Saturday, June 26, 2010

In which I start out really well and then crash

Today is Saturday. That means it's cleaning day.

First is the dusting. Mr. Squishy helps me spray down all our wood furniture (and we have a lot), while I waxonwaxoff. My living room smells like lemon.

My Man vaccuums and mows the lawn, too. He doesn't like to dust.

I did one bathroom yesterday and another today. I resign myself to having boys and scrubbing disgusting tile grout.

The day continued. I watered plants, cleaned the oven, scrubbed chairs, went through the everlasting pile of papers on the counter. Picked up books in the living room, picked up books in the kitchen, picked up books in the hallway, picked up books in the bedrooms.

We took some breaks. (Ghana WON?!) We went swimming. (It's freakin' hot.) I went shopping. (I went down a size!) I cooked some food. (We like to eat.)

But the cleaning continued all day. And at 8:00, despite gleaming surfaces, a sparkling floor, and white tile grout, THE HOUSE WAS STILL A WRECK.

I'm talking about stuff. Just - STUFF - all over our house.

The wheel to that one rolly pouf. Random keys. Pieces to the Spiderman puzzle and cut up paper from the boys' latest project. Post-it notes with phone numbers. Broken crayons. Half used notepads and Brazilian coins.


And I might have had a minor meltdown.

I huffed and puffed that I

pickuptwentyfourhoursadayeverydayofmylifeandinevergetanywhere. it'slikediggingaholeandfillingitbackupeverynight. ijustcleancleancleaneverydayandyoucan'teventell.
ibasicallyhatemylifebecauseican'tstandtheclutter. iknowitdoesn'tmatterifmyhouseisdirtybut*I*caretremendously. idon'tlikeSTUFFidon'tlikeSTUFFidon'tlikeSTUFF. ican'tthinkstraightinherebecausethejunkeverywhereiscloggingmybrain. itpilesupeverywhereandijustcan'tfunction.
and so on and so forth

I actually cried a little bit.

But after the inevitable guilt and apology, I realized something.

My house will have STUFF all over it for a good eighteen more years, at least.

I might as well get used to it.



Mommadj5 said...

Oh dear. I feel your pain - we all have been there! And yes, you will be surrounded by junk and STUFF until ALL your children leave home and then you realize how much stuff you and hubby create and it's kinda weird yelling at yourself..... You will have a meltdown about this probably every 8 months or so - things will be great for awhile and then it goes back to life as usual. My firm belief is that the post office and fast food toys are
behind it all. I tried various things over the years - I'm sure you remember some - like collecting everything in a box every night and then you guys had to work to "get it back". If it hadn't been earned back or even noticed that it was missing - once a month I would just empty the box in the trash. (Don't know, huh?) :-) Everything I did always worked for awhile. Your kids are so young maybe you could have them pretend they are "stuff monsters" looking for stuff to eat - anything out of place (like the keys, papers, pencil, crayons etc) they collect and get a penny or a chocolate chip/m&m whatever. Gotta act like monsters though....I know you're not really looking for ideas, just venting - but be assured you are in a very big club - hang in there. Love you bunches.

Shooting Starchild said...

I make a place in my house for a DI/Goodwill box to collect stuff that I have decided I am ready to get rid of. When it's full I take it to DI. It's taken me four years to work it into my life and it usually takes four to six months for me to decide to put something into it. This habit has made it easier for me to throw things away, I even started a paper-recycle box just like it (I have even more paper than I have stuff) and that is helping with my paper problem. (Six boxes and counting, husband doesn't want to move them all again - which he is doing next week...) Only thing is - I don't have any kids yet, so I don't actually comprehend the scope of what you're dealing with. I've read about the DI box thing being successful (or at least helpful). But yeah, haven't tried it with kids yet.

Those spiderman puzzle pieces and Brazilian coins though...

Kathy said...

