Wednesday, October 24, 2012


You'll never believe this.

I'm still in shock myself.

Today, a friend of mine came over to my house.  Walked in through my garage, then through my kitchen, and entered the living room.  She looked around and then said:

"Thank you.  This makes me feel better.  Just one time your house looks just as messy as mine."

I stared at her for several seconds, trying to understand what she had just said.  Finally I said, "What?"

She went on about how nice it was that for once my house was messy.

I was too shocked to burst out into laughter or I would have.  I would have laughed so hard I'd peed my pants.  Speechless, that's what I was. 


I mean, I spend 30% of my life cleaning, so you'd think I had a clean house.  But it never is.  This friend?  She's not smoking crack.  She had a baby less than a week ago and is sleep deprived, that's what it was.  I hate to totally rip her credibility on here, so we'll just say she's "delusional from lack of sleep."

The TRUTH is that my house is never clean.

I gave up "clean" a long time ago.  I no longer buy into the lie that I must keep a perfectly clean house at all times in order to be a good wife.

Aunt Nancy helped me with that one day when I called her tired and frustrated. (I was the one tired and frusterated. I did not refer to her as "tired and frusterated.") She told me that I didn't have to have everything clean at the same time.  She gave me some tips: Wipe a section of baseboards if there is a tub of wipes close and you have a few extra seconds.  If there are some crumbs in the silverware drawer, pick them up by pressing your finger on top of them and dust them off onto the floor --cause sooner or later it's going to get swept up.   A little bit here, a little there.  It won't ever be "clean" but it won't be nasty.

Those words changed my life.  No longer do I strive for clean.  My new goal is "not as nasty."  As in:  "not as nasty as it was a few minutes ago."  Most days I reach that goal. I'm happier now, I feel less like a failure.  I mean, I know what I did today and I know my house is not as nasty as it was before I swept up the muffin crumbs or before I wiped the splattered milk off of the cabinet.  So I alone can give myself a high-five and say, "You did it! It's 'not as nasty!'"

Last weekend we had guests, Aunt Kay and Uncle David came to see us as part of their vacation (I love it when people do this!!)  I set aside the afternoon before and the morning of their arrival to do my house cleaning.  There's no point in doing it any earlier than this as long as there are children living here.   ...and there are.

So I begin to clean.  and clean.  and clean.   Then I look around and think.  You know what?  Aunt Kay and Uncle David are going to think I forgot they were coming today.  The floor has spots on it, the dusting sure as heck hasn't happened, the bathroom still isn't clean and the front porch hasn't been swept.

No one was going to walk into this house and say, "Wow!  Everything looks so great!  You look like you've been cleaning all day."  No one knew (or knows) what crazy things I have to scrape up and off of things.  Like spaghetti stuck to the table legs or sticky grime off of door knobs.  They don't know the work that has to be done. But if they did, wouldn't it be great?   Wouldn't you feel so rewarded if someone walked into your house and said things like:

"Wow! What happened to the table?  There's no dried on cereal!"  or "Whoa, no spider webs above your kitchen window.  Nice!"  or "Don't tell me you vacuumed out the shoe cubbie again!  No sand?!"  or even "I can't find any of the seventeen puffs go that Brady strategically scattered all over the downstairs.  You are quite the finder. Have you ever considered trying out for the amazing race?" 

but they never do.

They don't know how many magic erasers it takes to make the place look livable. 

But now you know.

Next time you walk into a home with preschoolers, if your hand doesn't stick to the door knob, you tell that mama. 

You tell her:  "Whoa!  Clean door knobs!  Way to go!"

then high-five her.  Tell her that one's from me.    

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