Friday, November 5, 2010

Crumbs on the toaster

Most of the time, I’m a pretty easygoing wife and mother.

Secretly, though? I have some dormant obsessive-compulsive tendencies, one in particular that is triggered every time we’re expecting company.

When this happens, my cozy and comfortable home that was in perfectly acceptable condition before I knew we’d have company suddenly has suspect cleanliness.

Then I’m anxious. I’m frantically removing every smear and smudge on the stainless steel appliances. I’m painstakingly cleaning the floorboards. I’m scrubbing the inside of the microwave. I’m contemplating a re-organization of the cupboard contents.

Don’t even get me started on the bathrooms. Have you ever cleaned the bathroom of a 10-year-old boy? Let me tell you. You’ll find gobs of toothpaste gel in the oddest of places. I could spend like two hours going to town with a sponge and a mop in that little room and still not feel like it’s the spic-and-span-ist it could be.

And those teeny tiny crumbs sitting on top of the toaster, scattered along the bread slots from this morning’s toast? They’re making my skin crawl. I can’t handle them. Crumbs. Must. Be. Eliminated. Now.

And my husband? He’s giving me that you’ve-gone-into-crazy-wife-mode-again glare.

“Um. It’s okay for our house to look like we live in it,” is his usual jab.

Whatever. What does he know, I think to myself in my crazy-wife-mode mental haze, somewhat enhanced by cleaning chemicals. I'm usually too far lost in my neurosis for him to save me at that point.

So last weekend, as I’m de-crumbing and scrubbing the toaster in preparation for some people coming over, I was thinking…is this nuts? Who is really going to be looking at my toaster, anyway? Or in my microwave? Or my cupboard?

I got to thinking: as far as women have come, I think we still sort of feel like an untidy home is a reflection on us (and not so much our husbands, though they live in it, too). We worry about being judged on our home in the same way we’d worry about being judged on our outfit.

And I wondered, am I the only wife-turned-crazy out there who feels this way?

I’m trying to ease up a bit. After all, my husband’s right, it’s okay for people to know that you live in your home. And that you use your toaster.

But those dang crumbs…they’re non-negotiable. They’ve got to go.

Megan Brooks
Sr. Public Relations Specialist


  1. Let it go, sister! There is yet hope. I'm a recovering perfectionist myself ... in fact the pendulum has swung far in the other direction. (Today we're finally installing drapes after living in a fishbowl the last two years.)

    You can do it! Oh, and enjoy your company ....

  2. I'm SO SO glad that someone else goes into crazy-wife mode when company is coming over! I do the same thing! Though, to be honest, it's usually company coming over that's the only reason my house gets any kind of thorough cleaning - most days I'm doing good just to not let the laundry drown us all!

  3. Wow, this is SOOOO me! (and I totally hear you on cleaning boys' bathrooms with the toothpaste everywhere and the, ahem, dribbles other places - EWWWW!) I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who goes berserk before company comes. Though, to be fair, it's also probably the only time my house gets a thorough cleaning...when it's just the 5 of us, I'm doing well to not let us get buried in laundry!