Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More Media Lies

I read the following blurb in a column by Rich Galen on Townhall.com (on the frenzy of Christmas house-cleaning currently abroad in the land):

A visitor from a future time might think this activity was to make the home neat and orderly should Jesus decide to do a drop-by. Or, for those with a more secular bent, so that Santa would think "nice" (not "naughty") when he dropped down the chimney and picked out presents to leave under the tree.

Nothing could be further from the truth.


Substitute BROTHER, SISTER, NEIGHBOR, BOSS, or any of the many flavors of IN-LAW and the theory works equally well.

No. No, it doesn’t. “Mom Clean,” is largely a phenomenon associated with young married women, and is most prevalent in the first ten years or so of a marriage…any marriage. Getting to “Mom Clean” rivals the preparation of a surgical amphitheater for open-heart surgery. And the results are just as sanitary, too. Not a single solitary thing is out of place. There is NO dust behind the refrigerator and one could eat off the floor under the refrigerator without fear of getting bubonic plague. The inside of the refrigerator… including the freezer… is also cleaned to the OR level. No mold-encrusted science experiments remain inside, nary a one. The year-long accumulation (or the accumulation since the last time Mom visited) of National Geographics get hauled to the basement…or the curb. And that’s just the first day. Let’s not talk about refinishing the floors (actually happened, once) or washing down all the walls. Or the disappearance of nearly every single ashtray in the house. (Where did they go, anyway? They reappeared, miraculously, after the visit was over.)

I never did any of that stuff for my boss or other assorted guests, including relatives of every stripe. Normal everyday cleaning sufficed and some times not even that, in the case of impromptu drop-ins. But there IS good news. Mom Clean, as a phenomenon, sorta disappears in women with the onset of middle age.

That was my experience, Gentle Reader…YMMV.


  1. Oh, well good. I'm glad in another 10 years or so, I'll be past the cleaning frenzy. LOL!

  2. It is Mother-in-law-clean and it does last for about the first ten years. Since I have now had Toby longer than she had him, MILC is just not that important to me.

  3. Jenny: Something to look forward to, eh? ;-)

    Lou: It may have been MILC for you, but it was Mom Clean for TSMP, and to a lesser extent, TFMP (substitute "Tias" for Mom, in her case), as well. I don't think TSMP would have given two hoots for cleaning "above and beyond" should my (step-)mother had come to visit... which she didn't. But it was all-out "war on dirt" when Mom came to town...

  4. That reminds me of a time when I was in the Navy. I was attending school on an Army post in Georgia. The Army guys loved to tease us on how clean Navy spaces tend to be, but they were the ones who swept the dirt off of the sidewalk, into a dustpan and carried it inside to put into the trash can.

    Anyway, someone really high up was coming to visit the school and we were busy cleaning. "Not just clean," the sergeant said, "but Navy clean."

  5. Becky sez: "Not just clean," the sergeant said, "but Navy clean."

    Yep...the military can take clean to absurd extremes. I remember once upon a time when we were cleaning prior to a general's visit to one of the lil radar sites where I was stationed. We joked that the general had to be one of the tallest officers in the Free World, coz our supervisor had us vacuum, dust, and wipe down ALL the cables in the overhead cable trays in the radar tower...which were suspended at least eight feet off the floor.


  6. Navy clean worked for me. Since I was in charge of a specialized department aboard a goodly sized warship, I always had plenty of marines to do the heavy work. I think that's referred to as "Navy Smarts".

  7. Catmoves said: I think that's referred to as "Navy Smarts".

    Or..."efficent use of available resources!" ;-)

  8. I agree that this cleaning frenzy is experienced primarily during the time frame you mention, Buck. I think there are several factors at play:

    1. Mothers are critical (or perceived to be so) of their daughters and the daughters prefer to be beyond reproach in order to avoid those feelings of inadequacy.

    2. There is an evolutionary advantage to keeping the living area clean for the young 'uns crawling about. This is why pregnant women go on those "nesting" marathons.

    3. There is sometimes a psychological reason (which can keep this going way past middle age) that stems from past trauma in childhood/youth, or unhappiness in the marriage.

    I remember a matronly German neighbor in my youth who might have had an obsessive compulsive disorder, she was so extreme. She would scold her husband for the least little household infraction. Her experiences during the war might have made her seek control in this way.

  9. Since my room is an absolute pit (can't see the carpet) I often get asked how I ever managed to graduate FT. I usually respond that since I have, it's now my perogative to live as messily as I want. Of course, anything to do with my uniform is never on the floor or not squared away.

    We have wingroom cleanup every week at the Det. Thorough cleaning three days a week and semi-thorough cleaning two days a week. Of course, if we just cleaned it one day a week it'd still be 10 times cleaner than the design studios of the design students (aka - hippies) that we have to share the Armory with.

    We did go into cleaning overdrive though when AFROTC/CC Col. Kunzweiler came to visit. I don't think I've ever seen that many POC (upperclassmen) cleaning at one time.

  10. If people want to see my house, they can make an appointment. Otherwise, what you see is what you get. It's clean and neat. Not OR clean or Mom clean or MIL clean. It's just plain ole clean.

    Reflections by Kris


Just be polite... that's all I ask.