“No one ever thanked their mom in an acceptance speech for keeping the house clean”

I have a confession to make…I am anal about cleanliness…I spend my limited free time cleaning, mopping, scrubbing, polishing and tidying up because it is important to me…It makes me happy that my house is clean and my family lives in a tidy albeit bleach perfumed space…My obsession with cleanliness and the rules I’ve formulated to keep the house neat tend to irritate my husband and daughter, but what the hell, isn’t cleanliness next to godliness (whatever that means)?

My husband thinks I have OCD because I can’t sleep at night if something is not clean enough…He also thinks I spend too much on cleaning products and use them too liberally…Don’t get me wrong, he himself is tidy enough but can’t understand why he should have to take off his shoes near the front entrance…Although I have formulated rules, nobody thinks twice about ignoring them and this in turn drives me crazy…Why is it hard for people to pick up after themselves? Somebody once told me that my priorities were wrong and that nobody till date had ever thanked their mom in an acceptance speech for keeping the house clean…It’s not as if I don’t do other things or spend time with my daughter and anyway, isn’t a clean house integral to healthy living?

I have another confession to make…I judge people by how clean their house is especially their kitchen and bathroom…I don’t stop being their friend just because they are dirty but I do avoid going to their place…Does this make me a bad person? Maybe…

I have a friend whom I love to death but her house is ridiculously untidy and dirty…I’m talking dirty dishes all across the kitchen counter, sink and floor, over flowing garbage cans, dusty furniture, and clothes and other stuff thrown across the floor….She’s not working and has a school going kid and a daily helper, so as far as I see it, there’s no need for the filth…What really bothers me is her attitude to cleaning up herself…I once asked her why she didn’t wash the dirty dishes and utensils that piled up during the day and her reply was,”I’m not a servant and wasn’t raised as one…My parents educated me to do better things (she’s an ayurvedic doctor) than clean bathrooms and kitchens…The dishes will get done when the maid comes”…The mess doesn’t make me love her any less, but I feel less inclined to go over to her house because it’s filthy….I can excuse a reasonable amount of untidiness, but I just can’t deal with a whole amount of filth…

I know I have to let go and take things easy…Frankly, age is catching up and it’s getting harder to clean and pick up after my daughter and husband…I’ve stopped obsessing about my daughter’s play room and let it remain a bit messy (but never dirty)…I’ve also been trying to teach her to pick up after herself and the little darling that she is, obliges me at times, but the fact is, she is still young and it would be unkind of me to expect her to do more…

I wish somebody would thank their mom or dad in their acceptance speech for bringing them up in a clean environment…I promise you, Maa, that if I ever win anything, I’ll thank you publicly for keeping the house clean and teaching me the importance of healthy living…


32 thoughts on ““No one ever thanked their mom in an acceptance speech for keeping the house clean”

  1. Oh my God!!!! I actually have goosebumps reading this!!! I mean, my mom or my sis or myself could have written this!!!! I couldn’t possibly agree with you more!!!!! And now I have to post on this!!!! (I don’t normally end every sentence with that many exclamation marks, its just a reflection of how WHOLEHEARTEDLY I agree with you!!!! :D)


  2. i guess all moms have this OCD problem so does mine but i still thank her for this bcoz i thnk somehow i hv inherited it in me nd being a guy living alone one xpects my room to be shabby but i too cnt take a filthy place …………but sometimes guy gt to be guys so messing hv to be there somehow specially the study table ……………….but thnk u mom for a sense of cleanliness i hv gt frm u ……….luv u ….

    Me: I think one learns a lot from what one sees…When I got married and went to my husband’s house in the US for the first time, I was surprised to see how tidy it was…OK, so he didn’t have any paintings on the wall and he kept his nail cutter on the centre table in the living room, but things were neat and clean…It’s not as if he cleaned up because he was getting married but that’s how he usually kept things…His friends told me this…His mother (whom I never knew as she passed away long before we got married) was very particular about cleanliness and tidiness…


  3. I’m a little on the fence here. I can be a cleanliness freak too, if I have the time that is. As things are, I do not spend a lot of time at home and can therefore not afford to be obsessed with cleanliness.

    You can clean, scrub, mop and clean some more, but the question to ask yourself Sraboney, is whether you could put your time to better use if you did a little less of all that? If your answer is no, you needn’t think about whether anyone has thanked their mother for a clean house in a thank-you speech. But if your answer is anywhere close to yes, you could re-prioritise things, still have a clean house though not an obsession for cleanliness.

