My younger son (I have two.) lives in a condo near the University of Texas campus. For the past two years, he lived in a dorm on campus where they clean everything but your room for you, so I when he moved to the condo I wondered how he’d do at keeping his bathroom clean. The answer is…he just tries not to get it dirty. As a result, the bathroom is neat and uncluttered, but with a nice buildup of bathroom dirt…if you get my drift. So, being a mom, I was anxious to find an excuse to clean it myself, one that wouldn’t embarrass him too much.
My time came when he had to have minor surgery a couple of months ago. He was slightly incapacitated. The roomates were gone. Perfect timing. I’m going in!
When I finished, and the bathroom shone like the sun, I put all the tools I had used under the bathroom sink, so he’d know where to find them when he felt better and could clean the bathroom himself. I asked him if he wanted me to show him how I cleaned it, just give him a quick overview of which sprays and foams go where and what to use to scrub each area.
I guess inhaling the chemicals while cleaning must have intoxicated me slightly. I had visions of him donning rubber gloves and with sponge in one hand and toilet brush in the other, taming his bathroom on a regular basis as he shouts, “This is for you, Mom!”
I realized then that I had ill equipped my boys for the real world of living in a clean environment. I meant to! I tried! “Come on. Let’s clean the bathroom together. You’re going to have to know how to do this stuff when you move away from home.”
I did take them into the bathroom with me a few times, and show them how to do it. Made them clean it themselves a few times, too. And when it wasn’t perfect, I had flashbacks of my mom telling me my attempts weren’t good enough. Ugh.
It’s quite the mental wrestling match trying to figure out how to tell them, “No, see there are still streaks on the mirror, and look at all the cleanser that’s still in the sink. You need to…” without sounding like “It’s never good enough! You’re not good enough!”
And we all know, because we’re all guilty of thinking this; it’s just easier and faster and more peaceful to do the job yourself than to have a family meltdown over a streaky mirror.
So I didn’t teach them the finer points of housekeeping. So their future wives won’t be as happy with me as I envisioned them being when the boys were too little to operate a spray can of bathroom cleaner, and I planned that by the time they were 14 they’d be so good at it, they’d be cleaning the house for me every Saturday. So what?
So that’s reason number two for starting this blog. If my boys don’t know the mechanics of keeping a home spotless, I imagine there are others out there that upon moving into their own space are saying, “I wish I’d listened when Mom tried to teach me this stuff.”
In the future, I hope to cover the ins and outs of cleaning each room, and other homemaking joys and responsibilities, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Then, like they do with much that they don’t know, those that seek can find the answers online, here.