I call myself a reluctant housewife. The kids get to me sometimes and the husband annoys me sometimes. I even yell at the dog on occasion. But the worst part of being a housewife, is indeed, the house. I hate to clean. I am not one of those women who live for the smell of Pine-Sol or run a white glove across a surface to check for dust. Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house, I just hate the process of getting that result. The dusting, the vacuuming, the sanitizing, mopping, polishing, waxing–I just do not enjoy it.

Easily solved, right? Just get a cleaning lady and quit complaining. Problem: cleaning ladies cost money, the last time I checked. I used to have one when I first had my second child and simply could not find time to put the cleaning above the mother, wife, career woman roles that I played each day. It was easy to justify and I could afford it. Then things changed. I had less income as my children got older and I took on more volunteer commitments. I think it is a normal cycle of a mother’s life to volunteer more and work less. Admittedly, my volunteer work was more about my taking on leadership responsibilities within the Junior League and less about my children’s schools or activities, but it served the same purpose. It offered me a little area of my life where I could be a grown-up away from my house and have some control over my involvement. Anyway, the point is, there was less money in the bank though I was just as busy as I had been with more clients and less volunteer work. The dish gloves went on … reluctantly.

I clean sporadically and make the most effort when we are having company. Good thing that I host a lot of volunteer meetings a my house or the bathrooms would almost never be cleaned. This is one of those things about staying home with my children that I wish someone would have brought to my attention. Where was the career counselor?

On the contraty, I like to decorate, which requires cleaning–big cleaning, but one project a year is about all I can do and those seeem to take a year to complete and that takes money too. My plan is that I will just continue to reluctantly clean until my children are old enough and big enough to do more. My children are still at the age that what interests them about cleaning is using (spraying until they are all gone) the different colored spray bottles and unwrapping a role of paper towels around the house. You try to train them young and like all new moms, I had the delusion I could train my kids better than anyone had ever trained their own. And, like all new moms, I had to mop the floor and clean the cabinets of all the suds and water that splashed out of the sink while they completely and thoroughly washed one sippy cup. Woohoo! My kid’s a cleaning phenom! Though the sippy cup went in the dishwasher because it was washed in cold water, it forced me to clean the floor anyway. Well, in that one little area.

I once heard an author speak about how the muse carried her far away from cleaning. She said, “There were times you could eat off my floors … for months!” She just needed to do what I did–keep the dog in the kitchen during meals! Canine Zamboni to the rescue.

Anyway, I think that cleaning is just over-rated. Perhaps that is justification for me. In the meantime, if you are considering staying at home with your kids, my advice to you is not to do it unless you can afford to pay someone to do the dirty work. Take my word for it!

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