Sunday, 26 April 2009

This is my house

Friday night I had a few girlfriends over for a gabfest. Six hours of munching on goodies and spilling our hearts to each other - exactly what a woman needs every once in a while. When I finally crawled into bed at 2 in the morning I knew I would be hurting when Caleb woke up at 5am, but it was definitely worth it.

The comment came up during the night about how my friend wished her house could look as clean and tidy as mine. I laughed out loud. My house rarely looks like this. Usually only when company is coming. Ignore the overstuffed basket on the stairs of things still needing to be taken upstairs. Don't get down on the floor because I probably didn't get all the granola bar out of the rug. The dishes are still drying in the sink. I told them that next time they come over, I'm not going to do a blitz cleaning - I'll just leave it as it was during the day. Then they'll realize the state we usually exist in.

But you know what? I have a friend I visit a couple times a month and I am always jealous that her house is spotless - with three boys and a baby to boot. But I visit during school hours, when there are no kids around imitating a tornado. Lately I'm starting to realize the insanity of competition. No one is perfect. Someone might have things under control in one area and totally hanging out in another. It is useless to compare my weaknesses with other's strengths. It is useless to compare at all. I am working really hard on sweeping this insidious habit from my life. It's hard - it seems to come so naturally in our society. (Yes, I attribute this to the effects of society rather than a natural human tendency.) But it's not worth having in my life and so I'm taking the trash out where it belongs.


Kevin H. said...

I think we can safely call this wisdom. :)

The kind that few address directly, that even fewer work to achieve, and that almost no one successfully attains.

It is hard, I agree.

I remember writing a comment about competition a few blog-posts back, actually....

Come to think of it, I'm not so sure we can (or even should) get by without competition. What other motivation do we have? (If not with others, then at least with ourselves.) If you weren't conscious of how other people might judge (i.e. compete with) the state of your home, what reason would you ever have to keep it clean? Once we stop pushing ourselves to be better (and what other measure of "better" is there than that provided by our fellows), what's to keep us from falling into lethargy and disarray? Why try, if not to live up to some perceived ideal?

I guess the real wisdom is in finding a way to do this without the petty need to "win" at some fantasmal game; but to get by without relying on any kind of competitive spirit at all ... I'm not sure we could keep ourselves from breaking down and ceasing altogether.

mommy's thoughts! said...

I totally agree! I had a great time on friday, we will have to do that again!

Terri-Ann said...

Kev - I love when you comment - you do to me what I always do to everyone (in challenging the point of view)

Do you think that humanity does not have it in them to work for work's sake, and not out of competition? I know it's more of a communist idea (communist in the idealistic definition) - but could we not all work together to create an amiable environment for ourselves, our family and our community? I think back to the old barn-raising days. Let's help build a barn because our neighbour needs it, not because I'll get anything physically measurable out of it.

I wonder if it isn't capitalism, media and advances in technology to be blamed for our current state of "lethargy and disarray". I'd almost argue (to the horror of all feminists) that the invention of things like the dishwasher have actually had an ill-effect on society, creating too much "free time" for stay at home moms, to be engulfed in shopping and mindless TV. A friend of mine recently finished a gorgeous hand-stitched dress for her little girl. She would pick it up in the evenings while chatting with her boys or or husband. Likewise the "superstores" have made buying everything we need too easy. The family sense of growing and gathering food, building a home project, etc. is too easily bought and frees up time which is easily "wasted".

Ah, you've got me going on another topic. I'm enjoying this all too much. You really need to move to Orangeville for more frequent visits!

Kevin H. said...

Can you find me a job there? :)

(Also, while raising a barn might very well be a communal endeavour, don't you think even the wisest of them are thinking, "let's make this one even better than the last one"...?)