Is the phrase I can't do that now because I have to clean my house, a popular one in your vocabulary? Has it become the new: ‘I’d love to, but I'm washing my hair?’ Well, if so maybe it's time to take a closer look at why we think our home have to be immaculate at all time and whether we can trade the dusting, washing, and vacuuming for something that’s a little more fun.
Who doesn't love that feeling when a friend comes over unexpectedly, but the house is still immaculate? It shows them that you are conscious and on top of your life, no matter how many things you have to do. But how much does this really matter?
If they are a real friend will they really be judging you for a speck of dust or two? Or the fact that the kids haven't put their toys away? Probably not, and if they are the chances are that they are just trying to build themselves up at your expense. Which isn't a very friendly thing to do anyway.
Old ways of thinking?
Love it or hate it, for many years the woman's place was in the home. There she looked after the family, cooked the meals, and cleaned. But it seems like some of us can't let go, especially of this last one. Why is that?
Well, maybe it's because while things have changed, for the most part, this particular responsibility seems to have continued to sit firmly on the woman's shoulders.
Perhaps men don't clean enough because of the misguided view that they are naturally messier, or it will challenge their masculinity? Perhaps we feel that even though we go out to work, as well as raising the kids, that we will still be judged on this old-fashioned criteria?
It's certainly something to get a little perspective on next time you are cleaning the grooves in the fridge with a cue tip!
Or perhaps we as women spend so much time cleaning because we have internalized the high expectation that society put on us? That means we constantly hold ourselves up to examples from the media in relation to what a wife, mother, and homemaker should be. As well as what the perfect home should look like.
Of course, we want to meet these expectations all the more when they seem to be coming from ourselves and not an external source. So it can make for a truly difficult situation in regard to cleanliness in the home.
Lastly, one of the reasons that perhaps we put so much time and effort into cleaning the home is because of the multitude of scary adverts for cleaning products. They portray germs as little monsters ready to attack at any moment, putting our families and children in danger.
Of course, they do this to sell their fluids, sprays, and tools. But it is something that probably has an effect on our subconscious anyway. Heightening the need for perfect cleanliness all of the time.
Letting go for perfectionism
So what is the solution to all of this responsibility that is placed on our shoulders? This responsibility that means we eschew other more fun tasks like spending time with the kids, friends, and family to do it?
Well, the first step if to let go of the perfectionism. Let go of all the expectations on you. You are a human being, and can never be perfect. You can just do the best that you can in the time that you are given.
Sometimes this means stepping away from the cleaning tasks in your life and choosing to spend your time another way. It's just like the poem Dust if you must by Rose Milligan. Yes, it nice to have a pleasant living environment and a clean house. But there are so many other life-affirming, soul fulfilling things to do out there. So do you really need to polish the TV for the third time this week?
Making thing easier
Now the danger is that you have your epiphany and realize that life is too short to wipe down the skirting boards every Saturday, which is of course great. But beware of throwing the baby out with the bathwater here, and ignoring the cleaning altogether.
Obviously, a bit of break is a great idea, but the house will still need a certain standard of cleanliness to be livable and safe. That is why you have to come up with an alternative strategy, so you are shortening the amount of time you spend cleaning, and making things easier, but it still gets done.
Gadgets can help
One way of doing this is by getting some household gadgets that can help with these tasks. For example, you can cut out the need to vacuum daily by purchasing a robotic vacuum. These are small gizmos that whizz around your house sucking up dirt as they go.
The good thing about them is that newer ones are able to return to their dock for charging on their own. Which mean you practically can leave them to it. They can also navigate around obstacle, so the legs of your furniture don't get pranged as they go.
You see by doing this the job is still done, but you are making it easier on yourself because you don't have to do the hard work. The only work you will have to do is choosing the model that will suit your needs best. But you can look online for a comparison of the best Roomba models today, to help you make your choice.
White the robot vacuum is probably the most famous automated cleaning gadgets out there, it certainly isn't the only one. There are many others that can also help to remove some of the burden of cleaning from you such as the robot mop, air filter, and window cleaning robot.
Robot mops come in a variety of different options. Some are cheap and cheerful with a basic mop attachment on the bottom. While others are super high tech and designed to keep your tiled and hardwood floors immaculate. They do the work and are another way of slimming down the chores that you are responsible for.
Also, it's a great idea to get a smart air filter for you home. Yes, it will ensure that the air that you are your family is breathing is clean. But it can also help reduce the amount of cleaning that is necessary. As it will filter out the dust particles from the atmosphere. Meaning less dust on your surfaces and ornaments, there is less to clean off. So if you are spending a lot of time dusting this can really help you reduce this.
Then there is the window cleaning robot. A wonderful way of not having to pay out for a professional window cleaner, without having to put the back breaking work into doing it yourself either.
Fill it up, touch a button and of it goes. Giving you some extra time to chill in the garden with a cocktail.
Asking for assistance
Of course, questioning the underlying motivation, and getting gadgets to make your workload lighter are not the only ways of address the issue of spending too much time cleaning. The other way is to refuse to shoulder this burden on your own and get the rest if the family to muck in as well.
This means asking your partner and kids, as well as anyone else that lives in the house with you to do their fair share of work as well. This might be met with groans and moans to start with from the kids. But you are actually doing them a favor.
This is because you are teaching them to be self-sufficient and share out the chores that need doing equally. Rather than just relying on one person to do everything for them. Which can be really counterproductive for them in later life.