Monday, August 25, 2008

Rethinking Domesticity

Those that know me know that I am domestically impaired. I've never made a secret of it. In fact, my husband thought it was cute and "no big deal" when we were dating. I even have magnets that HE bought me saying "just say 'no' to cooking," "just say no to ironing (which I definitely do)," "just say no to laundry," and "just say no to cleaning." I was always in trouble for having a messy room, messy desk, messy car (though I prefer the term "lived in").

In the real world, these things are occasionally necessities, like you definitelly MUST do laundry at 1 in the morning before your son's baseball game when his uniform has spent a week being covered in mud and grass stains. And cleaning up IS necessary when, say, one's mother is coming to visit. And I do like to cook...but more in the hobby way. NEEDING to do it takes out all the joy.

I've been trying to be more domestic though. We've been wanting to improve how we eat, and I am all too inclined to not have a plan at 4:30 in the afternoon with nothing thawed (If you know me, you might start realizing that ADHD might be a running theme here)...but I've made some observations over the course of this experiment

1. If you cook 3 meals a day, you have 3 meals worth of dishes to wash, 3 meals worth of pans to clean, the table needs cleaned 3 times a day, and if you are like me or have my kids, it might even effect the status of the floor.

2. I've noticed when I clean, I notice a whole plethora of other things that need done. Now, if I hadn't been cleaning, I wouldn't have noticed these other things...but now I can't seem to rest until they are done, and when I deal with those things, I now notice other things.

3. I'm grumpier. It's amazing how working to pick up a living room, and say, having a six year old leave every belonging she has ever owned strewn across the room can cause levels of ire and frustration that I have almost never known.

4. So I'm having a hard time believing that having my act together actually lowers my stress. Thus just doesnt' seem to do it. (There was an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati where Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap get drunk to show on air how alcohol effects reflexes, only Johnny's actually GOT BETTER the more he drank. Maybe I am an anomoly and just function better in chaos)

5. Not only that, but most of the moms that I know of who actually "have their act together" in this area seem to suffer from the same thing. Now, because things are dusted or vacuumed, they MUST can every tomato in a five mile radius, or they are a complete failure if the tile in their bathroom is not regrouted in a manner that reflects the skill of a man who has been doing nothing but grout for the last 20 years. Not only that, but if you compliment their house, they will wince and point out all the things they "forgot" to do. Very few women ever seem able to vacuum for a few minutes, run a feather duster over some things, throw the dishes in the dishwasher, then say "Okay, I'm happy now, I'm going to go read a book, get a tan, and enjoy life."

So, in conclusion, my main question to myself, I guess is "if eating healthier and trying to be more organized is supposed to make me live longer, do I really want to live longer if it means I spend that time washing dishes and mopping?"

(I know, I'm just whining...but what is a blog for if I can't whine?)

addendum: Now see, I know why I read the beloved Sisters....Rebekah is there to show me what I am doing wrong!!


Michelle said...

That is funny! I was quite grumpy this morning because I was gone over the weekend and of course, in my absence, the house fell apart. (not that it is perfect when I home...) I had to load the dish washer before we could even eat breakfast. Everywhere I turn, there is another mess!

My home school, Lutheran friend in town has a rule that I have adopted: only other home schoolers are allowed in our homes unless invited with plenty of cleaning time! Other home schoolers seem to understand the constant state of chaos!

And by the way, my stress level is already elevating because a friend of mine who declares herself obsessive/compulsive especially in the area of cleaning and organizing is coming to my house this weekend! :)

Cecilia said...

Hey! Not everyone is a Martha, just go with your inner Mary. :-)

elephantschild said...

Your standards are too high, my dear.
:) Redefine "clean."

For me, if the kitchen countertop is cleared off and the dishes are washed (I air-dry 'em, so they're not put away. Ever. ) the house is "clean." If the dirt wouldn't be noticed by the bachelor men my Dh works with, it's "clean."

Take a page from Bill Clinton - compartmentalize. I only do laundry on Monday. If it ain't Monday, it don't get washed. (Can you tell I don't have a kid in baseball?)

But, like you, I prefer cooking for fun, not on a deadline. I HATE deciding what to make for supper, and I hate dropping everything to go work in the kitchen at 4:30.

Oh, and NO MOM has it together on this stuff - some are just better at hiding the evidence!

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

E.C. -- actually, your standards (airdrying dishes and clear counters) are what I AM striving for. Now I really feel bad that I am not even doing perfectionism right ;)

Chris has his two laundry days (Tuesday and Saturday). If he doesn't do it, he wears clothes over again. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to bother him. It bothers me a lot more.

jené said...

I have spent my life waiting for the laundry fairy, the dish washing fairy, the vacuuming fairy and all of her friends to appear. Regardless of the open invitation they never drop by.

So I approach cleaning from a Brother Lawrence point of view. I still don't like scrubbing the floor but I love spending the time with my Lord. I am working on it and hope to someday feel the same way about scrubbing the tub!

Dakotapam said...

The problem with redefining clean is when a certain Rev used to be an engineer and is an intrinsic cleanie...

I hear you my dear...I want a clean and organized home, but I fail, miserably, gives me fodder for confession...

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...


The thing is, I am Mary in the whole stereotypical Mary sits and listens to Jesus, but Martha was trudging away in the kitchen thing. If anything, that is what I rebel against in being a pastor's wife. I'm in the Bible study, not arranging the meals for the potluck (in fact, I usually forget to make something for the potluck).

But poor Martha always gets the bad wrap. She was the first person in Scripture to confess that Jesus was the Christ and that she believed in the resurrection of the dead. She deserves a little credit, she obviously heard something!!


Orianna Laun said...

I feel your pain--and I don't even have children to clean up after! I use as my excuse that I can't clean up so well because I don't have a place for everything, so everything can't be in its place. I'm not neat, but I don't like yucky. I figure if it's not dirty enough to be gross, it's good enough--who cares if it's out of place, I know where it is! :)

Liz said...

Easy low cal lunch (you only have to make it once a week!):
"Skinny" Mexican Soup:
4x 14 oz cans of chicken broth
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can low fat or fat free refried beans
1 jar of salsa, to your taste liking
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can (any size, depending on how thick you like your soup) tomatoe paste
Diced garlic to taste

let simmer in crock pot on low for a couple of hours; Stir once in a while; Divide into 8 oz servings in zip lock containers and freeze.

Bonus: No measuring! Use the spatula you scrape the cans with to occasionally stir! So, you just have 2 prep dishes (crock pot and spatula), you can throw away (or reuse) the zip lock containers. And you can have an easy soup and sandwich night.

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elephantschild said...

SPAMMER! ^up there.