Tuesday, 31 July 2012

I'm Not Spotless, I'm Clueless

Being a Boganville Housewife Extraordinaire supposedly means it is my job to keep the Bogan Box in a reasonable state of cleanliness and order. It's only a small house, as the word Box would suggest, so therefore you'd think it wouldn't be too difficult.

Wrong. I simply do not get housework.  Anybody who walks into my home could be forgiven for thinking that I am a lazy, feral sloth creature.  That all I do all day is sit on the computer posting boring as batshit blogs and Facebook updates.  And I would never do anything like that. Ahem. Mainly because I can't now. But that's not the point.  I do have one. I promise. I will get to it presently.

The truth is, I have tried so hard to be a Domestic Goddess. To de-clutter, organise and have everything gleaming and perfect.  Or, if not perfect, at least somewhat presentable. 
Inside the Bogan Box. This was a good day. Oh, shut up.

I have purchased all the gear. The mops, brooms, tubs of Gumption, bleach and Pledge Grab-Its.  I even purchased that awful smug book called Spotless. And the even smugger (is that a word?) Speed Cleaning, which promised I could have a spotlessly clean house in 15 minutes a day. Uh, yeah right.

 I thought I would finally find the secret answer and knowledge that everyone seems to have but me.  Apparently it's bi-carb and vinegar, according to that book.

Bi-carb and vinegar fix everything.  So I bought those too. But somehow, my house still isn't gleaming. Not even remotely. It smells really vinegary though. Sigh.

The problem is, I can't even logically work out how to go about all the tasks I need to do.  If I have say, ten things I know I need to do (it's more like 17 million on any given day, really, but I condensed it) I can't work out how to prioritise them in a completely rational, logical way as most people seem to.  I feel bewildered and over-whelmed before I even begin.

"Write a list. " Mick tells me.  I've tried that too. Lists and I don't get on.  I either forget the list, lose the list or have a lovely list of the things I failed to complete that day mocking me from the fridge door.

This picture does not accurately reflect the amount of washing
in our house, which would actually be enough to fill the Indian Ocean.
So I'll just plough in and start doing something, usually folding washing. We always have mountains of the stuff.  Something or someone ends up distracting me. It could be the phone ringing or Mick talking to me. Mainly it's the boys.  Or I'll just walk to another room to put the clothes away, become completely distracted by something that needs doing there and end up totally forgetting the piles of clothes back in the other room I still haven't put away.

This leads to Micky Blue Eyes finding the piles later, and becoming annoyed thinking that I deliberately left them there for him to put away.  I never do.  I just simply forget. The truth is I am just a very forgetful and easily distracted person, especially when it comes to housework.

On the surface it appears that I don't care about this. About the state of my home. That I am deliberately blase about cleanliness and order. Thoroughly relaxed and unconcerned. On the inside, however, this is not the case whatsoever and it actually causes me a great deal of consternation.  I've spent nights unable to sleep going over and over it. Truly. Feeling bad about myself because I don't seem to get something so seemingly simple. I mean, it's not Rocket Science is it?  These are routine, menial tasks.

To make matters worse, we never invite people over, simply because I am too ashamed.  The shame and guilt eat me alive some days.
It also appears that I am the furthest thing possible from a perfectionist.  Judging from the perpetual state of my home the idea is truly laughable and absurd, I realise. However, I struggle with the belief that I should be perfect.

Not only should I be a perfect Domestic Goddess with a gleaming home looking like something straight of a Home Beautiful magazine, but I should also be the perfect mother.  Able to cook exquisite meals which are promptly served at 6pm every night.  Have my boys into a strict routine.

 But even that's not quite enough. I think I should also be able to make time not just to get a bit of exercise, but to literally train almost to the degree of an Olympic Athlete. Oh, and since we are living in Boganville, if we wish to have any hope of making it to Boganville Heights, I really should be working outside the home and earning money. 

In addition to this, I feel I should really make time to be a creative genius with my writing.  A boring as batshit blog isn't good enough. I should have been able to have whipped up a best-selling novel, you know, by lunch time. Yesterday.

I think I see where the problem is.

I'm not a perfectionist. I'm a should-ist.  I think I should be perfect, and therefore because I fall so glaringly and pathetically short of my list of shoulds I constantly feel like a useless failure.

These feelings don't work for me.  There is no pay-off for me, in cleaning all day.  I can't seem to find any positive feeling of a job well done or pride in my home.  I just feel like I'm repeatedly failing at something that is supposedly easy or menial. So, the more I think about it, it actually makes sense that I  would eventually feel like giving up on it. It's not that I'm lazy. It's more like it just doesn't work for me, there's no pay-off, so I might as well be blowed and forget it and do something else that does work for me. Like writing this blog .Even if I feel like I should be doing something else.

After a diagnosis of Aspergers last year, I'm pretty sure it's time to let all the shoulds go.  Maybe there are some Aspergians out there who are thoroughly logical, clean and ordered. I am not one of them.

 One of the traits of Aspergers can be reduced Executive Function, which refers to a lot of the things I am talking about. Like prioritising tasks, working memory, switching attention between tasks and organisational and planning abilities. There is a lot more to it, but it's too dry and uninteresting to bang on about too much in this blog. The upshot of it is, as I heard author of The Complete Guide To Aspergers Syndrome, Prof Tony Attwood succinctly describe in an interview, a lot of us Aspies "Couldn't organise a piss-up in a Brewery."

