Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Trouble with a Clean House

My house is spotless.  The counters gleam.  The toilets sparkle.  The streak-free windows allow for maximum sunlight to stream in.  There are vacuum lines in the carpet.  Even the coffee stain spots seem to stand at attention. 

The only sound is the howl of the wind outside and the gentle hum of the heater. 

And then the kids wake up.

Crumbs seem to sprout from the granite counter tops. The carpet fibers lay down in defeat.  Smudges appear on the mirrors and glassy surfaces at the mere sound of their voices. 

I look around in dismay.  How did this happen?

I spend my days of "Winter Break" following the mess around the house.  I move from to room to room picking up, wiping down, putting away.  I call the children back to the scene of the crime and nag them to pick up, wipe down, put away. 

I spent the whole of the Fall sitting at work dreaming longingly about the days of Winter Break.  I ached to spend time with my children reading books, playing babies and learning the "cheat codes" for Mario 64.  We would frolic and play, engaging in frosty fun.  It would be the stuff that memories are made up.

But somehow, here I am, in the thick of things and there is no frosty fun, no frolicking, just one mean mommy and three stir-crazy sprouts. 

Somewhere between the 200th load of laundry and the 10000th PB&J sandwich I stop to ask myself, why was I looking forward to this?

These long winter days are filled with refereeing fights and hearing the children lament that despite the 3 million new toys that Santa brought there is NOTHING TO DO.  We have watched every episode of Dora that is available On-Demand so many times that I can recite them by heart. 

Don't get me wrong, there are wonderful things too.  Sometimes I get to see the opening credits of the Today Show while sipping coffee.  And I have been able to shower almost everyday.

Occasionally there are chocolate chip "pan-a-cakes" and snuggles while reading books in my big bed, and I even remembered to brush my teeth after one of the monkeys informed me that my breath smelled like an old foot. 

Every now and then we all get together to applaud the mini-monkey when she pees on the potty.  And once in a blue moon we gather at the table to have group crafting session, giving mommy some time to catch up on some blog reading and even write a few posts to keep in reserve for a rainy day. 

I guess the glass will always seem cleaner on the other side of the working mommy's window and for me, that's the trouble with a clean house. 


  1. Just had to chime in on the "Nothing to do" comment. When my kids say that (they are 3 and 5) I tell them it's time for nap and explain that if they can't find something to do, their brains are way too tired to THINK of something fun to do and they need to rest. Somehow, they always find something fun to do.

  2. One good thing is you will only have to live this time as it really happens now. When your kids are in their 20's THEY will recall all the wonderful times they had during school breaks - making snowmen, drinking hot chocolate, playing with their siblings, never fighting, and helping their mother clean. NO it did not happen that way, but God is good and our brains will make Hallmark memories for us and pretty soon the new memories will replace the real ones!! Hang in there and know anyone with a clean house leads a really strange life!!

  3. I just about spit my water out at the old foot comment. That is hilarious.

    We all do the same and I think it is the memories of the fights and arguments and nothing to do that we cherish. My mother brings them up to me all the time in conversation and it is hilarious.

    Cherish the memories.

  4. Laurel and Hardy used to say, "This is a fine mess!". . . Indeed!

  5. I am between fits of rage:)

  6. I will believe it only because it's you:) LOVE YOU!