I'm cleaning my house today and it's absolutely no fun at all. Still, I am doing it because I like a clean house. Who doesn't?
If you know my mother, you know that I grew up in an immaculate home. I've had more than one person tell me that they would eat off of my mother's floors. Her house is perfect- always shiny, orderly, and fresh.
My house is far- very, very far- from perfect. In fact, the only time I truly deep clean is when my mother comes to town. I usually start the day before my parents arrive. Among other tasks, I clean blinds, wipe dust boards, scrub bathrooms, vacuum stairs, and wipe off the top of my fridge (which is probably a useless since my mother is shorter than me these days). Since they come about once a month, this system works out well and helps me keep a pretty fresh home.
I'm afraid that if my mother never came for a visit, I'd never clean my house.
You see, as part of my focus on PURPOSE, I've come to realize that having fun- that truly experiencing life- is so much more important than cleaning my house. On any given day, I'll take a good book, a dance party with Harper, or a walk with Hazelnut over domestic chores.
I've made valiant attempts to be domestic and have failed more times than not. I don't craft, scrapbook, or sew. I'm not a very creative cook and unlike my mother, I'm a pretty lazy housekeeper. (If you read my blog, Diligent Joy, you know I'm also a pretty lazy hair styler, too. I must dislike any and all not fun, time-hogging tasks. Thank goodness that the messy look is in style, for hair at least.)
I haven't always been this way. I used to be more like my mother. I let my daily tasks- my near obsession with having a "perfect" home- run my life. Back then, I was a mess with anxiety and not a very happy person at all.
Now I am at peace and truly, I'm content. While I still can't stand an unmade bed, wrinkled clothing, or a messy kitchen, I'm okay with not vacuuming my entire house every day. I'm okay with cleaning my bathroom once every week (or so). I'm okay with a semi-large laundry pile. I'm okay with these things because I know that in ten years- tomorrow, in fact- they won't matter at all. I'll never look back and say, "I wish I'd kept a cleaner house." I will look back and say, "I'm so glad I took Harper to the pool instead of doing laundry that one afternoon in July (I'm talking about yesterday, by the way). We had so much fun together. I loved it when she would count to three and jump into my arms. I absolutely loved it."
I also don't think- or at least I hope- that Harper won't look back and wish her mother had cleaned more. Even if she does, it's much better than having her wish I'd played with her more.
I've promised myself that our daughter will never look back and wish her mother had played with her, danced with her, read with her, and enjoyed life with her. Never ever will she remember me cleaning before she will remember me chasing her around the house in a good game of "tigers." (You may not know this game. That's okay. It's one that Harper and I have sort of made up. Basically, we run around the kitchen island growling and "clawing" at one another. Eventually, Harper melts into a fit of giggles and I win. It's awesome.)
I love my mother. That topic will never be up for debate. I just wish she would have had a little more fun. I wish that she would have a little more fun even now. I know that this is never going to happen and that's fine. I also know that when she comes over and observes as I let my daughter flood our bathroom everyday during her bath, she is disappointed. I know that when she sees my two dogs (who are, in her mind, filthy little creatures despite the fact that they have regular baths/teeth cleanings), she feels that she failed as a mother and I'm pretty sure that when I'm not looking, she inspects my dusty baseboards and shakes her head in disgust.
I'm okay with that. I understand that she prefers a clean house. I prefer to enjoy my day. I wish that I could have both, but with a toddler, two dogs, and a semi-messy husband, it's just not possible right now. Well, maybe it is. I could clean at night, after my little family has gone to bed. That would be a problem for me, though, because then I'd have no reading time. I can live with a sort of messy house. I can't live without reading time.
I can't live without reading time, baby snuggles, doggy walks, or movie nights with the hubby man. These are the parts of my life that are most important and if I have to endure a little dust in order to enjoy them, so be it.
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