Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A conversation at Girl Scouts

I was at my daughter's Girl Scout Meeting last night getting my cookie selling information,and some parents and I had an interesting conversation. We started talking about our children's behavior, then we spoke about our jobs, and somehow the conversation turned to standards of cleanliness in homes.

I got a little frightened by the turn of events happening in front of me, as I have always believed that I am a terrible housekeeper. My house isn't dirty or in violation of any health codes or anything, but with a 3 year old, a 6 year old, and a slob of a husband with ADD, the clutter can start to pile up faster than I can deal with it. As much as I fight it, the tradition around our house continues to be a sort of Hansel and Gretel re-enactment. My husband and daughter will arrive home leaving a trail of clothing, hats, coats, socks, and shoes leading from the front door to whatever room they decide to reside in. And like the nasty mean birds in the story, I will go behind them picking up the bread crumb trail and dealing with it. Now that I think about it, those birds were really misunderstood. They were just trying to keep their home neat, now that I think about it.

Anyway, the conversation at Girl Scouts turned to cleaning. You know how when you go to other people's houses for a visit, the house is so clean and neat that you have problems believing that isn't how they live all the time? Then you develop a little low-level depression because you know you could never aspire to the same standards no matter how hard you try. And these people usually have children. And you truly believe these are the neatest children in the world. (My friend Karen is the worst with this. Since her husband moves around a lot, she keeps her house staged for show all the time. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Love you Karen!)

Well, the truth is out. This is an impossible standard that most people cannot maintain on a daily basis. That is why cleaning services were invented. One parent told me that he went over someone's house, and they had to wash dishes right there in front of him so they could serve him food. Now I will admit, there are dishes in my sink right now. My dishwasher holds quite a bit of dishes, but it isn't a bottomless pit of room or anything. But can't we pretty much agree that having available dishes is a standard we can all strive to?

So that is my first New Year's Resolution this year. There are depths to which we should probably never fall, so I resolve to make sure I have available seating and available dishes and glasses at all times. This might be the first resolution I maintain all year long.

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