There are piles of unfolded laundry sitting in various locations around my house. The one on the sofa keeps spilling onto the floor when we dig through it each morning, hunting for something to wear. It’s been there the longest — the elder of the laundry piles, so to speak — and most of the clothes are wrinkled beyond wear or require a trip through the dryer before they can be worn.
I know what you’re thinking, “Fold your laundry, woman!” But, nah. If I fold the laundry, the dishes will expect the same courtesy, followed by the floors. The bathrooms have been weeping for attention for weeks, and it’s become increasingly difficult to see my reflection through the toothpaste splatters on the mirror. Thanks, kids. By every definition, my house is an outright disaster.
But I don’t care, because I’m living life to the fullest, and the mess can wait.
This hasn’t always been my MO, however. I actually really enjoy order and tidiness. But, let’s be real: I don’t have time to be a kickass mom, manage a career, and keep the house clean. Something had to give, and when it comes to prioritizing my life, housework falls to the bottom. The very bottom, where my only expectation is that no one leaves the house naked.
I’m done feeling beholden to chores and housework. Sorry, I have a life to live, and I only get one shot at it, so if you need me, I’ll be at the pool playing Marco Polo with my kids, or having dinner on the deck with my husband. The laundry will wait.
At some point, there will be a rainy day that keeps us grounded, and I will clean then. Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I will get a bowl of popcorn and watch movies with my family while the rain falls outside. Those really are the best days for movies anyway; it would be a shame to waste it.
I’ll do a sink-full of dishes here and there, maybe toss in a load of laundry before bed, if I remember. I’ll tidy-up enough to keep the walkways free of toys, but honestly, I’m fine doing the bare minimum. I’ve given myself a pass for the foreseeable future, because my kids are little, because I work outside the home, and because life is meant to be lived. I’ll do what it takes to keep us all healthy and clothed, but the rest of my time is reserved for living.
My kids don’t care what our house looks like. They’ve never once asked when I will be doing the next load of laundry or sweeping the floor. As far as they’re concerned, their toys are much more accessible scattered about the house, and I’ve learned to navigate around them.
One day I will wake up, and my kids won’t be here. They’ll be off living their own lives, uninterested in a spontaneous trip to the pool, or afternoon spent making colorful murals with sidewalk chalk. They will be grown and gone, but the laundry will still be here. The floors will still need to be swept and the baseboards dusted. I will miss those unsightly toothpaste splatters across my mirror, and I will wonder where time has gone.
When that time comes, and I look back from an empty nest, I won’t be thinking about the cleanliness of my house through the years. I will remember the times they were little and begged to hold my hand as we crossed a parking lot. I will remember the times we caught a spontaneous afternoon movie, and laughed until our sides hurt. And the times we stayed up late talking about their hopes, and their dreams, and their fears. I will remember what really matters.
So, yeah, it’s a mess in here, and it probably will be for the next fifteen years, but I don’t give a shit. Messy is just fine with me, it’s perfect even, because I’m a bit of a mess myself. You may see my family in wrinkled t-shirts from time to time, and when you do, know it’s because we spent an amazing day together living life to the fullest, and not once did we worry about how clean the house was.
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