Wednesday, July 21, 2010
On Being A Rebel
Dutch women tend to have pretty clean houses. I grew up in a very clean house. My mom is gifted that way. She liked things clean. I LIKE having a clean house, but I refuse to try to have it perfect all the time. My children are not growing up in a show house. We LIVE here and LIFE IS MESSY. When Pete and I bought our first house I remember getting on my hands and knees to clean the wood floors every single week. Basically I was cleaning clean floors (because we do not wear shoes inside). Then we had Peter. I still did it every single week. Then we had Kate. I did it a little less. Then we moved and had Maddie. Since then cleaning has been totally different for me. I tend to not clean for company as it seems so many Dutch women do- I do the quick pick up clutter and wipe down surfaces for company, but the cleaning happens for my family. And it happens on an as needed basis- usually when we're at the desperately needed point. I really really don't like the PRESSURE that some of my friends feel or buy into that when they leave their house it has to be PERFECT. The PRESSURE that says everything needs to be picked up and swept and sparkling because someone MIGHT stop by. And don't be offended if you're reading this and you are one of those friends. I'm not writing this to put you down. I'm writing this because I think some of you need to give yourself PERMISSION to let it go a little. There is such freedom in being a rebel against "Dutch clean." Hopefully none of you will come over and think "ewww....your house is disgusting." But if you do, I'm sorry. As I type this, I have crumbs ALL over my stove from the sandwiches I made for our picnic lunch later. I have a counter covered with dirty breakfast dishes that I have not yet rinsed and put in the dishwasher. Our school/play/guest room is strewn with books and chairs people moved out of place and crayons and a HUGE overflowing basket of towels I haven't folded yet. Our living room has pillows and library books all over it. None of us have made our beds yet today. When I'm done here at my desk I will NOT be doing dishes or putting books away or vacuuming. I'm going to have the kids each grab a clean but unfolded towel out of the basket and we're heading out the door. Don't get me wrong, I do value order and organization and the discipline that children need to learn to pick up after themselves. BUT it's summer. It's a beautiful day and we're going swimming. When I get home I'll tackle the dishes and start supper while little people nap. And if someone HAPPENS to come over while I'm gone and they don't like what they see, they can feel free to do the dishes or fold some laundry! I have to be honest, I am THRILLED when I go to a friend's house and there are toys on the floor and crumbs on the table. Then I know that you weren't stressed out before we came and yelling at your kids to hurry up and pick up their rooms and sweep the floor. Please save your sweeping for AFTER we leave and I'll do the same.