It’s Sunday, and once again my to-do list is sitting on the kitchen counter, items uncrossed; a glaring reminder of another weekend of potential productivity lost. I could blame the state of my house on my current cold, but even if I’d felt 100 percent, I still would not have completed my chores.
I’ve never liked to clean, but I like everything to be clean. Since becoming an adult, I’ve been one of those “make the bed every morning or else my day won’t start right” kind of people. My husband knows the key to my heart is to help keep the house clean. When I decide something needs done, it needs done right away, leading to many a late night vacuuming or bathroom cleaning sessions. In my house, everything had a place, a place that is not on a countertop or on the floor.
Then, I became a mom.
Right now, as I look around my living room, I see a vacuum cleaner sitting out and plugged in (but yet to be used), a dirty tissue on our ottoman, a car seat in the middle of the floor, and baby blankets and play things flung haphazardly on our rug with a dog toy here or there. I don’t dare get down to discover the amount of dog and cat hair permeating our rug. Hairballs blow like tumbleweeds on our hardwood floor.
If I turn my head and look into our dining area, I see a bottle of syrup on the table, left over from morning waffles, placemats that need ironed, leftover napkins, Valentine’s Day cards and wilting flowers, a diaper bag, and more dog toys. I don’t even want to look in our kitchen and don’t even think about asking me about the upstairs. I’m happy if I can manage to create a path to walk in our bedroom.
I also see a baby, smiling up at me from her play gym, wanting attention. She’s flailing her arms around, trying to crawl, but she’s not quite strong enough…yet.
Sure, I could maybe squeeze in some time during the week to clean and pick up, after AJ goes to bed. But I’m normally bone tired, and sitting down for a few minutes before I fall asleep to read a book or watch Downton Abbey is how I keep my sanity. So I put off house chores until the weekend, but when the weekend comes I’d rather spend it playing with my baby, or spending time with my husband, family or friends.
On the days I do go on a cleaning rampage, when I’m finished the peace that comes with a clean house falls over me. But then I feel a certain melancholy, knowing I’ve missed several precious hours with my baby, who is changing by the minute.
My pre-baby self would surely look upon my home’s current state in shock and disgust. But I’m not my pre-baby self anymore. I keep telling myself that one day, one day our house will be spotless (maybe when AJ moves out?). But for now, I’ll take the mess – every spill, every stain is a little reminder of all the wonderful life happening in our home.