Saturday, September 6, 2014

Guilt, Sanity and House Cleaning

By Lacey Gunter

I used to think the phrase, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" was a tool OCD cleaners coined to guilt those of us who don't meet their standard of cleanliness into trying to clean more. Recently I have come to a different conclusion. Having a truly clean house seems like a Godly feat to me. I think it would take a near act of God to get and keep my house truly clean.  So perhaps what it means is that it takes near superhuman strength and endurance to keep everything clean.

Even as I try to lay this obvious imperfection before the Lord's feet, I can't seem to shake this deep-seated sense of guilt for not being capable of doing it. 

I am fully aware of the fact that if I spend every waking moment not demanded by my husband, kids or job, doing house cleaning, I will go insane. Yet, every time I take a moment for myself, to be creative or sit down to write or just to relax for a minute, there is this nagging voice in the back of my head saying "Don't you have laundry to do?  Your house is a pigsty.  You're shirking your responsibilities for playtime. Get to work!"
Feed me, Seymour!

I know all the arguments to use against this nagging voice, at least enough to get it to shut up for a moment.  But when someone other than family shows up at my doorstep and I have to invite them in to my chaos, all those arguments fall by the wayside and I am left terribly embarrassed.

It is so hard sometimes, trying to intersect principle with reality. Heaven help me, please! Or, at the very least, tell me the afterlife comes furnished with a large host of angelic maids.


  1. I think this is a battle a lot of women face. One of my friends has a daily threshold for cleaning: the kitchen gets cleaned once per day. The floor is swept once per day. The bathrooms are cleaned once per week. Etc. This works for her and her family, and she just lets the rest go. Her house never looks "perfect" with a host of boys running around, but it's clean. :)

  2. I just started a “Power of Moms” group with some other women- we haven’t even had our first meeting yet, but the article for this month is all about the Power of Organization. In it, the author reminds moms that our homes are not messy because we just can’t keep up with it all- they are messy because we are BUILDING something. You don’t see a construction site all swept everyday with a vase of flowers sitting out, do you? She said we should all have a sign in our house that says, “Please excuse the mess, we are building a family.” Our homes are messy because we are focusing more on the people in them than on the things in them.

    She also suggested that the time we spend cleaning is a perfect time to spend with our children- grab one child to help you fold laundry, and use that time to talk with them about their day. Snag another child to do the dishes with you, and find out what’s going on with their friends. She said that rather than dreading it as a chore, you can use it as a way to connect with your kids- plus, you’re teaching them that work can be fun because they’ll see it’s about more than just getting a job done, it’s about strengthening relationships.

    Anyway, it was a great article, and I really needed it b/c it’s something I struggle with DAILY. We all do!! So glad you shared this- you are SO not alone!

    1. Those are great perspectives. Thanks for sharing them with me,

  3. Yeah I think most women have this battle as well, I know I have had it myself



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