Saturday, February 03, 2007

Maintenance and Motivation

Calling all wise women. What motivates you? How do you get the job done? I Know some of you were born motivated, you clean like you breath... instinctively, regularly, deeply. I want to hear from those of you with scary closets. I want to talk to the moms with more interest in making blanket forts, driving to the mountains, setting up aquariums and baking cookies than rotating their mattresses, mopping, hanging coats, scrubbing grout. The truth is, I know how to clean. I know about getting organized and being diligent. I know that keeping a house clean is a constant job, and not a one time event that is repeated only periodically. Knowing these fun facts and accepting them, incorporating them in my life, has not happened. The other truth is that I used to feel slightly more motivated than I do these days. I used to place a vase of flowers on my dining table and it was the perfect catalyst for cleaning. The beautiful flowers would inspire me to make the rest of the room as lovely as the blossoms, and I could even move the same vase to another room and spread the effect. I also employed music therapy. Playing upbeat music, opening the windows, I would dance the house clean. Neither of these tried and true methods is working. Sadly, I don't even buy myself flowers anymore, because they irritate me with their plaintive cries: "Clean this house!" So, I've banished bouquets.

Yesterday William decided that he and I could get the house clean in time for the Stupor Bowl. My old methods of self motivation may be waning, but I must say my children have a powerful effect on me. How can I deny them hope? How can I face their enthusiasm and meet it with doubt, denial or refusal? I cannot. We cleaned. He cleared the kitchen counter. Together we banished lingering remnants of Christmas. We filled two shopping bags with items to donate. We took four bags of recycling to the big blue barrel outside the garage. I also answered several phone calls, took lunches to Max and Alex, and kept Maria safe, happy, nursed, changed, and cuddled. There was also the trip to the barber. (How can two haircuts take 1 hour and 40 minutes? No matter. We like Daniel, and the boys look so handsome.) Technically the house did get cleaner. Are we ready for company? No. If you rang my doorbell, I would instinctively duck, hush the children and pretend to not be home. Sad, yet true. But I am still cleaning (tricked you... I'm actually writing... but I will get back to it... honest.) I have my music playing. Gwen Stefani, Regina Spektor, Shakira, Julieta Venegas and Nelly Furtado are my cleaning homegirls. We're getting down with our bad selves.

So, what gets you going? Do you like the feel of pressed sheets and the fragrance of Pine Sol? Do you clean because you fear what the neighbors would say if you let things go? Are you inspired by flowers, or is it like breathing for you? I remember Grandmother telling me she likes washing dishes, because she enjoys the sound of running water. Sometimes I like washing dishes, because I like to think of Grandmother enjoying the running water.

No comments: