This week is day two of cleaning topics, and when the girls decided this all I thought was “bummer.” We live in a world in which stay-at-home-moms are expected to have Martha Stewart-clean houses and cook 3 meals a day with full makeup on and never even dream of wearing a pair of sweat pants. I really don’t fit in.
You see, I just don’t identify with that. I am a night owl. I make things, I create things, I have tons of ideas. I love to make plans and have brainstorming sessions. I am spontaneous and don’t really like to have set plans for the day. I love to doodle while I am on the phone, and draw pictures to help explain things to my kids. I live in organized chaos and I like it that way. It takes me SO much time to focus and get my house in order. When I resolve to clean this or clean that, sometimes I get distracted and start going through every single drawer and reading every piece of paper instead of completing the big picture. It’s almost like I can’t do little parts of it until I have the rest of it done. Sometimes I look at my house and feel so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to start. It takes a lot of mental energy for me to balance it. I have found that I am most successful with my kids out of the house (because otherwise I’m picking up the same shoe and 50 zillion beanie babies about twenty times a day.) My house is cleanest after I have been given half a day kid-free with blaring loud music that I listened to when I was 14 (Third Eye Blind, anyone?) to efficiently get my house looking shiny and new. And is it ever really done? There are always baseboards to scrub and cabinets to organize and a layer of hand soap on the girls’ bathroom counter top because I have a sneaky two year old who loves to play in it whenever someone forgets to put it back high on the shelf.
I will say that both kid rooms are very clean. I help them pick up before bed each night and everything has a place. It feels great. Now if only I had the time to do that to the rest of my house! My room on the other hand is filled to the brim with baskets of my worst enemy… clean laundry. I never have time to fold and hang. Let’s be honest here, it’s a total waste of time and at the bottom of my priority list.
My house has toys piled in a pink basket in the living room (somehow it keeps getting taller no matter how frequently I take things back to bedrooms) and yes, sometimes they are all over the floor. Because they are toys and my kids play with them. So sue me.
Here is a look into the reality of my life, one you probably don’t notice in my Instagram photos. Yesterday hubby decided to have a bunch of friends over for an impromptu labor day barbecue. Before they arrived, it’s amazing to me how clean my house was. It smelled fresh with my vinegar & essential oil home made cleaner, it was vacuumed and the floors were close to sparkling. (Well at least the downstairs was close to perfect.) We had about 10 people over and so around 9 pm when everyone was still hanging out and getting hungry again, I ran to the store to pick up a late night snack. In the corner of the store, I saw a glow, one that could be compared to the blue shiny light that draws little bugs in on the patio…. zap! The glow was a glass case filled with one of my favorite temptations… donuts. I couldn’t help it so I brought a dozen home for breakfast in the morning.
When I got home from the store, my man-child of a spouse (I really do love him, I call him man-child in the fondest way possible) and his best man-child friend watched me take a bite of a raspberry jam-filled glazed doughnut. My man-child promptly smacked it out of my hand. There was jam-filled doughnut on my ceiling and behind my new fridge. There was jam-filled doughnut on the cabinets and covering the floor and on the kitchen window. There was jam-filled doughnut all over me. Man-child’s friend did the same to his girlfriend who was eating her chocolate cream-filled doughnut. Then, water war ensued, ending with silly string. I lost. I really, really, REALLY lost.
As you can imagine, this morning my house was no poster child for clean and organized. Guess what? I’m not bummed out about it either.
I apologized to a friend the other day for my house being unruly when she was over because her visit was a surprise. I had no time to straighten up. She told me something great, “When you are old and looking back at your life, will you say, Oh wow, I wish I had cleaned more. Or Oh wow, I wish I had spent more time making memories with my family.” I think that answer is obvious for all of us. That jam-filled doughnut on my ceiling and my walls? My husband was scrubbing it off the ceiling this morning for me after ruining such a delicious treat. I’ll mop the floor and do the dishes during nap time. However, we still had fun last night acting like we were twelve. We created a silly stupid memory and that kind of thing is what keeps our marriage and our family alive.
I would always rather lay on the floor staring into my four month old baby’s eyes as she grins and learns how to do the worm. (She really did this yesterday and I am so excited!) I would never ever choose to clean over that. I would never choose to clean over pushing my 2 year old on the swing set. I would never choose to clean over helping my 5 year old read a story. I would never choose to clean over being goofy and flirtatious with my husband and having fun with our friends. There is all the time in the world to clean. Yes, a clean, perfectly organized house feels great and I do wish I had more time to make it that nice for my family 24/7. But keeping it that nice requires me to spend more time cleaning than with them, which is sometime I am not willing to sacrifice.
Hi, my name is Laney. I am a work at home mom of 3 with very little time to do all the things I want. I like my spending time with my kids a lot more than sponges and spray bottles and folded undies. Our home is lived in and full of love. It is often unorganized and sometimes flat out messy. Get over it. We’re happy here.