean, it's beautiful.  Now I clean a huge house once a week and a local farm/conference center for events.  I'm really good at what I do.  Go figure!  


SweetSilver, I really liked your post.  It's great you've found something your are good at and feel good about!

 

I had a similar experience with my parents and my own bewilderment at how to be clean and the belittling, and physical punishment.  I really wanted to be clean when I was a kid but didn't know how.  For many years, whenever I did anything like dishes... it was infrequently and in the midst of squalor.  And with great anger and dismay.  Then I realized that no one was really making me do it anymore.  I was doing it because I actually didn't like living in squalor.

 

Now I really try to see my housekeeping as something I do for myself.... I like to see a tidied up and beautiful home and I like to give that gift to my family.  I hope my daughter (and sons if I should have any) will grow up and see that this is good work too and it's not something to be belitted or drudged.  It's our gift to ourselves and those we love if we do it with love and not under duress.  Instead of groaning, "oh man, gotta do those dishes" (which I still do from time to time) I find myself more and more jumping up and thinking, "Oh, it will just look so nice once everything is washed and put away."  And thinking of how good I will feel when I am done.  And that shift in mindset has been tremendous for me.

 

I do strive to have fewer possessions, simply because it keeps me from being overwhelmed.  My parents have a lot of stuff.  Thinking about cleaning all that stuff makes me lose my breath!


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#8 of 25 Old 08-09-2011, 04:59 AM
 
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hmmmm....never really thought about this.

 

My parent's homes (we moved a lot) were always kept very simple, and comfortable.  But they did value cleanliness and lack of clutter.  Although they are doctors, we never had the "status house" (or car), never had the huge, pristine, everything new homes.  So there wasn't a whole lot of pressure to keep everything sparkling.  However, there was a requirement that we each be responsible for our rooms, and that we clean up mess we made elsewhere in the house, and the general idea that in a family, we all pull together and help each other out.  We all learned how to do laundry, and in our teens we all did our own laundry.  If we left stuff lying around in the bathroom, it was an "issue" and was dealt with.  When I was in my late teens, my parents hired a housekeeper to come 2 days a week, and she did the heavy cleaning as all of us were busy with work/school, but we were still responsible for our own rooms and our own laundry.  In fact, the housekeeper was told that if the bed wasn't made and there was crap all over the floor, she was to leave that kid's bedroom alone and we would be cleaning it on our own.  She was there to help, and she was a huge help, but she wasn't to be treated as a maid nor to have all our responsibilities dumped on her.

 

I have carried a lot of my parent's style to my own housekeeping.  I like the house to stay simple and uncluttered.  We have a fine collection of used furniture. :D  I don't really care how ugly the carpet is, but I do care that it is regularly vacuumed.  My kitchen cabinets are ancient and look terrible, but as longs as what's inside them is clean and stacked neatly, they don't bother me.  I make the bed every day, and my children make their beds.  We tidy up frequently, and the children already know that their messes are largely their responsibility to clean up.  *I* did not spread legos into every corner of the living room, so *I* am not going to pick them up only to have them re-spread 10 minutes later.  They learn to be more mindful of their toys and books when they know that they will be doing a good portion of the tidying up of those things, though I usually help.  I don't do chore charts, and neither did my parents.  This is because I don't have a huuuuuge list of requirements for the kids.  Their daily "chores" are 1 or 2 items, easy enough to remember.  The rest of it we do in "pull together" style like my family did.  What needs to be done gets done.  The children help when they are capable and when I ask them.  This will continue as they get older.   

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#9 of 25 Old 08-09-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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I grew up in a messy, cluttered house. DH grew up in an immaculate, organized house, but his mother did everything. So neither DH nor I are very good at cleaning. We have been working hard to keep our house neat and uncluttered, though. We feel it's better for our sanity and it's good to instill good habits in our boys. Our boys are very neat and are very into keeping their spaces organized and uncluttered. We do require this of them, but they are gradually learning to do it on their own. It helps a lot that they were part of the original organizing of the room (helped by the storage containers, decided what would be kept where, etc.) They are proud when their playroom is all cleaned up!

 

My mother's house totally stresses me out, but she does not mind it all! She wants to enjoy her life, not spend it cleaning.

