I can boast a fairly decent list of accomplishments:
- I shower daily.
- Chances are good my daughter will eat at least one serving of vegetables each day.
- I know the entire soundtrack to almost all Disney movies.
- I can pick the tomatoes out of any meal.
- I am able to tune out almost any unpleasant noise, including whining and all Disney Junior cartoons.
- I can sneak candy and cookies without my daughter’s knowledge.
- I can carry twelve bags of groceries, plus a gallon of milk, into the house in one trip.
- I can patiently wait in line at Starbuck’s for an undetermined period of time, because, you know, coffee.
- My daughter takes a bath at least twice a week (sometimes even three times!).
- I no longer have an irrational desire to pee alone.
- With diligent practice, I have successfully made my daughter sarcastic.
With a list like this, no one can deny that I am totally winning at motherhood, right?
Sigh. I wish. I suppose we all have our kryptonite, and despite my many accomplishments, mine involves my house.
You see, I hate cleaning – all cleaning, really, but I especially hate cleaning that involves the use of water. Vacuuming and dusting are tolerable, but doing the dishes or cleaning the toilet? I’d rather watch a Calliou marathon. Oh, and the clutter! Don’t even get me started about clutter. What’s the point of picking up all of the junk mail, shoes, books, puzzle pieces, Legos, and pony paraphernalia if they are going to reemerge in the living room a few hours later?
Needless to say, I live in a constant state of disarray.
It drives me completely crazy, but I just can’t seem to do anything about it. The very last thing I feel like doing after working all day and making dinner is cleaning. My daughter isn’t old enough yet for free labor, and we can’t afford to hire someone to clean, so where does that leave me?
It leaves me with an insanely messy house.
Chances are pretty good that if I invite you over, I spent the two hours prior to your arrival running around the house like a maniac trying to make it less disgusting. I will marathon vacuum, Clorox wipe all surfaces, harass Husband until he cleans the toilets, Swiffer the floors and bookcases, and pile all the random clutter into a secret spot that you will never see (and where it will likely sit for the next two weeks).
When you come in, I will say something like, “I’m so sorry about the mess.” And being the polite person you are, you will say something like, “What? Your house looks great.” I may or may not mean it. You may or may not mean it. The charade is exhausting.
I don’t consider myself a lazy person. I’ve tried many times to find my cleaning “groove.” I have created household binders, to-do lists, and cleaning charts. I’ve read the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’ve downloaded several apps, including Unfilth Your Habitat. The app and accompanying website are quite hilarious, but I don’t find myself any more motivated than I was before I downloaded it. (Just a heads up – the app and website use profane language, if that’s not your cup of tea).
I would love to live in a magical issue of Martha Stewart Magazine or Better Homes and Gardens, where flowers bloom from a perfectly arranged credenza and the teacart is ready for my next caller. Heck, I would love for my couch pillows to actually be on my couch, the toys to actually be in the playroom, and the shoes to actually be in the general vicinity of the mudroom. I would love to have immaculate bathrooms and no dirty laundry on the floor.
My fantasy world sounds delightful, but this is my reality:
My house is usually a train wreck, and the moral of this story is that I need to accept my shortcomings and cut myself some slack. All women need to. Our spouses aren’t perfect, our children aren’t perfect, and we certainly aren’t perfect, so why do our houses have to be perfect? If those little monsters we created are happy, healthy, and loved, I’d say we are accomplishing the goals that truly matter. My house will never be drop-in-visitor-ready, and I will continue to invite friends over to force me to clean my house.
Nevertheless, as a warning to unexpected visitors, I will post this on my front door: