The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Motivation

When I’m lounging around in my boudoir slippers eating Bonbons and neglecting my household duties, I love to watch reality TV shows about cleaning and organizing one’s home. I justify this because I usually learn a few house cleaning and organizing tips that I might actually use someday if I ever get my ass off the couch.  

There are a bunch of these shows, ya’ll. Isn’t cable TV the best?! Neat with Hellen Buttigieg is just fabulous. She is a professional organizer and life coach who can totally transform someone’s house, life, and spouse in 30 minutes or less, in a heartbreakingly compassionate way while wearing sassy high heeled boots.  Mission Organization on HGTV is always educational, but not quite as good as Neat. Clean House! (the one with the sassy host, Niecy Nash from Reno 911!) is OK in small doses (mainly because of Nash), but the show is way too long and the annoying fools they help really burn my biscuits with their stubbornness. My absolute fave is How Clean Is Your House? on the BBC. The hosts, Aggie and Kim, are just to-die-for-hilarious. I do love me some dirty Brit humor (I mean, humour). But also, I love this show because it always makes me feel like my house is (and therefore, I am) “not that bad.” Yes, I have clutter. Yes, there are dog hair tumbleweeds rolling across my hardwood floors.  Yes, I am completely incapable of seeing a load of laundry all the way through to completion. What’s your point?  We all have our strengths – and mine just so happen to be makin’ and birthin’ babies, shakin’ my groove thang, and whistling with my fingers loud enough to bring every stray dog in the neighborhood to my side. Keeping a tidy home is not one of my natural gifts. But I do try. I do.  (When I’m not eating Bonbons, watching the tube, or airing my dirty laundry on the Internet.) I try, because I believe with all my heart that if only I could get my shit together, I could achieve my potential, and help my husband and children to achieve theirs’. It is good to have dreams and goals. Don’t you agree?

So yes, I watch enough of these shows to know that I am not technically a compulsive hoarder, but that my home is also light years away from being on the cover of Real Simple or Southern Living. I also read enough “How to Get Organized” books to know that my bedroom in particular is not the peaceful, romantic haven it should be. It is a veritable dumping ground: laundry piles in various stages of completion, boxes and garbage bags full of out-of-season clothes, piles of clothes destined for charity, a box of children’s books that need a home, a pile of brand new kid clothes from my Mom that I need to exchange because they don’t fit properly, and more. Of course this is totally my fault. The Gatekeeper reminds me quite frequently that if I would just put things away when I am done with them, it would make a huge difference.  But what he fails to take into account is that I also have an 18 month old whose raison d’être is to pick up random objects and relocate them to the strangest of places and a kleptomaniacal labrador retriever who steals and stashes loot in various hideaways, his favorite being under my bed.  So, in addition to the massive quantities of dog hair and clean laundry, one is also likely to find a vast assortment of Little People (the toys, not the dwarves), kitchen tools, important MIA paperwork, dirty socks and undies (the stinkier, the better, says the dog), stuffed animals, numerous lift-the-flap-books, two sippy cups full of a solid grayish-yellow cheesy substance that was probably milk several weeks ago, toothbrushes, shredded Ziploc baggies that once contained Goldfish or Graham crackers, and one raw potato (glad I caught that one early), randomly distributed throughout my “safe haven.”  

This is no way to live. I know this. My research tells me there are numerous reasons why one should create and maintain a peaceful, clutter free bedroom:

  • you will sleep better and have more energy.
  • you will be healthier…less dust = easier breathing.
  • you will be calmer and better able to relax in a clutter-free space.
  • you will feel more amorous in a clean bedroom. More sex = better life quality.  
  • you will not be embarrassed when your kids take friends in there to look for the cat.
  • you will set a good example for your children on how to have a clean room.  
  • you won’t stub your toe on the clutter and inadvertently teach your toddler to scream “FUCK!!!!!!”

Well, last night I realized one more very good reason to keep one’s room clean. Pay attention now…the universe doesn’t reveal this kind of message every day, you know:  

CLEAN YOUR ROOM!  If your bedroom is clean and clutter-free when your five year old shows up next to your bed at 1:30 AM with her little hands clutched over her mouth and a look of sheer terror in her eyes, there won’t be so many surfaces to scrub after the projectile vomit starts to fly like a lidless-blender-full-o-cheeseburger-smoothie.

I knew this girl had talent, but I had no idea she could do such a spot-on impression of Linda Blair in the Exorcist. I’m not kidding about the cheeseburger smoothie. The night before was my oldest son’s birthday dinner of choice: cheeseburgers, curly fries, cooked carrots, and chocolate cake. The partially digested combo: ewwww. Luckily for you, I did NOT have my camera nearby. But since I do like to illustrate my stories with colorful eye-candy, my BFF and personal paparazzo just so happened to recently catch me playing with some industrial cleaning supplies at the county fairgrounds. Don’t ask. We were bored…and high.  

