How Low Can You Go (Before Your Husband Hires a Maid)


Pretty fucking low, it seems.

Before I had my third child I was somewhat anal took housecleaning very seriously. After Thing 3 was born and I went back to working fulltime, I realized that either I was going to have to lower my standards or I was going to go insane.

But I’m an overachiever, so I did both.

Somewhere along the line, I signed up for emails from The Organised Housewife.  Originally, I suppose I wanted to get these daily reminders to help me stay on top of shit.  Now I use them to make me laugh.  Like, ha-ha, motherfucker, no.

Everyday I get an email from them and they seem insanely helpful, if I cared anymore.  But I am so far past caring that sometimes when I read an email that says, “pick one cabinet and organize it” I just want to go and throw all the things all around until there isn’t even a cabinet.

Yes.  I believe I did mention that I’m also on the crazy train.

I’ve always been a list maker.  When my husband worked fulltime and I stayed at home with the kids, I would make lists so that he could see what all I’d accomplished that day and he would know that even though I was still in the same 3 day old pajamas he left me in, I HAD BEEN DOING STUFF.  Important stuff, like sanitizing the microwave.  I’m not even totally sure where my microwave is located at this moment.  My how things have changed.

Anyway, I still make lists, but instead of long lists of things I want to accomplish in a day, I make lists of things I’ve already done. Here are some sample lists from my ever-present notebook:

1. Get out of bed.

2. Write.

3. Eat.

4. Feed cats.

5. Read internet.

6. Maybe do some laundry. Just wash.

7. Maybe dry the laundry you might’ve washed.

8. Throw clean laundry in a pile.

Notice the list doesn’t say “feed children.” Because even I remember that without writing it down.  Because they constantly ask for food.  All day, every day.

Here’s one titled “Things I am Currently Not Fucking Up”

1. Taking me time.

2. Writing.

3. Kids.

4. Marriage.

another list, titled “Things I am Currently Fucking Up”

1. Everything else.

I’ve been doing really good at writing things on my list that are easy, so I can look at my list at the end of the day and know that I’ve been productive.  It’s really easy to be productive when you use this system.  Shit, I may as well start my own email reminder.

“Good morning, fellow lazy asses. Today’s chore is to add a banana to your ice cream. Yes, I said a goddamned banana split. We CAN DO THIS!”


“Good morning, sweethearts. Today we’re all going to take a moment to remember how awesome we are.  This moment will last approximately 2 hours and is otherwise known as a nap. Enjoy.”

I could really get into this.  I’m like a damned guru.  I will teach you ALL THE THINGS!

So, are you a list-maker? Is your house spotless or spotty? Would you call yourself organized?  Does it bother you that organized is spelled with a Z and an S within this post? 




About Steph

I like words. I suspect I would like sanity, but I really have no way of knowing. I can be reasonable, but not often. View all posts by Steph

69 responses to “How Low Can You Go (Before Your Husband Hires a Maid)

  • Michelle

    I would subscribe to that newsletter and I would READ IT EVERY DAY!

    Your list of things you’re not fucking is up counts more than everything else.


  • Belladonna Took

    If “writing” is on the “not fucking up” list, and you’re remembering to feed the monsters, you’re doing WELL. Way to go!

    I sort of follow FlyLady, and she keeps me sane-ish. At least when the house explodes I have a starting point to unexplode it. But with six large dogs constantly shedding the equivalent of many small dogs, it’s pretty much a lost cause.


    • Steph

      Well, it depends on the day. Some days I think I’ve done great, then some other days I think I ought to trash the whole thing.

      I’ll have to check out FlyLady; never heard of it. Thanks!


  • Jana

    I’m a huge list maker! There is something about checking a task off a list that makes me feel all productive. I have both paper lists and lists on my phone — and some things stay on the list for months and months, because something else usually comes up (like reading blog posts or playing Candy Crush) that prevents me from getting to all the tasks on my lists.

    My house alternates from being presentable (I wouldn’t go so far as to say “spotless”) to looking like Godzilla strolled through. However, these days I’m trying to keep things more organized. You see, back when the husband was still living here, he would do a lot of the housework and dinners — because he worked from home. So, now it not only makes me feel better to have a fairly clean house — but it’s also kind of a “fuck you” to the husband — as in “Fuck you, asshole! I’m not falling apart and I can still manage to keep the house cleaner than when you WERE here!”


