A few weekends ago a girlfriend of mine needed to bunk over at my house for a meeting on Sunday morning. She lives a few hours away in Heidelburg, Germany and needed a convenient place to crash. My house was up for grabs.
I like to make out as if I don’t pay that much attention to my housework. This is a lie. I live and breath by my 409, change my vacuum filter at least once a week, and routinely chase down dirty socks and undies in an attempt to keep everyone less stinky.
But the fact remains, as hard as I try this homemaking business manages to undo itself faster than I can put it all back together.
Now that I’m homeschooling Rex (6) and only putting June(4) into preschool two or three days a week, my housekeeping routine has gone haywire. Unofficial art projects and inventions wind through the house leaving trails of paper, glue, toys and cardboard in their wake. Add to that kids who think this is an all-inclusive resort and request food on the hour and what you get is disordered chaos.
Yet there are women who have more kids and more housework than I who somehow manage to pull it all off without a hitch. This girlfriend of mine is one of them. With six kids she manages to run a lovely, squeaky clean ship with what appears to be Mary Poppinsish ease.
You can guess what Saturday morning looked like at my house. In an attempt to fool the world I put my little slaves to work cleaning and scrubbing and organizing and folding. There was very little kindness and a whole lot of impatience. As the morning progressed I became more and more frustrated at the amount of work to do and the preschool pace the children and I were doing it at. Three steps forward, two art projects back.
When my girlfriend and I pulled in that night and walked through my clean-ish house (not up to standard but better than it had been) I was horribly aware of how unimportant it was. She wasn’t there to judge me or my housework. The only person who really cared how things looked was me.
One of my girlfriends was over for a visit today and we were talking about life and how we always think that the next job or relationship or house or raise is going to make everything easier. Not only that, we feel we deserve ease, fate owes us the happily ever after. I blame Disney for this. I love them and I blame them just the same.
I can remember seven or eight years ago being a new mother in Maryland. We lived in a little townhouse with a little yard in a less reputable part of town. Money was impossibly tight. At that point I knew the only thing I needed for happiness was more space and more cash. Just think how great life would be if only we had more room to put more stuff.
Today I look around me at this massive messy house and long for our little two and a half bedroom 1100 square foot home. Oh to have time to watch Dr. Phil again (is he still on?).
No one has an easy life. There are levels of hard–some are harder than others–but few people can actually call what they’ve got easy. Some people might be good at presentation, but it doesn’t mean their life is mud free. I don’t care what the world and the media and ABC might say, life is mostly piles of dirty laundry and dust bunnies. There are moments of laughter and kindness but the honest truth is that we have to work hard for them.