I once read that cleaning the house while the children were home was like brushing your teeth while eating oreos. This is the single most profound observation I have EVER read. How is one expected to keep a clean house with children simultaneously living in it?
This morning I was running crazy trying to get the house into acceptable condition. I call it acceptable because this is the best I can do and I can’t call it clean because it’s not ever quite there, if all the surfaces are sanitary, the house is clear of any excrement (human or otherwise ). There are clean clothes to wear and dishes to eat on, if there are obstacle free pathways to everyone’s bed and bathroom, well these are acceptable conditions. I always try to ask myself if child protective services stormed my home like the beaches of Normandy would I pass inspection? Most of the time the answer is yes, I think, depending on the time of said raid and it’s proximity to the weekend.
A Monday at 7 am after a rainy weekend with the whole family having been home…maybe not and it occurred to me that there is alot of pressure on us all the time to be these super moms. To keep a clean, organized and nicely decorated home, prepare wholesome meals 3 times a day and healthy snacks so our children don’t wind up contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic. Spend quality time with our families enriching our children’s hungry minds with wonderful books and crafts to develop their fine motor skills and sense of personal accomplishment.
I can have my day planned down to the minute and all goes well until the baby poops in the bathtub and meanwhile my toddler yanks all the comforters from all of the beds Ive just finished making to build a fort for the picnic she’s having with the dog on the living room floor which results in the contents of every box of crackers and my dogs stomach on the floor of said fort. By the time the tub is drained, cleaned, disinfected and refilled to complete the baby’s bath (all the while trying to contain a slippery soapy baby in the bathroom) my other children have ripped through my house like a tornado not only undoing everything I had already accomplished but adding fun new chores to the list…. Like re-hanging the curtains in the bedroom because while I was grabbing out the poop in the tub and vomit cracker fort fire, my six and eight year old, whom I thought were playing quietly in their room, were actually playing a riviting game of “monkey” swinging on their curtains until they finally came down taking with them a nice chunk of sheet rock… Sound familiar?
The bottom line is, there is no feasible schedule! As much as I would like all of that laundry folded and to scrub that mystery gloop out of the refrigerator, the kids have decided I have more important chores to attend to.
Sure, you go to a girlfriends house and she has kids the same age as yours and her house is pristine and warm cookies are sitting on the counter, but this not real! She drove herself to the edge of her sanity to present you with that house and I can almost promise you that before you even leave the tornados will have ripped through the non common areas and will quickly rip through the remainder of her home just as soon as you’re gone. My favorite thing about those visits is when we walk into the children’s rooms to wrangle up our babies to leave and we say “time to clean up” as if this has ever, in the history or play dates, resulted in the children cleaning up their own mess. No, we are just putting on a show even saying it because it will undoubtedly be us crawling around on our hands and knees picking up the Legos and barbie clothes ourselves. I mean if that worked then my house would be clean too, but it isnt, because they don’t clean up when they are asked, not here not there, not anywhere.
I’m begging you fellow mothers, stop this charade, I mean, don’t get your children taken by CPS, but stop worrying about me judging the cleanliness of your home, I’m not! It would do me world’s of good to walk into a house a comfortably “acceptable” as my own I would love to leave that playdate feeling like I’m normal as opposed to inadequate. Don’t worry be messy! And when you succeed in doing this let me know how.
Bio: My name is Melissa Bankston. I am a madly in love with my wonderful husband, Russell and a gloriously blessed mother of four beautiful children; Chloe 8, Gage 6, Annabella 4, and Sophia 2 as well as a privileged stepmom of two beautiful souls, Lauren and Zach. I revel in the blessings and challenges of this life and praise God for constantly guiding me and helping me grow. You can view all of my “meanderings” on my blog : meanderinghousewivery.blogspot.com