Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cleanliness is next to childlessness?

Today, for lunch, while making the girls their chicken nuggets and fruit, I seriously contemplated just grabbing one of the beers in the fridge and calling it a day. It was 5 o'clock somewhere, right? Granted, probably in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but still. I know you can picture the scene now, can't you? Molly and Charlotte chowing down on chicken nuggets while I gulp down a brewski. A Michelob Ultra Pomegrante Rasberry, to be exact (I know it's a girly beer, but I'm a girly girl, so deal). So, while I didn't actually go for it, I really, really, really wanted to.

Now, let me be clear, I know it was just Mother's Day, and I'm so grateful to be able to be a mother, I love my children, they are my world, my light, yada, yada, yada ... But ...

Keeping the house clean with two children is driving me insane. Sometimes, pretty literally. Thus, the almost-beer for lunch.

Here's the thing. I've always been fairly neurotic about cleanliness and neatness. Now, this isn't to say that I'm perfect and have always kept every room/apartment/house I've ever lived in spotless. But, when things are messy, I get stressed. I am SO much calmer when my surroundings are clean and neat. I'm sure Oprah has some spiritual saying about my surroundings reflecting my state of mind or something to that effect. But, well, Oprah's abandoning all of us, so I guess I'll just have to make up my own theory. Cleanliness and neatness are like my very own Xanax pills. It makes me feel as if a load has been taken off of my shoulders. I am able to breathe more easily. Ahhh ... just the thought of it is like hearing the waves and smelling the ocean. Complete serenity.

A couple quirks about me. My mom always likes to tell everyone that when we were younger, she used to make us kids take turns and make dinner for the family. What she never seems to remember is that I would always use about 80 percent of the dinner-making time to clean up the kitchen. Who can cook in a messy kitchen? Well, I'm assuming just about everyone else. But, not me. This perhaps should've foretold the anti-cooking stance I hold today.

Another quirk. When I was little, on Christmas Eve, when I knew Santa was coming? I would clean my room till it was spotless. There is nothing that made me happier than waking up on Christmas morning, with the anticipation of seeing what Santa brought, and looking out at my perfectly clean room. Truth be told, I still like my house, and especially my bedroom, spotless on Christmas Eve. Weird, I know.

Anyway, these quirks and OCD-lite tendencies don't stand a chance in the face of two little ones home all day long. Growing up, my best friend, Amanda, had a spotless house. Her mom kept every room like a showroom. I still distinctly remember admiring the vacuum lines on the carpet while we watched Jem on her TV. Now, as a mom, I have no idea how Mrs. Stuka did that. And, she even had three girls; so one more than me. I'm at a loss to how she did it.

I often equate cleaning up with Molly and Charlotte as akin to shoveling snow in a blizzard. It is just an exercise in futility. For instance, I am unloading the dishwasher. I get all the dishes put away, put all the dirty ones in, and am feeling pretty good about myself. I turn around and Charlotte has opened the pantry and drawers and strewn spices, boxes of macaroni and cheeses, water bottles, and towels all over the kitchen. Or, I use precious napping minutes to fold baskets of laundry. The girls wake up, and before I even have a chance to put it away, they are pulling all the clothes out in order to climb into the laundry basket itself. Or, I am in the process of taking out my contacts (mere seconds of time when I can't see), and Charlotte manages to get my shoes out of my closet and fill them with all the my bottles from underneath my bathroom sink.

Or, what if I dare to take a shower? Well, this is what I step out of my bathroom and see:
Yes, those are the contents of my wallet. And, that is Charlotte looking all innocent.
Molly's no angel in this either. For some reason, she loves to play in my room. She will bring blankets, pillows, dolls, stuffed animals and books to have "sleepover parties" in the middle of the day in my room. Does she feel a need to pick it all up when she is done? Nope. She clearly has not inherited my "quirks" yet. Give her time.

This hasn't even been contained to the house. Check out the view of the backseat of my car:
I finally took a bag, filled it with the contents of the floor of my car, and carried everything inside. I found 13 water bottles in the car. Thirteen. THIRTEEN?!?!

So, right now, the girls are in bed for the night. I have several hours that I could use to get the house spotless. Instead, I'm complaining about it on my blog. The girls have broken me.

However, I will accept any and all volunteers who want to come over and clean my house. The line starts at my front door. I'll be waiting. And, enjoying my beer.


  1. Remember, laugh lines are a good thing......

  2. I was always jealous of my friends' houses that were spotless...but then I realized how many chores they had to do and wasn't so into it then! Since I can be pretty comfortable in a messy place I don't have the same level of anxiety about it, but when I almost break my ankle tripping over a toy I get upset. I've decided at our house it has to do with the amount of stuff. If I can control the clutter I can control the amount of mess that can be made...or that's the theory. By the way, Chris absolutely hates when I cook because I don't know how to clean as I go. The kitchen is spotless after he makes a meal. I don't know how he does it. I'm lucky if I read the recipes right and get everything mixed together at the right time and not burn it all. How could I clean too?