In society it is important to maintain appearances. In my twenties I was so self-conscious about being judged that I would vacuum under the couches each day and wipe the mirror after each person splashed water all over it while washing their hands. I have lived a long life at the age of 42 and let me tell you something; if my kids risk going to foster care because my dust bunnies are the size of raccoons then I suppose that would also alleviate 99% of the messes in my home.
And if someone spreads rumors about my unsanitary living conditions because there is toothpaste splatter in my sink and I haven’t caught it yet, then they can stop using my bathroom like it is a public toilet at the RITZ.
My home collects a fair bit of clutter but nothing obscene. There may be spots on the floor from one of my children spilling some dribbles of milk and tracking in rainwater. But, there is not food left open to spoil or muddy footprints on the floor. I like to live respectably. I do have pride in my home. Yet we all have to decide where we draw “the line”. For some that line may be drawn at “I will not tolerate spots on my dishes!” While for others it may be “Hey, I draw the line at using anything but paper plates”. Either way the dishes are still clean, right? So How far will you go to maintain appearances?
QUIZ Where Do You Draw the Line To Maintain Appearances?
1. You are running late for an important meeting and as you rush for the door you see that your child has smeared Nutella fingerprints on the bathroom door. You:
a. Leave the fingerprints for later. (If people think there is poo on your door then serves them right for judging.)
b. Leave in a panic. (Stress all day about the teachers probably judging the Nutella under your child’s fingernails at school.)
c. Drop everything and clean up the “POO” (Late to meeting- fired from job)
2. You open the door to let guests in and see that your child has left the nasty Turkey Wishbone on the rug where you hadn’t noticed it before. You:
a. Close the door on the guests, hide the bone and rattle off a desperate explanation as you re-open the door. (Better to be a little weird than a lot disgusting).
b. Try to distract guests eyes upward by admiring your squeaky clean ceiling fan and kick the bone under the sofa without incident. (Crisis averted for now but stress that the dog will come in and ravage the sofa.)
c. Pick up the ratty bone and cheerfully dangle it in the air “Who wants to make a Wish?” (People think you are insane)
I don’t really know what this Quiz proves. But I do know that you have to do your best in every situation to maintain your own acceptable Level of Appearances.
I am a busy mom with filthy children and I do worry that someone will walk into their messy rooms and decide that I don’t teach my children properly. Yet, after teaching them properly and consistently for their entire lives to maintain a clean and organized room (and fighting with them all the way) I draw the line at doing it for them just to have it clean for me. When I give them all the tools to be successful (hangers, baskets, drawers, shelves, hooks, hampers, the know how and clear expectations) but they still leave things a mess, I have at some time to admit defeat and draw a line.
I draw the line at using my own valuable time to pick up coats and shoes and back packs when I have my own work to be done even when it means other people will see the mess. (My kids need to be reminded and responsible).
I draw the line at trying to dress my eleven year old when it is clearly too cold for him to wear shorts, just so I can avoid neighbors deciding that I am a neglectful parent. (My child needs to be uncomfortably cold until he decides to wear pants in the snow.)
I won’t lounge around the house like a lazy bum instead of cleaning. I do have self imposed standards of cleanliness that are important to me. But when it comes right down to it, I have to draw the line somewhere that works for me despite what appearances may say about me. What about you?
Leave me your thoughts and stories in the comments below.