I have this thing about cleanliness. And cleaning. Many a times, I have deduced that I probably have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Mum used to get upset and occasionally angry with the way I clean things. Dad and Brother were in similar leagues too. My friend Vanessa, while we were still colleagues, tried her best to make me break my OCD-habits.
When AZ came into my life, he provided me with practical solutions to overcome this. One of the things he said, was to find within me, the real objective as to why I set out on cleaning a certain space or stuff. Was there really a need to turn over the house every month and do a massive spring cleaning? Some things really do not need so much of frequent cleaning, he always reminded. There have been times when I get so engrossed in that cleaning activity that I would even overshoot my prayer schedules. Astaghfirullah, I pray that Allah (S.W.T) forgives me.
Alhamdhulilah, over the years, I believe I have changed. Increasingly, AZ and I tell each other that our lives must always revolve around our five prayer times. I confess and pray that our Rabb forgives us for not being able to stick to this too - that our faith is tested many counts on this aspect. But doing my best to wake up each day to fulfil our prayers on time has changed me for a better person, I really trust.
When it comes to my OCD habits, I no longer clean the house so massively. My cleaning routines have changed. A LOT. My cleaning schedules are more realistic and reasonable now. I am not bent on a change of cushion covers or curtains when it's uncalled for.
Even before I got married, I don't allow Mum to do any other housework except cooking meals. Dad used to help me with scrubbing the bathrooms, especially during times when I had exams while still in school and when I am unwell, but I don't allow him to do that anymore too. Brother is delegated to clean his room whenever needed too (and he likes it that way too as I end up cleaning 'too much' and moving his speakers and computer stuff around, causing them to need re-looks).
After we got married, my dear better-half tries to help whenever possible and even learnt the way I clean things, especially, scrub bathrooms so that I don't re-do the work (although I don't tell him he didn't do the way as I would have). So, on most times now, I don't stop him when he volunteers, as I don't wish to come in the way of the rewards for following the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) in sharing the housework with his spouse.
I have realised that the fatigue that comes with housework seems to stay away from the mind when the intention (niyyah) is set to serve and take care of our family, for the sake of Allah. I find myself happier while cleaning actually and accomplished when this intention is set right from the start.
I pray that Allah (S.W.T) eases things for others, like me, who have been conditioned to spending too much time on keeping up with OCD-like habits. Ameen.
For that matter, I have felt guilty too, whenever we ask a part-time helper to drop by to help with more time-consuming chores. Somewhere within me, I always feel I am giving up on the barakah of earning a reward from our Rabb for doing that particular chore. Over time, Mum and I decided we would just ask her over to help with cleaning our windows.
Today, as I was completing the final task of washing up the bathrooms, I felt so thankful for the energy, health and faith to be able to clean my house. I thought of many other women who were not as blessed as me. And I decided, that I should be appreciating the blessings that HE bestows everyday upon me. How special they are, and how much more thankful I should be every other day.