Please honey, feel free to sweep it under the rug.

I woke up yesterday morning and went down to the kitchen. The kids were already busy devouring a healthy breakfast of leftover brownies from the night before. By the time the children were safely off to school and I was left alone with my morning chores, it looked like a herd of buffalo had tracked potting soil all over the kitchen.

And thus begun the day’s first of many attempts to keep my floors clean.

Here’s the thing about these awesome German houses: they don’t usually come with carpet. There is a reason wall-to-wall carpet has been such a big hit with Americans over the past four decades, and that’s because it’s flat out genius. You wonder why people covered up all those “beautiful” hardwood floors back in the sixties? Yeah, they’re called dust bunnies (not to mention bruised baby knees). No matter how hard I try, these floors refuse to stay clean for more than nineteen seconds at a time.

Until all my lovely rugs get here (right along with all our other mythical household goods) I’m stuck in nine hundred thousand square meters of tile. I am hating me some tile.

I usually sweep the kitchen/dining room/living area about five times a day, give or take a spill. Yes, I have a sweeper vac but it seems that at this stage of the game, we’re still dealing in scraps of half eaten plastic and paper trimmings, in addition to half of every snack making it’s way to the pool of spilled water on the floor. Soggy sweeping, what fun.

So the other night after we put the kids to bed, I shut off the downstairs lights and looked over in the kitchen. There was the remaining dinner evidence, smeared and dropped and tossed about the floor, and there was my nice, kind husband sweeping up the mess. I thought to myself, what a darling, angelic man out to serve his wife at the end of another thankless day.

“Honey,” I said, “Just leave it. I’ll sweep it up in the morning.”

And then my sweetheart gave me one of those slightly judgmental and overly patronizing looks that only spouses who spend their days at the office can properly pull off and said, “You know, you really should sweep this floor every day.”

It wasn’t about helping me out (which he routinely does, bless his heart), it was about “teaching by example.” Sweet little pupil, thinking the master doesn’t have any idea how to clean the floor.

And just before I verbally decapitated him I realized it: there is no way for someone who spends their days in a neat and tidy office to comprehend just how much debris children can come up with in a 16 hour period. No way but one, and I don’t have the energy or the patience to keep and collect all the well swept evidence just to prove to him that I’m not the lazy slob around here, they are.

Some things just aren’t worth the proof. I decided that in the future I will gladly sit back and watch any time he decides to give me a lesson on housekeeping. After all, it’s the respectful thing to do.


  1. I’ve never lived in a home with full tile or hardwood floors. People who have them always say they love them because they are so easy to clean! Also, sending you my phone number!

  2. I have learned if you just leave it, the crumbs get kicked to the edges of the floor and they’re not so noticeable. Unless you’re in bare feet. Or unless the crunching crumbs bothers you. And that’s why so many people in the world get dogs.

  3. 🙂 He’ll get it when he reads your blog 🙂

    I love my carpetless floors . . . . speaking from the time in my life where I have one very neat 15 year old at home. The reason I love carpetless floors . . . . Are those dust bunnies really gone, or just integrated into the carpet? I’ve got a carpet I can’t stand right now because of it’s traffic pattern. . . . . and the idea of paying someone to come in to clean my carpets just kills me . . . . I’d rather rip them out and replace them with something I can dust!!! Yes!

    Having said that though, I would hate to have tile floors everywhere. Tile is not very forgiving. Anything breakable that drops is broken (if breakable) and ickkkk!, the grout! So sorry Annie!!! (Maybe you ought to get a dog and knee pads for the kiddies) ha!

    Happy sweeping . . . .

  4. AMEN!!!!!!! I wanted hardwood floors for my first house because they are SO all the rage, but I didn’t have kids. Houses with carpet just weren’t with it. I told my mom about all the ugly carpeted houses and she told me there was a reason everyone covered up their beautiful hardwoods all those years ago, but I didn’t understand her then… When I moved to Brasil, everything was tile and there was a drain in the middle of the floors. Why? Because it gets filthy SO FAST that they just hose down the rooms regularly!! My poor baby’s knees, too!! When we moved again, I insisted on carpet, and I LOVE IT. The kitchen has to be swept 18465948 times a day, but the living room is always lovely and no one cracks their heads when they fall. Your hubby is WONDERFUL, but he needs to spend a day trying to keep those floors clean…

  5. I would never have carpet again if I could help it. The cheap crap carpet in our townhome looks so filthy and disgusting, besides having four kids that mangle it every day I swear you just have to look at it for a new stain to appear. At least with hard floors it will actually clean up, besides if there’s carpet all that stuff is still there, its just stuck in the carpet. I hate carpet. 🙂

  6. That’s just so awesome. I’m with you- I hate having to sweep hardwood after every meal. and I also don’t care if the dust bunnies live in my carpet- as long as I can’t see them. Besides- studies have shown that some dust is good for your immune system. If things are too sterile/clean, they get allergies. So when I am too tired/pregnant to vacuum or sweep, I’m really just helping develop my boys immune systems. Go me.

  7. Maybe you should get him an apron that says Home Sweep Home. 🙂

  8. You beat me with the respect thing. My line is usually, “I’m going to give you a few seconds to think about that. Then you’re going to re-phrase what you said.”

  9. You are a near goddess for restraining yourself there.
    I just love when I leave my husband home with kids all day and he’s exhausted and frustrated and wearing random smears from little fingers all over his clothes. Helps him to appreciate my semi-sanity on a day-to-day basis.

  10. AMEN!!! Today was my hubby’s bday and I couldn’t even get creative due to the unending amount of tidying, cooking gone wrong, nursing baby, and fight mitigating I had to do! One tired mommy here! We’ve got white tile in the kitchen – ARGH! and horrible “matte” wood floors in most of the apt. Even after a good scrubbing, my wood floors don’t look clean because of their finish. Oh well! My favorite messes to clean – crustified Rice Krispies or oatmeal – both regular faves here. Shoot me now!

  11. Very good writing. I loved this piece. I also think carpet is way superior to hard wood. Don’t get me wrong, love my hardwood-the day we moved in- and not since.

    “All that stuff” may be in the carpet, but Lordy, that’s why we all have vacuum cleaners and they are a sight faster and easier than anything I have found to battle my constant hardwood headaches.

  12. If you can train your kids (read: husband) to take their shoes off when entering your abode….the mess will disappear by about 75% ish… 🙂 Kids are much more trainable than husbands. Kitchen still have to sweep, but only about 4-5 times/day 🙂


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