Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Definition of Clean

It is customary to thoroughly clean your home before Passover. It is a time to get rid of anything forbidden during the holiday, like crumbs, and leavened products. Since we are gluten free, and pretty much Passover-esque 24/7/365 it seems a bit redundant to revamp the pantry. Instead we focus on the more social aspect of Passover, like family time and drinking wine.

It is the deep cleaning element of Passover that most Jewish homemakers dread. Depending on the level of religiousness, preparing for Passover can be all consuming. Fortunately for me, we are on the relaxed side of celebrating. In fact, after the drama in one of my moms of multiples forums last week, I am questioning my own sense of priorities when it comes to cleaning and keeping a neat home. There are some moms that are control freaks about their homes and their kids suffer the wrath of that obsessive behavior. I am over on the other extreme of housekeeping. My kids will never know that white glove lifestyle.

I have never been a stellar housekeeper.(quit laughing Mom) I do not enjoy cleaning even though I appreciate a tidy environment. When we had a cleaning helper the house looked presentable most of the time. Now, fast forward a few years to: 4 toddlers, a 17 year old boy, and a Jack Russell Terrier under our roof, and things are not what they used to be. Our house looks lived in by 9 people because it is. Our home is NOT a museum or a show place. God Bless Argenida, who keeps us presentable and does damage control. Without her contribution we would be condemned.

I choose to spend my time enjoying my family. I play, read, craft, cook, blog and work every single day. I could find time to deep clean and keep our home looking magazine ready if I wanted to, but that would drastically cut into the time I get to spend with my children. I doubt they will remember our home being spotless, as much as they will recall how much fun we had together.

I look the other way when the clutter gets piled up, and I do the bare minimum it takes to keep the place one step above embarrassing. It is my easy going, fly by the seat of my pants attitude that makes this all work. Oh sure, I could be all anal retentive about the carpets and furniture but it would not do any good. We have berber carpet with the remains of the 16 ounce jar of honey that the boys spilled, we have a leather couch decorated in marker, and our walls are Jackson Pollock meets the preschool set. I love it all just the same. Perhaps some day our decor will be more mainstream, but for now, not so much.

To some folks this is horrifying, to others it is just keeping it real.

Our play room gets picked up every evening, but if you were to stop by during the day it is a war zone. It looks like children have invaded the space with books, toys, games, snacks and art projects. I appreciate the fact that this is their area, and I allow them to reek havoc so long as it stays in that room. This is our normal.

In honor of my Jewish heritage and tradition, I asked the kids to help me get the play room ready for Passover. They have been soaking up all the information at school, so why not use them as slaves like our ancestors. You have to understand my sacrastic teaching methods by now. Handing them some of theseamazing pre-loaded cleaning wipes, I was able to encourage them to wipe down the surfaces, clean the windows and detox the back of the couch.

They dusted, and spread the anti-bacterial liquid on the surfaces, so in some respects, it is actually cleaner than before. When they were done, it looked exactly the same as before they started. They tried and that is what is important to me. In their minds they were being helpful in getting ready for Passover.

My definition of clean is way below average. I am confident that someday my home will be clean by just about anyone's standards. For now, I like it just the way it is- happy, healthy and LOUD.


Ephraim said...

unfortunately I'm on the strict side of cleaning...we'll be up all night!!!

Helene Eichenwald Slutsky said...

Aaryn- this is one time when I can honestly say, better you than me.

Kosher wig- check
Jewish Day School-- check
Circumsized sons-- check,check
Mezzuzahs on doors- check
Jewish husband- check

This is the best I can do- aside from locking the doors and going on one of those Passover resort vacations. How bout, next year in Palm Beach, or Jerusalem?

April said...

Wow! I never knew about that tradition for the Jewish faith! Very interesting! I love that you let your kids help. :) I just love reading your blog and am picking up so many great tips for when my triplets arrive!

loren said...

*snort!* I LOVE your couch!!! I say that with the deepest understanding. You see, I had to buy a couch cover because of how many pee/cleaner/marker/unknown stains we had on ours. It was so bad I STILL refuse to put my face on the cover for fear of what might seep through!

I love your traditions. We're doing our own Spring cleaning in the form of getting rid of stuff. It feels AWESOME.

Amy Thompson said...

I have the upmost respect for you as a mother. You are right... they will remember the time you spent together not how clean your house is! I love reading your blog!

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