The impulse had been there before. When, as a child, my room was really dirty, I would spend an hour meticulously dusting and rearranging the doo-dads on my shelves.
But it really started up in college, and lasted through our first year of marriage, through the almost-a-year of pregnancy, and through the first two years of Lia’s life. What joy and contentment it added to my life. Pull everything out, submerge the house into absolute chaos, and emerge triumphantly a week later with decluttered, organized, and clean closets and a decluttered, more organized, and clean psyche.
It was so cathartic. I think I subconsciously figured that if I am in control of nothing else, at least I am in control of my STUFF.
And then there were two children. And that was the end of that.
With four in our family now (well, four contributing members), there is no longer that leisure for dropping all of the daily tasks–food, dishes, laundry, cleaning. There’s no escaping. It’s Housekeeping Everlasting. Or, as I whined to Devo the other week through my wad of soggy toilet paper, it’s Relentless. No matter how organized, how efficient, how dedicated I am…it’s still there.
So the New Year may have inspired me to go from room to room, top to bottom, putting everything in apple pie order and basking in the satisfaction of a job well done…but the New Year did not provide me with a cook, a laundrerer, and a housecleaner.
Thus, I’m forced to do it in chunks. And it really isn’t providing that feeling of well-being and catharsis that I so fondly remember. Instead, all it’s doing is wearing me out.
Saying which made me look at the clock and see that it’s almost my new (housecleaning-induced) bedtime. I will turn into a pumpkin at promptly 9pm tonight. (Cinderella lived on the East Coast, that’s why she got to stay up until midnight.)
It just occured to me that housecleaning is going to outlast me. No matter how long I live, or how good I become at it, the house will still get dirty. That could be a very depressing thought.
But I refuse to be depressed. I just know that somewhere in this Reality of Everlasting Housekeeping lies the Secret of Life. (Obviously not the secret fountain of youth, however.) There must be some philosophy, some gem of wisdom, something deeply meaningful to be found here. There must.
But I haven’t found it yet. Have you?
Maybe this lady’s got it figured out…
Or this one…