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#10 of 25 Old 08-09-2011, 11:00 AM
 
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My mom kept a spotless house, but my sister and I did tons of the work.  She was particular and mean as hell about what a terrible job we did cleaning "her" house.   I hated every minute of being there because it was never good enough, never clean enough, never organized enough.  She worked all day long to have a clean house and beautiful yard, but she was never happy with it all.

 

I've toned down my need for spotlessness.  I like it super clean, but it's not required anymore.  My dh told me one that I was acting "insane" about the house and I wasn't fun to live with.  I immediately lowered my standards.  Right now there is dried playdough crumbs all over the floor, I don't care, dd is having fun.  My mom would have never let me play playdough in the dining room!!    The kids rooms are clean enough, but still a wreck.  Bathrooms are always clean and so is the kitchen, anything else can wait.

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#11 of 25 Old 08-09-2011, 07:06 PM
 
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Mamalisa, I admire how you are making something good out of the not so good.

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My mom kept a spotless house, but my sister and I did tons of the work.  She was particular and mean as hell about what a terrible job we did cleaning "her" house.   I hated every minute of being there because it was never good enough, never clean enough, never organized enough.  She worked all day long to have a clean house and beautiful yard, but she was never happy with it all.

 

I've toned down my need for spotlessness.  I like it super clean, but it's not required anymore.  My dh told me one that I was acting "insane" about the house and I wasn't fun to live with.  I immediately lowered my standards.  Right now there is dried playdough crumbs all over the floor, I don't care, dd is having fun.  My mom would have never let me play playdough in the dining room!!    The kids rooms are clean enough, but still a wreck.  Bathrooms are always clean and so is the kitchen, anything else can wait.



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#12 of 25 Old 08-09-2011, 07:49 PM
 
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Very interesting discussion & something I think a lot about.

 

In my house growing up we had regular chores - some daily, like keeping our rooms tidy & washing dishes & some weekly, like cleaning bathrooms, sweeping, mopping, dusting, etc. The house was always presentable - not immaculate but clean & comfortable. I like my house very clean & orderly & am good at cleaning. I get satisfaction from it. Completely unrelated though I can have a tendency towards ocd (especially when my depression kicks in) & have had to learn how to lower my standards 'cause I would make myself sick trying to keep the house "perfect" & was miserable to live with. This part I don't think has anything to do with my upbringing however. My brother is similar to me in his ability to keep a house clean (without the anxiety).

 

Dh grew up in a house that changed from day to day. He could come home to find his bedroom had been relocated & a wall was being knocked down. He could leave something lying on the livingroom floor for 2 weeks & suddenly one day he was being screamed at for it. She expected him to keep his room tidy without ever instilling habits for this & knowledge of how to do it. When we moved out together I would ask him to clean the bathroom (which he was clueless how to do) & he would say "I just cleaned it" to which I would respond "a week ago!", but he sincerely had no idea things needed to be cleaned so frequently. It has caused a LOT of friction for us.

 

Now dh is much better at helping out & does a pretty good job of cleaning things but I had to teach him which was uncomfortable for both of us. But he severely struggles with consistency & organizing which means it falls to me which I just don't have the energy or patience for a lot of the time (seriously, how many times a day do I need to pick up your dishes & bring them to the kitchen).

 

|Interestingly growing up in the same environment propelled his sister to be REALLY tidy & clean. Her house is immaculate & she has a hard time sitting still in someone else's house if she sees things out of order.

 

We now live "with" my mil & just this week I had a big revelation in why dh struggles SO much with organization. I went to the garden shed to find a bike, stroller, garbage & other junk, then to the fuel shed to find camping equipment, a saw & more junk. We have 9 barns/outbuildings each with a specific purpose, yes we are still getting organized 'cause we've only been here a couple months but in my mind there is NO EXCUSE for those items to be in what is clearly the wrong location - but she does not see it at all. In fact today I had to stop her putting ceramic tiles in the garden shed (after I cleaned it out of non-gardening stuff yesterday).

 

I am trying very hard with ds to involve him in our cleaning & organizing & other projects (fixing, building, gardening, etc.) so that he will hopefully at least pick up the skills he needs. I cannot determine his individual personality but I can at least make it so he is able to keep a place clean & tidy. I can make sure he leaves my house with the skills & knowledge.


