Thursday, March 17, 2011

Something About the Process

I have a strange relationship with cleanliness. I remember being a young girl, maybe 8, and noticing that teenagers were supposed to be sloppy. So I tried to be sloppy. I remember intentionally leaving my clothes on the floor so that my room would look more mature. I am not sure if my mother just put them away or what, but I seemed to be incapable of making a respectable teenage looking mess of my living space.

All that changed when I became an actual teenager. I was a full on slob. My parents consulted personality tests to try and understand why I was so very different from them in that way. [For the record they decided that it is because I am an ENFP and they are ENFJ and INTJ in the Myers-Briggs testing. My father is convinced that it all comes from the messy letter P.] Seriously folks it was bad. Let's just say that when I left home there was paint on the windows (I thought it would look like stained glass), mod podge was clotted in the carpet from some art project that had gone astray, and there were various other mystery stains, freak messes and eerie piles.

Somewhere along the way that has all changed. I find comfort not only in cleanliness, but also in the act of cleaning. When did that happen? I have places for everything, systems of organization (although the front closet might convince you that is not entirely true). I like mopping my kitchen floors and scrubbing the stove clean.

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I never fancied myself to be the housewifey type, but lo and behold I do have it in me. I get satisfaction from a nicely made bed, fresh sheets, fluffed pillows and vacuum tracks in the carpet. There is something about the process that makes me feel great contentment. Not the kind of contentment that comes from floating on a meditative cloud of all knowing reason, but the kind of contentment and self-satisfaction that comes from getting crusty funk off the counter.

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Once upon a time I resented doing the dishes, scooping cat poop (well that's still not a joy), or anything else that seemed to turn me into a housewife. For some reason I had it in my head that if I were to be a housewife that was all I would be. Obviously I was wrong. I think perhaps I have just found a balance. I have a job (which still allows me to be a stay at home mother), I have a creative outlet, I have good relationships and being a housewife (who finds cleanliness fulfilling) is just another part of who I am now. What's your balance?

4 comments:

the mountain fox said...

Well today we got up, ate breakfast, then did some seriously last minute St.Patrick's Day crafting and ran out of the house to make the parade leaving an almighty mess behind us! So I guess I am still searching for my balance!
Happy St. PAtrick's Day!

sophie said...

I wish I found contentment in housework but all I feel when I am doing it is resentment that I am doing it, because I always do it. I really need to get the kids involved but their inevitable complaining ALWAYS drags me down. I need to change! BTW I love that first photo, too cute!

Pam Brewer said...

I love a clean house, and I love to clean when the mood strikes me. Since the mood only strikes about twice a year, I have a wonderful lady who cleans my house every two weeks. God bless her!

Keia Kato-Berndt said...

wow, I can totally relate. I really enjoy order and I find housework to be very therapeutic. I think I feel most fulfilled and balanced when I can cook and clean but also have time for things that make me happy like art (my job), reading, walking, and when I get odd jobs, those too.

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