Enough gratuitous flat-ass-with-mop shots. Back to my poor, sick, baby girl. This stomach flu is bad, ya’ll. She can’t keep a thing in either end of her little body. And I know it is the flu and not some kind of food poisoning because she has graciously shared it with the rest of us over time and now we are all making up new verses to the “Diarrhea Boom Boom” song.  

There is something good to come out of this though. I had to stick her in my tub last night (actually early this morning) to wash the vomit from her hair. (Wow, total college flashback!) And while she was soaking in there and rhythmically retching into a bucket, I used that time to clean my bathroom. Lord, by the time I got us both undressed, there was vomit all over the toilet. There was vomit on the Venetian blinds next to the toilet. There was vomit on the wallpaper, the door jamb, and the floor. And that is just the bathroom. Let’s not forget that the vomiting actually started next to my bed in the next room. So, as if my master suite wasn’t due for a thorough cleaning anyway, this little episode made it painfully clear that there was no time like the present to scrub a dub dub.  

But now my bathroom is clean and fresh. And after I wash the vomit off my comforter today and clean the carpet, I will address the bags and boxes that were unfortunately on the floor near my bed last night.  And once I wipe them down, I will load them into the van and get them out of my house. It shall be done.

Motivation: it doesn’t really matter if it is invited or not…I’m just glad it shows up to play once in a while. Welcome, Motivation! I’m glad you’re here. In fact, stay for a while, why don’tcha. I’ll bake us a cake.   

If you’ve never seen How Clean Is Your House?, here is a little snippet. Great show.    

Don’t cook. Don’t clean. No man will ever make love to a woman
because she waxed the linoleum – “My God, the floor’s immaculate. 
Lie down, you hot bitch.”
  ~Joan Rivers

I’m not going to vacuum until Sears makes one you can ride on.  ~Roseanne Barr

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4 Comments

  1. Glad to know that I am not the only one with a perpetual problem keeping up with laundry, dishes, goodwill donations, toys, shoes (why can’t my husband put his shoes in the same place?..I have almost got the kids trained and he hasn’t even started to try), etc…The over load is never ending…And I thought I was the only one avoiding play dates due to embarrassing my self amongst those who are under the age of eight!!!

    I have been trying to try a new laundry regimen…But can’t seem to get there…I keep saying that as soon as I catch up and have everything put away that I will start leaving the washer door ajar and instruct my 3 children(1 being the father in this household) to put their dirty clothes directly in there…Then wash when it’s full, follow through and repeat…Once again it hasn’t worked!..I vow not to give up!!!

    One thing I have done and followed through with is making a bathroom cleaning bag(or caddy)…I bought a laundry supply tote(intended for the mat) at target…I store it in one place and then can swoop up the whole loot and take it to which ever wretched piss covered bathroom happens to smell the worst!…Before it was always half done…Or took all day to wrangle up every cleaning supply necessary to actually clean!..I highly recommend this method!..I don’t have to buy three or four of everything or go on a hunt before I talk my self into actual cleaning!!!

    Wow, this is a long comment…Maybe I need a blog?..Could be another good excuse for avoiding cleaning my floors…Nah, reading and writing on yours works just fine as a stall tactic!!!

    As for the stomach bug…can I please just say…WHAT THE HELL, IT ISN’T EVEN WINTER YET!!! I am still recovering from the shit that just went through our house and by the time it hits you all, it’s been close to a month!..I might start sending my kids to school in a surgical get up in an effort to protect my sanity…Gown, gloves, hair net, mask and all…even those shoe covers!..If we get hit with another before I get over this one, don’t be shocked if halloween comes early for this family…We’ll all be surgeons or freaks with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder!!!

    Thanks for letting me post the longest blog comment ever…I really didn’t want to clean today!..Hope you get some sleep tonight!

  2. Not Drowning Mother

    October 9, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I must admit that we are often making cheese in our discarded drinky pots – I think it’s all very educational for the children – or at least that’s what I tell Social Services when they drop by.

    As for stomach bugs, nothing makes my heart chill more quickly than the sound of liquid mush hitting the floorboards in the middle of the night… Good luck.

  3. StuckintheMiddle

    October 10, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Motivation is a beautiful thing no matter what form it comes in. Anything that makes me clean my bathroom is welcome…although not frequently. I don’t want to clean too often.

  4. After watching that video I just want to go home and clean my house right now!

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