Were you raised by a mother who valued cleanliness above all else? How about your grandmother? I know I sure was. The women in my family have always kept immaculate homes, throughout the generations. Saturdays were spent deep cleaning (a priority before any other activity) and the home had to be “company-ready” every day of the week.
And then came me — who keeps the kind of home where company has been known to step over toys and move a pile of folded laundry before sitting on my couch.
Writer Clint Edwards of No Idea What I Am Doing: A Daddy Blog says his wife is the same way. And after a recent conversation with his own mother, he discusses what he calls a “generational shift” in a recent Facebook post that’s gone viral.
The father of three says that he was doing the dishes and chatting with his mother on the phone recently when she asked him a question that stuck with him: “Doesn’t it bother you that Mel won’t keep a cleaner house?”
Clint says her question wasn’t confrontational — merely curious. But nonetheless, it got him thinking.
In his post, he admits that “there is often kid clutter, dishes in the sink, and half finished art projects on the counters.” And, he adds, “it isn’t as clean as my mother’s home.” But the answer to his mom’s question is no, the mess doesn’t bother him. Not in the least.
“In fact, I don’t really think about that at all,” Clint writes in his post, which also mentions that he and Mel both share in the responsibility of cleaning the house. “I see our marriage as a partnership,” he explains. “So cleaning is as much my responsibility as it is hers.
But Clint does not fault his mother for this mindset, as he says it was common of the baby-boomer generation. He even remembers his father’s advice for choosing a wife, given to him as a young boy: “Stop by her house unexpected. See how it looks in there. You can tell a lot about a woman by how she keeps her house.”
Yes, years ago, men really did expect women — and only women — to keep the house clean. It was the societal norm and the law of the land in my mother’s and grandmother’s house as well. And, honestly, I think many women expected the same of themselves. But luckily, there seems to be what Clint calls a change in expectations in recent years. And it’s about time.
“I just want people to realize that parenting and domestic obligations are changing,” he tells Babble. “I think most couples feel the way Mel and I do. And I think most parents from my mother’s generation don’t understand why many 2017 parents don’t prioritize a spotless house. This post isn’t a dog on anyone, especially my mother. She’s a great person. And so is my wife. I was simply pointing out a generational shift. At this stage in my marriage, I’m much more interested in supporting Mel, our children, and making sure that the time we spend together is worth while. Keeping a spotless home is pretty far down the line. And there is nothing wrong with that.
So what did Clint say to his mom when she asked this question? He explains it in his post, and it’s all pretty heartfelt: “After a few moments of struggling to find the right words, I finally said, ‘I didn’t get into this marriage for a clean house. I got into it because she seemed like someone I could spend my life with,'” Clint writes. To which his mom replied, “Well … that probably is more important than a clean house.”
So hey, maybe Grandma realizes that things are changing, too. And as for Clint’s wife Mel, he tells Babble that she was “pretty thrilled” with his response.
(For the record, so are we, Clint. So are we.)