Monday, 18 May 2009

Domestic Pfft

Here is a shocker.

I dislike domestic duties, enormously.

Even as a married man, I would shy away from certain household chores. I have never minded cooking, I have known all my dishwashers intimately and putting the bins out was only ever a little more than a minor annoyance.

Washing clothes became easy too, after a successful induction into that area, I mean, it does not really take a long time to load, and unload a washer. Irritating for sure, but palatable.

Ironing was not something I could do when I first moved out to live with Samantha. And my induction into that field was less than successful. Injuries, burnt clothes, fingers and even the ‘successful’ items looking like they had been folded at random, rather than flattened.

Eventually, and as we had a healthy income, that duty was subcontracted out.

Cleaning is something I would avoid to the best of my dodging ability, which I should mention, is immense.

I was not above begging, bribing and generally going AWOL when surfaces needed wiping, carpets vacuuming and toilets scrubbing.

Problem is now, I have no one to barter with.

My son is not frightened of many things, but the vacuum is one of them. He must have inherited my anti-cleaning genes.

As a young widower I am still surprised, by other peoples’ surprise at my level of domestication.

Not sure who people think is cooking for me, cleaning, washing and ironing my clothes. If anyone knows any domestic fairies, I am all ears – that is not true, whilst bigger than average, I do have all the other body parts actually.

Not giving the wrong impression, I am certainly not on top of everything at home, all of the time.

Generally the clothes wash-dry-iron-put-away cycle is always in operation, and that one does not slide too far.

Tidying is not too bad either, not as good, but fairly regular.

Cleaning is the one that causes me the most grief.

It is always a fight, one I have with myself, to stay on top of it. The minute something is spotless, it is dirty again.

I concentrate on the kitchen, and on the rare occasions I do get on top, my discipline of cleaning while I go does seem to get a little renewed impetus. But it does not last for long, at least, it does not seem to.

My latest approach has been to try and numb myself to the actual task at hand, and just allocate a period of time - at the moment in no more than 60 minute bursts - and just clean until that time elapses.

The reality is that cleaning is going to be my responsibility for some time, I do dream of a far away time where I allocate funds for a cleaner, but I would have to be earning significantly more than I do now, to be at peace with that.

Thus I need to be able to tolerate the cleaning, and also get it done to an acceptable standard, without imploding with inner rage.

I am comforting myself, with some previous experience, in a totally unrelated field.

Hopeful of a successful analogy.

In my youth, and into my twenties I played cricket. Not everyone will understand the game, but essentially it is all about the batting, the bowling and generally the fielding gets in the way.

As a youngster I used to dread fielding, as I knew my bowling time would be limited, based on ability and the rules that children can only be used sparingly.

So, I would often be looking at three hours of fielding, for a few minutes of something I enjoyed.

I would mutter to myself in the field, not try very hard, and often be caught on my heels when I should have prepared for the ball coming my way.

My catching and throwing acumen was always pretty good, I would be trusted with the catching positions, rather than being ‘hidden’ in the field. But I suppose, like many youngsters, I would frustrate my team mates and my captain.

And that eventually dawned on me, and as I was not about to give up the game, I decided that I should actually make more of an effort in the field, and try to actually enjoy it.

I would focus on the amount of time, or overs left to elapse, and stay motivated that way.

It really worked for me, and I think improved my all round game. And I know of a few occasions when the captain would go looking for someone to bowl, and as my effort had stood out above those muttering self-loathing sentiment, I would get the ball.

Now I am hoping that my form in the past, can be applied here too.

Not that I expect to ever be actually enjoying the cleaning, more to grow an appreciation of its role within contributing to a happy home.

Now, howzat for a parallel?



OMG Pregnant said...

"The minute something is spotless, it is dirty again". - I feel your pain, I really do. My strategy is one thing per night. Tonight was the lounge, so its had its going over... although I do find I give myself a lot of time off. The way I see it. I am far to busy and interesting to live in a spotless home!!

T said...

Yep, its a constant battle here with me vs. the two little ones. I get it.

But your analogy is great. Not only for cleaning but life as a single parent too.

It is worth it, after all.

SciFi Dad said...

Dichotomy, thy name is commenting on this frelling post.

Comment the First: I was totally domesticated (even though I loathed it as much as you, if not more) - the Second: I didn't think it was possible, but you just made cricket make even LESS sense to me than before.

Not a soccer mom said...

oh sigh...sometimes people, when you only visit occasionally will seem to be on top of all thier chores.
thing is, except for a few obsessives, I think we all have things that we dont get done regularly. We all have dreams of paying someone to do them.
I think if you dont mind laundry.. your ahead of me. I love the smell of clean laundry but hate getting it all hung and put away.
Great analogy with the cricket. I will have to try that..

