Saturday, August 6, 2011

Does cleanliness equal happiness?

I recently had a playdate with a coworker, also on maternity leave with her second son, and was in complete and utter awe of her home.  Although I love our townhouse, she has a beautiful old house in a very trendy part of town and if that wasn't enough, he home was super clean and tidy.  Except for the small play area in the kitchen you would barely know that she was the mother of two lovely boys aged 7 and 25 months; there were no toys strewn everywhere, no random blankets adorning every chair in the house, no random little boy socks peeking out of the couch cushions and definitely no potential death traps (i.e. toys) underfoot.

When I voiced my admiration of her impeccable domestic skills, I was surprised by her response.

"Thanks, but I would be so much happier if I could just let it go."

She went on to explain that her need to have things in just the right place, takes up immeasurable amounts of her time and energy and that if she could just 'live with a little mess' she would.  I admit I have the opposite problem, I am not a slob of disgusting proportions, but I have a tendency to kick toys out of the way, leave clothes in the dryer for days at a time, avoid the vacuum like the plague and only do the dishes once a day.

I make up for my domestic downfalls with my ability to cook, love and nurture and I know that cleanliness isn't everything, but I also know that the hubs would die to have a house where everything had a home AND was actually put away all the time.  That said, my friends comment got me thinking, would he (or we for that matter) really be happier if our house was perfect and tidy. 

How does cleanliness really play into the happiness equation?

How would the happiness gained by finding everything in mere moments be balanced by the time, energy and anxiety of maintaining that 'perfection'?  I don't really know the answer, but I'm pretty sure I'd be miserable if  I spent all my time trying to keep my house tidy; when would I have time to take photographs of my children, blog, tweet, sew and relax?

When I asked the Momma Stuff Blog Facebook Fans what their least favourite chore was, I couldn't help but giggle.  Like those other momma's folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher and vacuuming are all on my 'dislike' list, but things like dusting and washing windows aren't even on my radar.  Does that make me a bad wife?

I think not, but what do you think?