If you can't or don't keep a tidy home... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2 bedroom apartment is cluttered. It is not dirty. Sometimes pots sit overnight but by the end of breakfast the next day all is cleaned. The toys however are everywhere and even when they ae put away neatly it is just a small place and so it isn't ever totally neat. My DH is a pack pat...He must have over 50 Tshirts and his closet is literaly spilling out onto the floor b/c he has sooo many clothes. He wears a unifrom to work but he wont part with any of it try as might to get him to do so.
Anyway...I really do my best all day long to keep the clutter at bay and use some of FLY ladys techniques but some I can't do with a clingy 13 mos old. anway I am feeling a bit sorry for myself b/c I feel judged so negatively in this area. I am a good mom who plays with her kids. I read to my DD so much sometimes I think my eyes will fall out. It breaks my heart that others just see me as someone who can't keep house. the worst was this weekend when I saw my sisiter spaying Fantastick with bleach on a pot we had used for dinner. (she was visitng for a week from FLA) I said, you can't use that on pots" She rolled her eyes and said, "Oh you're going to give ME housecleaning tips" AS though I were so stupid I couldn't possibley know anything. this hurt the most b/c my sister and i are very close and she used this as weapon and it hurt me so much.
Does anyone else ever feel judged b/c your home is less than immacualte? :

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#2 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 09:39 PM
 
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Your sister is mean. Tell her I said so. And as a super-tidy person, you can also tell her I said you should not use that kind of cleaner on pots.

Really, I don't think you're doing all that bad anyway. Clutter and true nastiness are different, and the latter doesn't sound like it's a problem for you. (You're washing the dishes the next day, after all, not leaving them for 2 weeks on the counter.) I can't abide by clutter in MY house, but I can't say I ever judge other people's piles and whatnot when I visit them. I know it's hard to keep stuff in order, especially when you have little ones to deal with as well as a DP who isn't on board. I'm lucky. My DP doesn't even notice when his ratty old clothes "disappear" into the trash.
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#3 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 09:39 PM
 
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Clutter is a part of life when you have little ones. I'd tell your sister to get a life and stop obsessing so much, especially about other people's pots and pans. I have a soon to be one year old and a newborn. Yeah there's toys on the floor, the sink and bathtub sometimes harbor their own sub species, and I can't find the time to have the basement drains snaked even though I know they need it because it smells like s*** when it rains hard. My grandfather's wife keeps a perfect house, and I jokingly asked her one day how she managed to keep everything so perfect. Cheerfully she replied "Well that's just how I keep house!" And I FREAKED! She has like, a phone, a microwave, and some nice flour pots on her counters and she called that cluttered. I thought of my kitchen, where I keep everything within easy reach because I cook a lot and like to have access to everything. I thought "Oh god she must think my kitchen is terrible and that I'm a lousy housekeeper!" But I got over it and remembered that she is retired and has 24hours a day to clean her kitchen, and also reminded myself that she probably doesn't care about my house and understands that you can't keep it perfectly clean when you have babies. So don't be so hard on yourself. If you're doing the best you can and putting forth an honest effort to keep the housework under control, then you have no reason to feel bad.
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#4 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 09:51 PM
 
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Sounds like you are doing just fine. IMHO, your priorities should be (and are) your kid(s). The house can be tidied whenever you get around to it. If it works for you, that's all that matters.

Things here are dusted and vacuumed on a regular basis, and the dishes are always done immediately. However, there are loosely organized piles of toys here and there. That's just the way it is, and that's way it will probably stay until my youngest is at least 5. That's life with kids, y'know? You don't want your children growing up afraid to make a mess in their own home, anyway.
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#5 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 09:57 PM
 
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Cluttered-yes, dirty-no. I am working really hard this week on simplifying my life. I am getting rid of everything I/dh have not used in 6 months. I can't stand clutter, it makes me crazy. Dh is a packrat too, I have to just give him his own space to clutter (i.e. a drawer in the desk) that I dont have to look at. And it does eventually get cleaned, when he can't close it anymore! With regard to toys, I rotate, so there are very few toys out at one time. And I run a home daycare, so it's more than one kid, but having less toys not only saves my sanity, but gets them playing more creatively. My sewing area is a mess right now, I am going through all my scrap cloth and parting with the stuff I wont be using for dipes anytime soon. I too feel judged, especially by my MIL. She will come over, glance around and ask if she can 'help' me get my things done. She also talks about another cousin that stays home with her two children (both under 2 yrs) and how terrible she feels for her husband who has to change diapers when he gets home from work! As if SHE wasn't woking all day! So I can only imagine what she says about me and my house! She doesn't acknowledge that just taking care of my own child is a full time job, but I also have another 16 month old and a 3 months old to take care of. Plus I do ALL the housework. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, ect. Dh *shouldn't* have to b/c HE works FT, that's what MIL thinks. Can you tell we dont get along?: I just ignore her. SHe drives me crazy anyway.
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#6 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 11:04 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 11:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipumpkins
Does anyone else ever feel judged b/c your home is less than immacualte? :
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. 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.

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#8 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 11:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hipumpkins
Does anyone else ever feel judged b/c your home is less than immacualte? :
Oh yeah, sigh.

I'm sorry that people are being so awful to you. You are doing a great job.
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#9 of 47 Old 08-04-2006, 11:17 PM
 
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Me! I'm horrible at cleaning. Lately I have taken to decluttering, which is easier in a way because I know it's final, like the huge mess isn't going to creep back up by tomorrow, coz it's gone! My place is still messy, tho not as messy.
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#10 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 01:11 AM
 
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Generally, I do like things tidy because it means I can find stuff when I need it. I'm not fixated on it, though. If having a busy week or if the kids need me, I figure as long as I keep bugs away, I'm doing a great job.

