How Bad a Housewife Are You Really?

There has been some talk lately about housewife slug and drudgery, slobs and slovenliness, gross and grotyness. I've yet to meet a woman who says, "My house is clean all the time. I love it." Ok, so I have met one, but she's a little nuts, so we can't count her. And if you can say your house is clean all the time because you pay somebody else to clean it, well, happy day for you, but you don't count in this experiment either. So here's the thing. With all of these claims of grotesque funkiness in the home, I usually do not come across what I would expect when I visit other women's homes. Granted, I normally do not just show up unannounced to do home inspections, but even if I did, I often feel like nobody's house would be as bad as mine gets. Mine is not always bad. Don't get me wrong. I do try, especially when my son tells me he is going commando because he couldn't find any clean underwear. The guilt within me swells, and then it gets bigger when I realize I am only trying to keep track of one little guy's Spiderman tighty whities, and then I'm off on a flurry of activity that leaves plenty of clean smelling Justice League friends all snuggled together in his drawer. I often ask myself, What do y'all do with multiple bums that need multiple Superhero protection? Anyway, as Dr. Phil would say, let's get real. Ok, I don't actually know if Dr. Phil says that, but it sounds like something he would say, and plus, it's a great transition line into what I want to do today. Today, I want everybody to take a little quiz about housekeeping. You don't have to reveal your score, or anything, but I just want to put this whole "Me oh my, my house is a wreck" conversation into some perspective. Here we go. Choose one answer from every category that best describes your housekeeping habits. Bathrooms Your bathrooms gets swished and swiped daily, with a weekly Clorox cocktail for the bowl. 1 point Your bathroom gets swished and swiped twice a week, with a biweekly Clorox coctail for the bowl. 2 points You wipe the toothpaste off your sink when you notice it's turned into a hardened crust, you wipe the counters/whatever when there are water marks from the dried puddles that sat there for 2 days, with a once a month Clorox cocktail for the bowl. 5 points. You wipe the counters/whatever when you no longer feel envrionmentally safe in the bathroom, with a Clorox cocktail for the bowl only when you've noticed a discolored ring around the bowl and the dried poop sticking to the underside of the seat. 10 points. Kitchen Your sink gets shined daily, sometimes twice daily. Your dishwasher gets emptied daily, sometimes twice daily, and your floors get mopped once a week. 1 point Your sink gets shined once a week, your dishwasher gets emptied when your sink is too full to put anything else in there, and your floors get mopped biweekly.2 points Your sink occasionally gets shined, that is, once you finally are able to load the dishwasher you loaded last week because you finally used all the clean dishes directly from the dishwasher. Your floors get mopped once a month, or whenever the sticky spots get so bad they can actually pull the shoe off your foot when you step on them. 5 points Your sink gets shined after you empty it because the dishes in there have sat so long there are now fruit flies buzzing around the molding food on the dishes. You have long since forgotten what color your floor really is. 10 points Laundry You do laundry daily, except Sunday, of course, because you have prepared on Saturday while humming "Saturday is a special day" all afternoon, and there is no such thing as the mismatched sock drawer. There is never laundry left in the washer or dryer overnight, and all laundry is immediately put away once folded. Your children NEVER go commando. Or naked. 1 point You do laundry about 3-4 times a week, with the occasional mismatched sock, but you never leave laundry in the washer or the dryer, and will only leave folded laundry in the basket for about a day. 2 points You do laundry when you notice you are running low on undergarments, your child has worn the same shorts 3 days in a row, and you have spent the last 2 days fishing slightly rumpled clothing out of the dirty clothes hamper. You are required to do at least 6-7 loads in one day just to catch up, and spend the entire evening folding at least 50 pounds of laundry. Sadly, you are so exhausted from the ordeal that you leave the clean laundry in several baskets to be put away at a later time. You know, 5 days later. 5 points You do laundry only when your offspring asks you, "What's that smell?" and you realize it is the wet laundry that you have left in your washer for 3 days that now has living things growing on it. The folded laundry left over from the last time you did laundry has now been completely used up from the basket, and you have long since purchased new undergarments and some wardrobe additions because everything else in the house is dirty. As you finally drag yourself around the doing the laundry, a task that fills the entire day and continues into the night because you have to do it at the laundromat to accomodate the sheer volume, you frequently find yourself saying, "Oh, I forgot about that shirt!" 10 points. Ok, count 'em up, and see if any of these things describe you. I am, of course, using the most unbiased and scientific methods I have gleanded from the most superior, upstanding scientific publications, such as 'Glamour' and 'Cosmopolitan' magazines. 3-5 points. Please, please, please drop the charade of bad housewife. Glory in your superior housekeeping skills and gleaming sinks. Worship at the shrine of FlyLady, for she has truly taught you well. Inhale the righteousness of Pine Sol and Clorox Bleach. 6-9 points. Really, you are not doing as badly as you might think. Most of your life is under much better control than you suppose, and it is only the occasional mishap that pulls you under. Remember who you are and what you stand for, re-read your FlyLady testimonials, and perservere in your endeavors. Oh, and you can't have the label of bad housewife either, by the way. 10-15 points. Ok, you are definitely pushing your way towards ultimate slughood, but you are not there yet. There are still way too many redeming features in your character to really give you BHW status. 15-30 points. Bad Housewife, we honor you! You are truly not lying when you say your house is icky, and we salute you for it. You go girl.


