The hurrier I go the behinder I get

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

I am now convinced that time works against me whenever I have anything pressing that needs to be done.

If the laundry needs to be done, I can be sure to find five more loads on top of the six I had already planned on doing.

If I vacuum, I can be sure that kids will walk through the house with dirt caked on their sneakers. If I dust, the cats will shed even more. If I mop the floor, somebody will spill juice. If I clean the bathroom, within twenty minutes it will look as if a hurricane blew through there, leaving towels in piles on the floor, water pooled on the counter and a mirror splattered with droplets. You don't even want to know what condition the toilet is in.

Phyllis Diller said, "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." Boy was she ever on the money.

So my strategy is to do nothing until thirty minutes before my husband arrives home. Then I delegate. Children run everywhere working feverishly as if a bomb is about to explode. This allows me to 1) teach the children the importance of being the eldest and in charge and 2) comb my hair and freshen up to look bright and beautiful for my husband.

Yeah, right. Half the time I look like I just survived World War II. Dinner is smoking on the stove, cats are following me around singing the supper song, at least two kids are moaning pitifully from their rooms because they failed to clean their assigned corner of the house and the other three are sucking up to me for dessert.

The husband comes home and gingerly steps over the chaos. He only has two real needs that need to be fulfilled that can be printed in a g-rated column and that is a hot supper and clean underwear.

This is why I think women can use a chill pill when it comes to domestic duty. We are the only ones that care whether or not there are dust bunnies behind the refrigerator or film on the blinds or lint on the back of the sofa. We're the ones that invented spring and fall cleaning. We don't need to harass ourselves with these things. And our husbands would probably enjoy not having a psychotic woman with a feather duster and a Hoover running feverishly from room to room. Especially on Saturdays.

Guys want the weekend off. Women do, too. We just don't give ourselves permission. In the back of our mind we hear our mother, the frazzled career woman or harried housewife of the former generation.

Is it genetic or learned? The state of your house depends on your answer. Today my house is a wreck and I am decidedly ignorant.