Did you ever have a thought or an idea that was news to you the moment it came out of your mouth? It’s almost as though someone else is talking through you, but it makes total sense? And then your really impressed with yourself for coming up with something so profound… but at the same time, you almost can’t take credit for it because you don’t know where it came from?
Yesterday we had one of Max’s preschool friends over, and I have to say, I have never observed him play so nicely with any other child for almost three straight hours. No arguments, no power struggles, no screaming, hitting, whining, or crying- it was absolutely unreal! They truly must be the perfect personality match for each other. It actually allowed me and the other mom to sit and have some nice conversation.
So, we’re discussing the kids, parenting, the daily routine, and the conversation goes towards the cleanliness of our houses, and how it’s so hard to actually clean your house when you have little ones, because your cleaning all day anyway: wiping faces, changing diapers, sweeping up all the breakfast that gets thrown on the floor, mopping up the spilled juice….. you get the idea. By the end of the day, the last thing you feel like doing is scrubbing down the bathroom.
We’re talking about different people we know, whose houses are always immaculate, despite the presence of wee ones and, in many cases, even more chaos than we deal with on a daily basis. We ended up scratching our heads saying, “How do they do it?”, and, “What are we doing wrong?” and expressing our general feelings of inadequacy.
And that’s when I said it:
“I decided that I’m not going to have my house look perfect for guests….. as a service to them…… so that they can come over, and feel better about the state of their own homes”. Almost as soon as I said it, I’m thinking, “I decided what??” But it makes sense, and the other mom was in total agreement. It made me feel so much better to hear her confess that if you opened up any one of her kitchen cabinets, you’d probably get hit in the head by at least one falling object. We laughed and clinked our coffee mugs and toasted to the abandonment of the appearance of perfection.
I’ve never really come out & said it, but I guess I’ve always seen the state of my house as a direct indicator of my state of mind. The more stressed and over-extended I feel, the more of a mess that’s created around me. I guess you could argue which came first: the chaos in my head, or the chaos in my house, since there definitely is a vicious cycle that tends to develop.
According to Martha Stewart, there is a positive psychological effect to making your bed. I have to say, I do agree with this, but there is also a lot to be said for allowing others to see your imperfect side… to see that you don’t have everything in it’s place… to see that they, too, are doing a good job, regardless of how many dishes are piled up in the sink.
So, what’s so wrong with letting people see a little bit of your mess? It might just make someone’s day.