Saturday, January 12, 2008

This is why we can't have nice things. Oh, wait. We can.

Left to my own devices, i'm pretty tidy. Aside from small piles of clothes, I keep things organized and orderly, and I can crawl into and out of a made bed without a wrinkle. I'm that good. But add a husband, a baby, and an annoying, leaky cat into the mix, and my cleaning skills grow dim. Outside of dishes and laundry, I just can't keep up with them. The piles of socks, cheesestick wrappers, glasses full of protein shake residue with spoons caught in them like prehistoric insects in amber. The constant upending of boxes and baskets, the ripped magazines and hidden socks, not to mention the 4-day old sippy cups of milk she hides and then retrieves when they've formed independent, solid yogurt colonies. And the cat. Don't get me started on the cat.

So i've been disappointed in myself since I become a mother, because every other home i've been into for a playdate has been immaculate. Vacuumed, dusted, tidy, museumesque, like the ads in that godforsaken Cookie magazine. And I assumed that I was the problem, that I was simply incapable of keeping a tidy house, despite the fact that I am constantly in the presence of a small, messy person who screeches like a banshee whenever I try to do the dishes or vacuum. And sweet lord knows I try. I try!

And then I found out a marvelous secret-- all these women are not, in fact, Joan Cleaver wundermutters dancing around with dusters while their perfect children take perfect naps.

They all have cleaning services that come in once-- or even twice-- a week!

They are probably saddled with families just as messy as mine, but they pay someone to come clean their crap while they go to the mall for two hours and suck down a latte while their children stick boogers on the plastic panda at the soft play area. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I accepted that I wasn't a failure as a homemaker, just a normal chick who's quite frugal and never thought of hiring Mini Maids.

Of course, now that I *have* thought of it, I am quite intrigued. I don't usually feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, but I would like to clean up like the Joneses, I suppose. The point of the whole thing is that there is a huge conspiracy on the part of TV, movies, magazines, and even other families to make every family seem clean and tidy, and they just have someone else behind the scenes doing the dirty work for them. Or the clean work. And it's considered normal, just what people in our area do. Or, in the immortal words of Bender Bending Rodriguez, "We ALL feel that way ALL the time!"

So, yes, Virginia, we can have nice things We just have to pay for them.


Emile said...

Hey Delilah,

I like your blog. I, too, have recently realized that having a "maid" is now normal. No more are the days when only the rich folks had cleaning people, now it seems an awful lot of the regular old middle class does too. Interesting, strange, and lovely - all at once.

Isabel Aven said...

ah the maids. yes, yes, reminds me of life in the south. if it makes you feel any better, here in the wild blue yonder... ain't no maids. nope, notta one. we are left to fend for ourselves, which is why my house looks the way it does and why i could care less lately ;-)

mamamilkers said...

Well, even if people don't have maids I know most mamas will get their home spic and span before playdates. My BFF will even clean her whole house before we come over, which I tell her is totally unnecessary, but I think some people it's a big deal for them.

stinestrain said...

first of all my maids only come every OTHER week. second of all I know for sure you have seen my house replete in the same squalor as that which you describe at your own home, which, for the record, was perfectly clean and tidy when I was there.

and yes mamamilkers is right about cleaning before a playgroup. we clean like madwomen before we let a thousand children come trash our house. all so that people like you will blog about how lovely and clean we are.