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#13 of 25 Old 08-10-2011, 12:49 AM
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I recognize in myself the sort of strange "freak out and get it clean now!" tendencies. I know that a lot of women feel this way, and I'm not sure where it all comes from but I do think it is cultural. That is, whenever our house was messy, and a woman from my mother's generation came over, there was always some comment that I was deficient as a woman/person because my house wasn't "perfectly clean." 

 

Of course, I also had a lot of internalized shame about the status of my house, which I'll explain.

 

I will say that my experience has four distinct phases.

 

First, my childhood -- my mother alternated between WOHM and SAHM depending upon our circumstance. Nevertheless, she was big into having a clean and uncluttered house. She had her stuff, her collections, but she is very organized. Friends would call our house "the museum" because there were rooms where my parents entertained (1-2 times per week). The rest of the house was more lived in, but we always tidied away at the end of the evening, before bed time. I was encouraged and lead through the process of cleaning my room and helping around the house as a small child. I was "cleaning" my own room around age 3-4, and then we had to clean it up weekly from there. We were allowed to keep toys out, play, etc. in an on-going way in our rooms, so it was ok to leave the doll's house organized or whatever. 

 

When I went to university, I liked to keep my half of the dorm room clean and organized, but sometime around age 19 or so, I rather started to experiment with a bit more mess, and then I got my boyfriend (now husband). This enters the second distinct phase of messiness.

 

The messiness stemmed from living with someone and having the expectation that he would help out. In fact, I had a rather strong perspective of "i'm not anyone's maid or mother!" And what I quickly learned is that any division of labor quickly disintegrated into either A. I was doing 100% of the labor or B. No labor was getting done because he wasn't doing any, and then I refused to because it "wasn't fair" that i was doing all of the labor.

 

I would say, therefore, that for many years, I lived in what I would now term squalor. And clutter. DH had proclivities for clutter, and not cleaning (except laundry and when he felt "forced" to do dishes because he'd used all of them eating his 6 meals a day -- yes, 6 full place settings every day -- and they somehow weren't magically cleaned at the end of the day! I wonder why they weren't! Oh right, I wasn't cleaning them.

 

I got to the point where I was just cleaning my main areas -- around my bed, where I liked to eat, my dishes, my laundry. The rest of the 1300 sq ft place was basically "his" and essentially a disaster. Add to that a free-roaming rabbit (and yes, I did clean up after the rabbit), and it was quite a mess indeed.

 

And this was the time when many women of my mother's generation would cluck at me about being somehow deficient, but never ever lodged that claim toward my husband, who -- after being with him for nearly 13 years -- has not cleaned the bathroom in all that time. You can imagine, therefore, how well he manages the rest of a household. I am, and was then, completely frustrated by the very *notion* that I am deficient for not cleaning up after a grown man!

 

So, before anyone would come over, I woudl stress out and clean up MONTHS of mess and clutter and scrub and work myself to the bone and get it as nice as I possibly could over several days or a week and then get chastised about how it wasn't good enough. And i was terrified of people coming over; i felt ashamed of our place because I just felt like I had no control. 

 

Then, we enter the third phase, wherein I started doing all of the chores.

 

I actually got the idea from Dr Phil. I'm no big fan of the guy, but there was some episode about some nonsense and something just clicked for me. I think it was about this husband who would chastise the wife about how she folded the towels, and he said "she has pride, she's not going to let the house fall into disrepair, and if your'e going to leave her in charge of managing the house, then let her do it her way. And when you have a chore, you do it your way. Or, you do the chores, and live exactly the ay you want!" Or some such.

 

And it just clicked. I'd been allowing my husband's mess to dictate my life, and to dictate my value to myself and socially too. He wouldn't clean it up -- no matter how much I pushed -- and he didn't seem to care. After all, *his* value wasn't under question when the house was a mess, but mine was. And, it was affecting me. I would get very emotional about the house.

 

See, I wasn't happy with the status of the home. I wasn't happy with living in clutter and mess. And I didn't like it. And I often stayed well away from home because, guess what? it wasn't comfortable to be there. I was living in my husband's mess!

 

So, I got started. I decluttered my house. I had to force my husband to do it, but I decluttered, I reorganized, and I cleaned. We did some home renovations (paint and floors), and the house looked really nice for the first time in many years. I got into the habit of doing chores each day, tidying throughout the day, and basically "keeping house." This coincided with me working less and with the birth of my child.

