I woke up this morning ready to write a post on Proverbs 31, but got a bit distracted by all the negative feedback I got from an article I wrote about the Blessings of a Clean Home.
I do get negative feedback from time to time which is to be expected when you are have made plenty of mistakes in your life.
Due to the amount of comments, I believe I owe an apology to everyone out there.
After rereading my post, I can see that I could have come across as a terrible friend and a mean person. Although when I was writing it, I was not trying to come across that way. My intention was to be a blessing or encouragement not a condemning or burdensome spirit. I have made some major clarifications to my original post. It had to be done because some things were totally misunderstood. Here are some of the many comments that I received…
- The joy of The Lord makes your heart cheery, a home that has the peace of God is a welcoming home. So many women feel condemnation if their house isn’t perfect, there has to be a balance. The Lord cares about your heart and the hearts of your children not if your mantel will pass a dust test. Some of the most spotless houses I know are full of stress from a mother trying to keep it perfect. Don’t believe the lie that you are less than, if your house isn’t perfect.
- I read this, and some things were nice. When I got to the part about making her husband always sit on the toilet seat, I thought no. That to me was a glimpse into their home, that made me question What is really going on in there?
- I would not want this author over to my house. I have seen the condemning eyes and the judgmental looks. This type of person is not a pleasant guest to have in the house. And I would never suggest to my husband that he needs to sit down to do his business. Where is the honor and respect in that?
- My house is lived in. Sorry. Not always clean. But I DO try.
- Sounds like Stepford Wife propaganda!
- Actually a clean home makes a stressful home for us! By no means are we slobs but we LIVE in our house and it looks like that.
- I feel more comfortable in a home that isn’t spotless all the time. It’s uncomfortable. I want to feel like I can relax and that the friend won’t freak out if I drop a crumb or accidentally track in dirt.
- A clean or dirty house isn’t always an indicator of anything. Some people are OCD about the cleanliness of their house, but their lives and relationships are in shambles and the house is the only thing they can control.
- I do the best that I can to keep my home clean, but I have learned to give myself grace when I fall short. My happiness and joy is not dependent on the cleanliness of my home. And besides, any friend worth having won’t mind a few crumbs here and there.
- Knowing how to keep a clean house is good, and working towards it is a worthy goal. But like anything else, it can become an idol and source of pride, especially for people like me who greatly prefer order and cleanliness. Since my husband has set a different tone for our family and prefers me to spend my time on some bigger long-term priorities, I’ve had to lay aside anything more than the bare minimum of cleaning, at least for now. If I stress about it, we are both unhappy, so I just let go and take care of the few most important things. I involve my one-year-old daughter in everything I can, and she loves helping me. Guests with high standards may stare at the carpet or dusty shelves. But if if this is the best I can do and still preserve the peace and happiness in my family’s hearts, and if we continue using our home to serve others, that is what pleases the Lord.
- I can’t help but think there is a happy medium somewhere along the line. Would my home pass the white glove test? No. But it certainly does not reek of urine or resemble and animal pen. I don’t think it’s an all or nothing proposition, nor do I think it’s helpful to make women feel inferior for having a home that is not “white glove” ready.
First off, to reply to the first comment which received a lot of “amens”, I want to say she is completely correct. You are no less of a person if you do not have a clean home. If I have come across in a way that implies I feel that you are, it is not true. I would never think that way about any person. Yes, your children’s hearts and the heart of your husband is WAY more important to attend to than a dust free mantel. My family, ministering to other women, and my relationship with God is WAY more important to pour into than a clean home, too. Everything in life should be in balance. Moderation is the best policy.
People say their home is not white glove ready but is not an animal pen, so I must tell why I wrote what I wrote…My original post stems from an experience I had early in my marriage when visiting a person who lived in a very disgusting situation. First off, the garage was the animal’s potty area. They had 8 huge dogs which was against city ordinance. In order to conceal the fact that they had 8 dogs, they only left them in the garage to go to the bathroom. There were several steps that led down into the garage, but you could no longer see them. The garage was filled about 2-3 feet with dog feces. When the dogs come back into the home, you can imagine what they track in. Needless to say, it made a lasting impression upon me.
