I think I am the beginning stages of not being obsessed with having my house look perfect.
I used to be so crazed that I could not leave beds unmade, dishes in the sink or anything out of place. I remember almost being late for a talk I had to do because I vacuumed up some crumbs off the kitchen floor. In those days I worried that someone might come over and report that I was a slob.
I have had many people like me in my workshops. One woman told me that she had to vacuum the rug in the same direction. I asked her why this was so important, and she responded, “I don’t want to disturb the nap.” I told her I didn’t think it was the nap that was disturbed.
I don’t think she had a huge epiphany from my comment, because she went on to tell me how necessary it was for her not to leave any dirty dishes in the sink. I told her to put them in the trunk of the car and then she wouldn’t have to see them.
Unfortunately, this woman kept going on and on with her “shoulds and musts,” because she really needed her family and friends to feel she was perfect. After a few years of hearing similar stories, I began to delve more into “why am I driving myself nuts in order to have my home resemble a museum?”
If I’d bought red velvet ropes and cordoned off certain rooms, I’d have been all set. My family could have been relegated to the basement; then I could enjoy the order and cleanliness.
However, the energy it takes to keep everything pristine is exhausting, and it drives everyone around you nuts.
My other dilemma was my ability to see a dirt ball a mile away. I’ve been blessed and cursed with high-level awareness. I would have made a great forensic scientist.
During the past five years my need to “seek and clean” has been tempered by being in a partnership with a wonderful man who is the direct opposite. Any time I walk into the kitchen, every cupboard door is open. He loves coffee and has three or four half cups in different rooms in the house. I often find one he forgot in the microwave.
He loves to eat something late at night, and I always know, since there are traces of it all over the kitchen. What I find interesting is that I laugh about it more than I curse about it.
I’ve realized that having a loving partnership overrides having a spotless house.