I have a compulsion.
Most Tuesday mornings, if you were to visit my house, you would find me rushing around, throwing laundry into the washing machine, putting the books we've been reading back on the shelves, folding blankets, hanging up coats, putting shoes back in the shoe cupboard, sweeping.
Because our helper, He Ayi ("Auntie He" in English), comes on Tuesdays, and I am giving in to the compulsion I have every Tuesday morning of tidying up before she gets here.
(Keep in mind that I am the type of person who makes the beds in hotel rooms so it won't be messy for the maid. It drives my husband bananas.)
For those of you who have never had household help, you will probably think I'm crazy. Why would I tidy up when I have a housekeeper coming who can clean up for me?
Probably part of it is good-will. I don't want her to have WAY too much work to do. I don't want her to think I'm a preschooler who can't clean up after myself.
Which leads to another part of it: pride. That I don't want anyone to see my house in it's raw, Tuesday-morning state, not even Ayi, who is practically part of the family.
Then there's the other part of it: practicality. If I leave everything scattered around the house as it usually is on a Tuesday morning, then all that stuff will be put away. Put away in all the wrong places. (She means well, but this inevitably is the case.) So, it's actually labor-saving for me to run through the house stuffing pajamas in the correct drawers, piling up the clothes that really are dirty in the hamper and putting all the other ones away, putting the library books on a separate shelf from the books we own so that I can actually find them on library day.
So, there is method in the madness. Not to mention that the realization that Ayi's coming is a fantastic motivator. I work harder on Tuesday mornings than I work all the other mornings of the week.
I wonder what I'll do next year without that accountability. Just live in dirt, grime and disorganization 'til I sink into a gloomy depression? Hmmm....