 

Since then, I've done most of the chores. Yes, DH does help -- but he doesn't do the deep cleaning. He will tidy, dishes, trash, etc -- anything I ask him to do that takes 10 or 15 minutes tops. But, he still hasn't scrubbed the fridge, or cleaned the toilet, in a long time . . . or, well, ever in our time together. 

 

During this time, I felt much better about the way that I lived. I was more comfortable and less stressed in my home. I stayed home fairly frequently, instead of going out all the time to stay away/get away from the mess. And I started to honor the part of myself that is a minimalist.

 

Then we decided to move to NZ.

 

This leads into the forth phase of my way of keeping house -- which is about being clean and tidy, minimalist/simple, and also about really honoring who I am and how I want to live.

 

My mother, father, and sister all have very opulent design senses. They create beautiful homes, to be honest, just like out of a magazine. Well, lets be clear. I can and do that too, but it's just a different magazine. My sister tends towards the architectural digest. My mother does really well with Home and Garden or some similar, high-end sort of design. Really, very lovely. But it's also *very decorated*. 

 

What I began to discover is that "very decorated" also translates to me as "clutter." I'd been long drawn to japanese/zen styled design, as well as simple, clean scandinavian design. I loved things minimalist! But for whatever reason, I kept trying keep up with my family's design aesthetics, rather than really focusing on my own and developing that. 

 

Moving to NZ was an opportunity to release many objects from my life. I minimized everything down to what I would consider "the essentials" and brought them with me. We have a lot in storage (the books, kitchen supplies, and so on), and I plan on going through them before having them shipped here to see what else I can release. 

 

Since we've been here, we've been clear in our process of purchasing. We buy what we feel we need, but only if it's an object that we *love*. We live in a small house. We are working on it to paint it all white, and do it up in the scandinavian way that we really love.

 

It's a thrill, really, to finally live and keep house as I want. I don't know why I waited so long.

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oh, and DS is only three, but he helps with tidying, and he helps with different chores when he's sort of standing around. I give him the option of helping me out, or playing, and sometimes he helps, and sometimes he plays.  he doesn't have his own room to keep clean -- we basically live in one room (kitchen, living room, and bedroom are all open to each other) with a closet and bathroom attached. So, there is no "my space" and "your space" and "DS's space" it's all communal space. And i love it that way. So we all ahve to keep it clean. 

 

And it takes nothing for it to be untidy (just sleep in the bed!), but it also takes nothing to make it tidy (just make the bed!). :D

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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

What I bring to my family from my upbringing is the desire to help my kids not mind chores.  To not belittle them like I was.  To help them figure it out.  They like cleaning, when they do it.  I've even told DH not to say anything when I clean the toilet because cleaning shouldn't be seen as drudgery.  What they think of cleaning they can figure out for themselves, I don't need to indoctrinate them.  They don't get allowance for chores.  

 

 


I agree with this completely!
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by berry987 View Post

 

As for what I learned - very little actual housekeeping skills, but I did get a sense of my mom's pride in her home, how she felt it was noble and worthwhile to toil away on the home for your family. I feel that now. I get a huge sense of accomplishment and I feel like I'm showing love for my family by keeping the house tidy and clean. But I HATE clutter and throw things away any chance I get.


My mom's house was uncomfortably immaculate, and I never felt a sense of "pride" from her - more like she was resentful she had to do all the work to keep the house clean. Which was way above and beyond clean, and we all did plenty of chores.

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Originally Posted by justamama View Post

 So it's very hard for DH and I. Because he sees a clear counter and empty sink and says the kitchen is clean. I see the grease spots on the stove display, the splatters on the baseboards from muddy kids running in from the yard, and I think the kitchen is filthy!



My dh and I have a hard time with our definitions of clean, too. Like I said, my moms house was immaculate and my husband grew up in literal squalor, so we have the same issue of what is clean.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

 

 

I had a similar experience with my parents and my own bewilderment at how to be clean and the belittling, and physical punishment.  I really wanted to be clean when I was a kid but didn't know how.  For many years, whenever I did anything like dishes... it was infrequently and in the midst of squalor.  And with great anger and dismay.  Then I realized that no one was really making me do it anymore.  I was doing it because I actually didn't like living in squalor.

