Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that our home is pretty much always in top shape.
Even having an active little boy didn’t stop me from trying to achieve the Martha-Stewart-cleanliness of homes.
Even when Goob was a baby/toddler, every few hours, I’d stack (and re-stack) books, stuffed animals, and toys. Tucked away in a neat little corner; looking as if they hadn’t been played with just minutes before.
Truth is as nice as it looked, it was a compulsion. I couldn’t bear a mess. It didn’t help that I grew up in a near-perfect home. (Aesthetically speaking, of course). It’s the bliss and the horror of growing up with a stay-at-home-mom (and eventually becoming one, for periods of time, myself). I constantly saw her cleaning; I constantly heard the oohs and ahhs when people entered the threshold of the door; I nary saw a shoe out of place and most certainly knew better than to sit on a freshly-made bed.
It was hard to let go of perfection. I’ve never given much thought to how I look, what kind of job I’ve had, and the like. But my home–that was the one thing I had control over.
Originally, as I mulled over this post in my head, the title of it was going to be Letting go. Because that’s just what I had to do. Let go of all the notions of what I thought was right that I had built up for so long.
Essentially, I’ve given up.
I give up on trying to keep our home dust free. Because you dust, and the next day it doesn’t look like you have dusted at all.
I give up on trying to constantly sweep up every lint or crumb because the second I put the broom down, surely there will be more lint on the floor.
And the biggest area I’ve given up on, the hardest, is my son’s room.
It never looked like a spread from The Pottery Barn or anything, but every single item was meticulously placed in a designated location. And don’t you dare not put it back in said location.
But you know what? That’s my dream. That’s my level of importance. Not his. It’s his room; his place to be free. Not mine. Now don’t get me wrong. I will still have limits. Like for the love of cheese, Goob, please do not leave your uniform crumpled on your chair because mommy-can’t-wash-the-same-shirt-every-day-and-I’m-not-your-Nana-who-thinks-you-should-have-five-shirts-one-for-each-day-of-the-week. And underwear? They TOTALLY GO IN THE HAMPER NOT ON YOUR FLOOR AND YOUR FUTURE WIFE ISN’T GO TO PICK UP AFTER YOU LIKE I DO. (Boys!)
But his room needs to be lived in. And the way it looks should reflect that. So nightly, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve walked out of a room that I would love to pick up the scraps of paper that lay idly on the carpet or pick up the books that are longing to be placed back in their rightful spot on the bookshelf. Sure, I need to teach him responsibility but there has to be a compromise. Is it killing me? Is it hurting him? No, it’s not. It’s the room of an eight-year-old boy who cares more about teaching his pretend class, takes notes from his Bible on his dry erase board; still plays trains and cars on the floor, etc.
I’ve resorted to the once a year rule. Once a year, it will get the most thorough, purge all the toys you don’t want, organizational overhaul. Of course, I’ll still dust and vacuum regularly. But cars in their designated drawer? Markers in a holder and not just placed on a desk? That stuff isn’t super important. He’ll know he has a voice and a say in how he leaves his things. As long as he takes care of them.
I’ve seen many bloggers with these type of posts, so mine is certainly not some revolutionary concept. I guess there comes a time in mommyhood where you really do start to realize what’s more important.
Don’t get me wrong. Without me even realizing it, the year-and-a-half I recently spent at home formed good habits in which I always pick up before going to bed. A place for everything and everything in its place is not a bad general rule of thumb. And dishes not getting piled up is not so bad either. I’ll still need most of my home to look a certain way. I need to keep some of my sanity and peace of mind.
But I give up. While things may be in their place, floors will never be scrubbed on any type of consistent basis. And don’t dare look at my windows. Or the inside of my stove. Or our bathtub for that matter. (Shudder.)
I’ll be too busy tickling a little boy on the floor of a messy but well-loved and well-lived in bedroom.
And I’m okay with that.
I am totally okay with that.