It's interesting how our threshold for things changes with time and circumstances. There are things that I encounter nowadays as a mother that would have made me totally afraid, squeamish, shy, or nervous years ago. When the heat is on, somehow you find the strength.
My threshold for cleanliness has also adjusted over the years. I grew up in a household with an extremely neat and organized mother. I've mentioned before that the entire dusting-windex-declutter-etc. routine are typically finished before 6:30 a.m. for my mother. Vacuuming and mopping are daily routines. Dust is afraid to settle on the furniture; it knows that it doesn't stand a chance.
My cleaning personality is by far more relaxed, and yet, with time, I notice that things I hardly noticed before now demand my attention. A little dust and some clutter typically don't get to me. Real dirtiness does, and I never allowed it to get to that point. Plus, more kids simply means more Cheerios in the carpet, ickiness in the bathroom, etc. But it also means that there are a few extra hands to quickly pick up toys from the rug when the vacuum rolls out (2 or 3 times a week around here, not every day!)
A sink left with dishes overnight has never been something I can tolerate, but now I need to finish off by wiping up around and inside the sink. I'm semi-embarassed to admit that for the first 2 years or so that RaggedyDad and I were married, I never made the beds (!) unless company was coming. Now there are several beds to make, and it's one of those tasks that's always done by 8 a.m.
These things became important to me at some point, and I'm not sure why. I do like a neater home, and it's what I'm used to from my own childhood. But RaggedyDad is wary of attempts to get closer to the "obsessive cleaning" mode I grew up with. Not to worry, RD. Our place still has a VERY lived-in feel. Nobody's thinking they stepped into a museum here, unless they were looking for a children's museum-anthropology of the family museum-hybrid.
I do think that my kids will enjoy growing up in a home where they feel a collective responsibility with regards to cleaning up, and also feel calmer knowing that things are being taken care of and not left to hefker-status. That orderliness comes from a neat, clean home, good meals, a gentle routine, security, and love.
Now, excuse me, I see some stubborn fingerprints on a cabinet door.