>> Monday, February 8, 2010
"Excuse the mess, but we live here." -Roseanne, from the Roseanne show.
I race in the door at 5pm as the sitter and her daughter rush out. The boys are hungry and the baby scurries up my body like a little monkey, clutching my hair and flashing his 8-toothed smile.
I promise dinner, but am foiled when I shove a wooden spoon too far into the high-powered blender and splintered wood blends with pinto beans. Maybe if the blender baton wasn't lying under the toilet on the bathroom floor - where the baby left it a week ago - I could have whipped those beans without utensil casualties.
I settle for bacon and eggs, with Life cereal and skim milk as an appetizer, knowing my hubby can fend for himself when he gets home. But before the bacon is done cooking, my 3.5 year old has fallen asleep at the kitchen table. At 5:30. Good thing he's still in his jammies from this morning.
I leave him lying on the bench while I toast some bread and pop the baby in his high chair. My 6 year old is finished eating by the time I sit down with my dinner, so I shovel it in alone, listening to him shout his stories of the day from the living room.
Tonight is surprisingly typical. When I'm scrambling to feed the kids and get the dirty dishes off the counter and listen to their stories and double check that the sitter got my email about our schedule change, I wonder if everyone else's life is this chaotic.
I tell myself it is. That everyone is really this messy and crazed and eating cereal for dinner a couple nights a week. But every now and then I wonder - is it just me? Do other people somehow manage to pull it off with a little more grace?
Because I'm pretty sure my house is messier than anyone I know. Dusting? I thought that went the way of wearing slips under skirts. (It was for our mother's generation, not something we ladies of the 21st Century have to deal with.) Washing the floors? Well...I spot clean if someone's spilled or peed.... (What's the point in washing the whole floor, really? We're just going to walk on it again.) Vacuuming? Exactly why I rolled up the rugs months ago. It's much easier to swoop down and collect the tumbleweeds of dog hair. It's just too bad the dog stopped eating the dropped Cheerios and Goldfish. By the third kid, he turns up his nose and holds out for PB&J crusts instead.
People ask me how I do it - how I find time to write (blog, freelance, now my new job...) with three kids. Honestly? I don't clean my house. Pretty much ever.
Also? My kids dress themselves. I insist on teeth brushing, but their hair? Meh. I hear dreads are back in fashion. You'd be surprised how much time you can save by letting your nappy haired kids run around in sweatpants and their favorite hoodie instead of fighting over outfits and grooming every day.
Most of the time I'm glad I've adopted this laid back approach to childrearing and house maintenance. And honestly, days when the baby is teething and he's camped out in a sling all day, it's an accomplishment to get a load of diapers washed.
But sometimes I wonder if I'm trying to pass off laziness as priority-setting.
What do you think? How on earth do you do it? Do you keep it together - the kids, the house, your job, your passions, your relationships...?? How on earth do you do it? Are you as messy as I am? What do you let go? What's non-negotiable for you? Who wants to come clean my kitchen?