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.