10.20.2014

in defense of mess (or the surrender of caring)

Five hours.

That's how long it took me to hang some (not all, but most) of our laundry. The clothes that were clean, anyway. Which, you know, is less than 15% of our total clothing. And take out the bathroom trash. And sweep the living room floor.

Which proved to be completely pointless because it took Ethan one hour to warrant the need for a re-sweep.

While he was occupied on the potty (anyone else find they use words like "potty" when talking among other adults? Nothing to see here, I just hang out with a toddler all day!), I managed to even scrub the rest of the bathroom.

But, anyway, five hours. Because every third sweep was met with a "mommy, I'm hungry" or "don't worry, I'll scale the 'fridge and grab the tomatoes myself -- I mean dump an entire carton of tomatoes all over the floor and then freak out about it!" And every third shirt I hung up was met with a "mommy, I need to pee pee and I can't get my undies off!" from the other room. Or, my favorite, the always counter productive "oh boy, the paint just spilled on the floor, mommy! Wipe it!"

So basically five hours in to what I called a "cleaning day" in a text message to my husband earlier, I stood in horror staring at a living room filled with toys and broccoli florets and crayons. What in the hell did I spend the last five hours doing?

I'm not a neat freak. Not in the least. I like mess. I like chaos. I don't even mind the piles of glitter all over my dining room table or the toothpaste Ethan squirted on the bathroom wall two weeks ago that is still there. But eventually even I go a little crazy when I can't find any socks to wear or step in cat puke so I come up with these crazy ideas like devoting Mondays to grocery shopping and then tidying up the house which I've actually been doing rather diligently except for the fact that after five hours, it looks like I've done nothing but sit on the couch eating bonbons and painting my toes. That last part thrown in there because I spent a good fifteen minutes trying to scrub up nail polish from my tile and I'm not even entirely sure I remember the last time I painted my nails so there's that.

My husband came home from work and had a good ten minutes to inhale his cold dinner before it was time to begin Ethan's bedtime routine and the minute they closed that bedroom door behind them, I pulled out the mop bucket and mopped my floors like I promised myself I would do every Monday. (For what it's worth hot water, vinegar, a squirt of dish soap and wild orange essential oils is where it's at for tile floors!) So I mopped and utilized all of my arm strength to scrub up mystery stains and tempera paint and supposedly washable marker (lies!) and then stood back to admire my living room.

Okay. Forgetting the piles of pillow cases and towels that never made their way into the linen closet or the sneaky toys that hid under the couch instead of staying put in their appropriate toy bins, it's clean enough.

That, or all of my mental singing of this song is paying off and I've successfully adopted it as my house cleaning motto:

Because at the end of the day, it took me seven hours to get my table to this point:

And seven hours to find the proper place to hide the remaining laundry I didn't have time to put away:

(For what it's worth, the bedroom dresser makes a sweet laundry hiding spot. No visitors ever really pop into your room and if they do, you can pull the "oh, yes, I was just tending to this massive mound of laundry before you dropped by!")

A for effort, right?

From where I stand (lapping up my excessive use of mop water with a towel because apparently I like to drown the dirt off the tile which really only works in theory), it's good enough.

Because we're four cats, two adults and a toddler living under one little roof and tomorrow is My Gym day. Which trumps cleaning day. Unlike cleaning, we're really, really good at playing.

To summarize: don't expect to see my house on any home design blogs, like, ever.

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