My mom always knew the correct way to do everything - fold and put away various sizes of bath towels, make a bed correctly so that you could bounce a penny off of it, clean a toilet so that it sparkled, get that awful burned stuff off the bottom of pans (not that I ever burn anything in my pans), and on, and on. And if she didn't know the correct way to do something she would consult someone who did know.
One time I was watching the Martha Stewart show (when we just had one kid, so I had virtually nothing to do, and I guess we could still afford cable) and I remember Martha saying in that smug way of hers, "Now there is a correct way to do everything. Today we are going to learn the correct way to fold sheets." And, I thought to myself, "My God. My mom was Martha Stewart.....and what is the correct way to fold sheets again??? I better watch this so I can remember it this time." I watched the show intently, and then promptly forgot how to fold sheets correctly.
Thankfully, it doesn't matter because not only can we really not afford lots and lots of sheets for every one's beds, we live in a tiny house so where would we put all those extra sheets when we have stuff like underwear and toothbrushes to find a home for? In fact, my motto now is pretty much, "Be happy there are clean sheets somewhere near your bed and try your best to get them on your bed so that your skin does not come in direct contact with the mattress because that would be germy."
Now, I've blogged plenty about my lack of cleaning skills, but just for the record my skills at any other kind of home cleaning/organization also suck. I'm pretty sure my closets, bed sheets, and kitchen cabinets would make Martha Stewart sh*t her pants. (Sorry, Martha. And BTW, what is the proper way to clean that?)
But, forget about Martha for a second (because who really gives a damn about her). Lately I've been thinking about how horrified my own momma would be if she were reading my blog...or worse yet, visiting my house. Here's what's gone south.
1. The sheet folding and bed making. I know how to make a bed. Really, you guys. I do. My mom taught me how to make a square corner before the days of fitted sheets (yes, I am that old). And, I have taught each of my kids (except the four year old) how to make a square corner on a flat sheet (yes, you can applaud). I know how to put the top sheet on upside down so that the top hem can show on the right side. But, God love my mom...I have four kids (she had 10, so know that when I say that to her - to heaven - she frowns a titch back at me)!!!
Here's what happens when the sheets get washed in my house. I usually have someone take them out of the dryer and haul them up to each person's bed...or sometimes they just get dumped on the (clean) floor until each person picks up their clean sheets. Then, frantically (usually right before bed) everyone tries to spread their sheets on their beds so that they just stay on there and they can sleep on their sheets instead of the mattress.
Except my bed. Here's the cool trick I just learned with my bed. I can get the sheets off and back on without ever taking the heavy blanket or comforter off! It's like magic and I have thought since I learned this about a month ago - why did I not know this trick? Where have I been living? Under a rock? Cheesus. It's kinda like how I imagine all girls feel when they learn to take their bra off without taking their shirts off. Sassy, smart, with a little bad girl thrown in there for good measure? Oh, and if you've been doing this for years - please do not leave me a comment telling me that because that would just be mean.
Now, my dilemma is - do I teach my kids The Cheater's Way or not? I say no. I let them keep knowing the correct way and thinking there is no other way. (Like it matters since they really don't ever do The Correct Way anyway.) (Even thinking about teaching them The Cheater's Way makes me want to apologize to my mom.)
2. The clothes folding and putting away. Now, recently I wrote this about getting my kids to take their clothes off and put them in the dirty clothes the correct way (right side out and separated) and one of my lovely (and incredibly smart) readers recommended I simply have the kids put their clean clothes on inside out (exactly how they were placed in their dirty clothes) and right-side out them by putting them on thereby decreasing the amount of right-side outting that has to be done. For me this comment was another I Took My Bra Off Without Removing My Shirt type moment. Pure genius. So, now if you happen to open one of my kids' drawers (and I am not saying I recommend this by any stretch of the imagination) you will see a bunch of (clean) clothes that are inside-out and some pants that, in fact, still have clean underwear right inside of them! I think the kids like this new system (although they seemed completely unfazed when I announced the amazing things I had learned), but I'm not sure I am up to this kind of blatant disregard for what I have been taught (I can *kinda* feel my mom's eyes boring into our closets right now).
Our closets now look like World War III and my kids still find something to grumble about when it comes to the laundering of the clothes.
3. Cleaning our tubs. We have a house cleaner (who I love and if I wasn't already married - I would ask her to marry me) who comes once every two weeks. If we had a million dollars I would ask her and her three kids to move in with us (and I'd also ask hubby to buy us a bigger house) so that my house could look like it does right after she comes here all the time. But, for now I have to just have that clean house look for about five minutes immediately after she leaves (because damned if someone doesn't do something like spill a gallon of milk right as she is pulling out of our neighborhood).
So, someone asked me how often I clean during the time that she's not here. My ideal answer to this question would be, "Um, never. I don't clean at all the week she doesn't come over." But, let's be honest. I live with five other people. In a kinda smallish house. Sh*t happens (literally and figuratively). To not live in complete filth I have to do some cleaning. The dishes (although now we have that on the chore chart), the laundry, the counters, the kitchen (generally), occasional sweeping and vacuuming, and the toilets are things that have to be done. So, I do them or I have the kids do them.
Here's the thing - I cannot clean a tub to save my life. Why does the tub sparkle after my house cleaner leaves? And when I clean it - it looks fairly similar to right before I cleaned it? I suspect it's because she uses some sort of chemical that causes legs to grow out of your back to clean the tubs. But, I don't really care enough to ask her and I don't even know if she would tell me.
After about a year of wondering this and debating whether I should just ask her what she uses, I just stopped cleaning the tubs.
(My mom is in heaven saying, "Ewww.")
There you have it. And if you never want to come visit, that's okay. I understand. Just know that my mom did teach me better. This is all on me, and probably she is just as appalled as you are.