Right after we moved into our rebuilt house here on Smokey Acres we had some friends over for dinner. After a wonderful meal my friend surveyed the house from where he sat and said, "You know, after you have kids your house will never be this clean again."
My heart missed a beat.
"Whaaat?" I questioned.
"It will happen. One day you will be playing with your kid on the floor and you will see a dust ball the size of a cat hiding in a corner."
I shrugged off the comment confident that my compulsive cleanliness could overcome any myths of childhood and a dirty home. But, sleep still evaded me that night as I thought of this possible doom. Surely I could cover most surfaces with plastic shower curtain liners. And, really, Simple Green can clean any mess.
Thankfully, I wasn't so worried about the state of my home that I decided to forgo children altogether. In fact, I have been blessed twice. And, I have to say that my friend, was...positively correct.
I tried like a champ with my firstborn to keep the house in tip-top shape. When he napped, I cleaned. When he went to bed at night, I cleaned. I even tucked him in a Baby Bjorn and made vacuuming a crazy dance. But, ever so slowly the cleaning got away from me. I didn't have the few minutes extra to scrub the floor in the corners. I dusted just once a week, and then every other week, and then only on special occasions. I began to realize that folding the laundry could wait but my baby couldn't.
I still despair about the state of my house. I have a pile of laundry waiting for me to fold while the washing machine churns another load. But, for the dust you will find on my picture frames you will also find:
1. A clean toilet. Dirty toilets are beyond gross so should to come park your tookus on my potty it will be clean.
2. A clean dish. Maybe it will be paper but I will always have a clean plate for you to enjoy a meal.
3. Dog hair. This isn't really a plus, but it is a given. Our dogs live with us - or rather we live with them. My floors will always be clean but dog hair hides out in nooks and crannies. I guarantee my dogs' DNA will leave with you when you depart my front door.
4. Modern Art. Loads of it! Modern as the day is long. And modern as in new...freshly crafted. My office walls, my desk, our kitchen cabinets, and nearly every door in the house has art taped to it. It goes from toddler squiggles to quite impressive superheros, landscapes, and fanciful creatures. Some of it is colorful. Some of it is abstract. All of it is priceless.
5. A cold beverage. I will always off you something to drink. It may be a juice box, but I will offer it. If you stay longer than a few minutes I will bring out the "snack bowl." The snack bowl is what my kids and their friends and my friends wait eagerly for. On any given day the snack bowl will contain an assortment of child friendly snacks. And, some days, it will have mini packs of cookies in it!
6. Organization. I may have faltered in my cleanliness but if you need something that I have I will know exactly where it is at. My kitchen cabinets, closets, and office are organized. The bin you need may be a little dusty but it is right where it should be. Organization is my last thread of sanity. I may have lost the battle with the dust bunny but organizing is my life blood. I get goosebumps when I visit The Container Store.
7. Chaos and joy. You will find dogs and kids running around. You will hear the dishwasher clunking along. You will blow on a picture to see the photo more clearly through the dust. You will see art supplies out and stuffed animals watching TV. You will see childhood in progress.
So, no, my house isn't clean. But life is good. We do messy and we do it well! I am sure when I am old and in my pristine home I be counting the days until the grandkids come over and sweep through it like tornadoes. And, like now, I might just leave the hand prints on the glass a little longer because I will know they to will be grown before I know it.