Why My House Is a Mess

I recently overheard someone I know commenting to another person on the noticeable change in my housekeeping skills since I've had kids. It honestly wasn't really criticism, I suppose, but it did make me think.

Although this friend meant nothing hurtful at all, if you know me, I take everything very personally. And I let all criticism, even if it's constructive, simmer a little longer than I should.

After I heard this comment I was at first a little sad. Not sad that she had said it, I know very well that what she said has some serious merit, but I was forced to start to accept that I have let some things slide the last few years. My housekeeping is one of those things.

I think I have been in denial a little.

I used to be that person that had a weekly schedule of which rooms would get cleaned on each day of the week. And it wasn't really until the third kid was added to the family that I strayed from this schedule.

But folks, I have strayed.

My house is most certainly messy. And if you come over unannounced, you better be ready for the possibility of seeing last night's pjs from all three kids thrown on the living room floor, dishes from lunch (yesterday) sitting by the sink anxiously awaiting a rinse, and several unflushed toilets. And before you judge, that last one is not my fault; some days I feel like all I do is walk zombie-like, from bathroom to bathroom, flushing toilets.

Cleaning the bathroom floor now means toweling up the bath water that the kids poured out at bath time. So I guess if you are using that as the standard, my bathroom floor gets cleaned every night, wink wink.

Doing the dishes happens less and less often and likely you will be offered a paper plate if you have a meal with my messy family.

Laundry is my nemesis. I do not understand how five people go through so much laundry, but we do. It is unbelievable really. My kids change their clothes 3-4 times on a normal day and of course get chocolate milk, peanut better and jelly, and/or boogers on everything that they put on so nothing can be reworn without a wash.

Toys are endlessly out of place, and I work seriously hard on this one. Our basement is our pseudo-organized play area and the kids keep almost every toy they own down there. When I am not looking though my kids slowly sneak, little by little, various toys into different rooms around the house. This, by the end of the day, creating a copious amount of toys that has to be picked up and carried back down to the basement. Every. Single. Day. (And yes I know my kids should be picking up their own toys but let's be honest it is just easier and quicker for us parents to do it.)

Dusting is a luxury form of cleaning that I don't indulge in often, like going to get a pedicure or a massage. It sure would be nice to get it done, but who has the time?

Scrubbing the hardwood floors. Next.

Our dining room table is more like an office, usually hosting a laptop, printer, a few empty soda cans and stacks of papers. Rarely does it host a meal for my family.

For me, letting go of meticulously cleaning my house has been a coping strategy. I have anxiety issues and I have learned that sometimes I have to let something important to me go. Lately it has been the housework (remind me again why I thought buying a four bedroom, four bathroom, three level house was a good idea?).

I see other parents that seem to be able to cope with this cleaning delima just fine. In fact, they don't just cope, they thrive. For example my sister's house is always spotless, organized and beautifully decorated every single time I come over. I tell myself it is because I have younger, and more, children than her but I'm not convinced that's the case. She might actually have super powers.

Or she has secretly hired a cleaning service.

I do think people can change, and in this area; I have. Maybe not overnight, but we do change in our priorities as experiences happen and time passes. And that actually could be a really good thing. If I cleaned my house to the extent I think it truly needs to honestly be cleaned, I literally would get no sleep.

I do long for the days when I will pick up the living room and it will actually stay that way: picked up. I can't imagine what it will be like to only have to clean up after my own messes again.

But that would also mean that my kids aren't little kids anymore. So I'm torn because I am definitely not ready for that.

I kind of like that my house looks "lived in" by a crazy family of five. My kids love making messes with the paint and Play Doh that now stain my kitchen table. They love when I hang up their many many many drawings and pictures on the cluttered mess of my walls. They love when we let the city built of wooden blocks sit up on the living room floor for three days. They love when I let them help me make lunch, creating a serious disaster of a kitchen in the process.

If you walk through my front door, you will realize very quickly that I have several kids (you will also have to be careful not to trip on a roller skate or a Nerf gun). But do you know what? That's okay.

That's me now.

I can pick it up later.

The city train set that over Christmas break was a 
permanent fixture in our living room.

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