Martha Stewart’s Worst Nightmare

by Abby on May 13, 2011

Cleaning suppliesI am the worst housekeeper ever. I was frantically cleaning my kitchen floor with a wipe as my in-laws pulled up to the house. I had not made up their bed yet, nor had I gotten around to vacuuming the family room. I made Miles run around picking up toys and chucking them behind furniture. For once, he complied. I love that kid.

You may call it procrastinating to wait until the last minute to clean, but I call it smart. Cleaning the house while the kids are around is like shoveling the sidewalk while it’s still snowing. The minute I wipe off the kitchen table, someone decides to pour his cereal “by self” and that’s the end of that.

A neatly organized bookshelf or toy bin is just BEGGING to be dumped on the floor. Same with baskets of folded laundry or boxes of crayons. So the only way to present the illusion of a clean house is to wait until the last possible second to tidy up, preferably as your guests are ringing the doorbell. Plus all that rushing around gives your cheeks a healthy glow.

So I greeted my in-laws pink-cheeked, wild-haired, and slightly sweaty, since I had neglected to factor in time for showering. I served them leftovers and discovered the only soda we had in the house was flat. They must be so proud of their son for snagging a great catch like me, huh?

Since it was a beautiful day, we all decided to go outside. A stroll around the yard revealed weeds the height of my smallest child, deposits left by the dog, and a … so gruesome I almost can’t type it … DEAD BABY RABBIT. My MIL, bless her heart, neatly disposed of the bygone bunny with a garden spade before the kids noticed it.

Worst. Housekeeper. Ever. (Although technically, I can’t be held responsible for dead rodents in the yard, right?) I can’t even believe Good Housekeeping allows me to subscribe to their magazine.

Since I have to go surreptitiously scrub my bathrooms now, I’ll leave you with some interesting reading. First, have you followed the debate surrounding The Happiest Mom’s shocking admission that she (gasp!) employs a cleaning lady and babysitter from time to time? (In case you didn’t pick up on the sarcasm, I think criticizing a mother of 5 — one who writes books, no less — for hiring help is RIDICULOUS.) Her post inspired “Never Mention the Housekeeper” on the NYT’s Motherlode blog.

Zen and the Art of HousekeepingREADS O’ THE WEEK: It is with high hopes and a little desperation that I am reading Lauren Cassel Brownell’s Zen and the Art of Housekeeping: The Path to Finding Meaning in Your Cleaning

On another note, as a former feng-shui enthusiast, I enjoyed the snarky humor of Anna Crosbie’s Feng Sh*t: The Art of Domestic Disorder.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs Ebrahim May 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Where i come from there is a saying that goes: “Heaven Is Under The Feet Of Mothers” … I believe it brings consolation to all the mothers out there, with or without help!!


Shannon @ AnchorMommy May 13, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Ooh, that looks like some interesting reading. I wanna check that stuff out. As for the Happiest Mom, I’m glad she came out with that admission. I am starting to realize that perhaps I’m trying to do too much. Maybe I should hire some help….then again, I don’t really care about unmade beds that much. They just get slept in again in a matter of hours. However, I think my floors are getting out of hand. Oh well.

I LOVE your last minute cleaning philosophy! Why do things twice when you can do them once right at the last second! And you’re right – the flushed cheeks are a nice bonus. 🙂


Name NTrick May 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Nä – I bet you make your MIL feel needed. At least that’s what I tell myself.



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