Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Take the Crazy to the Curb. And other suggestions toward survival.


Turns out this Sunday is Mother's Day, and in honor of that, I thought I would write about something SUPER important: Me, and a bunch of stuff about me and stuff.

So remember last summer when I a little bit broke the internet? See, I mentioned how I disliked the whole "family dinner" thing, and that with 4 kids under the age of 10 it just felt messy and loud and complain-y and as it turns out, I find that I'm highly triggered by my family.* Anyway, I said this and then lots of people told me that I am what is wrong with America so I tried to be a better person but then just decided I was bad at being a better person, and maybe I was okay with being bad for America and here we are.

Anyway, all this to say, I've found this extra bonus way that I'm bad for America. No wait. At least 2 ways. Maybe 7. Just be safe and get your vitriol all stocked up, because Momma's got some things to share.
Hello there baseboard and
smudgy smudgy bit of wall.
It's been a while.
The thing is, I have a really hard time with the house cleaning. If you are a person who has visited my house at any point, you are not at all shocked. A while back I saw this woman ask in a Facebook group  if once a month was a sufficient frequency to clean her baseboards and I was like maaaaaan this is a way bigger problem than baseboards. In fact, what is your actual life when your big problems involve the frequency of dust accumulation 2 inches above the floor. It makes me think maybe she and I are not the same species.

Although a part of me thought, my carpet is stained, we are nearly literally drowning in toys and books and papers, and the dust is ALWAYS winning, but what if I like, just focused all my attention on the baseboards. Like, sure you walk in the house and you're first impression is like, wow this place is super disgusting, but then I'm like 'naw dude, cuz check out these freakin baseboards'. And then your mind will be blown because you were so wrong about me. So, so wrong about me. Spread the news. Tell your friends. Take that America. You owe me an apology.

First off, don't get me wrong. To say that my house is filthy would be ACCURATE, but to say that it is because we never clean would be grossly INACCURATE. We clean all the time. I personally vacuum about twice a week and sweep the kitchen every day. Husband does laundry every single time I go to work, and between the two of us, we do one to two loads of dishes per day. We also make sure things are picked up every couple hours or so, so that the toys and objects don't get overwhelming. The thing is, I have 4 dirt tornados spinning constantly through my house, and there is no such thing as "keeping things tidy". So bite me, Poppins. Unless you're going to unleash your magic around this place, no one wants your sanctimonious "cleaning is a bit of fun" bull-cocky. Just go fly off on your umbrella and leave this to the experts.

Anyway, I am learning that part of the reason I despise deeper cleaning is that my children are so so amazingly good at immediately undoing all my fine work. Take for example, this week. Sunday afternoon I decided I was very over the mess in the house, got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed ALL the jelly smudges off the floor and all the dripped I-don't-even-wanna-know-what off the kitchen cabinets. I scoured toilets and showers and the microwave and even went after some of those crazy baseboard things kids these days seem so hot over. I went nuts. And I got it looking nice. I was proud. Proud, and like, relaxed. I felt this crazy sense of total Zen that can only come when you finally feel like your house may be a viable place for humans to live. It was good I tell ya.

Then I got home from work last night, to the following discoveries:

  •  A cup of water, sitting upside down on the counter.
  • The butter dish sitting on the dining room table, open, the butter ripped to shreds by what was very obviously child-fingers*
  • Cereal on the floor.
  • Cereal on the counter.
  • Cereal in the handle of the trash can lid. 
  • Honey on the counter, dripping down the cabinets.
  • Honey on the floor.
  • So much unidentifiable food on the floor and in every corner that I would need a team of scientists to help me understand what I was looking at. Of course I would never allow a team of scientists into my house because a combination of intense shame and the fact that I love and respect science and I wouldn't want to break it.
  • You call it wasteful. I call it self care.
    Either way, they pick it up on Thursdays.
  • One of my few remaining nice dish towels I own, scrunched up and sitting on the stove, covered in red paint.

Now I don't know if you can relate to this but, like, RAGE. Crunching bits of Lucky charms through your toes while you try to get a cup of coffee in the morning can, in fact, only be followed by rage. All the effort I put into this. The fact that I sacrificed my rare afternoon off to make this house more livable only to have it IMMEDIATELY destroyed by the tiny monsters that I love with all my heart, well, that can make you forget for a minute that you love those tiny monsters. And you start to think that maybe you were all better off with the jelly on the floor in the first place.

Oh Trash Can. You beautiful,
filthy little minx you.
But I found a solution, I think. I found a way that even my crazy self can achieve peace and happiness once again. And that thing is the humble trash can. The trash can: the dirtiest, cleanest part of your life, if you choose to make it so. As I had my kids sweeping and scouring the results of what must have been a craaaaazy rager, I walked through the house, calmly collecting everything I could find to deliver to said trash can. That bag of old kids clothes I was supposed to clean and sort and fold and donate? TRASH CAN. The old partially ripped stuffed animals and half completed crafts the girls determined would be sweet sellable items at our next garage sale, if we in fact ever get around to having another garage sale? TRASH CAN. The 4 pairs of jeans lying on a pile in my room that have developed holes and aren't professional or really wearable anymore? TRASH CAN. Papers in the trash. Old crafts in the trash can. Half used finger paint tubs, broken pencils, old mail and math worksheets: all of it in the trash can.

See the thing is, I knoooow I should be storing things or donating things or being just generally less dump crazy here, but this is where I am. I think I'll call it my Landfill Stage. It's somewhere between young and cool but not yet exactly middle age. It's where you don't have a house big enough for people and storage and things, and is filled to the brim with tiny crumb-producers, and either the landfill is in a designated spot the town chose a hundred years ago, or its in your kitchen. This isn't about choices. This is about survival.


*You can't keep calling me a bad person. It's not that I don't like them. It's that I'm TRIGGERED. Like a gun. And remember: Guns don't kill people, Mothers kill people. When you keep spilling on their floors and whining about the dinner they made you.

** Little miss age seven claimed she couldn't find a butter knife, despite the fact that the silverware drawer has a nice packed tray of at least 10 clean butter knives, so she used her finger instead. Because why not, Jake? It's Chinatown.

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