Woman vs. Machine: Can I Make Room for the Roomba?

I have what is known as a domestic deficiency. One who suffers from a domestic deficiency does not enjoy living in cluttered chaos, she just doesn’t have the drive or innate sense to keep the house clean on a constant basis.

My mom used to sweep while she was on the phone. Or wipe down the counters, or unload the dishwasher. This would never occur to me. Vacuuming while on phone or while Jed is napping is out of the question for obvious reasons. My “disease” combined with the obstacles of motherhood led my husband to enlist some help:

iRobot Roomba 545 Pet Vacuum, from Sam's Club.

She doesn’t do windows or dust or mop. But on the other hand, she doesn’t leave me shaming messages on the kitchen counter that say, “Is too much dust and dog hair.” (True story. Scarred for life, thank you very much, Maria.) She’s slow, but thorough. And Jed squeals with delight watching her glide around the room, bouncing off the walls. At first, I felt threatened. Was my husband insulting me? What exactly was he trying to say about my housework? That a robot could vacuum better than I could? That I couldn’t handle housework, watching Jed and working part-time? What else are they going to come out with that robots will do better than me? (Please let it be a laundry robot!)

Well, I know what he was trying to say because I live here, too. I can recognize my shortcomings. I can make room for another lady in the house without letting in the green monster.¬†Roomba can vacuum, but does she know all the words to the really fast part of Hook by Blues Traveler? Or can she peel an orange in one long curl? I can’t do the second thing either, but I know someone who can, and it’s not a robot.

Suck it in, suck it in, suck it in…


Taking my resolutions out for a test drive.

Every year, I tend to get a tad overzealous when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. So this year, I’m using the week before to put my ideals into action and get a feel for how realistic my resolutions actually are. Will I adjust to the upgrade of a healthier, more domestic version of myself? Or will I crash and burn?

This is not an attempt to emulate Punky Brewster. This is simply what happens when you don't keep track of your socks. EVER.

1. Staying on top of my laundry list. Literally. This has been an ongoing battle. For the sake of our marriage, I finally had to let Dave fend for himself in this arena, as keeping up with my own piles of laundry, both dirty and clean (plus that sneaky third pile that’s too clean to be dirty but not dirty enough to wash yet) was just too much to take. Then add a toddler into the mix who has more outfit changes a day than Kate Middleton and laundry becomes one endless, thankless task. But as my mom says, “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do.” For me, one of those things is folding and putting away laundry. I just caught up on some laundry during Jed’s nap and plan to earn frequent folding miles in front of the TV. Key to success: combining the ick of folding and putting away with the fun of watching TV or catching up on the phone with an old friend.

2. Practicing yoga once a week. I’m sure I should practice more than once a week, but considering I haven’t hit the mat in more than four months, weekly is a lofty aspiration. Dave is always encouraging me to go. He tells me just to name the time and he’ll watch Jed while I work out. But the time comes and I find another distraction or to-do that needs my attention. The guilt weighs me down, ultimately keeping me at home or out running errands. Key to success:¬†taking help when it’s offered. I’m always telling my sister she needs to make more time for herself. I need to practice what I preach. The helping hand has been extended… I just have to grab it.

3. Keeping a clean sink. This will by far be my greatest challenge. I have friends who cannot go to sleep at night knowing that a single plate is sitting in their sink. I do not have this problem. Dave and I will let dishes “soak” for days waiting for the other to get grossed out enough to cave and wash it. While I almost always cave first (much to the fruit flies’ dismay), I can’t keep letting the dishes sit. It’s disgusting. Dave and I both grew up in very clean houses. A clean sink was as much a part of the homescape as a dog curled up at your feet. We want this for Jed, too. (Of course, as soon as he’s old enough, with respect to child labor laws, he will be doing his share). Key to success: Teamwork. I’m going to have to enlist a partner on this one. I will keep the dishwasher up to speed, but we will both have to rinse dishes and put them in the dishwasher as soon as we’re finished with them. I see a lot of nagging in the New Year.

Today, I’ve already done laundry and I’m headed to a yoga class in half an hour. So far, so good!

What are your resolutions?