Monday, June 16, 2008

Waxing a bit philosophical.....

I had an interesting experience today. Without going into too much detail of the who and the when, I was reminded how different all of us are. And how even though someone might be able to keep their house spotless, or is organized, or can dress well or can make amazing dinners, they always have something that they aren't good at. I know, it seems unbelievable. I find that my weaknesses are easy to see: I suck at housekeeping, I'm impatient, unorganized and find it difficult to focus on things and finish them. The things I am good at are: social situations (no social anxiety here), keeping up friendships (even though most of my friends live more than a hundred miles from me, some thousands of miles), and a few other things.

I'm always worried that when people come to my house they will pass judgments on me. Because I'm cluttery. My floors aren't always vacuumed. My table is frequently covered with stuff other than dishes. Sometimes I don't sweep my floors. My counters get cleaned frequently but are covered with "stuff". Sometimes there are shoes strewn on the floor. Or sometimes it's toys. I have no skills as a home decorator. The reason I'm worried is because most of my friends seem to be these compulsive neat freaks that rarely have a thing out of place in their house. And I'm serious. I can start with my friends from way back when. I do still have friends that are not those compulsive types. And I'm not so worried when they come over.

There seems to be a give and take. Some might be organized but might feel uncomfortable in social situations. Some might make great dinners but struggle with keeping up with the dishes. What I love about it is that we can learn so much from each other!! In fact I would love nothing more than to have a friend come over and have her help me with getting myself more organized. Not sure what I could give to her, but I'm sure we could think of something. :)

Does this post have a point? Not really. Just kind of thinking or typing out loud.


Steve-o said...

Maybe your friends just clean up before having people over. We're like that and my parents were like that, too. I'm not a big fan of this school of thought because things are often "put away" before people come over and then I can't find them afterward. Obviously, I'm not the one doing most of the putting away. In any case, I often leave piles of stuff around the house, but my filth is certainly arranged according to my mental system.

Nicole said...

I'm with you, Terina. Housework is not my "thing." I would love to be one of those people who likes to clean, but I'm just not. There are too many other things I like to do. But I'm also comfortable socially, have no problems speaking in public and I think I'm a good friend. I'm also a creative person and I think sometimes creative people tend to be more "clutter challenged" just because we get so caught up in the process. You should see me when I scrapbook!

But one of my friends' mom has a saying: It's okay if [housework] isn't your thing, as long as you have a "thing." Put whatever you like inside the brackets. We don't all have to be the same.

I also think there's a huge difference between "dirty dirt" and "dirty clutter." Nobody's going to get food poisoning because I have a stack of papers on my counter; the dishes are clean!

Shelly! said...

I agree with Nicole - there is dirty and then their is clutter. BIG difference. Dirty is "I don't want to take my shoes off in your house because I'll get food and such on my feet". Clutter is "Oh here, let me clear off the table so you can sit down and we can talk".

When I went to Sunstone this year and they were talking about Sis. Beck's talk, my friend Lorell made a comment. She said that if her house was immaculate at the end of the day it told her she'd wasn't a good Mom. She believes that playing with her kids requires her attention and her energy. If she's played a lot with the kids then her house gets ignored - and she's ok with it. I loved hearing that and trying to incorporate it into my life.

Living with my parents presents a different problem for me. While I am usually a neat freak (and no doubt one of the ones you are referring to) in my own home I tend to be more cluttery. Living in someone else's home makes me feel as though I am on guest status and should treat their home with care. This means that I spend more time during the day cleaning and picking up than I would if it were my own. I knew that would be part of this though and I'm not complaining, just explaining.

I think you should fly out here and teach me a few things and then I could fly out there and teach you a few things. Now we just need a sponsor...

MommyK said...

My house is clean at the end of the day and I think I'm a good mom. But I'm also extremely organized and I have a system that means I spend minimal time cleaning and plenty of time with my kids.

I try to go by this: unless you know every single detail of someone's life, you have no business judging. That woman with the perfect hair and the spotless house may be suffering from mental disease on the inside. Or that woman with the poorly dressed kids and the enormous rock on her finger? Maybe it's a family heirloom and the only thing she has of any worth.

As for the housework, you can't force yourself to be what you're not. So why bother?

Chelsea said...

Very true that we all have strengths as well as weaknesses. I tend to pre-judge those who seem overly perfect - but as I get to know them I invariably discover that they have their struggles, even though they may not be as visible.

Fort Skinner said...

I am one of your friends who is not a clean freak! I think we talked about this before - my house is sanitary, no germs or anything but my counters ahve stuff of them... my floors aren't always swept & my carpets aren't vacuumed as much.
Come on over and relax in my mess :)
WHen I come to your house and it might be a little "untidy" (I mean it in a nice way) it makes me feel better b/c I"m not the only one.

Jen said...

I was helping a 9 months pg friend clean the other day, and I was struck by the thought, "no matter what, my house will never get this messy." It wasn't a judgemental thought, it was a "wow, I'm way to hard on myself" thought, if that makes sense. It gave me the freedom to let go a little. My house doesn't really get dirty, but I admire her ability to not stress about things that don't really matter in the end.