 

Now I really try to see my housekeeping as something I do for myself.... I like to see a tidied up and beautiful home and I like to give that gift to my family.  I hope my daughter (and sons if I should have any) will grow up and see that this is good work too and it's not something to be belitted or drudged.  It's our gift to ourselves and those we love if we do it with love and not under duress.  Instead of groaning, "oh man, gotta do those dishes" (which I still do from time to time) I find myself more and more jumping up and thinking, "Oh, it will just look so nice once everything is washed and put away."  And thinking of how good I will feel when I am done.  And that shift in mindset has been tremendous for me.

 

I do strive to have fewer possessions, simply because it keeps me from being overwhelmed.  My parents have a lot of stuff.  Thinking about cleaning all that stuff makes me lose my breath!


Yes! When I was a little kid, we had our room and a toy closet. I was never taught to put things away, cause they were in a closet and the door stayed closed  (our room never got that way). Every now and then, my mom would freak out, scream and yell, belittle and threaten while cleaning the toys up.

 

Now that I have a maintainable level of stuff (and not being pregnant or having small babies probably helps!) I LIKE to do the dishes and put them away, etc. because it makes such a huge difference.
 

 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

 

I have carried a lot of my parent's style to my own housekeeping.  I like the house to stay simple and uncluttered.  We have a fine collection of used furniture. :D  I don't really care how ugly the carpet is, but I do care that it is regularly vacuumed.  My kitchen cabinets are ancient and look terrible, but as longs as what's inside them is clean and stacked neatly, they don't bother me.  I make the bed every day, and my children make their beds.  We tidy up frequently, and the children already know that their messes are largely their responsibility to clean up.  *I* did not spread legos into every corner of the living room, so *I* am not going to pick them up only to have them re-spread 10 minutes later.  They learn to be more mindful of their toys and books when they know that they will be doing a good portion of the tidying up of those things, though I usually help.  I don't do chore charts, and neither did my parents.  This is because I don't have a huuuuuge list of requirements for the kids.  Their daily "chores" are 1 or 2 items, easy enough to remember.  The rest of it we do in "pull together" style like my family did.  What needs to be done gets done.  The children help when they are capable and when I ask them.  This will continue as they get older.   


Your house sounds cozy and pleasant. :)
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by mamalisa View Post

My mom kept a spotless house, but my sister and I did tons of the work.  She was particular and mean as hell about what a terrible job we did cleaning "her" house.   I hated every minute of being there because it was never good enough, never clean enough, never organized enough.  She worked all day long to have a clean house and beautiful yard, but she was never happy with it all.

 

I've toned down my need for spotlessness.  I like it super clean, but it's not required anymore.  My dh told me one that I was acting "insane" about the house and I wasn't fun to live with.  I immediately lowered my standards.  Right now there is dried playdough crumbs all over the floor, I don't care, dd is having fun.  My mom would have never let me play playdough in the dining room!!    The kids rooms are clean enough, but still a wreck.  Bathrooms are always clean and so is the kitchen, anything else can wait.


Mamalisa, I can totally relate. I never wanted my house to be like that, but I have totally gone through spurts of time to get my house perfectly clean, in reaction to the mess it had been.

 

I smiled when I read about your kids playing playdough in the house...we were never allowed to play with playdough either! And my four year old has made her own every day for the last week. :)



Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

Very interesting discussion & something I think a lot about.

 

In my house growing up we had regular chores - some daily, like keeping our rooms tidy & washing dishes & some weekly, like cleaning bathrooms, sweeping, mopping, dusting, etc. The house was always presentable - not immaculate but clean & comfortable. I like my house very clean & orderly & am good at cleaning. I get satisfaction from it. Completely unrelated though I can have a tendency towards ocd (especially when my depression kicks in) & have had to learn how to lower my standards 'cause I would make myself sick trying to keep the house "perfect" & was miserable to live with. This part I don't think has anything to do with my upbringing however. My brother is similar to me in his ability to keep a house clean (without the anxiety).

 

Dh grew up in a house that changed from day to day. He could come home to find his bedroom had been relocated & a wall was being knocked down. He could leave something lying on the livingroom floor for 2 weeks & suddenly one day he was being screamed at for it. She expected him to keep his room tidy without ever instilling habits for this & knowledge of how to do it. When we moved out together I would ask him to clean the bathroom (which he was clueless how to do) & he would say "I just cleaned it" to which I would respond "a week ago!", but he sincerely had no idea things needed to be cleaned so frequently. It has caused a LOT of friction for us.

