I did something yesterday I haven't done in about two and a half years. Yesterday I spent the whole morning cleaning house.
Now, I love order deep in my soul. I like knowing where the outlet adapter is (an important accessory in an old house), or when I'm nearly out of toilet paper. I like walking into the sun room/ play room without stepping on blocks. I like order, but I'm not a perfectionist. I don't think I recognized the difference until I had children. Because friends, to keep an actual clean house while living with young children, you've got to WANT it. You've got to be willing to scrub at 11 p.m., to wipe the same surface four times in the same afternoon, to fold the exact same blanket 38 times before nap. And I'm just - not. Since I've had kids, I try to keep the train on the track. Things stay generally picked up, but they only get cleaned in spurts, once a room begins to feel grimy and overwhelming. Until it bothers me, it doesn't get cleaned.
Doesn't it make you want to come eat at my house?
Anyway, my house reached its saturation point about a month ago. I kept throwing Asher's crafts in his closet (the closet both boys share, since Silas' closet holds life jackets and vacuum cleaners - one of the, um, blessings of an old house is tiny closets, and never enough of them), and it had gotten to the point where I was afraid to open the doors. Also, apprently the Easter baskets fell from the top, and the kids discovered Easter grass while I was on the phone recently. Have mercy. There was fingerpaint on the hallway baseboards, peanut butter in the bathtub, and in general, it looked as though The Lost Boys had taken up residence.
So a few weeks ago I banished my children to their room for hours at a time (where they were NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH THE EASTER GRASS - and that went just as well as you imagine it did) while I scrubbed the common areas top-to-bottom. While the "boom and bust" (such a good title, so true) approach did work, it also made my children miserable with boredom and frustration and their pregnant mother utterly exhausted. So. I realized I just couldn't do that throughout the house, no matter how much I wanted to. Yesterday morning I was up at 4:30 a.m., only one child was here while the other was at Grandma's, and I was feeling pretty good that day. By 8:30 we had eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, and been on an hour-and-a-half bike ride. We came home and cleaned. Then cleaned some more.
Brian even put away the Christmas decorations.
On June 5. I told you it was a mess.
But now it's done. Even my room is clean, and my room is almost always the most neglected in the house (unfortunately).
And can I just say how much I love order? How much I LOVE having a clean house? I'm enjoying it this morning, because by this afternoon? I'll be stepping on blocks and scrubbing peanut butter off the walls again.
Next step: the back yard. Can I make it look a little less like a daycare center?