From a Mess to a Memory

I really enjoy a clean house.

I appreciate a freshly mopped floor glistening under my energy efficient light bulbs.

And the smell of someone being heavy handed with the Fabuloso? Fah-get-abat-it!

One of my favorite parts about any HGTV show is the ending. You know, where they go through the house room by room, first showing what it looked liked “before” immediately followed by the immaculate “after”.

But here’s something we forget (and it’s a bone I have to pick with fairy tales and any movie that ends with a wedding) Nobody wants to show what happens after the “after”.

I like to talk to the t.v. as though the people can hear me and my opinion is valid. Offering criticism such as:

Do you really think those white cabinets are going to stay white, Susan?

And that rug! That delicious, lovely, creamy ivory rug! Why? Whose idea was that?

To clarify, I am speaking about families with children. More specifically, children who have not grown enough to remember to take their muddy shoes off or never risk painting their nails on anything but the back porch.

Can we all just agree that sometimes our expectations are a tad unrealistic? And oftentimes–suffocating.

To imagination.

To free play.

To relaxation.

I honestly began writing this to be a simple, cute little anecdote about how my son played on the floor in the kitchen while I cooked dinner this evening.

He pulled out pots, lids, strainers, a tortilla warmer, salad spinner–you name it. And you know what my first reaction was?

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Oh great, another mess to clean up.

I caught myself before saying anything, and we had a wonderful time in the kitchen together.

He cooked for me on the floor, asking me to taste and exclaiming “It’s not ready yet, mommy!” about 100 times. It was so sweet. It was a moment. A memory.

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Yes, I am one tired mama. I get in the car to drive home after a long day and honestly that car ride might be the only peace I get until bed time. But I know, I know, I will miss these days. I will wish that I had made more messes and not have been so rigid.

How do I know? Because older women tell me all the time. I see the longing in the eyes of couples I pass in the grocery store as they linger to tease Josh or gently pat Kenneth on his soft little head, remembering when their own children were young.

We can get so caught up in making things just so. We are fooled into thinking that because someone’s home is clean when we see it, it must be that way all the time.

Um, hello, they knew you were coming and probably turned into the Clean Marshall and followed everyone around with a spray bottle and paper towels for an hour before your arrival.

I am not saying we should not maintain our homes. I am not encouraging laziness. What I am encouraging is a little relaxation. A little rest. And a little room for our kids to be kids… they can clean it up when they’re done. Yes, probably with a little help from you, but I promise, I just know, you will miss this.

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