This was written several years ago, when my situation was different. But I like it so I’m going to share it anyway.
I don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes it feels like frustration lives with me.
Like earlier this week when I tried to clean the cat’s litter box and the cat insisted on using it during the cleaning process.
Or when I had just finished actually scrubbing the kitchen within an inch of its life, dishes and all, when my roommate smilingly brings in an entire tray full of used glasses and di from the study.
It's a conspiracy, make no mistake about it.
The Universe was not meant to be a clean place. Dis-order, chaos and dust are the rule, no matter what Martha Steward tells us.
In no place in nature do brooms exist of their own free will, nor do vacuum cleaners grow naturally in any corner of our planet.
Given the opportunity, all things attract dust, muddy dogs prefer the couch, sticky children are attracted to keyboards and spidermites prefer favorite plants.
Somehow, in our household, I was elected to work against tremendous odds, doing the impossible, fighting off the inevitable. It is my job to make the place clean, no matter who lives here or who made the mess. I don't remember volunteering, nor do I remember accepting the draft notification. Yet somehow it is my responsibility to keep the house shining and beautiful.
I've pondered about this for years (no comments please), but I have yet to come up with a solution.
I have thought of four basic ways to handle the situation, none of which are satisfying.
1) Ignore the situation entirely. I go and play with my art stuff or read my books and have a good time. This works, but only for a short time. Sooner or later I will want to wear clean clothes or drink from an unsullied cup. And it is depressing to live with unrelenting dinginess
2) Pay someone else to do the cleaning. This works only if you have a family budget which can afford such luxuries, which ours doesn't. I strongly suspect there may still be things that fall unattended to, anyway.
3) Blackmail other members of the household to do part or all of it. This is great theory, but it seldom works in the real world. My dogs cower at the sound of a vacuum cleaner, and so does my husband. The cats simply Hate the dishwater and so do children. Friends, however, can be trained not to date the messages they write in the dust.
4) Compromise. Do the best I can with the time I've got. It will never be perfect, but I might sometimes be able to make it livable.
(I should note here that there is a fifth solution – which is to make it fun. But even I have troubled expecting that miracle to happen)
The real trouble comes with expectations. I am sometimes too all-or-nothing in my thinking. I want my home to be perfect, otherwise why bother?
But It’s difficult to have a perfect home when it is actually lived in. Clothes need to be cleaned, likewise with dishes. Dogs shed copious amounts of fur and cats bring home half-eaten presents.
I get so frustrated when my home does not resemble magazine pictures.
I expect myself to be perfect.
I forget that I can't be.
I compare myself to Grandma Moses, Betty Crocker, Sister Wendy, Mother Teresa and Princess Di, all at once.
You see, I forget that even they only had to be one of them at a time.