Prepare yourselves because I’m about to go straight Martha Stewart on your asses.
I’m one of those moms who needs her house to be neat and tidy… pretty much all the time*.
I have 2 young sons – a three-year-old (who, lucky for me isn’t big on messes and dirt) and a nearly one-year-old who I can already see is gearing up to give me a run for my Virgo clean-freak money. I know that sometimes, people (especially fellow moms of small kids) come to my house and think, “Is this chick fucking kidding me? Is she trying to make me feel bad by inviting me into this non-total-disaster zone?”
Well I’m here to tell you one thing and it’s important so listen up:
My house being clean has literally nothing to do with you.
(Please take a moment and let that sink in.)
I’m serious. How many of us have walked into someone’s home and thought, “What’s she trying to prove with this stadium-sized toy room? That she loves her kids more than I do?” or “Look how comfortable she is in this chaos; I wish I could embrace my kids’ messes – it’s so important for their sensory development”
News flash: Nobody is going to go out of their way to adjust their living conditions just because YOU’RE coming over for a visit; quit taking that shit personally.
And while you’re at it, quit being so damn judgmental too.
Want to know why my house is clean? Because I’m a control freak and sometimes, having two young kids makes me feel like my life is totally out of control, and when that happens, I clean.
I like things to have a place and to be in that place when I’m looking for them, because that gives me a sense that I’ve got shit on lock-down and it’s not all going to fall apart at the seams at a minute’s notice.
My clean house is a direct result of my own neuroses. It has nothing to do with my kids or my man and it most certainly has NOTHING to do with you. This is my way of dealing with the reality that the trajectory of my day is ruled not by logic and calendars and schedules, but by the finicky sleep schedule of a baby and the unpredictable mood swings of a toddler.
I wake up in the morning and a wave of nerves wash over me as the reality hits that I have no idea what the day will bring.
Will the baby put his face into the dog’s water bowl before breakfast? Will the toddler ride his motorbike into the side of the dining room table and bust his top lip? Will playful roughhousing end in a big-bro-induced goose egg for little bro?
Who the hell knows.
So what do I do? I get up and I make the bed and I hope for the best.
I go downstairs and glance around my 700 sq feet of open, sacred space, knowing that in 20 seconds, the toy cabinets will be opened and Lego and Mr Potato Heads and train tracks are going to take up every inch of available real estate on the black and grey work-out tiles I use in lieu of ABC play mats (bright colours and crazy patterns are no bueno for my brain these days).
I go into my kitchen and make sure my sink is clear of dishes, knowing full well that it’ll be filled to the brim again by lunchtime; I fold the throw blanket, knowing that it’ll soon be used on the floor in a game of hide and seek.
I like my home to be tidy because I get anxious leaving it when I’m solo with both kids in tow. If I have to be in the house all day – I need it to feel comforting, fresh, and rejuvenating.
I like our house to reflect the fact that we have kids; I want them to think of it as a place they can enjoy and be themselves in… but since I’m working with limited space, I also like most of the evidence of the little rugrats to be able to go away at the end of the day so that I can more easily to connect to the creative side of my mind once they’re tucked in their respective cribs.
So please, don’t come over and make assumptions about why my house looks the way it does – Give me the grace to deal with my crazy in the best way I see fit; I promise I’ll offer the same courtesy right back to you.
*Sometimes, though, shit happens and it looks like a toy bomb detonated in my living room.
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