If you give yourself consistently low marks, can you identify the problems? Can you find solutions to your housekeeping woes? We asked several of our forum members to grade themselves on housekeeping. Here's what they said:
Dirt Is Building Up
One forum member says:
I don't have to think long about your question, because I've been thinking about my housekeeping lately. I'd say I'd give myself a C, because my apartment is not immaculately clean, nor extremely dirty. You'll find some dust here and there and dirt in places that are hard to clean (shower, the space behind the faucets etc.), and yes, arthritis is the main contributor to the building up of dirt.
Your Energy Level Is Low
I mean, before my rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I never was a frantic house cleaner, but now the energy usually fails to do it. I live on my own, and I don't have the energy left to do the cleaning when I come home from work. Some things are just painful, things that need power from the hands. I started to clean my shower last week, scrubbing the shower head, but my hands started throbbing so badly that I quit halfway through it. So now I have one half that is shining beautifully and one half that is still white from the scale! Does it bother me? No, not really. It bothers me much more that my lack of energy affects my happiness, my relationship, the amount of time I can spend with friends and family.
You Hate Asking for Help
Another forum member says:
I'd give myself a C- or even a D. I do what I can, but I am always behind. I was never the world's greatest housekeeper before RA, but the RA made things worse. I just don't have the upper body strength to scrub things or use a vacuum so I always have to wait to get someone to help me with the heavy cleaning ... and I hate asking.
Yet another perspective:
I have always been an extreme housekeeper, so it is with a heavy heart that I grade my house a B-. Before RA, it was always an A+. I have been a stay-at-home military wife for most of my married life, so being independent and keeping up house and the kids has always been my job. My husband is always a huge help as are my kids. I also have another military wife that comes and helps me with cleaning, (just yesterday she was here scrubbing my floors for me). No one else thinks my house looks bad and my family sure doesn't complain, but I really hate that I have to ask for help, but I sure can't do it on my own. I am really blessed to have my family and such a great friend.
Tips to Take Away
- Pace your activities.
- Prioritize your to-do list.
- Long-handled cleaning equipment is a necessity.
- Clean around the house regularly, so it does not become overwhelming - tackle housework in small bites.
- Ask for help when needed. Interestingly, those who resist help are often the first to offer help.
Most of all, don't be too hard on yourself. There's a reason why you grade yourself C and below. You live with a chronic disease that interferes with many aspects of daily living. If you are giving housekeeping an earnest effort, find a level of contentment in that. Just as you had to learn to live and cope with arthritis, you may also have to learn to live with a lower grade of housekeeping.