You would think that after living with my mother for essentially 25 years (yay for free room and board as I meandered through school!), some of her cleaning tendencies would have rubbed off on me.
I struggle with keeping things tidy. There are times I do a really good job for a week or a month and then life gets busy, stressful or someone gets sick and all that goes out the window. It’s a terrible cycle where my house reflects the chaos of my brain and the house increases the chaos of my brain.
And having two kids and all their junk doesn’t help.
And since we struggle to keep things tidy, we really struggle to keep things clean. You can’t vacuum with toys all over the floor. You can’t dust with books all over everything.
Let me scapegoat for a minute: I try really hard to set up routines where we keep things tidy on a daily basis and establish a day for actually cleaning. But with a baby, a toddler and a husband with ADHD, it means I have to be the one who enforces the routine which isn’t always popular with my two little sidekicks.
Wait, I meant to blame all of that on Scott. How did I end up on me?
Oh probably because it is on me. I’ve struggled to establish an effective routine for this mat leave. Partially, it’s due to a toddler who stalks getting dressed and so will often keep be distracted until 10 before she finally gets her pants on. Partially, it’s due to a baby who needs toe stretches and massages, foot baths and my own special version of physical therapy for half an hour every morning and night. It takes basically all morning to get ready and then naps (which involve a lot of parenting despite what sounds like) take all afternoon. I feel like I’m spinning my tires most of the day.
I keep reminding myself of the needlepoint I keep in a closet downstairs (because it’s not my decorating style but couldn’t bare to let my mom get rid of it when she took it down in her house):
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ’til tomorrow
For babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow,
So settle down cobwebs and dust go to sleep
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.
But let’s face it: one of my babies isn’t so little and neither really tolerates all that much rocking. They both feed off of my energy and if a messy house makes me anxious, it’s making them anxious too. So it’s really up to me. I have no excuses left to use. We’re going to get this house under control. We’re going to get things tidy and then get things clean. There’s no magic routine that’s going to change our ways overnight. We will stop and start all over again, but the important thing is that we just keep going and keep starting over.
Because if there is one thing that living in a clean house for 25 years had taught me (even though I likely contributed very little to that), it’s how smoothly every part of your day goes when you’re not fighting against the mess.