Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Soul-Crushing Burden of Housecleaning

Dramatic title, no?

But it only reflects my deepest feelings, my utter contempt and hatred of (constantly) cleaning my house (in this case, "constantly" means over and over and over again. And again.)

At least several times a day, I begin sentences with, "But didn't I just_____??!!" (wash the floor, wipe down the counters, sweep Nadav's cereal trail, do dishes, pick a kippah up off the floor.)

For example, I washed the floor yesterday. Approximately 2.5 hours later, it looked like Pompeii swept through.

I despair.

And I despair even more when I realize that there are people who somehow manage not to live in constant muck and filth and cups! (Oh cups, you kill me! How are there so many of you? How??? HOW???)

Once, I had to get a key from someone in the building. It was a Thursday afternoon. I stopped by, in the middle of the day. This is a woman with a passle of little kids, who was also pregnant at the time, and during my random drop-in, I noticed that her house. Was. Spotless. On a  Thursday! A Thursday! By Thursdays, I've given up and played the "It'll get cleaned on Friday" card. Okay, sometimes I start playing that card on Tuesday.

But not this superwoman. Clean floors, empty counters, clean floors, clear table, clean floors. And clean floors.

How does she do it?

I would venture that perhaps she has a community of houselves working for her. Obviously, though, that is ridiculous.

Everyone knows they were freed in Book 7.

What is her secret? Does she stash her kids in the machsan and do her cooking at a neighbor's? Has her family learned how to hover, so that dusty little feet don't mingle with the drops of water that are on the floor because family members WILL fling their wet hands all over the place while looking for a towel, which is, of course, right in front of them? And of course, you know what happens when you mix dust and water. You get a Very Unhappy Mama.

To lessen the soul-crushingness of it all, I try to squeeze in as much straightening up and cleaning as I can while the kids are still up - I know, it's like trying to sop up Niagara Falls with an Israeli paper towel, but still - because if I reenter the kitchen after doing the bedtime jig and see a sink full of dishes and aruchat eser boxes that need filling, and all I really want to do is sit down and write a blog post where I complain about cleaning, well, I may just have to curl up in a fetal position on the floor...no, wait, it's filthy....on the sofa....whoops, covered in tissues and Uno cards and ouch, a library book (Digression: Uno goes MUCH faster when you are missing half the cards)....maybe on my bed....no, not there, covered in unfolded mounds of laundry....

So you see the reasons for my despair. Can't even find a place to curl up and despair.

Oh well. Guess I'll just go wash a cup.

18 comments:

Commenter Abbi said...

I had an Israeli neighbor like that when I lived in J-m- not only was her house spotless, she had 3 more kids then me, worked 3/4 time as an intensive care night nurse, and one of her kids was developmentally disabled and always had tons of therapy appts. And the kicker- she didn't have a cleaner the first 4 years I lived next to her!!! She did it mostly herself (her husband washed the floors on Fridays). It depressed me beyond words. But I still liked her.

MomzWifeofDADZ said...

Gila, we'll be there SO SOON and I'll clean for you! Just don't be sad! Momz can't stand it when her kids are sad! Stop!

Shani Berger said...

Gila, as I read this I thought maybe you were writing about my house (minus the Nadav cereal trail). So don't despair, I think it gets easier in about 20 years! I've learned to live with "good enough" and "clean up really well when we have company" (or parents visiting).

Baila said...

I really think we're the same person leading parallel lives, with you being me about 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

I bet you 500 shekel that woman has a cleaner who comes in early thursday morning

Bethami said...

im with anon. walk into my house every other thursday afternoon and its just the same. sometimes we go out for dinner thursday night, send the kids to gan/school friday morning, pop them in front a movie friday afternoon and we still have a clean house for friday night dinner. by shabbat lunch, its ruined.

Gila Rose said...

Abbi - you totally get points for looking past her cleanliness and liking her anyway.

Momz - isn't cleaning up after Dadz enough work for you?

Shani - "Good Enough Clean Except When Parents Come" will be a chapter in my book.

Baila - does this make you my oracle?

Anon - I should totally find out. I could use an extra 500 shekel.

Bethami - the whole clean-on-Friday-disaster-by-Shabbat phenomenon is the worst. I could swear the sponga is looking up at me during the motzash clean-up and saying, "Weren't we JUST here?"

mother in israel said...

Gila, with a Momz like that you should never be sad.

new here said...

We recently bought an apartment from an Isreali family and every time we visited for measurements, etc,(at least half a dozen times at various times of day) the place was spotless. We said we wanted to hire the mother as a consultant. The husband said she had trained them to keep it that way. I'm still trying to figure out how to do that! (My husband is asking me to do it, but i don't think he realizes he would be involved.)

SuperRaizy said...

I can't count how many times I've felt like that. But- do you want to hear a secret? It will get easier. When your kids are older, the chaos will subside and the house will be cleaner and calmer. Just hang in there for a few more years.

Eliana and Michael said...

We have our house for sale (in anticipation of aliyah this summer--I could blog about the soul crushing burden of trying to sell a house in this market!) and I can tell you from first hand experience--b/c the place has to be sparkling clean for showings---that it only takes 10 minutes to look like a hurricane has come through.

I think most of us are trying to live somewhere between --"totally mortified to have someone see our house right now" and "show ready".

If it's any consolation I would much rather read a humorous blog post from you than know that you were someone with a sparkling clean floor.

Kathleen said...

I'm with Shani B., except for the Nadav cereal trail , you could be talking about my house. And how I feel about it too.

Kathleen said...

Also, my kids, (the youngest is almost 5) seem to manage to get a massive amount of crumbs and food on the floor around their chairs & under the table despite having a plate in front of them and a table underneath that that you would think those crumbs would land on...

Mara said...

Sounds like my house! You don't know how happy this makes me to know I'm not alone:)

I try to clean the clutter off of my dining room table often and whenever I turn around for what feels like 5 min "stuff" magically appears all over it.

Gila Rose said...

Thanks for all the support! You truly are the Loyalest of Readers. You are all invited to a To Heck with Dirt Party.
Where: My place
When: Any time

RaggedyMom said...

The awful result of dust and water droplets...YES. I totally hear you on this.
Re crazily clean homes, I think that one thing my Israeli neighbors have over me is that there is a lot less 'stuff' and thereby clutter in their homes. The kitchen shayish is always almost totally empty and there's a lot less to put away. I like my cheerful organized clutter, but I do think that there's great peace of mind in an emptier, more easily maintained space.

Karen said...

Wow - unbelievably familiar! My family literally think I'm insane when I go on one of my "why so many cups?" or "don't drip water on the floor" tirades. I shall have to force them all to read this post. Thanks.

SubWife said...

I guess I am a latecomer to this post and a newcomer to this blog, but anyway. I can sign under every word in this post. Except for the ones where you say you clean. Often I feel, what's the point? it will get dirty and messy before I have a chance to enjoy the order. If I had a neighbor who was always orderly, I would probably get seriously depressed. And wouldn't like her. Probably.