 

Now dh is much better at helping out & does a pretty good job of cleaning things but I had to teach him which was uncomfortable for both of us. But he severely struggles with consistency & organizing which means it falls to me which I just don't have the energy or patience for a lot of the time (seriously, how many times a day do I need to pick up your dishes & bring them to the kitchen).

 

|Interestingly growing up in the same environment propelled his sister to be REALLY tidy & clean. Her house is immaculate & she has a hard time sitting still in someone else's house if she sees things out of order.

 

We now live "with" my mil & just this week I had a big revelation in why dh struggles SO much with organization. I went to the garden shed to find a bike, stroller, garbage & other junk, then to the fuel shed to find camping equipment, a saw & more junk. We have 9 barns/outbuildings each with a specific purpose, yes we are still getting organized 'cause we've only been here a couple months but in my mind there is NO EXCUSE for those items to be in what is clearly the wrong location - but she does not see it at all. In fact today I had to stop her putting ceramic tiles in the garden shed (after I cleaned it out of non-gardening stuff yesterday).

 

I am trying very hard with ds to involve him in our cleaning & organizing & other projects (fixing, building, gardening, etc.) so that he will hopefully at least pick up the skills he needs. I cannot determine his individual personality but I can at least make it so he is able to keep a place clean & tidy. I can make sure he leaves my house with the skills & knowledge.


Wow. I feel for your husband. Interesting when you can see the "why" of how someone is. I'm curious if your husband recognizes this and what he thinks about it.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

oh, and DS is only three, but he helps with tidying, and he helps with different chores when he's sort of standing around. I give him the option of helping me out, or playing, and sometimes he helps, and sometimes he plays.  he doesn't have his own room to keep clean -- we basically live in one room (kitchen, living room, and bedroom are all open to each other) with a closet and bathroom attached. So, there is no "my space" and "your space" and "DS's space" it's all communal space. And i love it that way. So we all ahve to keep it clean. 

 

And it takes nothing for it to be untidy (just sleep in the bed!), but it also takes nothing to make it tidy (just make the bed!). :D



 

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#16 of 25 Old 08-11-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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I grew up with my mother insisting I do this or that cleaning task. She'd teach me how, but she'd never teach me how to tell if it needed cleaning. Now I recognize that she cleaned before it was visibly dirty, to keep it from getting that way. But she never TOLD me that! So as far as I was concerned, I was being forced to clean things that were, well, already clean. I didn't like this, and when I went out on my own, I only cleaned things when they were dirty, and even then I'd let them sit for a while.

 

I would try hard to clean up before my parents came over, and that would involve a ton of making up for all of the clutter. My husband and I aren't live-in-squalor sorts, but we definitely let the clutter build up. Well, one time I invited my sister over the day after Thanksgiving, after having the whole family over at Thanksgiving, and she told me that my parents thought my place was a mess. At that point I decided to give up; I could never reach my mother's standards and therefore what was even the point in trying? I decided to clean for my own sake, not for the sake of impressing a woman I could never impress.

 

Some time late in my pregnancy with my baby I got sick of the mess and decided to get it clean and KEEP it clean, and since then I've been focusing on daily tasks that can be done to avoid getting to that horribly cluttered and dirty state of affairs in the first place. This backslid a little after the baby was born (during which time I came under a lot of criticism of my cleaning standards by my mom, as if she didn't realize that things kind of fell apart when I couldn't do anything!) I've just totally stopped caring what my mom thinks... I even invited her over to help clean, and blew off her snide comments. She thinks that we are so messy that our daughter will be crawling around on the floor, pick something up, and choke on it. Well, as we climb our way out of the post-partum mess, that becomes less likely. But if it's still a mess when she gets bigger, then we'll deal with it. I'm obviously not going to set my baby down in the middle of a giant mess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclamen View Post

Now I really try to see my housekeeping as something I do for myself.... I like to see a tidied up and beautiful home and I like to give that gift to my family.  I hope my daughter (and sons if I should have any) will grow up and see that this is good work too and it's not something to be belitted or drudged.  It's our gift to ourselves and those we love if we do it with love and not under duress.  Instead of groaning, "oh man, gotta do those dishes" (which I still do from time to time) I find myself more and more jumping up and thinking, "Oh, it will just look so nice once everything is washed and put away."  And thinking of how good I will feel when I am done.  And that shift in mindset has been tremendous for me.