I used to work in a dog kennel that was owned by my parents and I can handle a lot of odors and messes. This was beyond normal. I know that all would agree. I also know that none of you would want to set your child down in this home. Yes, and the toilet was the animals drinking and side toilet as well! That was the urine smell I was talking about.
In my mind I was trying to convey this experience but instead came across as a lousy person who must take a magnifying glass and a white glove to every home I enter. I actually feel really bad that I came across this way. I would never want others to think that I am that nasty and judgmental.
In the course my history of life, I have seen more attention and time spent in entertainment than in simple, everyday living. Grandma may have made time to wash her baby shoes everyday and inspect with a white glove, but I have never even owned a white glove. She had 5 children, a full time job, a garden, a perfectly clean home, plenty of time to help others, and it was just NORMAL everyday living for her. I think it was normal in her day. Times have changed. Many of us had mothers that either did all the work for us or they worked full time and did not have the time to teach us. Thankfully, my mother taught me some skills on cleaning.
Some people have never been taught. They stress about everyday life because they look at this mountain of work and do not even know where to begin. I know that feeling. It is just easier to ignore it. What I aim to do is give people some basic skills that I learned from my mom. I want to make people’s lives easier by showing them how to get control of their environment and how to maintain it. I spend less than 20 minutes each day tidying up or wiping things down. It is so easy. The trick is how to begin and where to begin. I have been doing a video series to help people.
It takes me 8 hours of time to make a 5 minute video to help others. I would not spend that amount of time to help others if I was a nasty judgmental person who does not care about other people. Here is my original post with my revisions (in red) to clarify my intentions. I still believe a clean home is important but not the most important thing in a home. Please feel free to let me know if I have still come across in a nasty way. I will try to answer your comments and help clear any other misunderstandings.
The Blessing Of A Clean Home 06/03/2014
I MUST REVISE BECAUSE SOME READERS MISUNDERSTOOD MY INTENTIONS:
Having a clean home makes a heart cheery. If my home is a mess I feel down and overwhelmed. I stare at the clutter and mess and wonder where to start. A clean home is a welcoming home. People feel at ease when they step into a clean and orderly home. It is a sign that all is well if the home is in order. A home filled with the love of Christ and a love for each other is paramount. Never put your clean home above that!
I have learned to like cleaning from my mother. She is the best cleaner I know. When you are in her home, it just smells clean. It is inviting and restful. Anyone can trust they will not contract a disease by entering her home. You can walk barefoot and not feel a crumb. My mother would teach me how to clean properly just as her mother taught her when she was growing up. They would do the white glove test. Testing every surface to see that nothing was left undone. And now, I am teaching my children the same. These skills are passed down from generation to generation. My grandmother did this, not even my mother did the white glove test. I have never done the white glove test. My grandmother ironed her sheets, bleached her babies white shoes, ironed and bleached the shoestrings. Everything had to be perfect. We live in a different time. I am not even close to that meticulous. I have a very relaxed and joyful home. We all enjoy working, eating, playing, and fellowshipping together.
I have noticed that a mother that is not concerned about a clean home will produce daughters that are not concerned either. They find it comfortable to be in the dirt, clutter, and filth. In fact, they do not see the dirt. If they do see it, they do not care. The house smells foul and the floors are almost just as bad as a pigpen in the barn. They have animals living in the home that shed and leave messes that are not cleaned up properly, and I either want to breathe out of my mouth to avoid the fumes, or I felt the need to vacate. I have only seen one situation like this a long time ago. It was bad. Anyone would agree. I do not meet others that live that way.
When my children were still babies, I would take them to visit others. If the home was a mess I worried about choking hazards and germs. I did not want to leave the child on the floor because I could see the grime. That grime would coat my children’s feet, hands, and knees of their clothing. It was an uneasy feeling that I had. I did not want to make the hostess feel badly, but I was literally grossed out. My children would tire of piling on my lap and I would tire from propping up all their weight. Again, this did not happen but one or two places, but it would make anyone do the same. I assure you, it was bad. The home had dog feces 2 feet thick in the garage just to give you some background. If that is not enough to make you sick. If you think you would put your kids on the floor there, more power to ya.
