To clean or not to clean?

p43As a busy working mom, I would love to maintain a spic-and-span home – but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Here’s how I have come to terms with my perpetually slightly messy home.

I don’t entertain at home all that often, and that’s probably a good thing.

Ensuring that my home is clean enough to withstand the scrutiny of guests who likely have time for regular, thorough cleanings would stress me out incredibly. Also, where would I find the time, even if I wanted to?

Life is crazy busy, as a mom of three, including a four-year-old, and juggling several jobs. My schedule is all over the place, and it’s a massive challenge to keep up with it all – managing daycare pickups, suppers, laundry, overseeing homework, making lunches – on top of my demanding work, which keeps me engaged pretty much 24/7.

And so my house is pretty much always untidy. It’s dusty. There are fingerprints on the windows and the walls. There are toys all over the place, and sometimes clothes, newspapers, magazines and schoolwork, too. Sometimes it’s a few days or more between sweeps.

Is it dirty and unsanitary? Not at all. But it’s definitely not as clean as I’d like it to be.

But often, when I look around the house, silently scolding myself for not scrubbing and scouring when I’d rather be playing games, reading books, cuddling, or running around with my daughter (and when she’s asleep, enjoying some “me” time: exercising, reading or watching TV) I stop and think: what’s really important here?

What’s most important is to play and interact with my children, perform all of my jobs to the best of my ability, take care of the household essentials and then, relax and recharge at every possible opportunity.

A sparkling, immaculate house just does not make my shortlist, I’m afraid.

Yet I carry this intense guilt, this feeling like I should be making more efforts and taking more pride in housecleaning, when I flat-out don’t want to, and straight-up hate cleaning. It’s just expected of moms, even the ones who are feeling the pressure of wearing many hats and don’t have help.

So what to do? I’ve thought about hiring someone to come in and clean, which seems like an unreal, incredibly privileged luxury and wouldn’t there be so many other, better ways to spend the money? I’m certainly not rich.

But on the other hand – wouldn’t it be worth the energy and time saved stressing over the state of the house and trying to keep up with it as well as the joy incurred by having even more time to play and relax and keep on top of the many other responsibilities I have?

I find I’m completely torn about it. Meanwhile, I still find myself pushing toys, books and papers aside rather than putting them away.

Every night, I pledge to begin a thorough, super deep clean of the house, top to bottom, as soon as my daughter goes to bed.

And every night, instead, I spend my time blowing off steam by either doing Pilates, reading a good book, enjoying a glass of wine or catching up on yet more work.

And you know what? I’m good with that.

Photo: © Wavebreakmedia