 I am trying to view things this way too. I like having a clean house; it makes ME feel better. And I deserve that.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

 

The messiness stemmed from living with someone and having the expectation that he would help out. In fact, I had a rather strong perspective of "i'm not anyone's maid or mother!" And what I quickly learned is that any division of labor quickly disintegrated into either A. I was doing 100% of the labor or B. No labor was getting done because he wasn't doing any, and then I refused to because it "wasn't fair" that i was doing all of the labor.


...

 

And it just clicked. I'd been allowing my husband's mess to dictate my life, and to dictate my value to myself and socially too. He wouldn't clean it up -- no matter how much I pushed -- and he didn't seem to care. After all, *his* value wasn't under question when the house was a mess, but mine was. And, it was affecting me. I would get very emotional about the house.

 

See, I wasn't happy with the status of the home. I wasn't happy with living in clutter and mess. And I didn't like it. And I often stayed well away from home because, guess what? it wasn't comfortable to be there. I was living in my husband's mess!

 

Same thing is starting to happen with us. My husband does clean, but there are things he will only do when nagged and under duress. I'm starting to realize that though I don't think it's entirely fair, it's just the way that he and I operate, and if I'm going to get the results that I want I am going to have to make to-do- lists for him (and he will actually do them) and I am going to have to be very specific about what I want him to do, because if I say "clean up the kitchen" he'll miss a bunch of things, so I have to tell him each individual item. He's a great husband in many ways and I want to keep him around, so for the sake of my own sanity I just need to learn to live with this stuff, because he's not going to change the way he operates.

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[quote name="erigeron" url= I decided to clean for my own sake, not for the sake of impressing a woman I could never impress.

yeahthat.gif I can totally relate to this. Good for you.

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#18 of 25 Old 08-11-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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I'm remembering those Saturday mornings when I was about 8 when we'd clean the house as a family.  I really cherished the years that we did this and missed it when a big move and teenage sisters change that rhythm.  I let my girls know how much I always love help when I'm doing housework or garden work.  "Many hands make light work," said Ma Ingalls, and I quote that book often.


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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Same thing is starting to happen with us. My husband does clean, but there are things he will only do when nagged and under duress. I'm starting to realize that though I don't think it's entirely fair, it's just the way that he and I operate, and if I'm going to get the results that I want I am going to have to make to-do- lists for him (and he will actually do them) and I am going to have to be very specific about what I want him to do, because if I say "clean up the kitchen" he'll miss a bunch of things, so I have to tell him each individual item. He's a great husband in many ways and I want to keep him around, so for the sake of my own sanity I just need to learn to live with this stuff, because he's not going to change the way he operates.

 


If this works without friction, then go for it.

 

i literally just gave up. everything I did was "duress" and "nagging." Even asking nicely like "hey, I'm going to make dinner, will you do your dishes so that I can get started?" Was "why are you nagging me? Why do I have to do EVERYTHING?" So, it was either "do it myself" or "live with his mess." 

 

But, that's been good is that once we started living in a clean house, he actually started keeping it tidy. I would say about 3-4 mornings out of 7, he's cleaned his own breakfast dishes (he eats well before DS and I are awake). And he will tidy up DS's toys (with DS and on his own). He'll also cook, do dishes, and laundry (except folding and putting away -- or he'll only fold and put away HIS clothes, but not DS's or mine). But I cannot ask him to do anything, or he'll digress back into the nagging/doing everything complaint which stems out of his anxiety that he's "not good enough" if i'm asking him to do stuff. 

 

So, i'd rather just avoid it, do it myself. 

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So, i'd rather just avoid it, do it myself. 


Yes.....I often find it easier to do something myself than have to expend energy trying to coax others to help me.

 


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#21 of 25 Old 08-12-2011, 02:56 AM
 
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Both my parents are the kind of housekeepers that clean when necessary. This means the kitchen gets cleaned daily, the bathrooms are usually not too bad but that dust and laundry is something that gets sorted either when they need a special coloured t-shirt that is dirty, or when we are going to have guests.

