Am I the only one who’s noticed there’s a basic difference between men and women when it comes to house cleaning? From my observations, it seems women clean and men straighten. I’ve tried to not be so critical, but it’s a losing game. I can’t help it. I’ve turned into my mother.
When I was a child, she was a meticulous housekeeper, insisting on the towels being folded a certain way. All the sheets were evenly folded, and everything was in its place. She’s the only person I’ve ever known who could fold a contoured sheet like it just came out of the package. When I left home, I left her rules there. Now, I figure as long as the towels and sheets are in the linen closet, that’s good enough. I mean, I don’t wad them up and throw them in there, but by no far stretch of the imagination are they neatly folded. They’re on the shelf, so that counts, right?
I’m much more particular about my kitchen. My husband, bless his heart, is really good at doing the dishes after I cook. I try to focus in on that endearing trait when I’m searching through all the cabinets for my favorite tool. He just doesn’t seem to have the hang of putting things away. Now, cooking is an adventure. I search, then cook.
I can always be assured of one thing however, the tamale and pasta cookers are right where they belong. After years of never knowing where it would be after it came out of the dishwasher, I finally threatened him with never getting pasta or tamales again. I’m trying to figure out other ingenious threats that will work, but so far, no luck. I pad the time required to cook a meal by a half-hour—long enough for a scavenger hunt.
I’ve noticed that if I start cleaning, my husband will help out. I become the “dirt director,” however, and that bothers me more than him not helping at all. Why can’t men see what needs to be cleaned? Why do we have to point it out? I have a theory about that. It’s a throwback to all the sports they watch on TV. They’re so used to someone telling them what they’ve just seen via the instant replay; they can’t see things for themselves anymore. Except at work. His office wasn’t that bad. He came home one day and told me he’d cleaned it up. I wonder who told him to?
I know my husband isn’t alone in this. One of the young girls at work told me she was having a problem with her spouse. He wouldn’t clean up to her standards. Basically, if it were within easy access, he’d take care of it, but if it wasn’t, he wouldn’t. I told her if she ever found out how to take care of the problem, let me know. I’m still waiting.
I used to feel sorry for Edith on “All in the Family.” You never saw Archie Bunker helping out around the house. He just sat in his chair, spouted platitudes, watched TV, and ate dinner. Not much more. In hindsight, I think she had the right idea. She never had to worry about where anything was and never felt frustrated about Archie not helping. It was a given he wouldn’t. A stress-free situation, if you ask me.
I think women are born with a cleaning gene. I want science to start working on my theory. They research everything else, why not this? Think about the possibilities. If they could isolate the cleaning gene, perhaps we could inject our spouses with it. It could be like a prenuptial agreement. Agree to get injected prior to getting married. What a great idea.
I feel guilty about being so critical. I try to remind myself that a lot of husbands don’t help around the house at all. That attitude will usually last about a day or two after I’ve nagged him, then I go back to my old ways. Do you think that’s what the Bible has in mind when it talks about wives being submissive to their husbands? To be thankful they’re home helping clean and hiding stuff, instead of not helping at all? I prefer to think it isn’t referring to just giving into a kitchen in disarray, since back in Biblical times, they didn’t have so many cabinets and kitchen toys. If the husbands helped around the house, there was only one pot to put away. Back then, the wives didn’t have to do a scavenger hunt to cook dinner.
Do we have to clean houses in heaven? Do you suppose we’ll have maid service? I hope not, because I’ll have to make sure the house is spotless before they get there. I wouldn’t want them to think I’m a slob. I talk a good game about cleaning, but we all have our dirty little secrets. (Pun intended!) My craft room never seems to stay clean. It’s not as bad as Ed’s home office, but it’s not good. I swear I can clean it one day and by the next it’s a mess. How does that even happen? The cobbler supposedly had little elves who came in the middle of the night to make shoes for him. Our elves mess up the place, then hide and snicker at me when they see my reaction. Since cleanliness is next to godliness, I sure hope Father will look at my heart and not my house when he makes the decision on whether I’m clean enough to enter heaven.