My Dirty Secret
By Allison Hull
“Wow, the table looks really nice, Mom! Who’s coming over?”
“I don’t want to clean my room! Are kids or just adults coming to the house?”
My husband and I joke about these comments that have been made but in reality, I only do big cleaning projects when company is coming over. It’s my secret fear, that someone will see how we really live and judge us. Of course, it was super easy when we lived in an apartment with only a baby around. He even helped when he got older. I pondered why all these moms complained when it was a sweep, mop, dust done kind of thing each day. But with subsequent kids and more space came more of an inability to get to it all. I ALWAYS feel like Mr. Incredible. “I just cleaned up this mess. Can we keep it clean for 10 minutes?”
Because inevitably, the moment after I sweep, my husband will come through with popcorn and spill it all over. Or a boy will spill his gummies and walk it all over the house. It’d be nice to have a couch not stained with deep juice spills or anything that isn’t smeared in peanut butter. I’d relish a day where I didn’t look under a chair and see dust bunnies or a wrapper of some sort.
AND THE DIRTY CLOTHES! They seem to pour from the walls. I wash them, dry them, fold them, and then…I seem to lose momentum and they sit in their basket til someone screams they don’t have any underwear.
My life is wiping boogers off a wall and putting a new roll of toilet paper on the wall. Most days I’m treading water. You wash all the dishes, wash the clothes, and pick up the toys only to find the next room destroyed. Turn around and the toys are right back out. Clean is not in my vocabulary anymore, let alone having everything in the exact spot I’d like. Someone that has everything neatly put away must not have 4 boys, at least that’s what I tell myself.
So yes, my house is messy. I clean only the rooms I know people will be in. We joke about how I get when someone is coming over. Everything must look like we live differently! Seriously, the books must be sitting in the bookcase, not spilling out! Clothes put away or I’m throwing them away! Legos boxed up like you don’t know what they are! And yes, my table doesn’t have papers all over it when people come over. Don’t get me wrong, day to day things get done. We aren’t living in filth. But my house doesn’t look ‘maid clean’ if someone were to pop over.
Eventually I know this will fade away and the dirty fingerprints all over the walls and windows will be gone. The toilets will remain pristine and there will be significantly less dishes and clothes to wash. So I don’t sweat it. Yeah, they can destroy it all within 2 minutes but it’s because they were working together. The room could look better but then how will we get the fort to work otherwise? If I’m focused on organizing everything I’m going to miss the moments where the 2 middle children outsmart the oldest. I’m going to miss them playing church when the chair mysteriously appeared in the middle of the living room. And I’m going to miss them laying every single blanket down and making blanket angels because we miss the snow. Right now they are playing Lions vs Dinosaurs and I can’t wait to see what wins. My house may be dirty but my heart is full.
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