Saturday, March 28, 2009

Not So Neetzy's Cleaning Kwerks

Poetikat challenged me to write about my cleaning quirks. Well Kat, the truth is.... I HATE to clean house.

I will explain.

My mother was an absolute, impeccable housekeeper. We had, (no lie) the neatest, cleanest house in the neighborhood. If one of us were to leave our sneakers in the living room, Mom would put them away before we could. (Shazza will attest to this).

I was born with a rebellious nature.

To justify my messy house, I say I am fighting traditional gender stereotypes.

At one point in my life I tried to fit the traditional stay-at-home, perfect housekeeper type. I failed. I really TRIED but I failed. I became exhausted. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law criticised my housekeeping abilities. They criticised my parenting abilities, they criticized the clothing I chose for my children. They criticized the fact that I bought my kids' clothing and toys from yard sales and consignment shops to save money. When I decided to go back to school to get my teaching degree, they criticized that too. They wouldn't let me play any reindeer games.

That was the one time in my life when I experienced true depression. That was the one time in my life that I was prescribed happy pills.

After I completed my teaching degree I decided that the first thing I would do when I got a full time job was to hire a housekeeper. I did exactly that.

She only comes every other week, but she cleans the things that I hate to clean. I do clean the every day stuff, like dishes and counters and clutter clearing, etc. Jackie does the heavy tub scrubbing, toilet scrubbing, floor washing, dust bunny round-up etc.

Husband does the laundry. He didn't like the way I washed his clothes, so he got the job.

Daughters help with daily cleaning, dishes, clutter cleaning, wiping counters, taking out the trash, etc.

So my house is "lived in". We have two kids, two dogs, one cat and we live in the country. We have lots of mud around the house. We get mud in the house.

We are extremely busy. Husband and I both work full time, we are both taking grad classes, and we both have "businesses" on the side. Our kids are in music lessons, junior symphony, riding lessons, musical practice, etc. Our kitchen island is usually buried under papers at the end of a typical "work week". On the weekends, if I have time off, I do not want to "clean". Besides, after enduring the criticism of my in-laws, I realized that I am not good at cleaning. My mother-in- law used to brag that her mother would make her daughters wash the kitchen floor every morning before school. Why?

I do not want to be remembered for my immaculate housekeeping abilities.

Several years ago, I decided that time was more valuable than money. I also realized that my catty sister-in-laws were not worth worrying about. Besides, Jackie needs the money.


Because I hired Jackie, I can paint when I have a free Saturday.

I do my best cleaning when I'm expecting company. So, if any of you plan to visit, I will clean for you. (If it is not to your standards, I'm sorry. I'm not very good at it).


Jeannette St.G. said...

When I was in grad. school,I took out 2 hours to clean before my quests came. I figured they came for me, not for my house.
I am with you, time and relationships is far more worth than anything else.

dive said...

Gosh, I wish I could do that, Neetzy.
I'm stuck with the twin evils of anosmia and a mother who sniffs the air as soon as she comes in the door, then wipes her finger along the tops of picture frames and bookcases and starts conversations with "When did you last wash those curtains?"

The anosmia means I have no sense of smell and a consequent paranoia about cleanliness. I only wear any item of clothing once before washing it for fear of B.O. and I have to compulsively clean the house and take lots of showers.
I hate it.

neetzy said...


If people judge me for my house, "oh well". They're the ones who are missing out.

My mom and mother-in-law used to do the same. They are no longer with us so no one is around to check on me. I do have a sense of smell, however. I do not like foul smelling odors. I will get rid of anything that would be offensive.

Maria said...

I wish that we could afford a housekeeper. On my birthday wish list every year is: Someone to clean the house.

I haven't received it yet.

Barbara Pask said...

Hi Anita, Stopping by to say hi. I enjoyed your post, I agree no one will remember you for your clean house but they will remember what kind of mother and wife you were. That is what is important and of course painting, lol.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Hi Neetzy, I had to chuckle when I read your post - especially the part about the in-laws. I'm sure it wasn't very funny for you at the time, though. I love the solutions you came up with! The cleaning treadmill never ends. I have a yellow lab, who I dearly love. But she constantly sheds hair, so my house is never clean!

Poetikat said...

First of all, great, great title. Secondly - a big fat raspberry to both your Mother-in-law and the evil sisters too! Thirdly, I'm only a cleaning freak because I have ocd brought on by my father's army-training and periodic cleaning frenzies also my mother's (even today) chanting about how "I never made my bed" when I lived at home. So What? I don't always do it now and she can talk 'til she's blue in the face, I don't care.