Be kind to yourself.
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#11 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 01:44 AM
 
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Yeah, I have trouble keeping everything "nice." I've learned a few tricks that help. First, I allow a sapce for some clutter- things don't have to stay perfectly arranged on shelves, but I do try to contain the clutter and keep it as organized choas (i.e. bought a basket for near the front door- all the mail, things we have in our pockets, etc get dumped in there- still cluttered but at least its only one basket, not the entire entryway...). Second was to downsize. We went through all our clothing and got rid of a ton of stuff that we weren't using, for example (no reason for DH to have 47 pairs of underpants "just in case"...). I also stopped buying things that wouldn't be well used. A NEtflix subscription replaced buying DVDs- we don't have the space to store a ton of movies we really only watch once or twice, and if we LOVE something we get on Netflix... we can buy it.

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#12 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 01:48 AM
 
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Let me tell you about judged! We live in a parsonage, and there is a group of busybodies who stay upset about our housekeeping. Church members - basically strangers - feel free to lecture me about keeping a tidy house. How do they know how neat my home is? A church member used his key to enter our home *twice* without our permission.

My family is coming on Sunday for ds's 5th birthday, so we'll spend tomorrow cleaning. This parsonage is smaller than our last two homes, so we are just bursting at the seams with stuff. We keep trying to weed out, but it is down pretty low on our priority list.

This is such a sore spot for us right now. It is petty cr*p like this that brings everyone down. I would just like to ask them "Why do you CARE about our house being cluttered? Why does it matter to you that we still have unpacked boxes a year after moving?"
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#13 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 02:33 AM
 
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Being a ministers family is not easy. With the entire church watching you, waiting for you to make a mistake. It must be nuts. At least I only have my mom waiting for me to fail.

Oh, and we still have an entire room of totes and boxes that we have not unpacked since we moved in, and in a week, our 1 year lease is up!

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#14 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 05:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ebethmom
Let me tell you about judged! We live in a parsonage, and there is a group of busybodies who stay upset about our housekeeping. Church members - basically strangers - feel free to lecture me about keeping a tidy house. How do they know how neat my home is? A church member used his key to enter our home *twice* without our permission.
whoa, you're way nicer than me. I wont even tell you what I'd do.


on topic: we're never dirty. I dont like clutter but good god, it happens. when you ahve kids there are far more important things to be doing that running after your kids screaming at then to not make "messes".
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#15 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 05:49 AM
 
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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 us!! When people come over unannounced I am so embarrassed, but I do always say, "Well, I could have cleaned today or gone to the beach--we chose the beach!" Honestly, we only clean when someone is coming over or it gets too messy that we can't stand it another moment so we have to clean. Last school year we made enough money to have housekeepers come and clean once a week, we probably will do the same again this year when DH starts getting paid again.

Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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#16 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 06:17 AM
 
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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.
:
I could have wrote your post. My main problem is getting motivated to do things because I know just as soon as I do it. Someone will come along and undo it. I have days were I sit and cry and stay depressed over it. My mom and dad have made it clear they are disapointed in me with how I do or more accuratly dont do in the house. My dad has went so far as to offer to come and help me clean that hurts so bad. Maybe some day I will be able to do things like I want but I dont see it happining any time soon.

I feel like I missed out of the cleaning gene.

 
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#17 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 06:17 AM
 
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Our place is cluttered, it drives me nuts sometimes, I try to weed through the mess each week, but it seems as soon as I get rid of something there is always something else to take it's place. I have an 18 month old that gets into everything, it took her 3 weeks to figure out how the child proof latches on the fridge and cupboards worked. I like to have the kitchen clean before I go to bed so I don't have to look at it in the morning, NOT a morning person at all. and I get the older kids to do a quick pick up of cushions, toys, dirty clothes etc after dinner. Other than that it gets cleaned when I get around to it. I have had people comment on the mess and I usually tell them if it bothers them that much they are more than welcome to clean it up, but don't complain because I have got better things to do. I am seriously considering a cleaner for floors and bathrooms, they get too icky.
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#18 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 08:15 AM
 
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:
I could have wrote your post. My main problem is getting motivated to do things because I know just as soon as I do it. Someone will come along and undo it.

I feel like I missed out of the cleaning gene.
Same here! Like today, DH and I tried to clean the house some and now we look at it and it is just as bad as before. Maybe since we have little ones we really aren't meant to have the cleanest of homes. 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!

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#19 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 11:28 AM
 
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Same here! Like today, DH and I tried to clean the house some and now we look at it and it is just as bad as before. Maybe since we have little ones we really aren't meant to have the cleanest of homes. 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!

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#20 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 01:54 PM
 
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Moving this to De cluttering

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all
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#21 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 01:58 PM
 
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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.

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#22 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 02:06 PM
 
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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!
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#23 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 04:22 PM
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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!
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#24 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 04:44 PM
 
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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.
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#25 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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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.

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#26 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 05:00 PM
 
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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!

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#27 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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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!

Sincerely,
Debra, homeschooling mom of 4 ages 9 1/2, 8 1/2, 6 1/2, and 38 mos
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#28 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 05:46 PM
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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.
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#29 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 06:57 PM
 
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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.

Can't give up actin' tough, it's all that I'm made of. Can't scrape together quite enough to ride the bus to the outskirts of the fact that I need love. ~ Neko Case

 
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#30 of 47 Old 08-05-2006, 07:32 PM
 
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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..
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