Mr. Clean is a Lousy Lover
Sweep, dust, mop....
Will the cleaning never stop?
I never get a holiday,
some time for fun, some time for play.
Chores loom 'round every bend.
I fear this work will never end.
A toilet to scrub, a sink to fill.
All this cleaning makes me ill.
I'd like to sit and read a book,
drinking coffee in my breakfast nook.
But I can't do that when dirt is there.
I can't resist the wicked stare.
And so I spend my precious days
on battle lines with cleaning sprays.
Soon, the house will be tidy, I'll be done.
Then I can go and have my fun.
No spots, no dust bunnies, no mildew mired.
But alas, I think I've grown too tired.
I've spent my days keeping neat
and some would say, "An awesome feat!"
But now I think it's a giant waste
when all my dreams I could have chased.
Mr. Clean is a lousy lover, no doubt.
He likes to smother and to snuff out.
All undone ideas are chances missed.
Mr. Clean, I've decided, will soon be dissed.
I think it is funny that I wrote this poem well over ten years ago when I had absolutely no clue regarding the amount of actual housework I would eventually be doing. At the time, my husband and I lived in a small two-bedroom house with one cat and one tiny dog. It seems now that I had all the time in the world, plenty of resources, and almost no responsibilities. Reflecting on those pre-baby years, I can't even begin to imagine what the heck I was bitching about with this particular piece of badly written poetry.
Things have changed drastically over the past decade. I still have one husband whose idea of tidiness never truly meshed with my own, but I now have three children as well. My beautiful babies make multiple messes at a time, and seem to make more mere seconds after I have finished cleaning up the first batch. I own one rotten, chewing, trash-eating hound, three cats, and two fish who all require attention, cleaning, and maintenance. I cook homemade meals almost every night and I wash dishes probably three times a day. I also do mountains of laundry each week that would cause Sir Edmund Hillary to hesitate climbing them. In addition I clean my father's house once a week and do his laundry too since he had his stroke seven years ago. Seriously, looking back at my twenty-nine-year-old self from my current perspective of thirty-nine years, I almost don't recognize that carefree girl.
Don't get me wrong...I love my life. I generally don't resent the amount of time I spend on housework because I always try to view my chores as an act of devotion to the well-being of our family. I see my contribution inside the home as being of the same value as my husband's contribution with his career. And I fundamentally believe that no matter what task remains before someone, a person has an obligation to complete the job to the best of his or her ability. Integrity and dignity lie not in the job itself, but in the person completing it well and fully with a heart free from resentment. Sometimes, like tonight, when it is late and I still have four more loads of laundry to complete, and my hands are dry and itchy from yet one more sink full of dishes just finished, I have to remind myself to keep my heart light, to remember that my role as a homemaker is important and meaningful, and that because I chose this life, I have an obligation to do these tasks well. Even though my routine has a numbing sameness to certain aspects, and the work can be monotonous and tedious, I wouldn't change a thing at the moment. I wouldn't trade my thirty-nine me for my twenty-nine self because I know what I am doing and what I am giving to my family and children will last longer and be felt more deeply than anything else I could be engaging in right now. So even though Mr. Clean is a Lousy Lover, I think he's going to stick around for awhile longer yet. And on that note....I do believe I just heard the dryer buzz and I am off to fold some more clothes....