Perhaps the biggest lesson so far from living alone is my shifting attitude about housework. Raising the kids, I resented the endless cleaning, the thanklessness of the repetition, the demeaning scullery-maid position into which I was forced. If I wasn’t the person responsible for cleaning something, I was responsible for telling someone else to clean it. That’s just not how I like spending time.
And then there was the voice in the back of my head that told me I wasn’t doing it well enough, that my house was “messy”. I’m pretty sure that voice belonged to my MIL. Tim, God love him, has never once been critical of my housekeeping. Not once in 17 years together.
I had grown up resenting housework. It was often used as punishment, extra chores doled out in remuneration for sass or misdeeds. And my father, the former Marine, often woke us early on Saturday mornings for house cleaning; scrubbing walls, stairways, vacuuming window sills of dead bugs and wiping down the grime, mopping floors, scrubbing toilets. I spent many a Saturday reeking of Soilax.
Cleaning was directly connected to my father’s anger.
Living on my own, the first week was less than tidy, but I have come to enjoy the process of putting order to my surroundings, making things ready for my next creative use of the area. I have always been a nest maker, and enjoyed creating a harmonious environment to live in–even as a child, I loved the detail work of dollhouses–but now, keeping the space tidy, surfaces clear, counters clean actually gives me joy.
This is *my* space for *my* use, and I like to have it clean.
This is new.
With no outside force telling me I *should* do X, and no voice jeering at me about my insufficient skill, I have the freedom to set my own rules.
Oh, I like this.