"You can tell a woman by her toilet."
My mom said it when I was 15 as part of her cleanliness-is-next-to-Godliness speech. I knew what she meant, but in my mind's eye, all I could see was WOMAN=TOILET. I vowed in my head that I would never be defined by my toilet.
When I got married I went through a while of housewife hell, thinking that as a part-time employed, full-time student, I should have somehow received the miraculous gift of home organization along with the shinny ring and the new last name. When it didn't come, I became frantic. I began down a path that 14 years later I am still trying to veer off of. Some days I find myself on the frontage road way too close to that old, well worn road. I see the tread marks of heals and tennis shoes, and if I look close I think I can see my mother's foot prints there.
So I have decided to do house work on a system I have developed in my overcrowded head called "The Joy Factor System". I rank jobs, not by how long they take, what areas of the house they include, and not by who will notice. I rank them by how much lasting joy they bring. A level1 job like sweeping my kitchen floor might last a few hours, thus giving me only an hour or so of job satisfaction, while a level five, say, finally sorting out that last box from our move six years ago... well that has a bliss factor that is endless. I mean, I doubt one of my kids will likely pack that silly box back up for me to sort out again in a week, they are too busy in the kitchen at their daily "spill crunchy food" convention. I have decided to aim for 3's, 4's and 5's. I am letting the dishes go some days so that I can do the mending before the kids outgrow their torn school uniforms. And heck, with more school uniforms in the drawers, that is one more day I can squeak by without doing laundry!
I don't iron on Tuesdays or bathe the kids on Saturday nights. My sheets are neither matching, nor wrinkle free. I have never spent a whole day baking bread. I do sweep a lot, but mostly because I love my Filipino broom. And sometimes, for a brief, shining moment in time, my laundry is all done, joy factor level 1.
My toilet happens to be clean, but when I look down into the bowl I don't see the reflection of my own face.