I was going to title this post “Standards and the Forces of Evil”, but that seemed a little harsh on my one year old.
As you, gentle readers, may have noticed, I often write about abandoning my attempts to keep my house looking like June Cleaver lives here in order to stay sane. Actually, that’s a gross exaggeration. My house has never approached within hailing distance of Mrs. Cleaver’s level of tidiness. So let me rephrase: I often abandon my attempts to impose some form of order and tidiness on the chaos.
B and I keep the house clean(ish) but only sometimes tidy(ish), and I was feeling kind of bad about that yesterday. I work from home and it is easier to work in a clean, orderly space. My space is not orderly. And I was feeling inadequate about that. It was bugging me. Thoughts like, God, what is wrong with you that you can’t keep the house a little tidier!? were running through my head. So I sat and looked (in a despairing way) at the chaos. And I noticed something. We live in a relatively small apartment. Not tiny, but we don’t have storage space beyond a few closets; and there are the two energetic and determined forces of chaos with whom B and I share this space.
While it is true that B and I are responsible for the untidy pile of mail taking up one end of the dining room table and the pile of boots and snow pants by the door (but come on. It’s winter), it is also true that B and I are NOT responsible for the following:
1) The paper recycling taken out of the bin and scattered around the living room
2) The boots and shoes taken (one by one, and never in pairs) to different areas of the house and carefully deposited behind furniture.
3) Books pulled with joy and abandon off of shelves.
4) Clean clothes pulled with joy and abandon out of dresser drawers.
5) Pots, pans, steamer baskets, sifters, and spatulas liberated from the kitchen and strewn about in a decorative manner throughout the apartment.
6) Dirty laundry liberated from the clothes hamper and strewn about ditto.
7) Dirt scooped out of the window sill planter and scattered about artistically.
8) Various (non-essential) parts of the printer dismantled and hidden under other things.
9) Magnetic letters and matchbox cars carefully wedged into the printer (presumably to make up for the parts that were confiscated).
10) Pieces of furniture (where do they get the strength, the little toads?) moved around the house.
And I started to feel a whole lot better. Because even if we work with the toads on cleaning up after they’re done with toys, there is just no way we are going to be able to keep ahead of a determined one year old who is being taught everything his three year old brother knows. In fact, it is extremely telling that one of the Captain’s first words is “crash”.
So I may as well embrace it; and by embrace it I mean go get a band-aid for the puncture wound on my foot from a lego flower. And while we’re embracing it, let’s be honest: I’d rather be a not-crazy mother and writer than be resentful of my kids and my job because I’m too busy picking up trains, Legos, and vegetable steamer baskets to do any writing or toad-enjoying.