…or do we care less about housework as we get older? Once upon a time, Mondays and Tuesdays were housecleaning days at my home. I worked my rather round ass off scrubbing floors and bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, doing laundry…the list was truly two full days of cleaning. And at least twice a year, everything got removed from my kitchen cupboards and my china hutch and was washed and put back away, all shiny clean. I reorganized closets at least four times a year, washed windows every spring and fall, and even got dust bunnies out from under the shelves in the garage.
But things have changed. In the last few years, scrubbing the corners of the kitchen floor with a toothbrush seems way less urgent than writing just another few pages on the work in progress. Dishes have been known to sit in my sink from breakfast until after lunch, and horror of all horrors, I confess–I haven’t cleaned my oven since Christmas. Often a whole day will go by before I make the bed–yes, I’ve actually made the bed at five p.m. on more than one occasion. I know, at that point, why bother?
What happened to all that dedication? Well, frankly, it went the way of weekly meal plans, fresh baked bread, a vegetable garden, and all the other wifely ways I once took such pride in. I’m not dissing those things–not at all! I feel guilty that I’m not the perfect housekeeper I used to be. But not all that guilty… I’d rather write than clean out cupboards and I prefer editing to lying on the garage floor on my belly, brooming out dust and leaves.
And here’s the best news: No lightening bolt comes down to strike you dead if there’s dust on the good crystal wine glasses. Hell, they clean up just as easily only when you need them as they do if you take them out and wash them two times a year. The housekeeping sheriff doesn’t show up if you skip a week’s vacuuming, and the health department has not once been to my house to red tag my kitchen floor.
Mostly, what I’ve done is set myself free from the all the “must do in order to have a perfect house” tasks to allow time for me to write and it feels fantastic! Don’t get me wrong, I get in a cleaning frenzy every so often and I scrub until the house glows, but I no longer feel the need to spend two whole days a week at it. The bathrooms are clean, the sheets get changed each week, laundry’s folded, and the kitchen is scrubbed…well, I’m done… Now back to that novel…