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May 08, 2008

I Hate Housekeeping

Hsh "Home, Sweet, Home."  Sometimes, it's messy.  Somtimes it's clean. 

If, for instance, you showed up right now, you might think we'd been robbed.  There are piles of laundry; a tangle of strollers, coats and shoes in the hallway; a pillow and blanket "fort" in the living room; a traffic jam of trucks and cars, leading from room to room; and of course, a fine layer of crumbs on the kitchen floor.   

On the other hand, if you stopped by around 8:00 tonight, you'd find a different scene.  You'd see bins stuffed with toys; pillows neatly arranged on the sofa; shoes in the shoe rack; strollers in a row; and a neat stacks of newspapers and magazines.  The dishwasher and washing machine would be humming in harmony.

It's an ongoing battle, this fight against the natural chaos of daily life. It's kind of like trying to prevent the incoming tide from destroying a sandcastle. I know it's futile. And yet, I persist.  Every day, I crawl around the apartment, moving things from one place to the other, opening and shutting cabinets and doors.  And every day, I repeat these motions, dreaming of the perfection you find in home decor magazines. 

I have to admit that I have help in this department.  Once a week, I pay someone to do the real dirty work, the scrubbing and mopping.  And my husband pitches in as well. He's great with recycling, taking out the trash, folding laundry and putting things on the top shelf of a closet where I can't reach.  But the daily grind of scraping the oatmeal off the floor is getting me down.  (By the way, here's a tip: If you try to wipe oatmeal off the floor as soon as it lands there, it makes a messy smudge.  Let it dry in place for a few hours and then use a DustBuster to pick up the hardened chunks).   

So I have one small wish for Mother's Day...I'd like a free pass in the straightening up and organizing department.  I'd like the dirty dishes to vanish.  And you know all those rogue toys...the random LEGO, the sole block, the lonely puzzle piece...maybe they can somehow find their way back to their mates.  I know, as a force of habit, I'll probably start to pitch in, to make the clean-up go faster...but if anyone sees me doing this...send me to my bedroom to meditate. 

And yes, things can return to normal the next day.  That's life with a two year old and a three year old.  Really, I just need to accept it.  Maybe my real mantra should be "Mess, Sweet, Mess."

Original Post to New York Moms Blog. Andi Silverman is the author of "Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding" (Quirk Books 2007).  She also runs the blog Mama Knows Breast.

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