    Sorry for the long comment but an interesting post, this!

    Me: Long comments are always welcome…I wake up early and get started on my cooking and cleaning…I like to get things over and done with so by 9.30 I’m free to do other things like blog…Now if I were working, things would be different…I would then probably have a live-in to do all this for me…


  4. How true! Not only does anyone thank you for keeping a tidy home, they don’t even notice how hard you work to keep it that way. I have sort of given up… its been more than a quarter century.. and with three men around I have lost all hope of ever having the house of my dreams. I don’t mean squeaky clean since I dont really have OCD, but sort of reasonably tidy and clean with people picking things up after themselves and not having to wait till they have left home to make it look tidy once again and only have the pleasure of that tidy home till they are all back by evening!

    Me: I wonder why men, in general, are less tidy than women…


  5. Oh !!! Give me 5 on that Bones !!!! I am exactly like you – I dont like to go to anybody’s house, which is not kept clean – even those frnds whom I love so much – exactly my view point.

    Does that make us bad – Oh no, not at all, is my view. We will be bad, if we break the frndship becos of filthyness at her home.

    Yes, I thank my Mom too, for ingraining this quality of cleanliness in me, which has certainly made me a better person. 🙂

    Thanks for this post.

    Me: I was afraid I would get a lot of flak for this post but I’m pleasantly surprised by the comments…


  6. Oh Bones! Hi5! Same story here! My husband thinks I am crazy to mop the floor and then wipe with Dettol disinfectant! He thinks that it is just my way of increasing my work load. I remember people telling me that if I raise my daughter in such a sterile environment – she will lose her natural immunity. But I can’t help it – call me crazy but..

    I so totally identify with everything you’ve said. I can’t stand dishes piling up either. Maid or no maid – I would much rather wash them than pile them up. My mom is the same – actually one level higher than me 🙂 But yes, as you say, I would thank her from the bottom of my heart for bringing us up this way..


  7. I love a clean, orderly and lysol-smelling house but when it is everyone else (including the dog and the puppy) against you it is simply impossible. So I have learned to cope with mess.
    True nobody thanks their mom for keeping their house clean and beautiful but I guess it is because it isn’t very high on the agenda for a lot of people.
    What annoys me is not just the effort of having to clean after everyone but when people try to label you as having this syndrome or that condition.


  8. You appear to be not very far from OCD! I like your friend…many of us love cleanliness…as long as someone else is there to work on it!

    On a slightly more serious note, one needs to understand the difference between things being messy and filthy – and that you do.


  9. Like you and Smitha, I have a touch of OCD too where cleaning is concerned! And I hate to be judgmental but I confess I am when I see a dirty house. I cannot help thinking in my mind how lazy they are!! 🙂 I mean, it’s not as if anyone wants to be dirty, it’s that it takes a lot of effort to keep one’s house clean. I really slog at it, and in fact wash my hands too frequently too! 🙂
    By the way, I tagged you, but I think the pingback on your about page didn’t arrive.


  10. Came here from Apu’s link on FB – have to add to this. It’s not so much that people don’t want to thank as much as they don’t think it’s a big deal. I would scrub and shine everything around the house , especially the bathrooms and expect that my roommate would be jumping for joy. In she would waltz and leave a trail of combs, water, hair(yuck!) and never even realize that she had done anything wrong. She just didn’t see those two states as different. Now, I am anal too and tend to notice whether the faucets in a bthroom are splattered, but most people just don’t care and so they don’t realize we’ve made their lives better for them to thank us for it.


  11. You know what? My mother is/was an obsessive cleaner too, and though i did not appreciate it when i lived with her, it has subconsciously seeped into me,and I have been fortunate that the DH has the inherently tidy, non-male quality, so neither of us can tolerate a mess around the house for too long, and do get up to clean it up! Believe mine was one of the neatest rooms in my hostel, and I am still proud of it. I too love visiting homes that are neat and tidy, and though it would not cost me relationships, I try and avoid homes that are not decently hygienic. 😛


  12. I’m fighting a losing battle on this front with my boys. The filth is scrupulously kept out but the untidiness remains. I fail to conquer it in their room no matter how hard I try. Thankfully the rest of the house is tidier than it used to be before, when the kids were toddlers and scattered their toys throughout our home. So I suppose I should be thankful for small mercies. My confession is that I catch the cleaning bug late at night. That’s the time is scrub, scour, buff and polish whatever requires attention. I like the kids out of the way and the day’s other chores dealt with when I do this. Can’t tell you how satisfying it feels!


