Reasons why your house is cleaner than mine.

I’m sure you’ve run across the phrase “cleaning your house with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos,” or something to that effect. Here’s why that is so true:

We not only have two toddlers but an oversized dog (by my calculations). In addition to the wake of children’s messes there will always be a tuft of dog hair curled up into each and every breezeway and corner. I’d be curious to know if we inventoried every toy exactly how many race cars, legos, blocks, things that make noise, or softies we’d have. We’ve only been in the game for around 3 years now–oh, did I include books on that list?–and I can’t imagine what 18+ years of childrearing would help you accommodate. The physical items alone are not why your house is and will always be cleaner than mine, but in addition there’s the 15 meals a day we eat. By 15 I mean relatively somewhere near 15, toddlers might be worse than teenagers because of each snack made, maybe 2.5 percent of the plate gets investigated and about 1 percent actually consumed, which means we might run through about 6 options before that 1 percent consumption rate. What I mean by this is that not only are there micro-crumbs of crackers, and leftover raisins, spilled juice and the “what dried out food has been hidden under the dresser drawer” assortment, but there will also be a pile of dishes in the sink in the wake of these delightful and half consumed meals. 

Last time I checked there are two eyes on my head and two arms on my body to accomplish the task of cleaning. Yet, it never fails that each time the vacuum is put away after a house being swept, or the all-purpose spray has been shelved and paper towels discarded I will always turn to be greeted with another blade of grass, tuft of hair, finger printed window, and my favorite, a room of recently dumped out toys. Conclusion, I need a Roomba. 

I know that I am not a person to find pleasure in cleaning. I do not finish and look back at all of the glistening sinks, countertops, and floors as a satisfactory thing. All I can do is be glad its over with and no one was harmed in the aftermath. I confess the entire time I am cleaning, I am in a state of panic and annoyance. Panic because I should have done it yesterday like my to-do list clearly stated, and there is some imaginary timeline I’ve placed on it so I’m taking too long. Annoyance because no matter what part of the cleaning process I am in, there is a toy, tiny toes, dog, or inquisitive hands nearby to distract and foil my quick cleaning endeavor. Yet the guilt of not doing it will eat at me, as if to say, “sure you have fed everyone, and the kids have dry pants, but did you see that leftover plate next to the sink, its dirty and needs your attention.”

As a stay-at-home’s I put this pressure on myself to make sure everyone sees I’ve done my best for the day, because what do I actually DO all day, right? And for some reason that should show through the picture of a clean house, and a manicured toe or too. Well I sure have given up on the idea of having painted toes or hands, and there are constant piles of “to-do’s” scattered throughout. Not to mention, sometimes life gets away from us. The park trip was longer than I’d hoped, or the traffic while running errands was an unexpected gift.

Let me encourage you to clean, of course please, keep your house clean, you have tiny hands and feet that sort of need it that way to stay moderately healthy. However, let me encourage you to also embrace the mess. It will never be out of the page of Real Simple or be presented as awesome as Property Brothers on HGTV. I know you are teaching your children slowly how to pick up toys before bedtime, where to leave their shoes when they take them off, how the dirty laundry basket is at the end of the hall for dirty clothes, and to place their cups in the sink when they’re done. But there will be consecutive days where it just doesn’t get all done, where the toys stay out overnight to greet you in the morning with a stubbed toe. There will be trips to CVS to pick up ant spray because you didn’t catch on to the hide-and-seek your tot was playing with yesterday’s granola bar (oh course that didn’t happen just this morning). There is no ah-ha moment here, just letting you know if you’re not happy with usually chaotic appearance of my home, than you’re more than welcome to pick up a dust pan and dig in. I’m not lazy I promise, I just can’t bring myself to sweep for the 4th time since 6:30 this morning (it now being 9:45am). So if you were wondering why you’re house is cleaner than mine, some of these reasons could be why. 

I now know what I am not

Indiana state fair, Ferris wheel ride
For those of you who had followed in the past, thank you for staying tuned in on a random basis much like my posts. I made all of my previous posts private in an attempt to start fresh. Open a new chapter, start on that scary journey of filling up a blank page. I think the grand opening to the sprouting walnut was like any new thing in life. Lusterous, vibrant, tuned in to the exact points. Then I went through a time of trying to be a little bit of everything. Then the poor thing was in a state of pure neglect. Some things I learned in that time were this:

1.) I am not a mom blog. You mom bloggers are way cooler, dedicated, and focused than I’ll ever be. Sure I’d love to aspire to be you, but frankly–and my husband can agree–I’m not good with regular commitments. I get bored and move on quickly. I have shelves of partially read books, that were interesting in the start and I’d think, “well what’s so wrong with reading two books at once?”. And you can imagine the rest of that decline. I have been known to start lots of interesting fitness crazes, and then by day 20 think I’ve completed enough and running occasionally will do. Even my long list of short term careers have no real sense of continuity. Long story short, I am not fortunate enough to make blogging a career, I don’t see that happneing now, or ever. I am just not that great at business planning to make this someone of financial fruit. However, I do intend to continue reading all of you mom bloggers in the hopes I can be as inspirational and awesome as you all.

