Recently I made this post on FB:
“My kids each have their own room; we have a play room; we have a few toy bins in the living room, yet there are still toys in EVERY room: a truck under the dining table, a stack of blocks on the stairs, a purse full of play food in the bathroom, a book on the kitchen counter, a baby doll in my bed…
I’ve been invaded.”
And my Aunt responded with this:
“Their toys are the ‘crumbs’ indicating where you’ve been that day. The kids want to be near you and the toys come with them and just naturally accumulate….so stay in the toy room, Nat! Live your whole life there and the toys will stay in one place…’course your life will be a tad restricted, but that’s the price you pay for a clean house! “
Touché my dear Aunt, touché. I’d love a clean house! I’d settle for a tidy house. Unfortunately both are an aspiration instead of a reality. Each night, after I tuck my darlings into bed, I pour myself a glass of wine and wander room to room, halfheartedly putting things away, knowing in 12 hours it will all be out again. I guess I need to surrender my expectations and just embrace the clutter. Sigh.
Now that I’m a SAHM, I find myself fretting about the state of my house more and more. I feel a lot of pressure to keep it looking “company ready” all the time. The other day a friend commented that my house is always immaculate (that was the word she used!); at first I was flattered, then I felt soooo guilty. She believed, and the conversation later revealed, compared herself to my fraud. She didn’t see how I’d screeched at my kids to pick up toys, shoved arm loads of random stuff into drawers, and hurriedly vacuumed in the moments before she arrived. So let me take this moment to come clean (yup, I punned).
This is what I wish my living room looked like:
On any given day, this is what it actually looks like: (This is actually the “picked-up” version! The kids had just gone down for nap, and we put away toys before…)
Anyway, Courtney you’ve never actually been to our house, so I thought I’d give you an after-hours tour, by way of the kids’ “crumbs”. Feel free to grab a glass of wine!
This is Tommy’s favorite spot to tempt death. He is proud to have mastered the art of unplugging the TV cord and is currently working on his next goal: fitting his finger inside the cool little openings. This spot is also ideal for drawer emptying and paper ripping, two other favorite past-times. The bottom drawer is where I keep old copies of cooking magazines; I suspect J is encouraging Tommy to destroy all copies of Vegetarian Times! I’m not sure why the drum is there; T usually gets VERY quiet it that spot. Hmmm.
I guess I can’t blame Lilly too much; I kick off my heels under the table too!
This mess is entirely my fault. The day we baby proofed the kitchen I said, “nah, don’t bother with that drawer; there isn’t anything dangerous in it.” Now I refold dish rags at least 10 times a day.
Because sometimes you just need a cup of tea while you pee (cheesy rhyme totally intended).
There is no place in my house the kids like to be more than this room, my bedroom. Lilly has a doll bed, a doll changing table, a doll car seat, and a doll stroller, but her dolls spend more time tucked into my sheets than I do. My favorite is when I don’t realize “Ella Joe” or “Girl Tommy” is in the bed, so in half sleep I roll onto one of them– the pain of a stiff plastic arm in the side is a close second to leggos underfoot.
My daughter’s room if she is ever forced to play alone. Though this may be less about “crumbs” and more about revenge :).
So there it is, the truth in my house is there are toys and kids stuff everywhere most of the time. If you come here and find clear surfaces, tidy bins, neatly fluffed pillows, it is only because I knew you were coming!
PS: I think it is time for all moms to come clean, so we can all feel a little better about the job we do. What does your house REALLY look like when no company is expected. Send your pictures to email@example.com , or add a comment below.