Monday, February 18, 2008

Who wants to clean forever?

I just read an article on about the meaning of doing errands. I think the author's point was that it's not the errands that count, it's why we do errands: making sure everyone has food on the table, the house/material/mundane is in order so that spiritual life is not hampered by the disorganization, all kids are immunized and with straight teeth, etc, etc., i.e. all of this is spiritual, uplifting and extremely meaningful. It all sounds right (as it probably is), it all sounds so PC, it all sounds like something I believed in before getting married and would LOVE to believe in now...

Somehow these ideas never translated from my mind to my heart. I detest most housework, resent being in charge of all family projects, and absolutely hate being the one responsible for remembering appointments/birthdays/anniversaries/due dates/off days/no alternate side parking days. To add insult to the injury, the job is never-ending, and besides the obligatory, "Thank you, the dinner was good", the only times you get feedback is when someone doesn't have clean socks/a bill isn't paid on time/appointment is missed or conversely my nudging about not forgetting upcoming appointment becomes unbearable/toys are all over the floor/there is no more toilet paper in the house.

For someone who is goal, and not process-oriented, I find housework sheer torture. No matter how much energy is spent on cleaning /organizing /beautifying, there is always another plate to wash, another shirt to iron, another drawer that got out of hand. No matter how often the floor is scrubbed, it somehow manages to never be completely clean or stay clean for more than fifteen minutes (unless washed at 1 a.m.). And even though I was able to convince myself for the first couple of hundred times that these activities are adding to the family harmony, and not just done to avoid drowning in filth, after four years of doing them I fail to find them spiritual, uplifting or meaningful. If I could afford it, I would hire a cleaning lady/cook/personal assistant to do all of those instead of me and hubs (yes, he does help, a lot) and let them elevate their souls to the new spiritual heights by the means of bleach and soap. However, due to monetary constraints, I get stuck with those responsibilities and view them as necessary evil, not a stepping stone to perfecting self.

And it's not that I don't enjoy seeing my kids in clean, ironed clothes, or a sparkling kitchen doesn't uplift my spirits. It's just that the effort to get there is so big and the results are so short-lived, that I find the whole process highly depressing. Am I missing an opportunity to grow from pain because I don't look for meaning hard enough? Quite possible, but I can't dwell on it because I have to make dinner and start another load of laundry. True story, no exaggerations here...


  1. No, my friend, you do not miss on meaning. Housework is the pits, and nobody appreciates it unless it's not done:(

  2. There wouldn't be much left to enjoy about home life if housework were something that could be 'done' so it never needed doing again. It's relaxing, a great stress reliever.

    Maybe you need a cleaner.

  3. For me personally it is a great source of stress. I definitely need a cleaner, and I definitely need a cleaner house.

    Thanks for visiting, Stephen!


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