  13. I appreciate cleanliness… my wife does too.. but at the same time we kinda are not obsessive about it..

    I had a friends wife who would not let him sleep on the pillow without a napkin coz the pillow cover would get spoilt… 😆

    lol !!!!

    I hope your not at that level !!!! some are just obsessive… and they irritate at times !!! 😛 😛 😛

    Me: I know a lot of people who sleep with towels on their pillows – I think it’s a common Indian thing or maybe it’s just a Bengali thing…


  14. It is good have a clean house and environment but it must not take an extreme position.
    Incidentally,my wife spends a lot of time cleaning with the domestic help,but with me around they both have to work harder.


  15. Others have already said it. Filth stays out or is dealt with immediately.

    Mess, chaos, untidiness is the norm when you have two kids at home. Everything is cleaned and kept properly and it takes absolutely no time in becoming messy again. This is a daily routine and one can hear an occassional holler…..”Why can’t you kids ever be neat and organised?”

    I guess there are phases in one’s life. I remember, as kids, my sister and I were completely disorganised and messy. We could never find our books, pencils, pens and so many other things. That has changed over the years and now my wife and I are neat and organised and we find the kids driving us up the wall.

    They should pick themselves up as they get along in life.

    However, I confess I would be a nervous wreck if I had to stick to a strict routine of neatness as you have described it.


  16. As you have said, I will leave my room messy but surely not dirty… even in room there must be some cleanliness… we are going to live so its us to take care of it to be in live able condition…


  17. once i recover from delayed guilt, i will thank everyone who screamed at me for not picking up my debris! i will also never apologise to those i have yelled at for not doing their own dishes. and, cross my heart and swear to fly, i will never leave food on my plate.


  18. Bones, I totally love you for this post. We must be related in some way!! 😀 I too avoid ppl’s houses because they keep it dirty! I don’t feel one bit terrible about it.

    Yes, being clean is good. What I tell my husband is that I just expect him to keep himself clean. The rest of the house, I will keep clean. I don’t drive everybody crazy with the cleanliness bit!


  19. Talk about cleanliness and everyone remembers Monica…ha ha !!

    Is it a thing with women only coz I am yet to see a guy who is a cleanliness freak…

    Me: Why is that? Why aren’t guys neat freaks?


  20. Cleanliness I find necessary, but only when I have to, do I do it myself Sraboney. I love my kitchen and want the counter clean enough sit on and blog hop … but if the maid is late, I wait for her to come and do the dishes.


  21. Give me a five Lady!

    My guy thinks I’ve gone bonkers n insists on taking me to psychiatrist b/c of the OCD I suffer from regards to cleanliness. Haaaaaa! Would sound wierd, if I have to confess to mopping (Dettol it is for me too, like Smitha) the floor after the room is serviced everyday.

    And I find some excuse or the other not to visit a friend’s where I have to make place for myself removing umteen clothes, books, papers n view a kitchen with unwashed plates, residue of every ingredient used for cooking splashed across the counter… n rooms which have things scattered all over the place. And the excuse, oh! our kid is a little naughty, I don’t have time, or I’ve never done this at home…. I know my previous work profile lists me as a housemaid, indeed!!


  22. “I judge people by how clean their house is especially their kitchen and bathroom”..I do that too. I dont claim to be having an OCD,but its very important to me that my house,esp my kitchen and bathroom,is clean. Oh yes I’m thankful to my parents for raising me up in a clean environment. And I’m hoping I’ll give my daughter too an equally clean surrounding to grow up in.

    First time here.Came from Smitha’s. Glad to have come by 🙂

    Me: Welcome! I’ve been reading your comments on other blogs


  23. Late reader here. But enjoyed the post. I wonder about this many a times as I am picking up things from the floor after many have walked past it several times as if there is nothing on the floor!

    Me: Welcome!


  24. Late comment, but nonetheless… with due to respect to all the women (and men) who like cleaning.

    My wife works extremely hard at keeping the whole house tidy just like most of you and I really appreciate and thank her for that. However, forgive me if I sound like an MCP, but I would like her and most people to do more fulfilling things in life. It could be painting, dancing, working, play sports or even trying different recipes. Repititively cleaning the house can do only so much and the next day and the day after it is the same story.

    Yes. In countries like in India or Singapore it is easy to get domestic help so one should try to use their services and free oneself to explore other aspects of life.

    Me: What you say is true – who wouldn’t want to do other things…But, I feel the house should not be neglected…


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