This week I've decided to make peace with the fact that I have actually become a WORSE housekeeper over the past 2 years since quitting my full time job. Yes, the fact that we have a little person in the house who currently excels at mess making probably also has something to do with the constant state of affairs found between the exterior walls of our house. But let's be realistic here folks. IF I was a better housekeeper, even the presence of a 2 year old shouldn't throw me off.
But what I've come to realize is I'm just not good at keeping house. I used to be much better about keeping things clean and orderly...mainly before we had kids. It's not that I no longer care about the state of our abode or that I'm lazy or unable to keep a cleaner living space. The simple truth is the time that I could be using to clean and organize around the house I'd rather spend knitting, sewing, writing, reading, practicing yoga, riding my bike, taking pictures, playing with said picture in digital processing, having coffee with a friend, playing with the girls, napping, playing with the dogs, having family time with a movie or while we play some Wii, cooking, playing words games on Facebook...the list could go on and on, but you get the idea.
And so this week I'm making peace with the fact that when people randomly stop by they will surely find dirty dishes in the sink and on the counter; lint and obscene amounts of dog hair on the carpet; dust bunnies floating around the kitchen and under our beds; toothpaste specks on the bathroom mirror; unmade beds; clean laundry waiting to be put away; random toys, puzzles, books and coloring supplies in every room of the house (bathroom often included); piles of mail and papers from school on the kitchen table; an army of boots and shoes near the front door and hats, scarves and mittens ALMOST in their basket; dust on every horizontal surface (and possibly some vertical ones too) and cobwebs in many of the corners. We live in our house. Every square inch of it. 4 peoples, 2 dogs. And right now from where I'm looking, there's a lot more to life than a perfectly clean and orderly house. And I'm OK with my perspective.
Recently on her list of "things you might not know about me" that she posted on FB in similar fashion to my 25 Random Things, a friend wrote that she loved her kids madly but just didn't think she could fit the picture of motherhood for this time. (I'm kinda rephrasing here.) Reading it made me wonder what she meant...and it made me sad because I happen to think this woman is an amazing person and a wonderful mother. When I look at all the fabulous women I have the honor to know in this life who are mothers, I have a hard time finding a universal picture of motherhood to which we should hold ourselves accountable. (Nor do I think we should...now or ever.) I know moms who are professionals outside of the home and those who stay at home full time. Moms who are cooking and cleaning machines and those who are happy to suppliment a few nights of take out with some easy home cooked meals and who, like me, at least keep the chunks of dirt off the floor. I know moms who are crafty and creative and share that love with their kids and those who would rather bundle everyone up to head to the mall or a movie for leasure time. Those who are married and sharing the responsibilities of parenting and those who do it on their own. Mom who gain energy by spending every waking moment of their day in the presence of their family and those who need a little alone time to recharge. Moms excel at making/hosting playdates, who get their kids (and themselves) involved in all sorts of extra curricular activies and those who guard their quiet family evenings with their life. Those who listen to NPR and those who rock out regularly with Marley, Johnson, Harper, & Death Cab. (Just to name a few.) (OK, that one's about me.) But what strikes me most is that with all the different moms I know, each and everyone of them have beautiful, engaged, amazing, loving families. Not perfect (because really I think we're all dysfunctional enough to know there is no such thing as a PERFECT family with no hidden issues) but still fabulous.
I happen to think our family is pretty fabulous too. I've been struck this week by the happy state of our household lately. Compared to life a year ago, our enjoyment of life meter has skyrocketed. The funny thing is, not much has changed. We still have some major financial concerns that we will be dealing with for some time to come. We still have some uncertainty about what our future will look like and if it will continue to move forward in our current community. BUT I'd also like to think that we have gained perspective to be able to separate those stresses from the joy we live each and everyday with each other. The amount of love and happiness that radiates from my hubby as of late melts my heart. I watch our girls be silly, loud, creative, loving, quiet, active, calm all because they feel safe, happy, and loved in our home. I bitch about having to share my side of the bed with our dog Tilde, but I worry if I can't feel her curled at my feet and love when the dogs gravitate to my side if I'm sitting during the day reading, knitting, snuggling a kiddo, or catching a 30 minute rest. Our lives are fabulously rich.
And so tomorrow afternoon after classes have been taught and meetings have been met, I will more like be ignoring the pile of the dishes in the sink while I work on the knit beanie I started making for Scott today while the girls color and spread toys from their room to the front door, all with my favorite mixed playlist jammin' from the MP3, dogs close at hand. Life is good.