Monday, June 17, 2013

So...A Clean House

Today I finally cleaned house.
Mopped, vacuumed, laundry, windows, dusting, tidied playroom...
It's a good thing too because last night I was about to lose it.

The kids were a little out of control (not abnormal for a Sunday) and the house was a disaster (also typical for Sundays). 
There was a moment when I think was going to go completely berserk. 
Everywhere I turned something else was being spilled, another cupboard or garbage can was being emptied, another kid was crying or hitting or whining or screaming, and I just could not put out each fire fast enough.
I was pretty exhausted after a few weeks of parties, visitors, staying up late, the transition into summer schedule (or lack thereof) and the chaos just felt like too much.
I'm proud to say I didn't actually lose it - no yelling, screaming, crying, huffing or puffing or gnashing of teeth. 
I stay pretty calm, though the smoke was building inside. 
I kept it together.
It was a miracle.

Summer has been great so far, but it definitely was catching up with me.
And it for sure has caught up with the house.

I know I'm not the best housekeeper.
I let a lot of things go when it comes to cleaning house - mostly to keep my sanity and my family's.
I try to keep it pretty clean and tidy, but I don't want it (nor do I let it) control my days or my mood.

But it can get to a point when I can no longer stand it.
All I see (and feel) are the sticky spots on the floor, we're all running out of clean clothes in our drawers, I get tired of stepping over toys spilling out of the play room or stepping on them in the middle of the night while helping a kid back to bed, the bathrooms are starting to smell, and I no longer can ignore the crumbs all over the carpet.  Oh, and there's that food (I hope it's food) that's smeared on the walls and the finger prints all over the windows and the grout we thought was dark but really isn't...
And I just can't keep up.

Even though I get overwhelmed and feel like I'm fighting a battle I can't win, I feel good about the balance that I've found between keeping house and raising children.
Some days that means that the house is messier than we'd all like because we're busy with the kids.
Actually, that's most days :)
I have not mastered the talent of keeping a clean house and interacting with my kids.
Kids just seem to come with a mess :)
And I know I will miss all those messes when the kids have grown.

We try our best and it's pretty awesome that the kids help me.
I like that they see me mopping the floors and scrubbing the toilets and folding the laundry, and then feel good about helping me out.
I like that they know that we all have responsibilities - dad does, mom does, and they all do too.
I like that they know that work needs to get done before we can play.
My expectations definitely aren't too high, but we work before play. 
We try to most days.
And that feels great.

I try not to apologize when people come over and try to ignore the embarrassment I feel.
I tell myself "it's OK - you are pregnant, you have four little kids, it's a Sunday, don't worry about it, you're doing your best, it's not that bad, you have other talents, maybe they won't notice, you can always clean another day..." to make it feel a little better. 
Usually it works.  At least well enough. 
And then after they leave I take a deep breath and remind myself it's still OK.

When it's all said and done, it's not about cleaning my house for the people that come over.
I feel better when our house is clean.
I think we all feel better when our house is clean.
It feels great being a good keeper of this house.
It feels great accomplishing things I've set out to do.
And so I keep trying to get a little better at this job I'm not really that good at.

We also try to do something every day that we don't want to do.
Because it feels pretty great to do something you didn't think you could or ever would.
Those are the opportunities in life for growth - doing things you don't want to do and then realizing it wasn't so bad and there's still time to do things you want to do.
It feels great knowing we can do hard things :)

I am not one that truly enjoys cleaning.
I enjoy a clean house, but I don't enjoy to clean.
But I try, and I plug away, and I do the best I can.

Ultimately, that is the lesson I want to teach my kids.
More than the importance of keeping a spotless house.

But tonight I'm going to enjoy this clean house of ours (and maybe some time in the hot tub).
Because tomorrow it will be a complete mess again :)

P.S. I completely admire those who are able to keep a spotless house!  It is an incredible talent/ability that I recognize I don't have, but secretly wish I did :)  I don't believe that having a clean house means that you are neglecting your kids.  I know plenty of incredible parents that also are incredible housekeepers.  In fact, I live amongst an abnormal amount of those kinds of people and I love and respect them deeply.  I just am not one of those select few :) may also like::
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Thanks for stopping by!


Kelly said...

I love this. I can identify with your posts so much!! I feel this way most of the time! Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I can totally see myself from your post and I can really relate to it. No matter how difficult the challenge is ahead of us, we always do our best all the time, right? We do it everyday and we always get the job done. You are an amazing parent Meg, more than you know. :)

Spencer and Ashley said...

I have never seen your house very messy! I always felt so comfortable. It was actually a bit relieving to see a toy or two out of place, it took so much pressure off. Like, if she gets through her day with not everything in place and can find the joys in motherhood, I can too. I am finally starting to get that. Slowly. These messes won't accompany our memories of all the good times.

Meg said...

Very true! I don't think the kids will remember if the house is messy as much as they will remember whether or not they (or their mom) was happy :)

Autumn said...

Should've read this post yesterday! My messy house affects my mood too much! Baby #5 has taken much of my cleaning time and I feel ill never have a tidy (well more tidy, lol) house again! Thanks for posting.