the one about someday, when my house is clean

I truly never thought I would ever be the person who cared how clean her house was. I mean, of course, I don't want to see dirt or sticky stuff on the floor or bugs crawling around, but a little clutter? Meh. A little disorganization? Whatevs. A little chaos? Who cares?

But, WOW, was I ever wrong.

You wouldn't know it by looking, but I actually deeply, deeply care if my house is clean or messy. If someone pays a surprise visit, and my house is out of order (which it always is), I immediately have an internal panic attack.

What are they thinking about me? Do they see the cobwebs in the corners? Do they see the dried applesauce on the floor under the table? Are they judging the piles of laundry on my kitchen table, yet to be folded and put away? Do they think I am a slob? Do they think I am a lousy mother because I let my children live in a house of chaos…toys on the floor and breakfast plates still needing rinsed and barely a place to sit on the couch because of all the books and sippy cups and 178 stuffed animals.

I'm painting a pretty picture, huh?

Please don't call CPS.

But really. Even the sweet and gentle offer to help me clean the house makes me feel horrible about myself…because clearly the person noticed. It bothers them, even. I don't know. It's my own frustration with my shortcomings when it comes to housekeeping and child-rearing at the same time that makes me feel bristled and raw and exposed when I know someone else is literally doing my dirty work.

I was thinking about this the other day while I was feverishly cleaning the house in preparation for a family brunch I was hosting. I was stomping around, saying, "Someday, my house WILL be clean."

SOMEDAY, my house will be clean.

Someday, my house will be clean.

Someday, my house will be clean.

Someday, my house will be….clean?

And I sat with that thought for a while.

It's true. Someday, my house will be clean. But it will be clean because it is empty. My children won't live here anymore.

Or worse. They will live here, but they won't want to hang out here because their friends or boyfriends or school events or whatever will be more important/fun/awesome/entertaining than me.

It's true. Someday, there won't be crusty applesauce on the floor…because a there wasn't a toddler learning to feed herself at the high chair.

There won't be Cheerios hiding under the rugs because a baby didn't drop her cup and sweetly say "uh oh" with that Icouldpinchyourcheeksallday look on her face.

There won't be tiny socks under the bed or in the bathroom or on the couch or by the door because there won't be tiny feet.

There won't be dolls to step over or blankies to slip on or picture books to stack up because, well, "It's baby stuff, Mom."

There won't be tiny pajamas and Disney underwear and pink hair bows and plastic bracelets strewn about like the morning after a toddler fraternity party. Because there will be real fraternity parties. And, just, no.

It's true. Someday, my house will be clean. But it will be boring. And it will probably be sad. And I will kick myself for all the moments I spent getting angry at the little messes that seemed so huge to me. I will regret putting that pressure on myself to have a perfectly clean house while still allowing my children to learn and grow and explore and live.

My house will be clean and it will be quiet and it will be peaceful. Sure, it will be great…for a little while. I will be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, not having to work around nap schedules and feeding schedules and bath times and bed times and play dates and story times at the library.

But I will miss all of that. To the very core of my being, I will miss it.

So, for today, my house will be messy. And probably for tomorrow. And for the day after that. Really, until I host another family gathering.

If you decide to pay me a surprise visit, just know what you're walking into ahead of time.

Clear a piece of couch and stay for a while.

And, please, don't worry about cleaning.

3 comments

  1. Ok so I agree with this on every level. But how do you really let go of that . ..."I'm gonna die if you see our bathroom growing this..." knee jerk reaction I always have. I have a really really hard time letting go of this one and letting Addie have fun in her house. And that's really sad at the end of the day. Really working on this one. How do you let go a little?

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    1. I struggle with this DAILY, multiple times a day. Luke helps to calm me down every now and then. Walking away helps. Closing doors. Going to Target. Those are my coping mechanisms. :-) But seriously, it is so hard. I am working on this all the time.

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