My house will never be clean.
There are a lot of things I’ve had to become ok with in the past year. I have to go to bed at 9:30. I realize that if I go to bed any later than that, Kate will wake up earlier than usual the next morning and I will be tired.
I know that if I don’t get my reading done for class, the next day there will be a pop quiz and I will have no friend to copy from or even one to complain about it to afterwards.
I realize that I don’t have friends like I used to. I don’t live in a concentration of 20-somethings with a friendly face poking out every other door. I spend a lot of time alone. I keep most of my thoughts to myself, unless its the ones about the Cavs compared to the Lakers last week. I see a friend or two once about every month or two.
But the hardest to reconcile was the fact that the house would never be clean.
After I hit about 8 months pregnant and moved into the new house and started assembling nursery furniture and having to clean my own dishes instead of throwing away paper ones, I gained a newfound appreciation and need for a clean living space.
In college, as my friends (and unfortunately my mom) can attest to, I had a filthy apartment. There was garbage in the closet piled up in bags. The sink had press-n-seal saran wrap covering it because the dishes went undone for so long that flies got to it. I still didn’t wash them so the flies laid eggs. Then the eggs hatched and I had to do something, so I pressed and sealed. I hated to do dishes, I hated to pick up after myself, I hated to move the clothes from the couch next to the front door, tossed aside as I immediately stripped them off during the summer months, to the laundry basket a whole 50 feet away in my bedroom. But I lived alone, and it was a low point in my life, and I didn’t care.
Now, I live with my own new family. And, unlike the family I grew up with, this one doesn’t clean up after me even though they STILL expect clean dishes and the ability to stretch out on the living room floor. Crazy, huh? And now I have to be an active family member, instead of the passive, “I don’t have to clean it because my mom eventually will” daughter that I used to be.
I’m the mom now and if I don’t clean it, nobody will.
I can’t press-and-seal the sink because Dave would probably think it’s gross and baby could get sick. I can’t pile garbage up in the closets because, again, health risks. But mostly, I can’t do any of these things because, physically, I just can’t.
I can’t fall asleep at night with a messy house. I’ve given up on the dining room table- it will forever be covered in papers and bills, but I came to terms with that a long time ago. I just can’t sit and watch tv after Kate goes to bed if there are dishes to do or a mountain of toys on the floor.
After I hit about 8 months pregnant, something in me snapped. My messy bone broke and I’ve been cleaning up after it ever since.
I don’t like that itchy-tooth feeling I get when Dave leaves his soda cans around or spits his fingernails on the floor. Kate’s allowed to throw her books all over the living room all day, but I am not allowed to sit down until they are picked up at night. I can’t stand the tingle attacking the back of my brain when there are cereal crumbs all over the carpet and I haven’t run a vacuum over them at least once.
I imagine it’s what a cat feels when you pet it backwards. It’s like when you bend a fingernail backwards just a little bit, but enough to make you cringe to think about for days. Or when you’re eating with a fork and accidentally stab yourself in the tooth. Or when a single strand gets stuck as you brush your hair and it resists a little before finally snapping in half.
I know how my mom felt back when I was a kid and refused to clean my room but would come home one day and find it spotless. It’s not that she wanted to clean it. It’s that she just couldn’t not clean it.
And even after all this cleaning and obsessing, there are still crumbs on the floor and an entire back room that is stomping ground for dust bunnies and things that should really be in the attic. There is always more to do but I suppose thats why there is always tomorrow.