Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Gotta Be Perfect

Clean_house Thanksgiving:  Two days and counting.  Once again, I've started my holiday housecleaning late.

But that was Monday of a holiday week.  Added to that, I've caught a cold.  The last thing I want to do is tackle the months of cleaning I didn't take  seriously while working on some project or other.  Oh, my house isn't a the kind of hovel you see on "Hoarders."  There might be clutter in the way of books and magazines (I like to read), but underneath it's fairly clean and usually not too untidy.

I have never been a Martha Stewart wannabe.  Okay, maybe 10% of me might aspire to that level of domestic divadom, but the rest of the time I handle household tasks when they need to get handled and not before.  (Like, why do laundry until you run out of underwear and socks?)

And then the holidays arrive.  Madison Avenue not only wants us to buy beyond our means, but ancillary industries (women's magazines and TV shows--in fact, entire TV networks (Food Network, HGTV, etc.)) want us to have perfect homes.  Perfect, antiseptically clean homes, with the perfect decor, perfectly laid tables with a feast worthy of a millionaire.

Freedom-from-want What makes us buy into this stuff?  I think it's guilt.  These days, everyone is pulled in so many directions, and we're bombarded with images that have little to do with our real lives.  And then the nostalgia factor kicks in.  We MUST do it as we've done it before.  We MUST have a perfect family, that looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

The reality is that our lives aren't perfect.  Our families often disappoint us (and you know who you are).  The house isn't perfect.  The one place you didn't dust is the place where your brother writes the date.  The cat barfs on the rug five minutes before the company arrives--and sometimes waits until they sit down to dinner.

Can't we just have a nice, peaceful holiday?  Enjoy each other's company and not worry about the dust or the cat hair on the couch?

Nope.  I'll be cleaning like a fiend for the next two days.  Gotta bake those pies--and roast that turkey.  After all, it's gotta be perfect.

How about you?

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