    • Steph

      Another thing we have in common. And, ooh, I do clean when I’m angry. I think it’s therapeutic. You don’t need him (mops floor) You’re a grown ass woman (puts laundry away) Goooooo Jana! You know I’m cheering for you, sweetie.


  • Sarah (est. 1975)

    I sign up for those kinds of emails all the time and then they immediately get deleted without me even reading them for like a year. Eventually I unsubscribe or mark them as “spam.”


  • REDdog

    I think your list of lists is great. The first item on my To Do List is to write that list. But then somewhere along the line it all becomes overwhelming because it takes me all day to write the damn list and by the time I finish it’s got like a bazillion things on it and I’d need to clone myself a few dozen times to get through it…so I grab another beer and cry into it. Then it’s tomorrow…easy!


  • Mental Mama

    1. I am a list maker.
    2. I’m very tidy.
    3. I’m also very organized.
    4. I have a tip for a very easy Banana Split milk shake, which you might be able to modify for your crazy diet. Make your vanilla “milk” shake and add a sleeve of those rotten ass Dole frozen strawberries covered in chocolate and a sleeve of those rotten ass frozen bananas covered in chocolate. That’s the only decent thing to do with those fucking things.


    • Steph

      I make lists for every damn thing. I myself am fairly tidy, but the rest of my family – not so much. The only time the house is clean to my standards is when I’m home alone. I’ve never heard of these rotten fruits? but I do have some frozen bananas and strawberries – if I put chocolate in it will it be like ice cream?


      • Mental Mama

        I would imagine that the frozen fruit along with some chocolate mixed into whatever milk-type stuff you can have might do the trick. I saw this fruit stuff and thought, “oh yes, this sounds delightful! I enjoy these fruits and I enjoy chocolate.” And then I figured out that the chocolate melts immediately and it gets you all sticky and the fruit is frozen *solid* and it’s really a miserable excuse for food.


  • Bradley

    *Are you a list-maker? Yes, but I keep them short.
    *Is your house spotless or spotty? My house is so bad it’s far beyond spotty
    *Would you call yourself organized? Not in this universe
    *Does it bother you that organized is spelled with a Z and an S within this post? Not really. The English language is such a mess it’s amazed any of us can spell. .


  • The Hopeful Herbalist

    Chooks in the kitchen, poop in kitchen. Cat in the kitchen. Cat throwing up in kitchen. Lists may help but what about all the other stuff that just happens? Been up two hours, life uneventful so far! Ach, if you love ’em, clean ‘en and feed them; you’re doing OK. Yea my bananas are brown, I did not know to separate them ,thanks for the heads up! 😉


  • The Art of Being Human

    I think I have the mind of an organised person, but I’m far too lazy to actually implement anything. So my house isn’t particularly clean; I’m not OK with it, but I won’t do anything about it because I’m too lazy and there’s always something else (i.e. laying on the sofa watching TV) I’d rather be doing.


  • AZ Gringa

    You want me to write my lists down? What, like on paper?

    Ok. Here goes:

    Things I’ve accomplished so far today:

    – Got out of bed
    – Resolved to find the damn cricket that chirped at me all night long
    – Internetted
    – Made a list

    I’m calling that good.


  • merbear74

    “Ha-ha, motherfucker, no.” That made me giggle like a schoolgirl.
    List of things I am currently fucking up
    Um, life.
    My microwave needs cleaned…time for a new one, methinks.


  • Laurie Free

    love it! u r hysterical. yes I have reminders and alarms and shit that go off on my phone. I can’t fold laundry unless my floors r clean. I feel guilty if I’m doing one thing and neglecting others. I live in a cyclical projectile vomiting adhd ocd state of clean messiness.


  • Twindaddy

    I don’t do lists, but I’ll gladly sign up for your email service.


  • Kevil

    My husband and I both were super anal cleaners/organizers but as the kids got older he got more frustrated and I was too stressed out and tired to realize that I was turning into Momzilla. He reminded me that we have 3 little, personal maids that had been very well trained. My best invention yet: Room to Rooms – how to get a spotless house while drinking a cold beer!


