I don’t like to think of myself as the kind of person who lives according to TV commercial slogans. Yet I remember this particular one from a commercial many years ago: Get used to dust bunnies. I couldn’t tell you what was being advertised or why this product would require its users to get used to said dust bunnies, but I liked the idea.
You see, in this time of organizational, cleaning and clutter-busting New Year’s resolutions, I have resolved to instead give myself a break when it comes to my own expectations of house cleanliness.
I am always beating myself up over the state of my house. With the possible exception of the way it looked before we moved in, I don’t think the house has ever what I might consider perfect. I could blame my two small boys, but the truth is that even before I had them, I don’t think I did much better. I used to think that working at home would allow me to keep it especially pristine because I’d be able to spend even more time cleaning and tidying.
Turns out the more time you spend in a place the more you mess it up.
I spend a surprising amount of my time just putting things back where they were supposed to be in the first place. A friend of mine likes to say that she touches every single thing in her house every day, and the end result is that it all looks the same at the end of the day as it did that morning.
Even when I make supreme efforts to get the house ready for visitors, I still inevitably notice at the last minute the greasy sunscreen handprint on the window or the cluttered undusted bookshelves.
What’s the answer? I have flirted with that FlyLady thing where they send you cleaning emails, those daily schedules where you clean one particular area a day, and myriad other housecleaning techniques that other moms swear by, and I’m decided that instead for 2013 I’m going to stop worrying so much about it.
I don’t plan to let my family live in complete slovenliness (although slovenliness is relative), but I’m going to stop looking around my house and feeling bad about it all the time. I’m also going to stop apologizing about the state of my house to everyone who walks through the door. Instead, I will just remind myself that this is what a 1200-something square foot home where two small boys reside looks like.
Whose standard am I trying to live up to, anyway? The problem for me is that the root of my concern is what other people think about the way my house looks, not whether it is working well for me and my family. And there is nothing holy about that.
I know my boys won’t be bothered by those dust bunnies. So as long as I can get used to them, we should be fine.