Clean Freak Guilt

One of the things I’ve always been proud of is my cleanliness. Although it was far easier before I lived with someone, I was still able to stay on top of most of the mess caused by my significant other. I am a neat freak and he is, well, not. Until recently, I was still managing to keep the house…manageable.  Now, as I’m quickly approaching my 33rd week of pregnancy, it seems that the fatigue I experienced in my first trimester has returned.
This is the most inconvenient time for this. As I watch the weeks count down on the calendar, I watch the list of tasks to be done grow and grow. Half of the tasks I’m too fatigued to perform most days and the remainder I just physically can’t do anymore.

This is all I can think about-every spot, every pile of mail, every little item out of place. And how time is running out for me to clean the house.

None of this seems to affect my husband. It’s like he doesn’t even realize that there will be a baby in the house (and subsequently tons of additional family members) in two months. His concept of time is very infinite-there is always enough time in his universe, even when we’re pulling up to appointments 10 minutes late. He plans about 30 minutes for his morning routine, which takes roughly an hour to an hour and a half. I swear he was an 11 month baby, which would also explain his near 10 pound birth weight.

In addition to super smell, I think pregnancy can often come with other super senses. Like the ability to zero in on microscopic dirt and smudges you never saw before.  I believe this sense is enhanced by the knowledge that soon your home will be filled with many people with prying eyes and possibly white gloves. My MIL (mother in law for those of you not in the know) has never been to my house. Her house looks like the pages of House Beautiful, all 5000 square feet of it. Of course it does, her son now lives with me.

My biggest obstacle is, indeed, my husband. If I had a time machine, I would be tempted to tell my younger self to stay single, if just for the ease of clean up for my future self. My husband has a pathological fear of horizontal surfaces that are clear of debris. In addition, I firmly believe that he is also afraid of trashcans. He will let trash pile up on the table, on the counter, etc. I don’t even know how long they will sit there because I end up cleaning it up. I tried to make it easier on him-I placed a trash can in between his chair and the table next to the chair. I witnessed him reach over the trash can and place the trash on the table. Where it sat. For a week. Until I brushed it 2 inches into the can.  I once found receipts from 1996 in a coat he wears every winter. We met in 2007.  The receipt was from the previous state he lived in.

After my pile-it problem (he piles it here, he piles it there) are the physical limitations I’ve acquired since becoming pregnant. I can no longer clean my entire house (including vacuuming, mopping, laundry etc) in a few hours. Because of this I feel immense guilt. Clean & neat freaks who can no longer clean are a sad lot indeed. If I’m not fatigued beyond belief, I move so slow that by the time I finish one task, my husband has started messing from the other end.  I’m not trying to complain or whine, I’m just expressing my frustration with the situation in which I’ve found myself.

The worst part though isn’t the not being able to live up to my ridiculous neatness standards is that I feel terrible about it. I feel like I’ve failed in some way. I’m at home all day, what is there for me to do? Keep a home. And I feel that I’m not even doing that well. My husband says it’s OK b/c I’m building a human being, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. I want to clean my house top to bottom, left to right. I want my house to look good enough that I could accept company at any time. Right now, I don’t feel like that. My house suffers from what the flylady ( calls C.H.A.O.S.- Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

Add in the nesting fairy and it all becomes like a farcical play. Perfectionistic tendencies, a cleanliness compulsion and nesting do not mix. I”m already emotional and prone to beating up on myself, nesting doesn’t help with that.
Anyone else struggling with this kind of thing? Please tell me I’m not alone.


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