Taking Ownership

30 Sep

For years, I have cringed over my house keeping skills. Or should I say, my lack there of. It’s not that I grew up without being taught how to keep things neat and tidy. To the contrary, my mom is the personification of “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”. She did everything within her power to instill the amazing skills she possessed but I am obviously lacking a very specific gene and this skill set failed to imprint in my brain.

Yes, I do know, comprehend and understand the concepts of organization. I even have some pretty good ideas myself. What I fail at doing is implementing them and then maintaining. “Domestically Disabled” is what I consider myself. I quickly learned that it was simply impossible for me to maintain anything above “organized chaos” and also came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t do it perfectly, why do it at all.

Which is why my room looked like it did as a teenager.

For years, I’ve dreaded housekeeping. As an adult, I realized I couldn’t just let my living area fall to shambles but I’ve never felt like I could live up to the standards of my mom’s house. I always have compared my ability (or lack there of) to her’s and would feel so miserable. That morphed into feeling like I couldn’t live up to the standards of my friends and the world in general.

That has changed now. I came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that I had to stop apply so much pressure to myself. People really don’t care if my house is cluttered, let alone inspect my baseboards. As long as there isn’t bugs in the carpet and mold growing on bowls in the kitchen sink, it shouldn’t matter. The only opinions that truly matter are those who live with me.

Aaron is something of a neat freak and makes housekeeping look so easy that I kind of hate him for it. He’s really picked up where I left off during the 3rd trimester and this early baby time. Watching him just keep a lid on the simmering pot helped me realize that if I could just do that, just keep things from exploding, then life in general and housekeeping in particular will be simpler (not to mention Aaron can do the more meticulous things he loves and I don’t even see).

So this week has been the kitchen. It has been my goal to stay on top of all the dishes this week, keep the stove top and counters clean, and floor swept. That’s it. No gigantic cupboard cleaning binge, otherwise I’ll get burned out like I have any other time I’ve attempted this. Hey, at least I can learn from past failures!

So far, so good. The kitchen hasn’t exploded once in the three days I’ve been doing this. Today I’ve baked breakfast cookies, made apple sauce, and have soup simmering on the stove top. Through all of this I’ve kept the kitchen sink relatively clear of dishes because I’m washing them as I go, which is one of the few things that managed to implement itself in my life from my mother’s teachings.

During this time, I’ve also decided that I’m going to own the fact that I can’t keep house well and am domestically disabled. I’m not a naturally tidy person. That’s part of who I am and I need to stop fighting it. I need to stop being embarrassed when folks come over because there’s nothing wrong with a cluttery home (not hording and dirty!) so long as the inhabitants don’t mind. I’ve found that acceptance has been half the battle. Once I accepted that my home will NEVER look like my mother’s, I’ve had motivation to stay on top of things!

So we’ll see how things go. There are some spots in the house that need some serious help but I’ll tackle those later. I have to start somewhere and the kitchen seemed like the best place to begin.

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