No, this will not a message of make-up tips, hints to please the husband (blech), or nostalgia for days past. It's a confession, a hangover if you will from the days when expectations of women (and men) were vastly different. Roles were clearly defined and women were limited to responsibility for the home and all things domestic. Men were breadwinners and could expect a lovely meal, a clean house, and a playful mate. Again, blech.
I will also confess to loathing cleaning. It could be my innate laziness, the endless boredom of it, or the fact that the man of the house doesn't notice anyway.
I'm not even sure anyone else does but the culture of guilt remains. Yesterday we had company for supper, but before I got to the actual cooking, I had to clean the kitchen "a little." One thing led to another. There was dust glued by grease to the top of the microwave, the fridge and the range hood. The counter tops needed scrubbing, etc. How did the kitchen get into such a state? Simple, neglect. And when I saw how neglected the guilt kicked in.
This cleaning meant I was more tired than I should have been, the meal wasn't as organized as I would have liked, and it took me a while to engage in the scintillating conversation. Things did settle down.
The man of the house provided some perspective this morning when I mentioned how I got a little carried away cleaning yesterday even though friends were coming over.
"I wasn't going to mention it," he said. "But I did see Lori up on a chair by the fridge running her finger along the top, checking for dust. You were getting something from the front room."
How ridiculous is that? Of course, my friend wasn't checking my housekeeping. It isn't 1957 and we both have a lot of other interests. Cleaning hints and critiques are never exchanged. Never.
I would like to say that I've learned my lesson. It would be a lie. I have angst when my kids (adults with their own homes) come to visit. My friends do, too. What the hell? They used to live with us. They know our flaws, our weaknesses and they don't care.
However, that 1950s culture has strong roots and I'll likely be trying to catch up and have a sparkling house when my real tolerance for disorder is quite high. Until a certain point, then I engage in a cleaning marathon. I time travel backwards, expecting my company has, too.
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.