Come Over, Mom: It's Clean Enough

Come Over, Mom: It's Clean Enough

Grace Shu
Aug 25, 2008

We must admit that when we get Real Simple (or really, any Martha Stewart magazine) in the mail, we'll rip through it and sigh and moan about how our house will never look that good. Sure, we get inspired; and in some cases, we'll even make a stab at trying our hand at a few of the project or recipes in there. But when push comes to shove, we find ourselves satisfied with our house being...just clean enough.

It wasn't until we read this article posted at Bluegrassmoms when we realized that many people--and not just young working moms--feel the same way. The new housekeeping standard of just "clean enough" can be defined like this:

No crumbs visible around the toaster, it stipulates; just don't look under the toaster. The tub isn't grimy, but it doesn't gleam either, which is why God invented shower curtains. And you could knit a scarf with what's behind the refrigerator.

"Clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be happy," is the way that Elizabeth Sherrill, 52, of Kansas City, Mo., put it.

Here's one thing that really caught our attention in the article: More and more couples are relying on each other to pull their own weight around the house. For example: In 1965, women spent 24 hours a week while men spent 2.5 hrs a week cleaning their homes. Today, that number has dropped to 12 hrs for women and increased to 5 hrs for men. It also indicates that housekeeping is becoming less of a priority compared to careers and children--something some moms and grandmothers are having a difficult time accepting.

Is your home squeaky clean or just "clean enough"? How do you and your partner split the housework?

[ Photo from Carla Bruni ]

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