Blogger Muum said...

'pushing my way to ultimate slughood', with a 10!!! love the survey!!!! I do know, though , that I am a bit of a slob

9/04/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Starfoxy said...

If I ran the diswasher twice daily, there would be about 10 dishes in it each time. There is a definite difference between doing housework infrequently out of 'bad-housewife-ness' and doing out of lack of housework. Oddly enough, I think less housework is harder to stay on top of, because it is harder to do things irregularly and infrequently. It's easier for me to do more dishes but do them everyday than it is for me to do fewer dishes every 2.5 days. I hope that makes sense.

9/04/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/04/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

I know I am a bad housewife. Today I noticed that the wall above my 4 year old daughters bed was not only really grimy with dirt from her feet being propped up there but it is also speckled with (what she revealed to me as) "crusty boogers from her nose". Fabulous. Who knows how long this has been going on. What I do know is that this kind of booger collection does not happen overnight.

And have I cleaned it up yet? Nope.

9/04/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Chrissie said...

I'm having to post under this name as I upgraded to Blogger Beta and can't post comments on regular Blogger accounts any more.

Riiiight...I got a 9. But you didn't ask the right questions. Being clean and being untidy are two different things. I couldn't have grot all over my kitchen or we'd all get the trots. But ask how much mess seems to be all over the floor all the time...clutter everywhere, driving me crazy (and I run a scrapbooking business so there are inORdinate amounts of paper in my house)...then I'm in the 50,000 points zone. LOL

9/04/2006 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

20 points. And I actually thought about this one. :)

My kitchen stays fairly clean, because you can see it from the living room. Of course, the living room stays pretty clean, because I have unexpected visitors quite frequently (blast them all!!) and several piano students each day. And if they can see into the kitchen, well, you know the answer to that!

It's the bathroom and the laundry that get me. Mostly laundry. I. HATE. LAUNDRY.

But I will say this: As the children get older and can do chores, for some reason it gets easier. I don't know if it's because I just keep having children and so I HAVE to keep up with the housework, or if they really DO help me, but whatever the case, it has gotten easier.

starfoxy --you're right on about the dishes and such...

9/04/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous john b said...

I am enjoying this blog, just because it gives me a new perspective into what my wife really deals with.

I will, however, refrain from giving my wife a score, as I value my life and would hate to endure her wrath.

9/04/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Cute post! I actually like to keep my house "picked up" and feel like things are sanitary enough, but there are chores I HATE doing that I put off as long as possible, like folding laundry and often put that off until everything is wrinkled. Our laundry room is in the basement, so the baskets of clean clothes are out of sight, out of mind....

I'm reading a parenting book written by a Mormon gal who sounds almost too on top of things. One of the lines from the book was something about the need to put your kids before housework (I agree), but then she ended the thought with "the baseboards can wait until later." The baseboards? Wha? Do people really clean those regularly? EEK!

9/04/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

What are baseboards? :)

9/04/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Ok, that bathroom question is the one i bombed on. I've got the "powder room" downstairs that I try to keep sanitary, the kids bathroom that I deep-clean 1 x month b/c its THEIR job, and my bathroom that suffers b/c in the morning when i'm showering and all i'm not wearing my glasses so i can't see the crud. blurriness is next to cleanliness!! plus i have to hide my toilet scrubby stuff from my baby, then i can't find where i put it. ugh!! laundry--well, with 4 kids and the dh, its kind of hard to keep up on.

9/04/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Mardell said...

I got between a 10 and 15. I figure if no one is getting sick and there are still clean clothes life is good.
Booger collections I know something about. My mother found one in my brothers room that took up most of the wall by his bed.
She tried to scrub it off but it proved to tough. She finally sanded it down to match the texture and painted it. It must have been there for years. My mom only wanted it clean so she could sell the house.

9/04/2006 10:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Hot Texas Mama said...

Hmm. I clean ALL the time (I have my priorities mixed up) and still got 9. Blast those crikey toddlers . . .

Aww, that's sad. Crikey... Poor Croc Hunter...

9/04/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous meems said...