 It's true. For me. I really can't.  And, I guess it just has to be okay. Sure, I don't want to fall into the trap of using my Aspergers as an excuse.  It doesn't mean that I can just throw my hands up in the air and say I give up, and we live in a feral pig-sty. Even though it seems like it on some days. It does mean that I accept that it won't be as perfect as I'd like. 

The fact that being an Aspie for me, means I crave order and routine in my environment and surroundings, while simultaneously being completely clueless about actually creating it for myself and my family, is just another one of those little tragic ironies of my life that I have to live with.

And the only other thing that I should do, is throw away that bloody Spotless book. See? I'm de-cluttering.

And then promptly stop using the word should.

Linking up with Kirsty from My Home Truths for I Must Confess.

Reactions:

22 comments:

  1. A couple of things I've noticed in my house-cleaning... It's really hard to keep a small space clean. There's just less places to hide clutter! Also, if you live with any other living thing, things don't stay too clean for long. So, don't feel too bad about it... I think it's a hard job for anyone to maintain. And those who do... well... they had to have had some help!

    Though, your line about your lists mocking you from the fridge door made me laugh out loud. So glad my lists aren't the only ones that do that!

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    1. Thanks Music Addict, I thought I had replied before this, my dodgy memory at it AGAIN. Yes, that's part of the problem here, five people crammed into a small house. I don't know if I'd be any better at cleaning if I had a McMansion though. Sigh.

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  2. I know what you mean about the lists and distraction. Sometimes, it's a constant dialogue in my head...I have to do this...but I also have to do this...and that...and that inevitably reminds me of another 10 things that need doing - which as you say, leads to a feeling of being overwhelmed. There's got to be an easier way but I don't know what it is (short of money for a cleaner)!

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    1. Yes, I'd need a full time cleaner and secretary to organise the whole family and then even if I could afford it I'd most likely be so embarrassed I'd feel the need to clean before the cleaner came lol

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  3. In my wildest dreams Fass cleans Chez Abulous attired in a tank top and cut off denim shorts. I think I need to send that dream your way ;-)
    Just remember no one in the real world has a clean house.

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  4. Thanks, that does sound like a lovely dream.

    I seem to know a lot of people who are very clean, so it doesn't help that I compare myself. But I did read somewhere the line: Your mental health has to be more important than what someone might think of you. That is becoming my mantra in regards to housework.

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  5. The smaller the space the harder it is to clean, our three bedroom house was always cleaner than our two bedroom unit is these days - there's not enough places for all the stuff. Getting a cleaner isn't always the answer either - my mum used to make us clean before the cleaner came :)

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    1. Exactly. Unless you have a full time live in cleaner, it just becomes messy again right away.

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  6. Don't stress Ness, housework is just boring. With kids it is like groundhog day...repeatedly cleaning many times throughout the day...I could scream!!

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    1. Groundhog day! Yes, EXACTLY! I only start to stress if I feel like it's getting beyond the 'normal' mess of a family, we are bogans but I don't want to become feral bogans. Ahem.

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  7. You sound like me, my house is a constant state of anxiety for me, so much that I also don't invite people over - in fact the last time I did I spent half the day cleaning it - and if someone actually popped in unannounced I'd have to hover at the doorway so they didn't come in. Using my three young kids as an excuse doesn't cut it anymore, to be honest I just can't stand doing it - it's just all too much! right now I have 4 piles of washing to fold, a bench full of dishes, dinner to make for tonight and then work (paid) to write. And what I want to be doing is blogging because it's a good place to vent! I'm a gunner not a doer, I'm going to do this, going to do that.
    And you know what, my best friend's mum used to have a sign on her friend, 'A tidy house is the sign of a boring person' - TRUE DAT - Em x

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    1. It's hard isn't it? I'd much rather be blogging too. And isn't it weird how time seems to fly when you are doing something you like and then you look up and most of the day is gone and the dishes etc haven't magically done themselves. Hmph.

      Yep, totally agree with that sign!

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  8. I hate that in our house there are 4 people making a mess, but only 1 cleaning it up on a regular basis ... oh well at least the hubster does the grocery shopping!

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    1. Yes, it's hard getting everyone involved isn't it? The problem I have is if I suck at it myself it's hard to teach someone else to be tidy and organised. Sigh.

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  9. I LOVE the picture at the top of your post - very amusing. I keep telling myself that to make me feel better for my utter failure as a housewife! I am very easily distracted as well but I have no excuse for it other than I am obviously not good at organising or time management :) Thanks so much for linking up again this week Ness.

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    1. Well at least I know I'm not the only one. Thanks for reading. x

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  10. Oh this is so me, I am worse than ten second Bob! Poor Mr Awesome is forever coming home to little piles of this and that all over the place where I have thought I have been cleaning but really I was just moving it from one spot to the next because I didn't know where to put it

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  11. It's very frustrating isn't it? Hugs and cakie things. x

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  12. Are you living in my house, inside my head too? Sounds like you are!!

    I am ALWAYS getting sidetracked. No matter what I'm doing it happens.

    My problem with cleaning is everyone walking behind me messing everything up. Drives me batty!!

    MC x

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