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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I don't care

about all the dust and cobwebs in my house. About the stuff all over the place. About so much stuff all over the place. About the fact that our house needs some serious updating (well – maybe I do care about that :-) ).

That is, until I start thinking about what other people might think. Then, I become stricken, and obsessed. I dash about, madly picking up toys that will only be gotten back out in minutes. I wipe down cabinets and vacuum behind the furniture. I stuff papers into the already-overflowing trash can. I wash dishes only to realize that the other side of the sink is filling up as quickly as I can empty it. (The same thing happens with the hamper, the washing machine, and the trash can.) I sweep up crumbs as new ones fall.* I wipe off the table only to have someone smear something else on it again (or spill juice, or dump the sugar bowl, or the salt, or what they came in the door with -- the kitchen is next to the entrance) the next minute.

OK, maybe I exaggerate (not much), but I realize that even if I were to clean and organize non-stop for the next 168 hours, I still wouldn’t get this place straightened out or shined up. For long, anyway.

And should I?

I get comfortable here at home (relatively), only to blanch, aghast, upon entering some other family's immaculate, beautiful, tastefully-furnished-and-decorated abode. Suddenly I am stricken by guilt and condemnation worthy of a vandal. "How do they do keep it looking like this??" I wonder.

I suppose I could keep the house picked up, but then I’d never do anything with my kids, let alone try to educate them. I could better organize all my books and papers, but then I’d practice my trumpet even less than I do now. I could keep my closets cleaned out, but then I’d actually be able to find things! But I wouldn’t be able to teach private music lessons. I wouldn’t be able to do things for our church. I wouldn’t be able to take my kids to their myriad practices and lessons.** (Which kills when there’s no family in town to help!) I wouldn’t be able to blog :-)

It’s all a trade-off. Who really cares how my house looks, anyway? It’s not a disaster, really. I keep things clean that really need to be clean. I vacuum often. All the major appliances work. We have all the modern indoor conveniences and comforts. Things run relatively smoothly. So what if the linoleum is 40 years old, the walls need new paint, and my furniture looks like it came from Scratch-n-Dent? At least my curtains are nice!

I can reasonably spruce up for guests. But I’m not entering any domestic photo contests. I believe that houses are meant to be lived in. I believe that my family and my other activities are more important than my house.

When I see the far end of the kitchen table piled high with my son’s craft projects, I rejoice that he loves to make things, and that he’d rather work in a more central area than at the work area we made for him in an out-of-the-way place. I rejoice that I and the members of my family have many talents and interests and the wherewithal to develop and share them. I rejoice that we have a large house in which to do this. (For instance, I can practice when everyone else is in bed because of the layout of our house). I rejoice that we can learn together at home, and that I have sufficient storage for all of our books and materials! The list could go on.

(I only wish I’d gotten over my not-so-spotless-house-phobia sooner...)


*Where does all the dirt come from, anyway? Especially in the winter, when we’re holed up? There must be a domestic “dirt cycle,” like the water cycle...

**the lessons and practices fulfill requirements for our homeschooling, offer an outlet for recreation, and provide social opportunities. We don’t just drop the kids off, either; I or my husband stay with them at least 75% of the time.

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