It is not good etiquette to have a home that resembles an animal pen. Even if it does not affect you, it is teaching your children to be slobs. Someday they will teach their children to be slobs and every home will smell bad. Every toilet a cesspool. I agree, I was a bit harsh here. I should not have focussed on this. It is much to negative. Keeping things posit
ive is always better.
A home that is rarely cleaned will always have a bathroom that has a very dirty toilet. The smell of urine is so strong. My mother always had a sit down rule. Everyone, including men, had to sit on the toilet to go. She told me it was because of splashing. Urine will always splash out and it can run down the side of the toilet to the floor around the base. The odors get trapped there. My mother had that rule, I do not have that rule. My husband can use the toilet how ever he chooses. Sorry for the confusion.
I have learned to check bathrooms in restaurants to see how clean they are. Bathrooms are a reflection on the overall cleanliness of an established business. If the bathroom smells nice and is spotless, you know they care about every detail. I check them at restaurants, Everyone should. I did not say I check my friends bathrooms. You should be alarmed if a restaurant bathroom is filthy. Food preparation in restaurants is a very crucial thing. They can pass very harmful bacteria to you and your family in the food. I once got very sick from a restaurant and it was a very bad situation for me.
Dirty Happy Homes?
I have heard the argument that a dirty home is a happy home. Some women will tell me that they would feel stressed and be nasty if they had to keep their home clean. My question is WHY? Why would cleaning a home make anyone stressed if they keep it up each day? I am a reformed slob. I know all the excuses. Now, rather, I find cleaning to be very satisfying. If I have a dirty or cluttered home, I feel stress like nothing else. I feel unmotivated, lazy, and just plain overwhelmed to look around at the mess. I get nasty and grouchy if my house is unclean. I aim to teach people how to overcome the big brunt of the job so you rarely have to deep clean. You can take 20 minutes or less and have it stay nice. No stress.
Men love a clean and orderly home. Mine does, but of course, some men do not. All people are different and that is okay. They work all day and truly enjoy coming home to a fresh environment. It sets the mood for a relaxing evening for him to unwind with his family. Again, the main thing is peace, joy, and love in a home. Clean homes are a second on the list. BTW, my home gets trashed after each meal. We just clean it up. Homes that looked lived in are great. Do not feel condemned. I am not saying your home should be perfectly clean, there are a lot of other things that are more important than a clean home. But learning some cleaning strategies are great for anyone. So hop on my blog each tuesday and I hope to impart some great tips for cleaning.
****Here is a positive note. Have some cleaning buddies. I have 5. And my daughters are now cleaning other peoples homes to make money. They love cleaning. I started teaching them to clean when they were 3 years old and I guess I made cleaning fun for them. You can try that too. It would not hurt.
Some women also argue that they want to spend more quality time with their children. Hey, you can spend a lot of time with your children cleaning with them! That is a part of our family time. As soon as my kids could walk, they were my cleaning buddies. They learned so early that cleaning was just a part of daily living. It was not a mountain to climb, it was just a few short steps each morning. It brings such a feeling of working as a team. We all live here, we all clean here! The more kids a person has, the more cleaning buddies. The older kids can buddy up with the younger children in their chores to pass on their skills. It is a win/win situation. Building relationships while creating a haven of refreshing beauty!
Learning to Clean…
Maybe a person can get used to filth and it just does not affect their wellbeing but that would be an exception to the rule. Everyone is different, but EVERYONE can learn to be a good cleaner. It is not a gift. It is not even a personality trait. It is just good common sense. It is just a good thing to know. God calls us to be keepers of the home. Not all women have been taught to clean. I get that. I know I have offended many people by this post. I am sorry for that, my intentions were pure. I actually was hoping to help people, being a blessing and encouragement and not a burden. Trying to make your life easier in the long run.
I plan to make a step by step video tutorial on house cleaning among other things useful to the housekeeper, wife, and mother. I realize people just have fallen through the cracks. They need encouragement and the tools to know where to begin.
Each week I will focus on one room and post some youtube videos to go with my blog posts. I will do my best to share what I know about cleaning in hopes to help you enjoy the blessing of a clean home.