I am not here to complain. I promise.
This life I’m living is everything I ever wanted. I have the freedom to choose to stay home with our girls and that is a blessing. I want to be where I am. But, still, I’ve had a bit of a revelation recently.
It came to me the other day.
Gemma was at school and Maria had JUST stopped crying and fallen asleep. I desperately needed a shower but I knew damn well she’d wake up the minute I put her down so I was taking the opportunity to read while we rocked. Sarah MacLean’s Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake was the book du jour. But I was so distracted.
I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the GIGANTIC basket of unfolded laundry mocking me from across the room. And said basket was merely one uncompleted task of many on my seemingly endless list of housework.
In that moment it occurred to me…if my life were an historical romance novel…
OMG. I’m the staff!
I am the ENTIRE staff. A one-woman army of 19th century domestic servants.
Hear me out.
I run this place and all the people in it. The not-so-masterful organizer trying her best to keep all the proverbial balls in the air. May God have mercy on us.
Those dishes. They aren’t going to do themselves. There is no kitchen wench coming to scrub my pots and pans or wipe down my counters or unload my dishwasher. I am the kitchen wench.
All week you can find me schlepping my children about town. School. Dance class. Doctor’s appointments. The park. The dreaded grocery store.
It never fails. The moment I sit down with the baby or a book and the cup of coffee I’m desperately trying to drink before it gets cold, there it is. A nerve-shredding bark reverberates through the house. It’s Rapunzel, the dog. She’s at the door and she has to poop. Again. I love that dog. She came potty-trained, micro-chipped, spayed and super snuggly. But that dog takes way too many dumps per day. Probably all the toilet paper she eats out of the garbage can…
All those MOUNTAINS AND MOUNTAINS of clothes piled near the foot of our bed and strewn about the basement stairs? Well my family needs those clothes to be clean lest they go about naked. It’s my job to wash them. Fold them. And put them away. Or at least have them in baskets where we can all scavenge for socks and underwear.
I am the braider of hair. The painter of toenails. The purveyor of all clothes, dress-up or otherwise. I am the scrubber of faces and the twister of ponytails.
My bag is full of granola bars and bottles. Discarded Goldfish wrappers litter my car. Be it my thoughtful Pinterest inspired experiments or a stressful jaunt through the McDonalds drive-thru as the baby wails in the backseat, I am responsible for feeding all the people.
Yep. I clean those rooms. I clean all the rooms.
This is the best part. The mommy part. I am the nurturer and the teacher. I am the human-furniture my children pile upon when it’s time to snuggle. I am the reader of books and the homework helper. I wipe noses and tears and tushies all day. Some days I barely manage to eat lunch and my sleep is utter rubbish. But they are my girls. My precious, miraculous girls. The most important job I have is shaping them into empowered, compassionate critical thinkers who try to be Christ to EVERY person they meet. It’s my job to make them giving and strong. It’s my job to help them dream.
And realizing all of that I felt a little panicky. I felt a little (a lot) inadequate. Because…how? I threw my head back and cried out to the God of the universe. How am I supposed to do all of that, every single day, by myself. And not just do it, but give it all my very best?
Almost immediately God was like, Ummm, you’re not…
And that was it. That was the revelation.
My house is never going to be perfect. It’s just not. There may be people out there with pictures on Instagram that are so amazing I WOULD SWEAR that they live inside a photography studio. And I can enjoy looking at them. Who doesn’t like looking at pretty things? But that is not my house. And it isn’t going to be my house any time soon.
A perfect house requires a fleet of keepers. I can’t do the job of the entire downstairs population of Downton Abbey. I am only one person.
One day I might nail it with laundry but the dishes in the sink will stay stacked to the brink. The next day maybe I make our bathrooms sparkle but we still drown in a sea of scattered toys. Maybe the beds aren’t always made. Maybe it’s an eternal struggle to keep flat surfaces clutter free.
But, you know what? My children aren’t going to be this little forever. We waited years for Maria and for all we know she’s our last baby. If she wants me to hold her while she’s sleeping then I am going to do it. If Gemma needs an audience for her latest original musical number, I’m buying tickets. I want to enjoy my children.
So sure, it may look like a bomb went off in here. But I don’t want my babies to remember me as some angry, stressed out, disheveled spaz. For now, my house can wait.
Of course I care what my house looks like. Of course I am still going to try my best to keep up. Less mess equals less stress. And I LOVE when everything is clean and looks pretty. I love when the decor is just so and candles are burning and I can just breathe it all in and relax. But I am going to try really hard not to beat myself up anymore. My house is going to be disorderly sometimes. It’s okay.
My name is Caiti and my house is a mess. It’s totally fine.