 

Growing up, when deep cleaning for the arrival of guests, my parents would never say: "clean your room" or "clean the living room" but give me and my siblings tasks instead. Like "pick up your toys", "take out the trash", "get me the mop and bucket" etc. Since I had watched them do the cleaning several times, I knew what was involved when directed to  "sweep the floor" or "pick up the magazines." My mum kept a running task list, when we grew up, when deep cleaning so she could cross things of that were done. She was never really that particular with things being perfect, but would help us with our sweeping techniques etc. and show us how to do it. Gently, with an amused laughter, and then let us try again.

 

Anyhow, how it has affected me? Hm. I think I've developed a healthy relationship to this whole keeping my home clean business. For one thing, I realise that a lone woman cannot keep on top of everything when having three children, a somewhat messy husband, two cats and a dog to clean up after (my family when growing up). Or well, she can, but at the cost of so much else like playtime with said children. So, I've learnt to direct my efforts into what truly matters. Which is keeping the toilet clean, wiping down all counters and tables daily and seeing to it that any stinky stuff gets cleaned or removed asap (especially bad food). It doesn't really matter that the floors gets a bit dirty between the weekly hooverings, nor does it matter that there's cat toys spread all over.

 

Though, it really does help that I am somewhat organised. Everything in my home has a place, so when it is time to clean up, it is just a matter of taking a basket and gather all the things that does not belong, clean and then put things back where they belong. Easy. I think many people simply have never got around to giving everything in their home a place. For instance, is there a hook for your children's bags somewhere? Or a box for all these things that just does not belong yet? That is really very important to me, since if I don't have a place for things that does not belong, they get placed all over, and then everything starts to unravel.

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#22 of 25 Old 08-13-2011, 08:57 AM
 
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My parents were collectors. And they collected weird things, like farm equipment and tools and displayed them around the house. They were neat about it but it seemd my Mom was always cleaning, organizing or moving something. She could never reach my Dads goal of perfection and that trickled down to us. By the time I left at 21, the house was quite full, to the point of being almost border of hoarder. My mom cannot just have 1 of something, she has to have 3 or 4. The Dollar Store and Wally World are her downfalls. They do equivalate stuff with having it all...if that makes sense. The more displayed, the more prosperous one is. They don' get me at all. I put my money into animal rescue or donations or a trip and they can't fathom that. I like being able to clean my home in less than 2 hours, if I want it scrubbed down. I like spending time with my kiddo and not cleaning, I like the adventure and memories I now have. I am not as controlled with my son's toys but I do keep them in check. I am also lax on cleaning to the point of making it look like it is all on display, as that is what my parents did to us. If I even left a sock on the floor, I was considered a slob. As I get a little older and wiser, good enough is starting to work for me.

 

They also don't get why I don't decorate even though I think my home is decorated. HA!! How's that for perspective? I love colorful paint on the walls, they love white. I like simple homemade photographs, they have walls covered in yardsale finds. I like comfortable where they like traditional. SO I guess it has effected me, but in a good way. I am glad I learned to clean, cook and do laundry, but not to an OCD extent as I feel they are.

 

 

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#23 of 25 Old 08-13-2011, 03:08 PM
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my mil considers it a personal, moral flaw if a person doesn't have a collection. it demonstrates that you have no passion, no personality, and no way for people to easily buy you gifts because they don't know what you like. LOL

 

my mil also considers it a personal, moral flaw if you don't want the "family antiques" or "memories" from other family members. So, she has pretty much every dead relatives books, various crafts and supplies (she has massive bin of knitting needles, for example, but doesn't knit). If you don't keep these things, how do you know where you come from? remember those who came before? honor their memories? share your knowledge of them with your children? 

 

so, she really doesn't get me at all. LOL

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#24 of 25 Old 08-13-2011, 05:55 PM
 
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I think we all reach a stage in our lives when we make a decision.... we can decide that we like how our parents did things, and to model that to a certain degree, or that we don't want to be like our parents, and just be ourselves. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#25 of 25 Old 08-13-2011, 07:27 PM
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yup, it's true. and my aunt -- the psychologist -- also says that you can look back and get upset about what your parents may have done or did, or you can choose to just work on the patterns that are in your brain and behaviors and undo them, without having to go "why oh why did mom shame me for X?" sure, it might be the cause, and it's not your fault, but your reacting today because of that is your choice. and you can choose to continue, or choose to change. :)

 

and in some cases, a bit of both. because it's not all good or all bad. 

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