  • Cassandra

    Oh my goodness. I so need a “List of Things I am Not Currently Fucking Up”. Pure genius. Sadly, I think only “Kids” goes on mine. And that one’s iffy.


  • bethteliho

    OMG I love this! I’m a total list maker! You KNOW you’re a list maker when you write things down you’ve already done just for the satisfaction of crossing it off!!

    and I SO get how priorities change after kids. I used to be so anal, I’d (not even kidding) put everything in the pantry and fridge in rows depending on category, and all the labels had to face front. If I found so much as a crumb in my fridge, the whole thing would get emptied and cleaned. Now? hahahafuckinghahaha it’s laughable. I could eat an entire meal off the crumbs/jelly/whatthefuckisTHAT on my fridge shelves, and my pantry looks like the kids put the food away.


  • qwertygirl

    I’m a huge list maker. #1 on my list every day is “Make list” so I always get something done. Sometimes I wander around my house and thinking, “That’s really filthy–I should clean that.” And then I think, “Fuck that noise.” I finally enlisted my children as cleaners–every week they’re required to vacuum one room–living, dining, kitchen/mudroom, or hallway. They talk about “enforced slavery” and “child labor laws” and I talk about “cleaning toilets.” Somehow I always win those little quarrels.


  • Me

    I’m definitely a list maker although sometimes I write things on the list that I’ve already done just so I can cross them off !!!!!
    I don’t see ‘z’ or ‘s’ in words – although I do notice missing ‘u’s !!!!!
    My house is definitely of the spotty variety – unless you count the evening after the cleaner has been once a fort-night – then it’s clean – but not for long !!!
    Have a great day !
    Me xox


    • Steph

      Oh, how I wish I had a cleaner to come! Maybe one day when I win the lottery!

      I also write things down that I’ve already done. Makes me feel super productive.


  • Foxy Wine Pocket

    I used to get The FlyLady newsletters, and the very same thing happened. Until I went through an angry phase and deleted her from my life. The standards are low. Very loooooooooow. At least until the kids are out of here.

    Although right now, they will still do some chores. They are pretty much the reason the dishes get done. I’m thinking about putting some Transformer logos on the vacuum cleaner to get my son interested in that. I’ll add that to the list…


    • Steph

      You are the second person to mention the FlyLady. I feel left out. I don’t know why I haven’t unsubscribed to the OHW (too lazy, not on a list, masochist).

      My kids do some chores too, but I always feel like they should do more. They are really not living up to their full cleaning potential, I don’t think.


  • juliasarnold

    Hahaha! My first visit to your blog (from the publishing bloggers FB page). LOVE this. “Get out of bed” is on my mental list as well– it ‘s not as easy as it sounds.


  • Liz

    Awesome as usual. Yes, I’m also a mad crazy list maker. My lists spawn baby lists. I add things to my list just to check them off. My house is a mess. I try not to add “cleaning x” to my list because I know that will never get crossed off which will make me even crazier. And yes, organized w/ an “s” got to me. Are you trying to tip me over the edge, lady? I’m so there!


    • Steph

      Liz! You are the only one so far who was as irritated as I was by the “s.” I had to it that way; I think her site is English English. But I could NOT write organized with an s when I was saying it, if that makes any sense….


  • Mrs Momblog

    I put things on my list that I already did just so I can cross them out! And seriously, the dishes NEVER FREAKING END.


  • AmberLynn Pappas

    I am a list maker. So bad at one point that I had to see someone about it. My husband just told me that I could not write for the Organized Housewife. Real nice babe.


  • tattoogirl

    Love it! I don’t know why I can’t out away the laundry, which I have picked up, washed, folded and delivered back to my doorstep the next day. (I live in Brooklyn-there is a service for everything!) It takes me a week or two to put away the neatly folded laundry. I, however, am the opposite of you. A messy slob. Not dirty–my dishes get washed every day and I thank The Lord for my Wet Jet Swiffer, but a slob. Shoes, clothes, toys… Everywhere! I hired myself a housekeeper (from a service, of course) and it was the BEST decision I’ve ever made. Live the post. Wish I was taught to use the “s” instead of the “z”. Love it!


    • Steph

      Thanks so much! I am SO JEALOUS of your laundry service! That sounds amazing. Now I’m going to sit here and daydream about someone picking up after me, lol.


Respond to this lunacy here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: