(aka Unleighshing on Lessons Learned on my Hands and Knees)
PASSING THE BUCK
I’ve had cleaning companies to keep my home in tip top shape on and off for the past 10 years. Sometimes they have come in when I am at my very best and I just don’t feel like taking the extra time out of my week to clean when I’d rather be off and having fun. I’ve also utilized these services through the darker, more tiring seasons of life when cleaning is the very last thing for which I can muster any energy. My experience with cleaners has been positive, but cyclical at best: I’ll have someone in to my home to clean for a reasonable amount of money, for a good span of time and inevitably they will move on to better, more cleaner things where I’m left finding a replacement to clean my own home.
When my last and most recent arrangement with a cleaner came to a screeching halt a few months ago and I had no choice but to take over the cleaning because guests were coming in a few short days, I didn’t have the time to seek out a company to take care of this task for me. Then stuck tidying my own house, I realize it needed me. Very badly.
PAYING THE PIPER
And it was there on my hands and knees where I discovered the secret , thrumming underworld of my home to which I was largely unaware. I stumbled upon the tucked away hiding places my children have for discarded food wrappers and evidence of over indulging. I learned about some of the magical worlds of make believe, constructed under chairs and tables, or through drawings and crafts. I know where the stuffies like to hang out and where the post parties are held. Examining the nooks and crannies revealed too, that I have a bad habit of not putting away my own clothing which is a trait I’ve clearly passed on to the offspring. It’s often my shoes cluttering the front hall and not that of my children and despite being an intentional KonMari-er, I still own a lot of crap. Taking the time to examine each corner of my home taught me something I needed to know whilst offering me this contented feeling of ownership over my home base.
See, with a cleaning service I started to get complacent and would put regular chores off until a point I knew the cleaners would care for them. I also began to notice that my kids were becoming entitled. Some unintentional droppings could stay put. An unmade bed would soon be made proper with the arrival of the cleaners. A dust pile here could wait. Things literally started to get swept under the carpet because any unmade area of the house would soon be handled by someone else earning a living cleaning my home.
When had I become so comfortable making my mess someone else’s problem?
Believe me, I’ve sat with this question for quite some time now and it’s been an uncomfortable one to unpack because while the cleaning services have made my life infinitely easier when I’ve utilized them, I’m ardently aware that I’ve been passing the buck on the biggest financial obligation I have which is to my home. It begs the question that if I am making my messy home someone else’s job to fix, in what other areas of my life have I been doing this?
HOW TO #OWNIT
I decided that in order to truly work through this last question and uncover all I needed to know, I wasn’t going to hire another company straight away, but rather find the time to tend to my abode. I’ve been what the children now affectionately call The Cleaning Lady for the last several months and no, it’s not fun and it’s not glamorous and I don’t particularly like it. I’m not going to sugar coat any of it because cleaning is an icky job I’d rather avoid which is evidenced in the fact I have for most of my adult life. But I’ve made some revelations in the process of keeping the dust bunnies at bay which is that at the end of the day, my messes are mine and mine alone. Whether it’s me running a cloth over the baseboards or someone else, I’m still responsible for the disarray that becomes my domain. And yes, maybe I’ll return to the hire of another company when life feels like it could do with one less obligation, but there’s no question about it: this time spent on my hands and knees has been a good reminder of my personal mantra which is to #ownit. We all have to take ownership of our crap, be it piles of clothes to random lego pieces to the way we tend to our own selves and families. To be contributing human beings, we all need to own our own sh*t: the clean, the dirty, and everything in between.
BENEFITS TO CLEANING YOUR OWN HOME
- Free exercise; no need for a gym
- Up close ‘n’ personal insight into the behaviours of the people with whom you reside
- Quick intel available on upcoming repairs
- Personal control over what and how thoroughly it gets cleaned
- Huge cost savings
BENEFITS TO HAVING SOMEONE ELSE CLEAN YOUR HOME
- You don’t have to do it.
A CLEAN SLATE
Whatever your life looks like right now, see if you can choose one thing over which you can have more ownership. Maybe someone else needs to be cleaning your home for right now, but perhaps there is another area over which you can choose to claim more power like your finances, personal relationships or personal health. Note what kinds of things start to happen when you take back over this space in your life you had previously given to someone else to decide whether it’s worth #owning or not.
XO, unleighshed potential