Right now I'm sneaking a break between a massive overhaul of cleaning the house. We're having family come stay a few days with us to celebrate my stepson's graduating high school (I CANNOT believe it's happening already!), and spaces that are already clean somehow don't look clean enough (of course).
On a wonderful note, dusting and scrubbing is a bitch because I pounded out an arm work-out from hell yesterday and the guns are banging (or some better metaphor like that). I love to complain (brag) when my body is sore.
The man-candy is amazing, gripping a bottle of bleach in one hand and a Swiffer duster in the other. In our house, there are no gender roles regarding chores, just "I'll trade you mopping and I'll clean the toilet" and other forms of bartering. I hate mopping. HATE it. Thus, enter the chore bartering and of course obligatory Bloody Marys to lessen the pain.
What is it about company, particularly family, that stresses us to put our homes on best behavior? It makes me wonder: What am I hiding? What am I afraid of? At this exact moment, I'm not wearing deodorant (you all remember that post, right?) and the man-candy still gropes me as we pass along the
stairs. So what am I really worried about?
To which I answer, nothing (except getting eating by carnivorous dust bunnies hiding under the sofa), because admitting to myself that I am worried that family might find me dirty or not good enough is embarrassing to admit (even to myself).
There's a lot to be said about putting your best self forward, but what if your best self is the self you are everyday, with all its grit and failure and quirk? What if we stopped hyper-cleaning these spaces for other people and clean them well enough for ourselves?
I have dusted already this morning and even now (in the early afternoon) there is a thick layer of bright yellow pollen settling on all my furniture. It is the season for merciless shedding of pine pollen and no amount of dusting (twice a day) makes it stop.
I've done my part, I've cleaned and Nature will still have her feisty way with me. Fine then, I'll surrender to being less than perfect, if sterile furniture is somehow a litmus for perfection. Chances are, my family will still love me even if the veneer of pollen sticks to the tables and sills, or if the shower doors aren't scrubbed quite clear enough or if my dog Juno lets out a tart, ripe fart while we share a cup of coffee. The reality is, I need to love myself enough that those things won't block me from my enjoying the present moment of being with family.