Saturday, January 24, 2009

You've read them, I know you have. You know, those 'forwards' with stories or poems about how the author has finally learned that it's the simple things in life which mean the most and how her family comes first now and so she'll be doing less dusting, less cleaning in order to spend time with her children. Nice, sweet lessons for us all.

Man, those things irk me.

I mean, why can't we have time to clean and time to spend with our children? Why do the only alternatives appear to be obsessive dusting or not dusting at all? How is it better to live inside a dirty house as long as you're spending quality time with your kids?


This is what Debra has said for years: The key will always be balance. There's a time for cleaning and there's a time to spend playing with your family. There's even a time to spend cleaning house with your family. For isn't it also our responsibility, as parents, to raise our children to know how to care for their future homes so that they will live responsibly within their own four walls?

It was in the 1980's that all this "play, don't clean" stuff began. I know--I was there. I read all the magazines and saw it over and over. And look where it's gotten us! TV shows like Clean House, Clean Sweep and Life Laundry are huge ratings grabbers--people everywhere long to learn how to dig themselves out from beneath their clutter-piled homes. They're gasping for air, some limits and some common sense, as well.

And yes, often all that is a result of the 'me first, I deserve to buy everything I want' mentality saturating our nation. Yet, I believe messy homes also happen because of the thinking that everything in life must be fun... and the ol', "It's beneath me to clean--wasn't that what those sad, un-liberated June Cleaver types did in the 50's? Clean house? Me do something so trivial?"

Alas, cleaning is no small thing. Just ask those folks with all sorts of dust allergies or those living in so much clutter that they struggle every morning to find their keys or their wallets, purses, permission slips, books, sweaters, reports, briefcases or the items they bought and know they have--somewhere--but now they must go spend money to buy another one.

Balance, balance, balance.... Spend time with your children, play with them, but have them help you clean the home you all share, too. Do it all together and it will become a habit, something you do with barely a thought (or a complaint). Who knows? You just might find yourself dusting the coffee table one day, automatically, without realizing you're doing so. And not minding one bit.

And what a pleasant day that will be.
"Teach your children well..."
(Speaking of which, here was something fun for old times' sake.)


... Paige said...

I did give up dusting, except the TV screen :-p

Anonymous said...

So true! And it will help children learn to be clean themselves!

Kari said...

Love what you said! There does have to be balance. I love to keep our home tidy. Hopefully I'm passing the same habits on to our children without it being a "chore" to do so.