Well, I'm sort of 2-pointer person on these, but as Chrissie said, it's not so much the grime, as the clutter. My house is full of clutter. Papers and books, and toys, and magazines, and art supplies, and clutter! My husband likes things pretty clean, so if I go out with the kids, I may come home to find him washing windows or vacuuming or something. I don't like gross bathrooms, so yeah, it's pretty easy to swish a toilet brush around or grab a Clorox wipe and clean that rim every day or two, but the JUNK that overloads every surface... well, that's what might put me into the "bad housewife" category.

(And for the record, I currently am in a lucky situation to have full time househelp, but I am scoring myself on when I don't have help. And anyway, even with a housekeeper, there is junk everywhere, because she doesn't know where to put all either!!)

9/05/2006 01:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the past two months I have been working from home on a huge project, and my DH quit his job so that he could be here to help out while this is going on. Right now, he does ALL of the housework. All of it.

Bow before me.

9/05/2006 01:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

My husband's a much better housewife than I am. Unfortunately, we're both working fulltime right now, and our teenagers are the WORST. I never thought anyone could be worse than I am at keeping things clean.

And it seriously is driving me crazy. Our apartment is too small for this many people. No one told me that having teenagers is just like having a bunch of adults in your house. We don't have room for all this stuff. I've got surfboards, skateboards, snowboards, skimboards, wake skates and BIKES (four of them!) in my living room. My husband's giant tool chest is in my sons' room. Laundry is never done because we have to walk across the complex to do it.

I need a bigger house and time to take care of it. Probably not going to happen--so I need to downsize our stuff, whicb again I don't have time/energy for.

9/05/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous tracy m said...

Pushing my way toward slughood! Oh, and paper plates, mama's- they rock, cut down on the dishes, and are cheap. Paper plates are the answer...

9/05/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger HLH said...

Proudly scoring an 11.

I am a clean freak about my floors, I am always mopping, sweeping or vacuuming- the rest of the house? Eh (shrug).

I am all about laundry sitting clean in a moutain for DAYS. Actually I wash about 5-6 loads a week (family of 4) and that doesn't include the dh's clothes. After the first baby was born and I had even more laundry to do, I cut him off, he washes his own. He no longer folds and puts clothes away- he lives out of a clean clothes basket and the dryer. I don't care because I don't have to do it!

9/05/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

You know what works miracles? The Magic Eraser. Truly.

9/05/2006 07:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

30. Being serious. Work full time, husband works full time...but no kids, so, no guilt! I could care less if my house is messy!

Aren't the fruit flies what lets you know its time to clean? Actually, I don't really eat at home, so, thers rarely much mess.

And I don't fold laundry. Ever. Most of our clothes cant go in the dryer, and those get hung on hangers to dry. Everything else lives in piles (we don't even own drawers to put it in). I do laundry when i need something to wear, not a moment before. And I do not own an iron, wear my shirts to work full of wrinkles, and I love it.

We clean the floors the most, but mostly because we have a really stubborn not housetrained dog. And, yes, we just worry about keeping the living room and hall bathroom clean, cause thats what people see when they come over. Nothing else gets cleaned...thats what moving is for! Eat it martha!

9/05/2006 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

"Eat it Martha!"

I think that is the most brillant statement ever written on this blog.

9/06/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Mabel Maybe said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/07/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Mabel Maybe said...

17-20. Even rating me kindly I'm a Bad Housewife.

Five years ago I would have rated a "5: Superior." A few children less and the oldest child barely baptised. You gals with lotsa small kids are in for a ride.

9/07/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I scored an 11, and I didn't even think I was all that bad! With 4 little kids (the oldest is five) I guess I don't see how anyone could have the energy or even presence of mind to keep up with housework when it seems the kids have made it thier goal in life to make any effort futile! I have a friend who would score a 3, (if it were possible, a zero) and I would love, love, LOVE for her to "drop the bad housewife charade". She constantly apologizes when I come over for her "filthy" house or makes jokes about how bad she is at keeping her house clean yet you look around and see a spotless, clutterfree home with perpetual vaccuum lines on the carpet. I'm starting to think she has issues....

9/08/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

I'm sure you are just fine. Please don't take this quiz that seriously, folks. It did just come up from the blubbering recesses of my own brain, and that's all. I just wanted to make the point that most of us really say, "Hey, I'm a rotten housewife", when really we are doing just fine. And I do get really bugged when somebody tells me that she has a crazy, messy house, and I get all prepared to like her the more for it, and then I go over to a basically clean house that has a few pieces of mail on the counter. Puleeze.

