Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Growing up I always wanted things put away where they go.  I had all sorts of knick-knacks in my room and knew where all of them were.  When I came home on break from college I remember telling mom, "Someone's been in my room" because the knick-knacks were out of place.

But then I had children, five of them, all born within 7 years.  The last three were born in a 2.5 year spread.  And when my mom would come to help me after each birth, she would always say something like, "I know I'm not putting this where you want it," or "I know I'm not doing this right."  But by then I was adult enough to realize that it was either that or wait till I got around to it.  And all you nursing moms and moms of toddlers, and moms of children know that doesn't happen as soon as mom would like.

So I became much more laid back.  Sure I still wanted things nice and sure I still ridiculously yelled plenty of times for my children to stop playing and to pick up toys or to stop making a mess with (insert appropriate noun).  But as time went on, I decided that I would deal with messes and clutter I normally couldn't handle because I didn't like the mother I was when the house was where I would prefer.

But now my kids have grown up, the youngest is nine.  And all of them have chores to do and we can whip the house into shape in just a little over a morning's time.  And I love it.  I love to have my house clean and tidy and to sit and read a book when it is all done.  I love to be the first to shower in a freshly scrubbed bathroom.

But I'm seeing that my natural pickiness is returning.  I'm noticing that my tolerance for clutter and dirt is becoming less and less.  And I'm trying really, really hard to not let that rule my life.  I'm trying to bask in the cleanness of the one day, and let the kids live the rest of the week.  Now that doesn't mean that I don't require, or yell, at the kids to pick up books and Legos and play-mobil, and whatever detritus has been left during the day.  It does mean, however, that I'm trying to fight my natural tendencies in order for my kids to not be afraid of living in the house.

Although I must admit that I was thrilled when my oldest son walked through the house yesterday and exclaimed, "Our house looks so nice when it is all clean."  Yes!  Oh and I also tell them (stolen from my good friend Melanie T.) that a clean house makes mommy happy, and a happy mommy is a nice mommy.


Laura said...

I still struggle with this too. Our house is in constant flux...lots of people then not many people. I love a picked up house...but I love people to be comfortable in my house, more...and people are messy...grandchildren are really messy. :) Perhaps as long as it doesn't stay one way or the other for long...is the proper balance, which seems to me what you have.

Melody said...

the nice thing about kids your kids' age is that you can do that pick-up-in-a-morning thing twice a week, they appreciate it, (as your son said) and it STAYS a little longer. I always struggle with the balance between a clean, orderly space (it helps me think better!) and being relaxed enough to let it sit a bit wile I watch a movie with my daughter or talk with my husband. I rarely win the struggle! :) Happy mommies DO make for happy kids, too, don't they?

Glenda said...

Thanks Laura - and I know that I won't care as much about messy grandkids because I've seen my own picky mother be not so caring about grandkid's messes. She used to leave their handprints on the sliding glass doors for a week so that she could remember them. :-)

Yes Melody - we do that, actually, we try each evening to have a quick tidy and sweep the heavy traffic areas. It isn't always done, like last night while we watched movies. :-)