Wednesday, September 14, 2016
A Day in the Life - Clean Freak
I'm a little self-diagnosed OCD/ADD. I'm easily distracted and I keep our house very clean. I always have. I get made fun of a bit for it and that doesn't bother me in the slightest. The girls seem to be picking up on it but I'm honestly ok with that.
We're all always apologizing to one another for the the states of our homes. I'm sorry my house is so messy/dirty/clean/empty/etc. I say we stop. Just stop. Welcome to my home. Welcome to my life. I'm glad you're here! Lets save the apologies for things we really need to apologize for. I'm sorry we're late. I'm sorry I'm too hard on my daughters in front of you. I'm sorry I'm not hard enough on them and am sometimes just too exhausted to follow-through.
I posted a picture of the dusty underside of my couch a few weeks ago. And a Cheerio. And a barrette. I want everyone to know that I am human too. The house gets ahead of me sometimes. It makes me a mean crazy lady when it does. But my goal in life is not actually to have a Pinterest-pretty social media stream.
I don't clean my house to shame you.
I clean my house because that's what I do. No earthly comfort soothes my soul quite like a clean house (and a long soak in a clean tub with a clean towel waiting for me).
If we are friends - the chances of your house ever being messy enough ... dirty enough ... smelly enough ... scary enough to horrify this clean freak are just about none. Let me tell you a story ...
My OCD started early. I'll go ahead and blame my mom ... but I'll also say thank you. I've never wondered how to clean something, because I started cleaning for my mom in the summers when she started working. I was about 12.
She didn't literally wear a white glove, but she gave me the white glove treatment. She always checked the top of the fridge, always. I often forgot. To this day ... I tend to start with the top of the fridge when I clean. After Shelby was born, we had moved into a different house and I had to relearn my routine by quadruple because I was recovering from a C-section, caring for a newborn, in a new house, and frankly everything was just plain different. After several months I about had a meltdown when I realized I had yet to clean the top of the fridge.
You. Have. No. Idea. I won't drag you through the details, juicy as they may be. The odor of diapers and unwashed socks, damp dogs and senile cats will never ever ever (EVER EVER) outdo the things I have smelled. I interned in a medical examiner's office with an entire exam area dedicated to "decos." That little trick of Vicks up your nose? Yeah, don't do that. It just opens up your nostrils and lets the smell down deep so that even after several showers you feel like strangers will turn and look at you expecting a real-life episode of Walking Dead.
I've started thinking the number of unwashed dishes piled up in your sink ... and on the windowsill ... and down both sides of the counter ... and on the floor ... is in direct correlation to the likelihood of some kind of 911 call. Your kid's spilled juice will not gross me out. I have seen floors undulating with the scurries of cockroaches while I shifted from one foot too another in my 5.11 boots ... afraid that if I stand still they will come to rest under the deep treads and perhaps even hitch a ride.
You may have a pile of unfolded or even unwashed laundry on your sofa. But it is doubtful you have an entire room devoted to a pile of laundry that may or may not have a bed beneath it which rises up taller than my 5'4" self. Not a small washroom with a washer and dryer ... no, a room that was probably intended to be a bedroom.
The mess of children at play does not bother me. Wading through trash ankle, knee deep bothers me. Not just mess. Literally. Trash. Empty food containers, soda bottles, entire packs of emptied adult beverages. We're talking an episode of Hoarders. Which I can't watch. We had Netflix when Shelby was a newborn, and I spent many quiet nights watching show after show while holding her and nursing her. I tried to watch Hoarders, and looking across the dusty floorboards of my own home sent me into an "I-might-need-an-inhaler" panic attack.
It isn't that I'm afraid of dirt. It is that I'm afraid if I don't stay on top of it I will somehow wake up in an episode of Hoarders. Or a crime scene. Or that if blankets/sheets/etc are touching the ground the scorpions that sometimes make their way into our home will climb up into the beds and sting us. Or roaches will be drawn to the crumbs and overtake us. Or touch me.
So please, I don't think I'm better than you. In fact, I think I'm just crazier than you. I'm not judging you! Deep down ... I admire your ability to stay sane amidst normality. I'm jealous that you can know where things are even if they don't have a designated place. I'm awed when people do that.
I clean because it keeps me calm. I clean so I don't turn into an anxious freak having a meltdown at every turn. But that only applies in my own house. I've seen enough in my time on this earth to know that if you and I are friends ... there is very little chance that your lifestyle has lead to enough of a mess to freak me out. So stop apologizing and lets just enjoy one another's company.