A dirty house means I have happy kids. I often try to remind myself that there will always be time for a clean house and my kids don’t care about the yogurt smeared floors, dirty refrigerator handles or how the couch sticks like velcro when you sit down on it because of lord knows what has dripped down into those cracks. Yes these are all things that bother the heck out of me but I’m slowly starting to realize that my little ones just don’t care about them. I may have to remind myself of this. Often.
One night a few months ago I needed a mental break. Big time. I asked my husband and MIL if I could stay at her house for a night since she is gone most weekends. You can read about it here, what would you do with 24 hours alone? During that time I looked around my MIL’s beautiful condo and thought how nice it was to see the floors shining and everything in it’s place. I had dropped my pen and bent down to retrieve it from under the couch and was amazed at how clean it was. There was not one animal cracker, toy car or hair ball under that couch. Then something amazing happened to me. I realized I would have plenty of time for gleaming floors and less crumbs. Some day my kids will be in college or married out on their own and I then I will have a spotless home. For now it’s time to sit back and let the house be messy. Though I may struggle at times it was like an ah-ha moment for me. I looked underneath that couch and expected crumbs, toy balls, and half eaten fishies. I wouldn’t expect anything else if you pulled the couch away from my wall right now. Spring cleaning! Ha! What is that? Yes I should be washing curtains, dusting base boards and cleaning underneath my kids beds but I don’t. I’d much rather be outside watching my son discover sand again because he’s older now. I would miss watching my daughter jump in and out of a puddle having a blast. I wouldn’t get to see the most amazing man enjoy time with our babies. Spring cleaning you can wait until my kids are in high school. For now I’ll just buy new curtains every few years and if you don’t like seeing animal crackers and fur balls under my coach you can stay home.
I know it’s something I will always battle because I despise clutter and “need” every little thing in my home to be in it’s place but recognizing that an extra hug and kiss or 30 minutes outside with my kids is way more important than a clean home is what a lot of Moms struggle with I’ve come to see . However, during the quieter times, when the kids are sleeping I try and think of how much my almost two year old has clung to me that day and the laundry didn’t get done. One day when it’s just me and my husband in this big house I’ll actually miss those extra hugs he loves to give, so screw you laundry you will have to wait until tomorrow because my baby boy wanted more snuggles today! (Yes those my railings…disgusting, but eh I’ll get to it.)
There are days when I have to actually think back to when the last time we vacuumed was. Then I think about how long it’s been since I’ve mopped the floors and my stomach turns. However, have you ever got that wonderful feeling of I just mopped my floors and they look fantastic?! It’s the take your shoes and socks off and run around your house barefoot kind of feeling. Then the kids come scrambling in, crumbs start flying, yogurt gets a smearing and you feel defeated. So here is how my husband and I’s conversation went down the other day:
Hubby: “I’m going to vacuum before going to get the kids at school.” (He’s been getting out of work a little early lately so he’s been able to come home and do a few things, or even shower before getting the kids at school 2 days a week.)
Me: “Sure that would be awesome hon, thanks!”
Hubby: “Want me to mop too?” (yes folks he is truly the best! Now here is the part where you may think I’m insane because my answer should be YES! THANK YOU! Well it wasn’t.)
Me: “Nah- I don’t think we should really bother mopping again until the kids are in high school!” So we didn’t. Instead we picked up the kids and went for a family walk that evening after dinner. See- I may not have been able to run around the house barefoot, happy as can be with clean floors but my I saw the excitement on my daughters face when they were walking out the door for their stroll and I said “Wait for me!!” Usually I stay back, clean up and get a few things done. The floors don’t mind!!!
I try and concentrate on the things that “need” to get done. Food needs to be bought and cooked for meals, laundry needs to get done so the kids can be dressed, eh maybe I’ll clean the tub today because the kids may just get dirtier when they sit in it tonight! I actually clean the toilet and vanity when they are bathing sometimes. They get a few extra minutes of play- I get a few things done. I also made a brilliant move the other day that allowed me to get something accomplished. Both kids don’t independent play much. Well Madison is a lot better now that her imagination has officially kicked in and things keep her busy but one morning we were lounging and they both went off to be in the playroom. ALONE! I know crazy. I announced I was going to potty (why everyone in this house must announce this is beyond me but we do.) I saw the load of laundry sitting in the dryer and sighed knowing I had another load to fold upstairs and 2 more to put away. Ah-ha moment! The kids were playing nicely, I took the cloths out of the dryer folding each piece one by one and stacked the cloths neatly in the basket. Then I heard “Momma where are you?!” I replied “going potty remember!” “Oh OK!” I finished the load opened the door to see them still playing and realized for the first time in almost 4 years those cloths got folded before leaving the laundry room! For the first time in 4 years cloths got folded before they had a chance to even wrinkle! Yes high-five Momma! See it’s the little things that make me happy. Doesn’t take much.
So when you are frustrated with the yogurt smeared floors- remember that walk you may miss with your family. When you look behind the couch and see that half a animal cracker and dust balls- remember to smile at them because when they aren’t their anymore, it means your kids are grown. When you feel overloaded with laundry- remember that your little one may have just needed you a little more that day because some day you’ll have all the time in the world to do laundry. Plus, time will present itself to get those things you “need” to get done. If I had stayed home this one particular night from a family walk I would have missed this memory. I wouldn’t have captured my daughter inquisitive mind.
ALWAYS REMEMBER- Your kids don’t care what the house looks like or how clean it is.