I let things slide, Neetzy. Right now every corner in my house is stuffed with miniature tumbleweeds of cat-hair, lint and god knows what else! The long dresser that sits in my dining room is perpetually cluttered with the detritus of the week, my tub needs scrubbing, the bed isn't made and my kitchen is a bit of a tip too.
Big deal! Sure, I'll clean it all later until it's spotless, but that's my anal personality god help me.
I wish I could hire someone to come in and clean, but I'd freak out because it wasn't to my psychotic standard.
One big thing I will confess: I do not iron anything. My mom used to iron sheets, handkerchiefs (ewww!)and even underwear for god's sake. If it wrinkles, it gets donated. Our motto is if it causes aggro; it's gotta go!

See, we're all in the same boat really. I'm so glad you handed over the laundry to your hubby. Good move.



Oh, and hey, the more time for painting your great works, the better!

Shazza said...

Hey Sis - yes I remember Mom's immaculate house. I think she was on autopilot most of the time. She picked up little fuzzies on the carpet that I couldn't even see.

I used to have the same obsession - but I've relaxed a lot. It is my very least favorite thing to do.

Just be yourself sis - we wouldn't have it any other way!

neetzy said...

My "housekeeper" is my former neighbor. She helped me out when I had my first daughter and was recovering from a C-section. She is well worth the pittance she charges. I keep raising her rate because she is the type that won't ask for more.

Barbara P,
I don't shop much, I don't get my nails done. I don't go tanning. This is the one luxury I allow myself. (Besides the occasional new tube of paint).

I resolved to never again let myself be manipulated by such petty cattiness. I'll let them discuss cleaning products while I go paint.

I'd rather talk brush cleaning solutions. BTW I love Windsor and Newton's brush cleaner! I am also guilty of leaving my brushes in turpenoid for a few days. (I am so bad).

neetzy said...


Thanks! I had fun with this. I am now busted for my messy habits. Both of my parents were anal. I am so not anal. I work best in chaos!
I just finished a grad class on learning and organization styles. You know the concrete/sequential vs. the abstract global. I scored highest on the global (basically anti-anal).
My oldest daughter has the OCD thing going on. She is OCD and she's proud of it! (This is why I delegate!)

Winifred said...

I totally agree with you. There are much better things to spend your time on than cleaning.

Even though I have the time to do it now I've retired, I've got used to a "lived in" house. I'd rather play with my grandchildren.

Our situations are reversed! My daughter in law is obsessed with having a show house! "Get a life" I say.

neetzy said...

I won't feel insulted when you brush the doghair off your butt.


I'm so glad you'd rather spend the time with your grandchildren. They certainly don't care what the house looks like!

linda said...

I'm so happy you don't ascribe to the clean house philosophy and hiring someone is heaven, isn't it? mine comes twice a month and does the same type of things and I love it!! and your kids will never remember if your house was clean but they will remember when you had fun together!

a total waste of time is cleaning a house...and in the country??? I have always lived in the country with dogs and cats and 3 kids-now grown, and MUD and gave up after about killing myself trying to be martha! now I paint and let the dishes pile up, never cook and am happier than I've been in ages.

blessings on your mess! ;)

Katie said...

I cracked up reading this post, because I just finished washing most of the dishes that have been sitting in the sink for about 5 days and I felt like that was a MAJOR accomplishment! I haven't cleaned the bathroom in I don't know how long, and you know what, who cares? I live alone and no one seems to stop by, so I just can't get into the whole cleaning thing. My mom never made us clean our rooms growing up (the only rule was no food), and she used to say she'd dust only when she could write "shit" on a piece of furniture and could read it. I agree that there's no use getting worked up about obsessive cleaning!

neetzy said...


You are a woman after my own heart. BTW I visited your blog and love your paintings and collages. Thanks for visiting!


Now I would feel comfortable in your house! I love your mom's idea but I wouldn't even try that on my own kids! My oldest daughter only has a blacklight in her room so I can't see the dirt.

The Crow said...

Ah, a kindred spirit!

I believe I will post your reason for 'untidyness' around my house, for it resonates with me something awful!

neetzy said...

Dear "Crow",

Thanks for visiting and I think cleaning is highly overrated. I think things should be sanitary but not necessarily "immaculate".