Wife's Note: Saying Goodbye To My Clean House
How I Learned To Let Go
Before having children my husband thought I had some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder, he was probably right. I would sit at work with a ball of anxiety about whether or not my toilet at home needed to be scrubbed. Now I wasn’t a germ-phobic or anything, but I was obsessed with having a clean house, for appearance reasons I suppose, because underneath it all, my closets were a mess and I had clothes stuffed under my bed. I remember my husband sighing deeply every time I would whisk his dinner plate from his hands as he was still trying to hold on to it and eat his last bite of dinner.
Kids Change Everything
Then I had children. My first child was easy, she was a great sleeper and we had a lot of time to ourselves during the day, in which I spent most of it cleaning, but she was a trooper and my house looked ready for company most of the day. It was my second child that changed things…..drastically.
I Tried to Keep Up
I started out just very tired, he didn’t sleep well and I still had a toddler to take care of. Laundry started to pile up and dishes filled the dishwasher and my husband’s dinner plates sat in numerous places around the house. My son was a needier child than my daughter was, he wanted to be carried everywhere and nursed almost 24 hours a day. I started to get tons of anxiety about my messy house, but as hard as I tried I always felt like I couldn’t keep up. It was a good friend who told me “you will have many years to have a perfectly clean house once your kids are grown, but they are only little once.” This helped me more than she will ever know. I cling to my friend’s words of wisdom when I have laundry pilling in doorways or my dishes seem never ending and when my children are asking me to read them a book or dance to their favorite song.
Letting Go of My Expectations
I had to learn to let go. I decided that dancing and reading with my kids was more important than cleaning their rooms. I wanted to watch a movie or do my notes with my husband instead of doing the dishes and spend time with my family instead of scrubbing windows. Yes my house looks lived in, not filthy but lived in, but now I’m proud of that. It’s our home and if you happen to show up unannounced I can’t guarantee that it will be clean but you will feel welcome and perhaps a little less stressed about your own house.
There were a couple ways that helped me to let go and of course having an easy going husband was a plus, but I did find that including my kids was the key to keeping the house from completely falling apart.
My kids love doing the dishes. They really get a kick out of the running water and soap…so we do them together most days and they don’t even realize it’s a chore.
When I vacuum we make a game of it too. I can’t tell you how excited my two year old gets when he sees the vacuum in the living room, they call it the ‘vacuum monster’ and I pretend to chase them around the room as I vacuum. This has also become one of their favorite activities.
Laundry usually turns into a sock fight which is more of a mess than help, but it’s always fun.
However, the number one thing I’ve learned was that I will have many years to keep a perfectly clean house. I will not always have these years with my children. I have to remind myself that a home is to be lived in and my family does that well.