Housekeeping Everlasting

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…

woman singing while sweeping

Or this one…



6 thoughts on “Housekeeping Everlasting

  1. Oh MY. Wherever did you find that second picture? I feel the pain of Everlasting Housework too. ‘I just folded these clothes a few days ago’, I say, as I’m working through another heap of laundry. It never ends. I did have a redeeming thought today — when I’m 50 and shooing the kids off to college and married lives of their own, I probably won’t have half the laundry or housekeeping to do. I’ll be BORED. Or traveling the world. But I won’t have to do their laundry anymore!! So, remember that on the TP days. I laughed out loud at your Cinderella comment — now that’s logical thinking…;)

  2. Count your blessings tired little mommy. You have clothes to launder, food to cook and a house to clean. Just one of those would make many women deliriously happy. And I’m not scolding.

    I’ve just recently realized that the many years we spent in India I usually had someone to do the cleaning, the laundry, and often the cooking – as well as some marketing, the yard-work, and some child-care. What I did is another whole chapter.

    Presently I have waiting on my desk: research for the Educator Certification Commission, a report for the upcoming GAA board meeting, curriculum development for several 7-12 subject sequences,, the now very late 08 ‘Christmas’ letter, the recipe file, the photo files. I MUST get the material put together for my class tomorrow morning. And it is bedtime.

    For get the house. I doubt it will self-destruct, be carried off by cockroaches, or some other disaster before I get around to that.

    As Martin Luther King said, “We shall overcome!.”

    You have a beautiful family that is your first responsibility. Anyway, dust-bunnies don’t bite.

  3. Guam Grandma I just love you! I think you are so right. I can attest that dust bunnies do not bite. Leilani chin up….don’t force me to sing the rubber tree song…just what made that little ole ant…think he can move a rubber tree plant!

    I love you…and soon we will be welcoming little Cooper into the world!

  4. Leilani,
    I love your ideal world, but guess what, it isn’t going to happen unless you want to drive your husband & kids crazy. In my mind I am an organized person, in reality I still have piles of stuff, but I decided that’s Okay. Every day before Noy got home we had a “Quick Clean Up Time”, so Noy didn’t come home tripping on books, toys, laundry, pets, etc….
    I still do this even now, even though most of the kids are gone, our business is at home, so things haven’t changed that much. Your kids will remember you as the Mom who cooked for them & laughed & played WITH them!! I used to become a crazy person Friday afternoon too, then I learned nevermind unless we had company coming over, to just make things look neat & clean.
    Us Mom’s do know now you feel!! Love You, Auntie Michele

  5. Pingback: The Quest for the Meaning of Housekeeping - 1 « spinning in my teacup

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