Saturday, May 17, 2014

There, I Said It

Funny how some things trigger memories.
I was cleaning the stairs today and couldn't shake the dejavu.  I've been here before. Cleaning stairs.  Not these stairs, although I have cleaned these ones a few times.
When I was in high school, we lived in a great old two-story house that my folks rented for $100 a month. My sister and I had our own bedrooms.  Mine was always a horrible mess, hers was immaculate. I hated cleaning then as much as I hate it now.  Mom would just tell me to keep my door closed so she didn't have to look at it. It was the topic of conversation with relatives. Such a shameful example of a girl.  Lazy slob.
We had assigned chores which included setting the table, washing and drying dinner dishes, cleaning two bathrooms and dusting and polishing the stairs. My sister always did her chores right on time but I dragged mine out as long as I could, resenting every moment of it. I had better things to do. I still feel that way. I resent doing housework.
There, I said it.
While I was cleaning the stairs today,
 I remembered those wood stairs from 1975.
And, how I felt.
That was a long time ago.
Fast forward. 
Last week, someone posted a question up on FB. What is one thing you would tell your 12 year old self? I couldn't think of a thing until today. I would tell her that her mom was full of shit when she said "no man will ever have you because you are such a lousy housekeeper."  I'd tell her that her mom hated housework just as much as she does and her mom is only making her to do it because she's tired from working a 40 hour work week, shopping, cleaning, paying bills, checking homework, laundry, making dinner and all the other million things real women do. I'd tell her to get used to people stereotyping women.  I'd tell her that when she grows up, things are not always going to be fair and that people are still going to stereotype her.  I'd tell her that expectations are a set up for resentment.  I'd tell her it's perfectly okay if she'd rather be doing anything but housework.  I'd tell her that if someone only "wants" her for her domestic skills, she might wanna think about going it alone. I'd tell her it's not nice to call someone lazy.
Words spoken are hard to take back.  I've all but taken the word lazy out of my vocabulary.
Have things changed much since 1975?  Not really. I rarely dust. I clean my oven maybe once a year. I just ordered new reflector pans for the stove top because they are so ugly they are beyond cleaning. It's been two weeks since I changed my sheets. 
Go ahead, judge me.
.... this is just a bit of my truth.  Dude, I'm just getting started.
love, susan


  1. Hahaha! I'd hug your neck if I could. Military families develop a gene for clean and spit shine. I grew to resent getting up early every Saturday to clean from top to bottom. People made fun of me in Colorado because I creased our jeans. I started slacking off about ten years or so back; recovering from surgery cured me quickly and it caught on. In the beginning I resented having to clean every day of my life. The most successful artists are men. Why? Because women have to cook, clean, and do all that other female stuff before they can be artsy and creative. It took years of therapy to free me up enough to have a home that's "clean enough." It might be messy sometimes but it is clean ninety-nine percent of the time. Those spider webs? Why, they're Charlotte's distant cousins.

    Don't give me free rein, Susan! We have a vacuum upstairs and one for downstairs. Why am I the only one who knows how to use them? Three bathrooms? I clean ONE. JC does his own laundry. Oh, but I grew to resent cleaning until I learned to be thankful for the things I have. When Erin was a sprat and didn't want to put her toys away before nap time, I told her, "Maybe we should give some of your toys away if you have too many." I remembered that lesson recently, and I've been getting rid of some of my own stuff that gets in my way. I try to enjoy dusting my books. I also told JC we need help with cleaning or we need to downsize. My neighbor cleans for a living. She offers to clean for me. For free. How can I let Alex's mom clean my mess? What a dilemma!

    JC cleans the oven. I'm allergic to the cleansers and he likes to eat. He cleans the stairs, the cat litter box, does his laundry, does the dishes most of the time . . . I wish he'd wash his hands before opening the refrigerator. He read my mind! This morning the handles to the freezer AND fridge were clean! He steams the kitchen tiles when I complain enough. I slipped and tore knee cartilage twice. Two surgeries later and once in a blue moon he remembers.

    Okay. I've vented. I don't resent cleaning as much as I just don't want to do it as much any more. I'm judging you, girl! I judge you to be sane, merry and domesticated enough to be good enough. :) Great post!

    1. Thanks sooooo much for your meaningful reply. I love it when someone gets me.

      More to come on my truths.

