I never make my bed.
I never make my children's beds.
And I really mean never. The last time I pulled and smoothed the sheets and blankets (and plumped the pillows, too) was nearly six years ago when we were in the process of selling our condo. Our real estate agent suggested, strongly, that our unmade bed might be unappealing to prospective purchasers. (Our daughter was in an appropriately blanket-free crib back then so it didn't count.) So, we made it. Day after day. Until we closed on the sale.
I don't think I've truly made a bed since then. My husband's made our household's beds a few times when we've had guests, but most of the time I just close the bedroom doors when company comes. Once in a while, I've been known to throw duvet covers or quilts over the beds. I'm pretty sure, though, that this doesn't actually constitute making them.
It's not a simple matter of slovenly domestic standards although, as I've admitted before, no one would ever confuse me with a clean freak. And its not because I truly can't make the time during our morning rush hour to spend five minutes making the beds.
The truth is that a crisply-made bed gives me the creeps.
I'm not sure why but the idea of sleeping in what's generally considered a "well-made bed" feels, to me, like voluntary entombment. The association with hospitals and the military doesn't help. The first thing I do in a hotel is rip out the tightly-tucked in sheets and blankets so I can snuggle up to sleep. (This practice also aids in checking your room for bed bugs.) Plus, I actually like the wrinkles, creases, and grooves of my unmade bed. (Check out this Funky Junk Interiors blog for a photo of a beautifully constructed "crumply rumply" bed. Of course, mine looks nothing like that!)
Recently, though, I've wondered what effect my aversion to bed-making will have on my kids. Am I failing in a core motherhood duty? (Or, more equitably, are we failing? After all, my husband only rarely makes the beds.) Shouldn't my children know the joys of a well-made bed? Should I start teaching my almost-seven-year-old daughter to make her bed before leaving for school each morning? (I'll give my four-year-old son a few years.) If I don't, how will she ever live outside our house? How can I require her to make her bed if I don't lead by example?
And am I dooming my children to sleepless, disorderly, unhappy lives if I don't make my bed ? And theirs?
I'll cut the melodrama, but there is a lot of advice out there about the benefits of bed-making that can make non-bed-makers feel inadequate.
Supposedly, a well-made bed can help you get a good night's sleep. Of course, I'm a champion sleeper who can fall asleep anywhere and anytime for extended periods of time so I've never bought this justification. My kids are good sleepers, too.
Then, there are those who say that making your bed every day creates a sense of harmony and order in your life. That may be true, but I'd rather do yoga than make my bed.
And some even contend it can make you happier. Gretchen Rubin, the privileged author of the best-selling self-help book, "The Happiness Project," has been all over the media making the case that making your bed every day is a first step in creating a happier life. Her theory is that making your bed every day is an easily manageable step that can lead to bigger resolutions and positive life changes. (She does allow, though, that in rare cases, not making your bed can lead to happiness.) But Rubin dislikes showers, which I absolutely adore, so it's hard for me to trust her possibly soiled advice.
So, what to do?
Despite my resistance to bed-making, I want to give my children the skills they need to live independently (and agreeably with others). And, I don't want my shortcomings with sheets and blankets to push my kids into therapy. So, I'll start doing it soon. When the kids are a little older. Maybe before sleep-away camp. Definitely before college . . . .