9/08/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time I've ever posted something like this, but this hit a nerve. Yeah, gotta say, I think I've out grossed you all. I gave up counting after 20 or so. My excuse? I got 4 kids- 2 w special needs, autism/adhd/dev delayed. oldest is 10, my youngest is almost 3. I have declared a strike on cleaning until I get some help. My policy is- you have to clean your own so you can handle it when you are grown up- cuz I'm not coming over to do it 4 you. (but they are kids and don't get the big picture yet.) Is it worth it to freak out and scream at everyone in order to get the housework done? Asking nice and playing cute games doesn't work. We are too stinkin busy to be cleaning all the time- and I'm not a fast cleaner, but when I do a job, its good. BUT four kids and the neighborhood friends come thru and in (timed it) 3 minutes... Destroyed! Couldn't tell my house from an abandoned toxic junk yard. So here is the question- am I a bad mom if I don't keep my house as clean as the jone's next door? How do ya fit it all in? Just keeping it all up w/ school crud, special needs mtgs, church callings, getting 72hr kits and yrs supply stuff, shopping, family stuff and fixing whatever crisis happens along... I'm the one who gets called last minute when something goes wrong in the ward. I don't mind- but something has to give... I don't have time to be a 'becky home-ecky' as much as I'd love to be. I see all the clean houses around and wonder how they all do it? Of course, clutter abounds here, cuz as soon as 1 kid out grows it, another grows into it. So it grows... Laundry everywhere, it has an altitude in our house, washed when we can smell it. (doesn't help when half 'was' clean when kids empty drawers onto the floor, then 'clean' their rooms right down the laundry chute. and I hate the dirty sink bugs- but is it bad to be thankful the bugs are natures way of helping you clean up? kidding of course... or am I? hmm.. I'm dying to know- how do you all do it? To do the cleaning, keep the kids & dh happy, church callings, work, life, relationships, and all the bumps that come along the way without going insane from the guilt of not being enough? I know I'm not the only one, so speak up and let me know how you do it?
A crazy midwestern suburban mom...

9/08/2006 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous madhousewife said...

I had to use creative scoring, as I am very good about doing the dishes, but I only mop my floors once in a blue moon. I am very good about washing laundry, but only sporadically good about folding it and putting it away. I like to think I am slowly pushing away from ultimate slughood, with occasional backsliding. Okay, frequent backsliding. My house is very cluttered, but I do strive valiantly for Not Gross.

I also hate it when someone apologizes for her dirty house when her house isn't even remotely untidy, let alone dirty. I always make a mental note that this person must never be permitted to enter my front door, as she will undoubtedly have a heart attack at the sight of an actually-dirty house.

I stopped apologizing for the mess at my house because a) I feel confident that there's always somebody with a messier house than I have and b) people with messier houses than yours serve to make you feel better about yourself, so I like to perform that service for others, if I can. So instead of "I'm sorry," it's an implied "you're welcome."

9/08/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

This was a very fun post. I have found that the mess in my house migrates. If the kitchen is clean and the boys' room is clean, then my bedroom is a disaster. If the laundry is caught up, the dishes are stacked up OR the fridge is totally empty, or maybe both. I'm working on finding a balance....

9/09/2006 01:02:00 AM  
Anonymous claire said...

Madhousewife, you are right on. I'm always hoping to find an untidy house.

I am always apologizing for my messy house, but after you've known someone five years and they've never seen it clean, the excuses start to ring a little hollow :-)My real excuse, not the one I usually say, is that my mom never taught me how to clean.

9/10/2006 11:41:00 PM  
Anonymous CEA said...

Thank God I found someone else that is having these issues.Is a mom of 5 kids 10 to 4 yrs old and the workload is unbearable . DH thinks i don't try but I do. But then he does not help and often the kids don't either. Its a losing battle in my view as its 5 kids to one parent horrible odds.He is always criticizing my cleaning which does not make me feel good nor in the mood to clean.

10/05/2007 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Markus said...

Good Job! :)

6/16/2008 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Starfoxy's comment makes so much sense. Run the dishwasher for less than 10 items? It makes no sense in what it uses in water & electricity.

Cheryl's "What are baseboards? :)" describes our place so well.

I'm Mr. Mom at times, due to our career situation right now. It's funny that I try commercial cleaners on sinks & tubs to get rid of hard water crud, but have found that pouring vinegar on a paper & setting that on the affected area works much better.

-Mike H.

6/24/2009 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger aa said...


2/23/2010 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Furniture Online said...

Some of them are not good but we can not blame all of them.

2/01/2011 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Discount Bedroom furniture said...

I also met a lady like this So I'm not happy to them.

2/01/2011 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Commercial Cleaning Glasgow said...

Very interesting survey indeed, but sometimes we do require some outside help when it comes to deep cleaning. Giving the place a so called once over.

2/05/2011 08:06:00 AM  

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