    2. P.S. i just told my hubby I'm ordering a 2nd vacuum so I don't have to haul it up and down stairs. Why didn't I think of that sooner?

    3. You'll thank yourself when it gets here. I keep cleaning supplies upstairs and downstairs because I'm less likely to clean if I have to go get it. Each litter box has a scooper, hand broom, and 40 pounds of litter next to it because I couldn't handle bringing it all up and down the stairs each time the box needed doing.

      Sometimes we hate doing things so much that whatever you can do to make it easier is worth it (not in dollars, but in sanity points).

      <3 you!

    4. Susan, thanks for not being upset with me for taking up so much space. You struck a nerve. Many women get you but might not feel free enough to admit it "in public."

      I hope your new vacuum might be a Dyson. I vacuum less often since it was invented. :) It's worth the price! We have two cats, so the animal version makes my life better. You barely touch it and it moves. I'm working on moving it with my thoughts. It isn't working just yet.

      We got a second vac one after I my first surgery. We should have had two since the day we moved in. I live and learn. Then I do better. :)

      Looking forward to more of your truths.

  2. You're my kind of lady. Here are a few of my confessions: (1) I only clean the oven when I'm getting ready to move. That's normally once a year, but we lived in the apartment for 1.5 years and I only cleaned it on move out day. (2) I hate cleaning sheets so much that we got rid of our flat sheet. Now we just use a duvet cover and that makes it into the wash *maybe* once a month. (3) I once donated a bear figurine because the thought of dusting it one more time made me feel stabby.

    I am a minimalist because I hate housework.

    1. Oh, I do love you my darling! The minimizing is helping a lot! I still have a ways to go. I'm going to try the 33 Project to minimize my laundry. Today I did 2 loads that were strictly work clothes. I think my plan is working. Thanks for the confession!

    2. I would absolutely love if you did a blog post on what you decide to put into your Project 333 wardrobe! I've been toying with doing it for a while now and haven't been able to take the plunge. Let me know!

    3. I love having a sparkling kitchen and slip-slide clean floors but I too have a "do it or else" hangover resulting from childhood cleaning parties.
      Now that I'm a big girl I have found a solution - her name is Yvonne.
      She is my Goddess of spic and span and I love that she does for me what I am not interested in doing myself.
      I've discovered that being a grown up does have its perks - no matter what Mommy said!
      Cheers to you Susan, for yet another super piece of written perspective.
      Warm hugs & Happy non-scrubbing sister hood to you!

    4. Susan I have the most ideal idea for you.. Quit work then 2 loads of work will disappear...

    5. Oh, Nancy, if only life could be reduced to such simplicity. I no longer work outside our home. Try to compare it to being at a regular job 24/7. No wonder Valium was invented for women.

  3. I finally exhaled after I posted my rant! What a relief to know there's this sisterhood. :) Am glad I checked for comments. I feel less alone and stigmatized. :D

  4. Update: I've got a call in to a friend who is in the house cleaning biz. I've started a task list! I'm gonna hire some help. I ordered a new vacuum with my rewards points. Mom will most certainly roll over in her grave.

  5. Update: I've got a call in to a friend who is in the house cleaning biz. I've started a task list! I'm gonna hire some help. I ordered a new vacuum with my rewards points. Mom will most certainly roll over in her grave.

  6. Well, if you read my last blog you know how I feel about quality of life, Cleaning house isn't something that helps my quality of life....a clean house I did hire a housekeeper. She will come only once a month but it is a wonderful thing I have done for myself. I cleaned and cooked for my mom and dad and brother since the age of 12 and I'm just DONE! I'm proud of you for saying it all out loud!!!!

  7. I could so relate to this! When I was teenager I would help my mother clean offices every weekend starting at 2:30 in the morning, so you can imagine how once I got out on my own, how much I detest cleaning. To this day, it's my husband who does the housework and yes, on a rare occasion I will pitch in especially if we are having guests. Thank god my husband doesn't love me for my domestic skills because we would both be very lonely if he did LOL! So I think I would tell my 12 year old self about the domestic skills would be--don't sweat it. You won't have to do this the rest of your life, which I was afraid of at the time with mom [trying] to instill in me that cleaning is what wives do.



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