Thursday, March 8, 2012

going to hell in a laundrybasket

It's hard to believe that this time last week, our home was clean and tidy and organized, and I was totally on top of my game! I even had the gall to brag to a Mommy friend about how I'd finally got a working system in place, and how I'd been managing to maintain a Mary Poppins like demeanor about the home. Well all that was true - last week.

This week's an entirely different story. On a first glance you would think the place had been ransacked by burglars. Not one surface in the entire house is visible. I don't have any idea how it happens, and it's all just miscellaneous junk that does have a rightful home (somewhere) in the house. Toys are scattered haphazardly in every room in the house, and the utility room has become a knee-deep sea of laundry, which we have to wade through to get into the bathroom - at least it's clean laundry. The dirty laundry is in a heap on the bathroom floor - barely a yard away from the empty laundry basket, where it should be. There's really no excuse but slovenliness, of which both the hubbie and I are guilty as charged. Between the two of us, it doesn't take but a day or two, before our entire home is in disrepute!

In our defense, life is so hectic right now and - with a newborn joining the party in August - it's only going to get busier. This week Daddy is working toward a big deadline for his Masters degree, and Momma is still pregnant and running around after two toddlers all day. The fight over household chores between us is getting a feistier battle - one which we're yet to resolve. We'd gladly hire a cleaner if we could afford one. Or if we could only just put stuff away after we'd used it! Why can't we do just that? It's a mystery to me why the cheerios box remains on the top after it's been used - or why the tea towel never gets returned to the fridge door handle - or why the cereal bowl never quite makes it into the dishwasher?

I'm always so amazed by those together Moms, who run a tight ship, with their made-up faces and spotless homes! How on Earth do they find the time? I'm lucky if I can find the time to splash water on my face and clean my teeth before herding my boys out of the door. I'm coming to the conclusion that there must be some enjoyment in cleaning, which I'm yet to experience -  like running for pleasure -  who in their right mind wants to spend their down time cleaning (or running for that matter)?

I admit to attaining a certain level of pride and satisfaction last week, with my temporarily tidy home. There's a big part of me that so wants to join the ODC Mommy club, but who am I kidding? That's really not who I am.

So why do I even fight the mess? I'm happy with my priorities and these lie with the kids. If a kid's awake, my role is to interact and play rather than tidy the house (with this Daddy concurs) - it's a simple as that. We both agree that I'm a stay-at-home Mommy, not a housekeeper. That's not to say I'm not willing to do my fair share about the home, however, divvying up duties for the hubbie and myself is proving to be an ongoing struggle. We've tried drawing up job rosters and chore lists, but all prove to be temporary solutions.

My problem lies in who's to benefit from a clean house. I'm the one who spends the most time here, looking after the wee ones - and a tidy home means a much more relaxed and safer environment. So I'm always the one destined to break down in frustration first. My hubbie will firefight the mess a little, if that's what's required to achieve his momentary goal, like bathing the kids (maybe he'll wipe down the tub), or making some dinner (a pan or two may get rinsed down), but it usually takes a mean Mommy to spur him fully into clean-up mode.

A couple of months ago, Daddy was all set to be on kiddie duty for an hour or so, while I went to book club. But just before I was set to leave, a flustered Daddy spun out about the house being upside down, uncharacteristically demanding that I help him give the whole place an overhaul before I leave. It definitely shakes things up a bit when you take on a role reversal (not that there's any hard earned cash involved in book club) - but it did my man some good to walk in Mommy's shoes, and experience for himself the added difficulty to child rearing when your house is a hazard zone.

Next week Daddy is on Spring Break - maybe we'll find time for a Spring Clean and start all over again - maybe the house will stay clean for more than a day or two. Or maybe I'll just have to learn to love my messy home for what it is - and be happy to wait for people coming over to spur on a big clean.

My kids are napping in sync today, and it's been that way for the last hour. The house is going to hell in a handbasket, and today, the only thing I'm willing to do about the mess is write about it.

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