2.) I am not a fashion blog. Not that I ever did outfit posts, or took pictures in good ouftits in the hopes someone would ask me, “where is that from?”. Sure I like clothing, I accessorize minimally–wearing the same initial necklace everyday, 3 rings on my fingers, and the occasional cotton rope bracelet. I don’t intend to persuade you to check out my trends because in the past 3 years my pregnant, to post partum closet is full of cotton swing shirts, maxi skirts, and skinny jeans. Frankly, I’m coming to the conclusion I don’t care what trend is big now, becasue if it still fits, and it’s made mainly of cotton, you better believe I’m not swaying too far from that tree. You will never come here to get advice on which shade of lipstick suits your skin color. I am a burts beeswax kind of lady with the occasional lip stain on a whim. I don’t even know how to apply eyeliner, lipstick, or contour my face. It is pretty minimal here, and its just not my favorite topic.

3.) I am not a cooking/baking/kitchen awesomeness blog. Sure I’ve shared some pretty great reciepes. I’ve even attempted to say I’d challenge myself with a weekly “new dinner idea” that never came to fruition. Let me not fool anyone by saying I have some sort of cooking gene. I follow a recipe, and throw fresh things together. I’ve watched cooking shows since I was a kid–ask my sisters, they used to love making fun of me for it–and I still do because they making cooking and entertaining look so easy. The one thing they leave out is the person who comes to wash their dishes or set up their prep station. If someone were willing to do that for me on the 3 meals a day, you better believe I’d be whipping up all sorts of delicious meals and treats. But alas, I’m not on TV, and I don’t have that much room in the budget for a maid or sous chef.

4.) I am not going to give you advice on how to raise your child. I ran across an blog post my cousin shared a few weeks ago. The main idea I grabbed from it was, “Forget what you see on instagram, you are one hell of a mother.” As women, we are constantly comparing ourselves to other women, moms, etc. But the image we create for ourselves can be that of what we want people to see, and not exactly what is going on. Sure the #reasonsmykidiscrying is hilarious because it puts a face on the opposite side of the coin. The one that isn’t slathered with newborn cuddles and perfectly composed photos of two children playing. I think as a first time mom, I thought I had this new abundance of knowledge that everyone else needed to know about because this whole time all moms before me were doing it wrong. I had the researched answers, my child nursed like a champ for 11 months, and I was fruitful enough to be pregnant again. Who was I kidding? Surely it was some way of reassuring myself I was doing a good job. When any momma bird feels like she isn’t getting the pat of the back she deserves, she’s going to find a way to show people, “see, I’ve got it, and I’m doing it right.” So I guess that was my way of attempting to show I had this momma bird thing down, and everyone else needed some of what I had. Life with one baby, compared to this stage in my life I can understand why I thought I had it figured out. However, toddlerhood and a one year old is a whole different ballgame. Any of you other fellow mommas are nodding your heads. I will always share with you my journey in motherhood, parenthood, and womanhood, however I hope to just share with you and not impress my direction upon you.

I came to the realization I stopped blogging because I wasn’t as good as the ones I had admired. I wasn’t one of the “cool kids.” But really, have I ever been? I have discovered who I am is just going to have to be enough. Like I said, I cannot follow a 20-day challenge, or couch DIY to its completion. Reason one, I have about 45 free minutes to myself–on a good nap day–that I’d rather spend reading a magazine or starring at the wall to regain my composure for the rest of the day. I’d love to be the kind of organized person who creates a schedule for myself and knows that each tuesday and thursday are reserved for bathroom cleaning, and hall closet organizing. To then share with you best tips for organizing or maintaining a cleaning schedule for your own sanity. But as any mother of small children can relate, that just isn’t my life right now. My life is messy, loud, every changing, sleep deprived, and at times difficult. Being an adult is not as glamourous as I thought it was growing up. I remember wanting to skip middle school all together and just graduate from high school, because I wasn’t interested in all of the akward years. I always had a hard time, and still sort of do, relating to kids my age. My old soul was meant for bigger things than all that, or so I thought at the time.

I suppose this is where my mission statement is rounding third base to get to my final point. I have always enjoyed writing, expressing myself in this format always seems very confessive, therapuetic, and freeing. I always feel better having come to a conclusion in a roundabout way, to leave it to someone else to discover. I will probably still post about food, raising children, and the occasional clothing conundrums, but mostly this will be a place to share with you my life as a mother and wife, because right now those are the two most important roles in my life. I know as moms, we don’t always feel heard or supported, so I just want to encourage you to keep doing a good job. Your kids will always be a reflection of your hardwork and dedication. They come to you first because they know they can rely and trust you, so take that as a compliment each and every time that you are doing it right.