Like many other people, I’ve been home by myself a lot over the past few weeks. I was sick. I’m 99.9% sure it was just a seasonal cold. I had a sore throat, runny nose, and a cough. There was never a fever or difficulty breathing or anything like that. But, just to be safe, I had my daughter stay with her mother for a couple of weeks and self-quarantined. About a week ago, I was feeling healthy again. I couldn’t wait to see my daughter, but decided I should give my house a thorough cleaning first and I would see her this week.
I spent about five days cleaning. I used soap and water, bleach, and disinfectant wipes. I swept, scrubbed, vacuumed, and mopped. I did every last bit of laundry, including sheets and blankets. I cleaned the sinks and the toilets and the shower. The house is cleaner than it has been in years. I even de-cluttered and did some interior decorating.
And here’s the thing. After all of that, I felt nothing. There was no sense of satisfaction. No pride in a job well done. Nothing. I was grumpy while I was doing it, and still kind of grumpy when I finished. The only positive thing I felt was a bit of relief. It definitely wasn’t psychologically worth the effort.
It’s not that I can’t feel good after cleaning. I used to work in kitchens and ended every day with sweeping and mopping and scrubbing and sometimes vacuuming. I used to feel good at the end of work. I had a sense of accomplishment. There was satisfaction knowing that everything was ready for the next day. But when it’s my own house, I can’t get that feeling.
I feel like I’m supposed to feel pride or satisfaction or something after I clean my house. Isn’t that part of what home ownership is about? It looks like other people enjoy a clean house. I don’t understand why I don’t. For me, cleaning is nothing but a chore, whether it’s before, during, or after.
I wish I were different. I clean because I have to. Never because I want to. If I had money, I’d hire a cleaning service in a heartbeat. Alas, for the foreseeable future, I’ll have to keep cleaning for myself and making myself grumpy every time.