Everyone that knows me is well aware that I'm not very domestic -- that's a nice way of saying my house is a mess, I'm always behind on laundry, and my family eats a lot of mac 'n cheese. But I thought I had my kids fooled.
That is, until a couple days ago when Kaleb asked, "Mom, who's coming over?"
"No one. Why?"
"Because you're cleaning the house."
That was one of those rare days when I was just cleaning the house because I wanted a path through the livingroom and a clear mother-conscience. Apparently my children are onto me. I'm beginning to wonder how long it will take me to get it. I'm a grown person with an advanced college degree who just can't apply the whole optimal time management thing.
Case in point. Every Thursday twin 5-year old girls come to our house from noon to five. From nine to eleven every Thursday morning I'm madly cleaning the house. The kids' room especially needs to be orderly, a ridiculous notion for a toddler play-area. But it gets done every week only to look like a presidentially declared natural disaster by 5:30. Why clean a house that will only, just hours later, look worse than it did before you started to clean it? Wouldn't an educated person wait and clean after the storm has passed so she could enjoy her work longer?
I do the same thing for the babysitter. Just yesterday I found out my sitter couldn't watch the kids at her house, so I spent three hours cleaning the four rooms I allow people access to (my bedroom and the laundry room are currently off-limits, and have been for a good 36 months now). And after all that work my sitter kindly forgave me for my messy house. "Your kitchen looks like ours does when my mom blows a gasket," she said. Apparently one person's clean is another person's mental collapse. Sigh.
So I've realized that I'm the kind of person who would clean her house before the maid comes. I'm also the kind of person who, when she cleans, doesn't even make babysitter-clean standards. At some point I'll need to embrace my domestic anti-goddess self and call it good. I'm an artist, I tell myself, cleanliness and order are in opposition with my creativity. Why not rejoice and let the world see my disarray?
But there's hope. Today as we were cleaning Kaleb and Leah's bedroom, Kaleb said, "Christian's room is so messy." Christian is my babysitter's little brother. "Messier than Kaleb and Leah's room?" I innocently asked. "So messy," Kaleb said. "And he never cleans it."
Redemption can sometimes come from the little tattlers living with you. I wonder if Christian's messy room is what makes my babysitter's mom blow a gasket.
I'll probably continue scrambling to get my house clean before visitors arrive. And if I ever blow a gasket we might have to let the authorities declare my house a biohazard. But until then, this is just my dirty little secret.