Housework and Guilt

I’m not able to clean my house. Let’s face it I’m doing well most of the time to keep myself clean and even that is a constant struggle.

Growler does such a lot of the household tasks already. Cleaning has sort of always been my contribution in the past – as he does washing, cooking and all the stuff I found difficult anyway because of my back problem.  But I can’t clean now.  I haven’t got the energy or the stamina.

So the house has been getting progressively more and more grotty.  Growler hoovers regularly.  But things like dusting, mopping floors, cleaning the bathroom, cleaning windows … have all fallen behind.

It’s a difficult house to keep clean anyway – it’s old and the windows are drafty which combined with a lot of building works around our house (all year round it seems!) really doesn’t help.  Not to mention having a cat, old carpets, a slight damp problem and three adults knocking around the place.

I hatched a secret plan to clean just a little bit every day and quietly work my way through the house.  It hasn’t been working.  After a week of doing a little when I’m able in the bathroom – the stuff I cleaned at the beginning is already dirty again.   So I tried to do a bit more yesterday – just to clean one corner of the bathroom floor, just a square foot.  It ended with me sitting on the bathroom floor crying at the futility of it all.

It’s not just a pride thing, or a cosmetic thing – I am genuinely concerned about the health effects of living with dust and grot when I spend nearly every hour in this house.

I need help.  It’s the only answer.

So I asked my brother (our lodger) if he would clean the bathroom this week sometime.  And with Growlers encouragement wrote a list of chores that desperately need doing and pinned it on the fridge.

Today starts with Growler dusting and hoovering the lounge.  I can hear the hoover in the room below me and later he comes to check on me a little flushed and grinning with pride from his housework exploits.

Now I can hear the whoosh of water from the taps and the gentle knocking of the bathroom getting a good scrub at the hands of my brother. 

Through the wall I hear the efforts of cleaning as I sit in bed doing … nothing.  Nothing except wrestle with some guilt pangs.  First guilty that I am not able to keep my house clean.  Second guilty that I am not able to just get up and get on with such tasks.  Third guilty that I am subjecting other people to doing the cleaning.  All of which are silly I know.  There are things that need doing and people capable of doing them – so, that’s that.

So why do I feel so dirty?

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5 Responses to “Housework and Guilt”


  1. 1 Growler October 14, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Don’t feel guilty.
    If this morning proved anything it is how much we can get done in a relatively short space of time.
    Besides, you do make a huge contribiution to this house.

  2. 2 Rosa October 14, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    I know, I know. It can be so difficult to accept help until we have to, and then we feel guilty. This morning my beau offered to do my dishes (which would have been so helful as cooking is too much these days, let alone cleaning) but I just couldn’t say yes. I felt too vulnerable and weak.
    The thing is, we are so imortant and worthy just by being alive and somehow I need to learn to value my “doing nothing” as a very important act. Thanks so much for your blog 🙂

  3. 3 tammyrenee October 16, 2007 at 2:15 am

    WOW… a word from Growler, too! I know what you mean about the guilt, but I promise myself these are favors I will repay when I’m “well” again. But then, I’m often delusional, he, he.

  4. 4 Nina October 19, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I hope the time comes when you no longer feel any guilt about this. It may be a while in coming, but as you start to decide what are the top prioities in your life, you will more and more be able to let other things go.

    My house used to be immaculate. I was a perfectionist. Want me to send you picctures of all the different piles all over? PIles of laundry, piles of bills, piles of art supplies, piles of started projects.

    I am proud of my piles because it means I am using my energy for what matters most — which will be different for each of us. Actually, I feel lucky to understand this lesson (altho I slip on some days:-). Most folks rush thru life never knowing until the end what they valued most.

  5. 5 Khürt Williams October 27, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    I stumbled across your blog while poking around on WordPress. I do not know much about your ailments ( that is a long list ) but they do sound quite daunting. My wife was diagnosed with fibromyalgia almost two years ago and it has been very challenging for her and the whole family. She is always in pains and switching from one pain medication to another. I can only imagine how you feel and I am sure that sometimes she must feel quite alone.

    Plus, the lack of sleep keeps her in what she call “fibro fog”.

    I have taken on a project to build an social networking web site to create a community for people touched with fibromyalgia to share their experiences and become connected. Please take a look at http://fibromyalgia.ning.com/ Join or share with others who might have an interest.

    I hope that someday they find a cause and a cure for these painful chronic illnesses.


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