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

This will sound utterly dorky but I love a thing called Motivated Moms (google it). It's a year long planner that costs something like $8 you download and print off weekly that lists all the chores for the day with places to add in appointments and whatnot of your own (plus they schedule in free time/relax time!). It's honestly the only way I go anywhere near cleaning some days. That piece of paper mocks me till I tick off all the boxes :)

Liz@Violet Posy said...

I'm the least domesticated cleaning wise woman you'll ever meet. Seriously I hate it, and I really have to force myself to clean. But the thing I hate most - washing up. It's never ending and we don't have a dishwasher and there are always dishes on the side in the kitchen - urgh! So if you're staying on top of all your cleaning you're ahead of me :)

Working mum said...

Have to say, I had a cleaner, but didn't like someone else doing the cleaning and ironing. Never felt they would reach my unattainable high standards. Guess I'm just a control freak. So now I do my own housework, on top of a full time job, so it has to be manageable. Cleaning is the worst, but like OMG I'm Pregnant, it gets done in small amounts in a rota. However, it's one room a week, not a night!

cartside said...

I know the feeling, very much. I hate cleaning with a passion and it's so infuriating that once all is clean, it looks dirty so quickly again. Your 60 minute idea is something I must try out, maybe it'll work (although I may opt for a 30 min a day version). Oh and I too wished I could afford a cleaner...

Blogging Mama Andrea - I think that tool would make me rebel ;) someone telling me what to do? No way. Good it works for you though!

Millennium Housewife said...

You should sell this piece to a mother and baby magazine SPD! Better still pitch yourself for a column, I bet they'd take it, a male viewpoint etc..Get onto gorkana and steal some email addresses! MH x

Badass Geek said...

I've never met a dishwasher that I didn't love. Mostly because I'm the only one that seems to have a relationship with it.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Paper plates and plastic cutlery for starters.

Huge paper table cloths and no item of furniture than can't be power-hosed clean.

Done & er...dusted.

rosiescribble said...

You are not alone. I absolutely hate all things domesticated. If I could avoid it completely I would. I'm still searching for the cleaning fairies!

Susan said...

One Saturday after a whole morning of cleaning I almost broke into tears when J. came over (the kids were at their father's) and he got water spots on the bathroom mirror. I just wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labor a little longer, but noooooo....

I'm trying to convince myself that cleaning is therapeutic for me, but it's not working.

Single Parent Dad said...

OMG Pregnant - Agreed. Nice policy.

T - I think so.

SciFi Dad - I can add confusion like no other.

Not a soccer mom - Let me know how you get on.

Blogging Mama Andrea - I will.

Liz - Not sure I could function without a dishwasher, I haven't risked it.

Working mum - Full time, I thought you were a teacher?

Cartside - Good luck.

Millenium Housewife - Nice idea.

Badass Geek - I would share.

Xbox - Can't jet wash a TV (I have tried).

Rosie - Do let me know if you find them.

Susan - Good luck with that.

Dan said...

I'm the main cleaner in our house. god help us all.

One thing I doi to help cope with it is listen to podcasts and radio 4/radio 7 comedies o the iplayer whilst I'm doing it. Almost makes me enjoy myself.

Thumbelina said...

Hopped over from Jo B's.
I have the same problem. Solved to a large extent by fixing a single time a week (Friday, after tea) to give duster to one child, hoover to other child whilst I go do the kitchen and send hubby to do the bathroom. After shifting all the muck first week, it is now a question of maintenance and motivation.
Of course, now it is cleaner each week than when they first approached it so I have to persuade them that they still need to clean each week, and PROPERLY, or we will have that marathon muck to shift again in a few weeks. *sigh* it is an uphill struggle.
And mine (bar one) are grown men.

I sympathise.

creative-type dad said...

Let me know if you ever find those cleaning Fairies.

English Mum said...

My house is passably clean. But I do have the luxury of a husband who eventually gets so fed up with all the crap that I leave around the place, gives in and tidies up.

D-next-door however (only recently widowed - my friend C died a year ago) is still struggling with his new-found onliness in the cleaning/washing department. I have to look away when I see entire loads of suspiciously pink-looking whites on the washing line and his children often come to the door looking as though they've been recently unpacked out of a small cardboard box. Still, as he says, at least they're clean - the odd wrinkle never killed anyone.

serenadragon said...

I am currently avoiding the housework(as I type I'm evading eyecontact with an un-hoovered carpet and a dinig table groaning under the weight of unidentified clutter)

In theory I share the chores with my kids, who at age 10 & 15 are certainly old enough to take on some of the responsibilities - if I can only pin them down long enough to do so....

I'm not a naturally tidy person, but I do insist on my home being clean. My boys are dirt magnets - one a footballer the other a skateborder - both hobbies which they seem to believe can be practised in the house!

I try to keep on top of things in the same way that you do Ian - an hour at a time. And then I tend to blitz the place when I know someone is coming over - so tonight I REALLY need to clean as I have a hot date tomorrow :)

Post a Comment