My thoughts have echoed yours today so many times before! It seems no matter what I employ there is always stuff laying around out of place. And I am not a pack rat. I throw stuff away all the time! But still there are pieces of paper, stuffed animals, toy pieces, books, and crayons (ooh I hate crayons!). Last night the leg of the chair I was sitting in landed on a pen when I scooted up to the table. The pen broke and black ink shot over the carpet! And I was so furious that there was even a pen on the floor in the first place but unfortunately, not surprised! I often reflect on how much easier it would be to keep house in early pioneer days. Sure you maybe had a dirt floor but you maybe only owned a handful of books and your kids only had 1-2 toys each. There was no annoying paper - you drew pictures in the dirt with a stick!
Perhaps thats not completely accurate but never the less, I, too, have cried because I can't harness the stuff! And I only have 2 kids!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

As someone who has begrudgingly surrendered to the stuff, I feel your pain. But I did want to commiserate together about one thing: Tile Grout! Seriously, boys? There are no words.

Julie said...

I have no ideas to share, just feelings to share. I feel that way every single day of my life. Sometimes I feel like why.even.bother. But still I do, because it's what moms do.

Hang in there. You're not alone.

InkMom said...

I am Sisyphus.

The Jensen Family said...

I too cleaned all day yesturday and left the kids and dad to finish while I went grocery shopping. When I got back they were gone.
My sweet husband and kids decided to go swimming, so on top of the house not being finished, there was evidence of getting ready to go swimming.
I think that it's just fine to shed a tear once in a while about house cleaning.
After a few minutes of sadness, be happy that you were able to get that much done and toss everything in the hungry monster box that eats messes and be done with it.
Good luck!

Harmony said...

... yes, as might as well think of it as s GOOD thing... messy house means you have happy family filling it up :)

Kelly said...

I have had this identical experience so many times -- I love my kids; I really like a clean house. The two just don't mesh very often. I'm trying to embrace the chaos -- This is corny, but I just watched Toy Story 3 and it made me think about how short a time it is that I get these boys to play with. Most of the time, they're totally worth the mess!
And good work getting them to clean with you! Some day, it can be their job entirely -- at least, that's what I keep telling myself!

janel said...

My mom (mother of 8) always had a quote up that said, "Cleaning the house before they stop growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." I guess it doesn't snow around your parts, but that shouldn't invalidate the rest of the thought, right?

The Prices said...

funny, I just had that exact same meltdown two nights ago, but I cried ALOT!

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Lara said...

It's just nice to know that I'm not the only one melting down to that tune.

That is all.

Marcia said...

Today I looked around at the clutter and wondered where to begin. Then I turned around and walked out the door. Not gonna do it... Gonna try not to care!

I'm leaving for girls camp for a week and my husband will be home with the kids. I asked him to pretty-please keep the place picked up so the place won't be a wreck if people stop by. He smiled widely and said, "As far as you'll know, the house will be spotless ALL WEEK!"

Nikki said...

I am certain your home is far cleaner and far less cluttered than mine. Mine is driving me insane. I'm trying to have a fun learning summer with the kids, but I really want them to go play for hours so I can catch up on the mess.

Kimberly said...

I cried those same tears on Saturday. It's so overwhelming. I'm about ready to go through the whole house with a garbage bag in each hand...

Sharon said...

I totally hear you, there. I have decided that we have everlastingly too much stuff. I know there will be stuff, but I also know that our stuff sometimes buries us, and I am on a mission to free my family from its much as I can. I have to share this lady's blog:

She has decided to go minimalist and get rid of all the excess in her life. I don't necessarily agree with all of her philosophies, but I really think she's on to something.

Take care, and don't let the stuff get you down. It's just stuff. Hug your babies and go to bed. :)

Melanie J said...

Right. Totally right. We've been in our house less that two weeks and Grant found the ONE marker we hadn't thrown out and completely colored the inside of our downstairs closet.

Whatever. It's going to happen. I'm choosing to get over these things in advance.

Elizabeth said...

It's a catch 22. Either you care and work your tail off and have occasional meltdowns, or you decide it's not your top priority, the appearance of your house necessarily deteriorates, and you feel like (or possibly truly are) judged by the women who ever see the inside of your home.

For me, doing my homework is more important than cleaning. I have the girl that watches my kids while I'm in class do dishes and vacuum and mop and stuff. It keeps things from getting unbearably filthy. But I don't have enough energy to do school and three kids and pregnancy, so my house gets essentially no personal attention from me. It's all about priorities. They can judge away.