This weekend, JC took the kids out of the house for twelve hours and I did some hard-core spring cleaning. I was completely exhausted by the end of the day, but the house looked like it had been visited by the cleaning elves.
I actually took a picture. When I looked at it later, I realized that this is exactly the kind of picture that accompanies every blog post about how no one wishes they had vacuumed more, and how childhood is fleeting and we should embrace the chaos. These blogs often have words like “messy” or “wild” in the title, and nearly never show any mess. DOESN’T THIS LOOK SO PINWORTHY YOU COULD JUST DIE??? (except for the windows. I didn’t get the windows).
Here is what it looked like about 48 hours later:
Which is to say, you don’t know how long it will be before the floor is picked up enough to vacuum again. But the children are playing nicely, and I found lots of lost toys and shoes and sunglasses by doing a deep clean, as well as toting some things to the thrift store, so there’s a bit less clutter. I just…it’s a mess nearly all of the time, and it does have some effect on my mental state. I sometimes feel like the chaos in my mind is tied to the chaos in the house. I try to be intentional about making them clean up something before they get out another thing, but it requires monitoring and interrupting their play more than I would like. Many days, I have to choose between twenty minutes of quiet and neatness. I always, always choose the quiet. I wonder if they have figured out that I make them clean up stuff as soon as they start to bicker.
This is what my life looks like right now. And it’s true, the children are only little messy people for a little while, and I’m not going to remember what a mess my house was and all those sentiments. But it also feels nice to have had a day to just listen to podcasts and create some semblance of order. Even if it only lasted a few hours. And at least Petra went a whole day without getting dog hair in her dropped bananas, so that’s something.