Monday, May 01, 2006

Here's the thing..

New moms have a weird relationship with cleanliness.

When I was fresh into my stay-at-homedness I swiffer'ed everyday. Hell, I don't think I even had a swiffer pre-natal! And, I AM A NEAT freak. Ask around. My cleaning ladies mix dissappointment in when they compliment me on how clean my bathroom is. (When they come by every couple weeks. I still do the bi-weekly 'good' job with the family touch.)

As my child has grown I have discovered not just the swifffer, but the swiffer duster and Lysol wipes. This week I have felt the pull to try out a quick wipe clean up product for wood. WHY? why WHHHY??? Why all this cleaning. And, now for the patented mo-wo 'here's the thing' and 'will you or will you not confirm my opinion' dear readers... Well, you know what I think it is??
1. More people come over -- especially folks like in-laws.
2. You are home all the time making a mess yet don't want to live in it.
3. You ramp up your standards because there are untold numbers of infants dying from killer dust bunnies and pablum spores.
4. It is something we can control so we go a little nuts for it.

Ok. So my real curiosity is how many people agree with me on #4. I remember a discussion I had with a friend about new motherhood. I think I was in month 8 and she was in month 2. In the entirety of the conversation the only time she actually relaxed her voice was where she outlined the great system she had in place to keep her house tidy. I, quite and entirely hypocritically, asked myself, "Why is this important?"

But people are doing it. They are cleaning like mad. We are realizing new standards and seeking out help we previously would have resented. We are manning our Dyson's and getting neat all over. Why is that? I was always neat and I guess why I think of it now is that it seems we are in a perpetual state of unclean. Is it the poop, or what? I don't really think so. For myself I find that a really good clean, or even a well sustained inter-clean tidy, does make me feel good. It is something unequivocally good for my family and something that offers me instant gratification. Gives me back the control I think of as characterising my pre-motherhood days. If only I could capture that old feeling at work again...! (but more on that tomorrow......)


Blogger Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I don't know, my cleaning habits have changed, but I'm no neat freak.

For example, when my twins started crawling, my floors were really clean. When my son had reflux, I did a ton of laundry. Now that they are almost two, almost all of my cleaning efforts go into picking up toys and making sure nothing small or sharp is lying around.

I'm still in cleaning transition. That being said, I feel that I have no control over it anymore.

12:45 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

No resonance here. When my kids were little, I did the minimum required to keep things tidy and relatively hygenic, so that I could cocoon with the baby, maybe read a little while they nursed.

I did have that prenatal "nesting phase", but it inspired me to do a lot of baking, not cleaning.

(Why is there a handicapped logo beside your word ver. box?)

2:52 p.m.  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Dammit, MoWo! You called me out! I think this deserves a post on my end, but until then I'll explain a bit about the cleanliness thing from my point of view. You asked for it... :)

Cleanliness is absolutely, positively a thing I can try to control - so that would be yes to #4. I want to stress the "try" in that sentence. I am a control freak who is used to having a high-pressure job, but no one will ever accuse me of being a clean freak. I have four pets, a messy husband and a child who make my job very challenging and cleaning daily is a necessity not a way to pass the time.

I don't want to hijack your comments, so I will wrap up by saying Yes to #1, 2, 3, and 4. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Now I am off to compose my own post about my intimate relationship with my Dyson.

3:48 p.m.  
Blogger Heather said...

I would like to choose number 5, all of the above. But I do think number 4 is the closest to the truth. When Miles was a couple of months old, we cancelled our twice-a-month cleaning women because I didn't think they were doing a good job. I started reading Home Comforts (which has now been banished because I can't handle it) late at night. I was making charts outlining what I would clean on which days.

Clean freak + control freak + newborn = trouble

4:25 p.m.  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

It's the control thing. Absolutely.

I'm addicted to wipes - Lysol wipes, any wipes. It's instant gratification cleaning. Neat freak control with less effort!


6:22 p.m.  
Blogger mo-wo said...

I notice the link is now in on a number of blogspots to link the word ver over to an audio question instead of a visual one.

cool, eh.

10:36 p.m.  
Blogger L. said...

I was a new mom 11 years ago, and....well, I have to say, I had the opposite experience. Perhaps the era has changed?

I was such a neat freak that my doctor friends would joke my kitchen was cleaner than their operating rooms. At work, if I was away from desk, people would ask my boss in hushed tones if I had been suddenly fired, because my desk space was so neat it looked uninhabited.

Then I birthed my demon spawn Baby From Hell, lost control, and learned to live with a degree of messiness that would previously have sent me around the bend.

A decade later, having produced 3 messy humans,I now have a few very neat clean spaces to call my own, within the cluttered, filthy chaos of our house.

9:42 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't say that I have caught the cleaning bug -- I fret about what a disty, disorganized mess my home is, but don't take any action.

But, I do have a similar compulsion about making dinner. In my case it isn't as much a control thing as it is something that I can justify ignoring the little one to do. It is mindless enough that my mind can wander or rest at its own discretion and there is a definite end to the process giving me a sense of accomplishment.

2:12 p.m.  
Blogger BITE MY COOKIE said...

the things that keep me up last night. i got stood up by the 9th housecleaner in a row yesterday. the last one that came here to clean actually left the house dirter than when she found it. i too am a but of a neat freak with absolutely NO drive to make it happen. but now i need to get back to my hands-and-knees-scrubbing ways before this house careens out of control. but i will absolutely use anything in wipe form just to make my life easier. i heart stainless steel magic wipes. but i am definitely feeling the need to get the house spotlessly organized. thank you for reminding me.

6:40 a.m.  

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