Spring Cleaning with Bozemama

April 26, 2013

Posted By: Bozemama

Spring cleaning. It sounds so good, right? Just picture it: Bright white linens hanging from the line and blowing in the breeze, warmed by the sun, the smell of new grass and young buds filling the house with renewal. Mmm . . .

The reality? A week’s worth of laundry (clean? dirty? hard to tell . . . ) piled high on the couch waiting to be folded by someone “at some point;” windows and doors shut tight against this never-ending Montana April chill and containing the nose hair-curling stench of un-cleaned cat litter (why did no one warn me about this before we adopted those precious kittens?); all manner of Legos strewn into a kind of Harry Potter Lord Halo of the Star Wars Rings miasma that covers Charlie’s bedroom floor and, let us not forget, the 13-year-old girl hair. Everywhere.

It’s a dream come true.

No. No, not really.

Like so many women of my generation, I was raised on Marlo Thomas’s awesome 1970’s feminist manifesto Free to Be You and Me , in which the inimitable Carol Channing waxes poetically and candidly about housework:

Remember, nobody smiles doing housework but those ladies you see on TV.

Your mommy hates housework, Your daddy hates housework, I hate housework too. And when you grow up, so will you. . . Children, when you have a house of your own, Make sure, when there's house work to do, That you don't have to do it alone. Little boys, little girls, when you're big husbands and wives, If you want all the days of your lives To seem sunny as summer weather, Make sure, when there's housework to do, That you do it together!

I still love the way Channing intones the word together with such hope and sunny enthusiasm – just willing it to be true. I wish I could beam her smiling face into our home and get her to knock some sense into that offspring of mine. I imagine they’d happily obey her sing-song instructions ( Scrubbing the tub or mopping the floors, or wiping the stains from the walls and the doors, or washing the windows, the dishes, the clothes, or waxing the furniture till it just glows . . . )

Just thinking about it brings a tear to the eye, doesn’t it?

To be fair, Charlie did mop once. And Hermione is a relatively tidy person, given her status as a teen. Like – when she’s not riding a horse, running a 10K, doing homework, playing viola, writing a novel, or styling that hair – she does make an effort to help around the house.

But it’s not what I imagined it would be. Especially not when I’ve spent hours sweeping, vacuuming and mopping and everyone comes bursting in the front door after an invigorating hike, obliviously tracking mud all over the house thereby undoing my day’s careful labor – and the thing that kept me from going on the hike in the first place! Is there anything worse than that?!?!

Actually, yes, there is one thing: Legos.

I could stand on my head with my toenails on fire and a megaphone in my hand, invoking the wrath of Zeus and all those other gods Charlie thinks so highly of, begging – nay, bribing (with, of course, more Legos) – him to pick up his room and he would look at me evenly and say, “I am Mama,” while actually doing no such thing.

The fault is mine, I know. I don’t want to fight – and so I just let it go and let it go until it becomes a serious safety hazard in there and then, every few months or so, I curse my fate, give in and spend an hour sorting tiny pieces of plastic by theme, color, size, storyline, gender, younameit. And, OK, sometimes I build stuff.

Oh, dear readers, it is a gorgeous and sunny here in Bozeman today! And so I am going to stop all this whining. I am going to fling open the windows and doors, crank up the tunes, shake out the rugs and clean that cat litter. Me, myself and I – we’re going to do it together . Wish me luck!



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