It may be winter outside, but if you are already thinking of or looking forward to spring cleaning - and yes, there are people who do – you might very well already know the reasons women love to clean. Some women embrace these reasons unknowingly, while others put up a feeble fight against them. The reasons always win out in the end though. And before you roll your eyes, and think I am perpetuating the myth of the little woman whose place is at home in the kitchen and looking after the kids, read on and learn some of the reasons women love to clean.
In our society, there is a greater pressure on women to look good – more so than for men. The female psyche takes this as not only relating to the way she presents herself to the world, but also in other aspects of her lifestyle. One of the reasons women love to clean is that it is a natural extension of who she is and the way she looks after herself. The woman who takes care of her appearance extends the same courtesy to her home. Some women would not leave the house with a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, just as they would not go out without their lipstick on.
It’s no joke that some therapists recommend cleaning as a therapeutic task to some of their clients (although I’d love to know if they ever prescribe it for male patients!) Apparently, there is a mental connection women make between cleaning up the house and cleaning up their psyche. It doesn’t sound so far-fetched really does it? How good do you feel when you declutter your desk? Re-organize your closet? Give your pantry a deep clean? And it isn’t all because things are clean and tidy.
Some things that have the potential to satisfy us and make us feel good don’t have tangible results. Cleaning is something that is easy and has an end product that is observable. Let’s put that into context. You have a crap day at work where nothing has gone right. Your idea for a project was rejected, your presentation hit a bum note or you didn’t get that promotion you felt sure you were a shoe-in for. You get home. You clean. Instant achievement! And instant achievement means instant sense of accomplishment. Your bright shiny kitchen surfaces are undeniable and no-one can take that achievement away from you. In its own small way, cleaning reminds you that you can succeed. One of the reasons women love to clean is because every now and then we need a reminder that there are things we can do where we don’t have to face criticism, conform to a set of rules or compete. It helps us face the next challenge.
I actually believe cleaning is an anathema to disappointment and failure. We are all under so much pressure to achieve and succeed that when we don’t, we can go into a real downer. Cleaning is never disappointing and it’s something we never fail at. When we can achieve something without much effort, why shouldn’t we embrace it? And we are able to be happy about it too. Throw in that a cleaning session also provides a good workout which will burn calories and boost those endorphins, and there’s no cause to scoff at the reasons women love cleaning.
All of those things I have mentioned previously that cleaning can be an antidote for, also make cleaning a stress reducer. We have many stressors in our lives and often, we can pile on the stress by not knowing how to tackle it. You can read all the self-help books and advice columns you like, but can anyone deny that one of the easiest, cheapest, fastest, most effective stress relievers is taking out your frustrations or easing your pain with a washcloth, duster or can of polish? You can’t scrub away those things that are causing your stress, but cleaning certainly helps you ignore them for a while, and puts you in a more relaxed state of mind so you feel up to facing and tackling them.
Okay, so it isn’t sitting zen-like in a quiet corner with a water fountain tinkling away and incense burning, but one of the fundamental reasons women love cleaning is that it is easy to float away to a sense of calm purely by doing the mind-numbing acts that are household chores. You might not even be aware that your mind has dropped out of overdrive into cruise mode, but it happens. Those repetitive tasks as you wipe, wipe, brush, brush, wash, wash conspire to push out everyday thoughts and you’ll probably find yourself humming a favorite tune or even belting out the latest number one hit. There’s also a sense of safety and sameness that adds to the meditative-like state cleaning can induce.
This really is a summation of everything previously said. There’s a huge comfort factor in cleaning because you never feel out of control. You don’t have to think about how to do it. You don’t have anyone to judge the results. You can do it any time, any day, of your choosing. There are no set rules to conform to. Cleaning is one of those incredible dichotomies of life. On the one hand, it is totally liberating (for all the reasons stated) and on the other, you’re completely in control of it. Cleaning adds to the general sense of well-being you should feel and want to feel in your home. You want to know your space is clean, tidy and safe. You might not be able to live where you want, with who you want, or have all the trappings and paraphernalia of modern living you want, but you dammed well can make sure it’s clean!
Did you imagine that the reasons women love to clean were this deep and that’s it’s more than just a gender thing? No-one is saying men can’t, won’t or shouldn’t clean but, I don’t think they appreciate cleaning the way women do. Do you agree?
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