I have always been OCD about keeping up with a clean house. Over the years it’s been reduced to wanting a clean few rooms, a clean room, a clean space and now just a clean counter. Something was ingrained in me from childhood that if chores weren’t completed than I couldn’t have any fun. If your work wasn’t completed, then no play. I feel like I live in that same mental ‘stuck’ place even as an adult. Honestly, I feel if my house isn’t clean, laundry done, dishes all washed, and everything in its order that I can’t sit back and blog or watch a show or spend any time on me activities. I feel like I should always have those things done before I devote any time to my own hobbies or activities. Have you heard it’s good to have dreams but know the difference between a dream and a fantasy? Well somehow I keep harboring this fantasty as a dream. It is certainly unrealistic to have a clean house with two kids. I am going to have to reread that last sentence over and over to really let it soak in. The day your dream dies is a sad day, but also an enlightening one!
Last week I tried something new. I was on the pursuit of happiness. I didn’t take the kids to any normal weekly outings and stayed home and cleaned all day, each day. The floors got done one day, bathrooms the next, bills got organized and filed, etc. You get the picture. Basically, I fed my kids and did some light play but the tot watched a ton of tv and played by herself for much of the day. The baby was held a lot but moved room to room while I cleaned. We went out a few times to do grocery shopping or pick up paperwork or meds but that was it. We didn’t go outside to play or walk or anything. I skipped my workouts but my diet was better than ever. Don’t be quick to credit motivation there…it was spot on because of new allergies in my son that have made me change my diet. Anyways, I was certain a clean, spotless, organized house would make me happier. I knew it would make me a better mom and happier. I just knew that free and accomplished feeling would overpower me at the end of my cleaning spree week. Well, quite the opposite happened. Bubble bursted. Dream died.
At the end of the week my kitchen is dirty again. There are pancake drip spots on the counter. The living room rug has dog hair on it again. The toddlers toys are everywhere. The bathroom floor doesn’t look half bad but my daughter did give her doll a full on bath in the sink so technically the counters got wiped down today. There are clothes all over the floors and the laundry has procreated again and the little bastards are everywhere! All of that happened within 24 hours!! So, what did I learn from this? I learned that as long as I have kids I will not have a clean home and the price of a clean home is not worth it. The amount of energy it took and the things I gave up to make it clean were a waste of time because it was got just as cluttered just as fast. I really feel like I lost that battle but I learned a valuable lesson. I fought hard to feel that victorious feeling and in the end all I felt was more guilt, less motivated, and can’t recall doing anything fun with my kids for a whole week. The price of a clean home is not worth the sacrifice of making memories with your family.
The whole reason I wanted to stay home with my kids is because I get to raise them. I get to teach them, inspire them and learn alongside with them. It is not because I can get all the household chores done while the children entertain themselves all day. My husband, to his credit and much appreciation for being this way, has never made me feel bad about not keeping up with the house. I put that pressure on myself and feel I need to show what I have accomplished each day through what chores get done. Guess what? I don’t think he even notices if the kids rooms are clean or if all the dishes are done. So I have to say many days I am still finding the balance between child raising and chores.
This week I am putting off unnecessary chores and dedicating this week to more crafts with the kids, reading stories, building forts and taking naps.