Here's my latest column (although, just between you and me, it's really just an old post...).
People who know me are 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 children eat a lot of macaroni and 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."
It was one of those rare days when I was cleaning the house just because. Because I wanted to clear a pathway through the playroom and to clear my mother-conscience.
But 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. When we lived in Utah I would watch twin 5-year old girls every Thursday from noon to five. From nine to eleven every Thursday morning I'd madly clean the house. The kids' room especially had to be orderly, a ridiculous notion for a preschooler play-area. But like clockwork, every Thursday my house would be immaculate by noon 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 the house after the kids had left 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, the garage, and the basement are currently off-limits, and have been since we moved here). 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 to my creativity. Why not rejoice and let the world see my disarray?
But there's hope. Today as we were cleaning Kaleb’s bedroom, he said, "Christian's room is so messy." Christian is my babysitter's little brother. "Messier than your room?" I asked innocently. "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 the authorities might have to declare my house a biohazard.
But until then, this is just my dirty little secret.