Monday, August 9, 2010

Nothing Says Home Like Dust Bunnies and Dead Centipedes

JD and I always joked that once I became a stay at home mom, our house would be spotless. I would dedicate all of my spare time to cleaning and organizing and cooking him delicious meals. Our child would be beautifully dressed in smocked outfits everyday with a perfectly clean nose and trimmed fingernails. I would be fitter than ever and have perfectly coifed hair. I mean, I would be home all day so surely there would be no excuse for a messy house, half-dressed babies and disheveled ponytails. Right?

No. That is not right. Not for me at least. I do pretty good at dressing Beatrice in something cute everyday and putting make up on my face, but ever since Beatrice started crawling I have noticed that my housekeeping has gone to crap. Gone are the days of her playing happily restrained in bouncers or exersaucers. If she is not roaming free, she is protesting loudly. And it is really hard to clean anything with a baby roaming free. I spend all of her waking moments following her expeditions under the dining room table (where I find many crusty treats from dinners of yesteryear) and trying to corral her back to the living room to read a book or sit still with a toy for a second. And not eat crusty treats. 

So clean when she naps, you say. Well I should. But her naps are so short and terrible these days, I use the 30 minutes or so to tap out a blog post, or prep dinner, or call a friend to complain about my messy house and Beatrice's crappy naps. That has become "me time." Not to be confused with the several hours of "down time" I have from the hours when Beatrice goes down for the night and I go to bed. Very different things vital to my sanity, I assure you.

So if I'm not cleaning when she's awake or when she sleeps, that really leaves no time to clean. I do vacuum the downstairs every morning when she is still waking up and content to sit still for several minutes. But the bathrooms are neglected, you can write your name in the furniture and the kitchen sink has dirty dishes in it. Sigh. I fail as a stay at home mom. Just so you don't think my house is a complete sty, I do clean something everyday. I just don't continue cleaning until the entire house is clean. In addition to all of the "me time" and "down time," I also need "breaks."

My mom stayed home with us and her house was spotless. Granted she was always cleaning something and banished us to the backyard only granting us reentry into the house for bathroom emergencies, she still kept an immaculate house. And she had 3 kids. I have 1, less house to keep clean and I still fail. What am I doing wrong?

For one, I love playing with Beatrice. I am rarely doing anything other than what she is doing when she is awake. We read, we build block towers, we knock down block towers, we eat, we pet the kitty, we talk, we laugh, we play. I am always with her, always engaging her in some activity. I get some points for that, right? So if having a clean house means less time to play with her, I don't think I can do that.

But the house is driving me crazy. I am very much like my mother in the sense that all is not right with the world unless your house is clean. I can overlook toys on the living room floor but I cannot overlook the dust/cat hair tumbleweeds traveling across the hardwood or the dead centipede laid to rest behind my dining room curtains. I need to clean. Like really clean. Top to bottom. In one day, not stopping until everything is clean. And then once it's clean, I need to organize the toys and books and photos and papers that occupy the bar, bookshelf, ottoman and corner.

On the upside, Beatrice hardly ever has boogers or snot in her nose, her hair is always perfectly fixed with a huge bow and her nails have only drawn blood once. I keep myself looking pretty good too. Well, decent anyway. Surely there is a solution to this problem of mine. A maid perhaps? Kidding, honey, kidding. 

Seriously though, aren't houses that have people living in them all day supposed to look lived in? We live here. This is a house of a family who loves to play and read and build block towers. It may not be very clean, but it is lived in to the fullest. I have the toys on the floor to prove it.

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