I had some friends at my house a few weeks ago and as my boys were showing them their room in all of their excitement, one of my friends asked, “Okay, is your house always this clean?”
That was just because I was having a party!
There was a time when my house looked like no one actually lived there. It was cozy, clean, and uncluttered. It was organized, and it was simple. Everything had a home (except, perhaps, for the pile of papers that inevitably ends up in some corner that I once thought was the bane of my very existence).
I sort of don’t even believe it myself!
I look at my house now, and it looks…well, it looks like I let a cage full of monkeys eat all the candy in the candy store and then let them loose in my home. Actually, come to think of it, it’s probably not that far from what has actually happened.
What happened is this: I decided the man I loved was more important than a pristine home, so I agreed to a little mess and got married; then with total disregard to the status of my home, I gave birth to two children.
You see, the sand never stays in the sandbox, the clothes never stay on the bodies, the food never stays on the plate, the toys never stay in the cubby, the books never stay on the shelf….this never stays here, and that never stays there. The point is, it doesn’t matter that everything once had a home because everything in my house has become a nomad — never in one place for long.
I wish that I could say I know how this happens. I haven’t the first clue. But I do know one thing. It happens FAST. Like lightening fast. I mean, I spend my whole day cleaning and cleaning. Picking up toys and putting them in the right place. Bringing this upstairs, and those downstairs.
I throw the mail away and take out the trash. I put the magazines next to the couch and I fold and put away the laundry. I’ve run the dishwasher and the clean dishes are already in the cabinets. The vacuum is full again, and the mop is filthy. Not a speck of dust to be found.
And then I turn around and I swear that God has taken my house and shaken it like a snow globe. I’ve lost some things that I am certain were there ten minutes ago and I’m finding things I have been looking for over the span of a few years that must have been shaken loose in the flurry of flying glitter.
The only way that a house looking like this is acceptable is when there has been a death. Honestly, sometimes this place looks like it’s been abandoned for decades.
But the truth is, that there has been a death. I have died. Now, before you write off me off as a dramatic drama queen (yes I realize the redundancy — I’ve just discovered that I have died. Cut me some slack, okay?), know that I have not died completely, nor has it been all at once.
But slowly…piece by piece…little bits of me have died.
The part that hopes that the throw pillows stay perfectly placed? First to surrender. The part that cares about the dust in the corner of the pantry? Dead. The part that loves to have my stairs vacuumed once a week? Wrongful death, but dead still the same. The part that loves for everyone’s closets to look as though they came from a Container Store catalog? Kaput. The part that wishes that toys could be pulled out one at a time and put away when no longer desired for entertainment? Well, to be candid, I’d like to think that this has only been a kidnapping. I’m still waiting for a ransom note. I’ll pay any amount to have this back. Honestly, I’m not holding my breath, but a girl can dream, right?
So now, with all of these pieces dead, I have no part of me left to enforce these dreams and hopes for my catalog-worthy home. And here I sit. Staring at my snow globe.
But slowly…piece by piece…little bits of me are growing quite fond of my snow globe.
The part of me that hears giggling in the backyard. The part that sees my shirtless kids eating popsicles at their picnic table. The part of me that loves to snuggle on the couch and watch Sesame Street instead of doing the dishes. The part of me that builds a tower for the sole purpose of hearing my boys squeal in delight while knocking it down. The part that sees my family running out of the house to spend the day at the park or the pool or taking a road trip to watch a baseball game and leaving it in total disarray.
And I smile.
Because I’d rather live in my snow globe than in a catalog any day.
What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to keeping a clean house? And what are the things that you just don’t mind leaving the way they are? Leave me a comment!