Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dull women have immaculate houses.

At least, this is what I keep telling myself.
My mother-in-law bought me a fridge magnet with the title slogan on it many years ago. I guess I could have taken offence at an imagined dig at my ability to keep a tidy house, but the truth is, I'm a slob.

I've tried denying it (it was clean; the vacuum's broken; the boys did it); I've tried hiding it (sorry, you can't go in there); I've tried to change (fly lady, little plastic drawers); I've even tried cleaning regularly! But the sad truth is that it's never going to change.

It's not that I don't want to have a nice, 'Better Homes' type house, it's just that I can always find so many better things to do with my time. And to be honest, I just don't like cleaning! I mean really, what is the point? You get it all nice and sparkly, and 5 minutes later it's messy again! My brain just does not do the 'tidy as you go' thing, and even if it did, none of my boys do either.
Yes, we could have tried a little harder to train them when they were young, but we weren't very good at it either.

Actually, the boys do have it in them to be neat. Oliver's kept his room for 2 weeks now (mainly because none of his friends or his girl posse - the neighbour's kids - have been over for long), and Samuel was moving towards neatness as he entered his teens (after a shocking pre-teen slob era that even made me look like a domestic goddess).
They have always been very good at helping around the house too. Both of my kids did regular chores from a very early age, and, when prompted, are always a good help in the Friday night/Saturday morning whip-around.

While this is probably setting them up for some good future domesticity, they are (were) significant contributors to the chaos. But the blame really rests on Anthony and I for the state of our house.

I knew Anthony was messy when I got together with him. When I visited him in his little bedsit, there was always stuff everywhere: papers, clothes, plates etc: fairly standard early 20s single man stuff I guess.

I was always messy too. My room was in constant disarray (minus the dirty plates), but fairly organised. Much to the horror of my poor father, who was (and still is) a rather neat and tidy person.

So when the two of us got together it was bound to get messy. Literally.
On the whole, we do manage to stop ourselves from falling into squalor: we get the sheets changed regularly, do the dishes and the laundry, and have a bit of a tidy up/vacuum once a week, but it never seems to be quite enough to make it 'nice'.

For a long time I have agonised over this. For while I freely acknowledge my slobbishness, I have always been slightly embarrassed about revealing it to anyone else.
I think some of it (OK, a lot of it) is pride. I'm this awesome, motivated, busy person, who 'gets things done'. My house should be a pristine showpiece, with fantastic artworks and my photos beautifully displayed; with shining floors and an organised, functional kitchen.
Perhaps that's why it's not. I'm so busy creating, working, pleasing others and having fun, that housework is not a priority.

Many people have said to me 'we don't come here to see your house, we come here to see you'. I keep telling myself that it's true, that they're not running their finger along the shelf to check for dust, and I know that they're not, but something in me keeps me worrying.

I think I'm going to have to come to terms with that. Because something tells me that things aren't going to change. In the meantime, I'll keep telling myself: it's because I'm so interesting...


  1. This morning I am extremely "interesting" but hopefully by this afternoon I will be very "dull". That's my intention at the moment but unfortunately I'm easily distracted as you can probably tell by the fact that it is mid-morning and I am on the internet.........
    Sue E.

  2. Hello dearest girl, Thanks for the plug about being neat and tidy. Mum and I had a laugh that you didn't mention her, and that she isn't!!
    Years ago, I remember saying to my Mum (Nana), and Aunty Vyner, that if people didn't like the "way we lived" they needn't bother visiting. On Mum's side, Grandma was shocking and hardly ever cleaned, so maybe genes do kick in.
    Luv, Dad (everyone does!!! - I hope)

  3. Dad, I thought about mentioning mum, but didn't want to stretch the friendship too much!
    I'm glad you mentioned Grandma. She's always been (and always will be) one of my role models, and it's good to know she was one of the 'interesting' ones!

    Oh, and Sue, I love having you with me, even if does mean taking you away from your housework!

  4. "Dull women have immaculate houses" Can I use that in my fb status update? I have an OCD friend who I swear cleans her house with a toothbrush from top to bottom - Her husband gets up 30mins early every morning just to dust the house EVERYDAY!

    P.s. Don't call yourself a slob!

  5. Remember Mel, there's always the sign that you can hang for those that are judgemental!
    "My house was clean yesterday - Sorry, you missed it!"


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