I’m not the best house-keeper of late. Oh no, I used to be. Yes indeed. If you scoured back through my pre-nutter-farm days, you would find what I would now call arrogant little posts from me about how to clean and organize your home. Yes, you would.
But we’re focusing on the “of late” part. The part wherein I have two small children and a full-time job and a husband who keeps long hours at work, and no extended family to speak of within a seven hour radius.
And so my house does not, and cannot, and has no hope of staying clean for any length of minutes on any given day of the week. Please, please don’t come over. I asked nicely.
It’s not for lack of effort – I mean, I can be occasionally found in my down-time (what the heck is that anyway) to be sorting through yet another pile of laundry or scrubbing at another pot too large to fit into the dishwasher (why do they even do that? why can’t they just make the dishwasher industrial or the pots smaller?) The effort is mostly there.
But for all those other days in between, I’m whizzing past that basket of laundry – that has been folded for a week and sits collecting dust now on the bedroom floor. I am chagrining at those piles of dishes and wondering to myself if and when I will ever choose to make it a priority not to leave dirty dishes in the sink. It doesn’t look promising, people.
Additionally, personal hygiene is on the fritz. You heard me. It’s iffy. As in “if I have time to take a shower today, I will”. As in “if I remember to comb my hair, then we’ll all be glad”. As in “if I actually manage to change out of these clothes I’ve had on for three days…” (the joy of working from home has its disadvantages).
For that matter, I have to tell you – piles of paper sit on my desk for weeks – months – maybe years. I don’t know anymore. I found a coupon in a folder today that expired in 2009. I found a card I intended to send to my little brother for his birthday. In April, people. April. Of 2010. I can’t make this stuff up…
Things have stopped happening. It’s like a museum around here. Oh yeah, I meant to eat those Cadbury Eggs…from two Easters ago, but forgot I hid them so the kids wouldn’t eat them. There’s those pantyhose…that I stopped wearing in the 90’s, but have tied the dresser drawers shut with. What ever happened to my curling iron? Oh that’s right – we used it to wedge open the bathroom door to keep the children from slamming it shut. What the what?
And so all of this is life as we know it. And you can’t keep up with it, and you can’t slow it down, and you can’t speed it up. It just is.
Laundry, dishes, curling irons…they all get jammed into a corner of “I’ll get to you when I get to you”. Makeup and personal hygiene go by the wayside, baby wipes take their place at the dining room table – because we can’t seem to clean up a meal without them, goldfish are scattered underneath my couch and I know this because we had to lift up one end today to find a lost Batman figure – and lo and behold – goldfish aplenty that the dog scooped up post-haste. Things that I used to think I could not ever live without – sleep, warm meals, uninterrupted thoughts - turns out I can. Things I thought I would never do? Catch vomit at the table, cheer for poop on the potty, say the word “potty” - turns out, I don’t mind them as much as I thought. They have all integrated into our daily life. They are, simply put, what is.
Sometimes I look around this house and I can still visualize the way it used to look. Back in the day. The pre-nutter days. Everything had a place. Everything was in its place. I took great pleasure in that.
Today? I can’t lie. It still bothers me. A little bit. Because it’s such a departure from my instinct. The instinct to have everything be just so.
Biggest lesson in parenting? Everything is not “just so”. Everything is not in its place, nor does it really have a “place” any longer. Put it where you can for now and we’ll deal with it later.
Happy Birthday, little brother – hope that was a good one for you…back a couple years ago…
And the good news is, later will come.
And the bad news is, you’ll find that later will come much sooner than you thought.
And suddenly, you’ll have your house back to your previous pre-nutter normal, and everything will have a place once again.
Yes, you’ll sleep. You’ll probably even shower daily, have late dinners out and about, and be able to spend long hours reading books.
And everything will be in its place.
Everything but them…
…and you just might find yourself desperately missing these sweet years of chaos and cold meals and stray goldfish.
You just might.
Enjoy the mess, sweet friends...