Spring is upon us, friends, and you know what that means—we are all supposed to don our latex gloves, scrub dem base boards, and purge all the unneeded items from our lives. Spring cleaning sounds amazing — in theory.
I mean, who wouldn’t love a spotless, clutter-free home? Purging unwanted items? Hell yeah! Let’s start with all these damn toys. You had me at purge. But, here’s the truth of the matter: it ain’t gonna happen, because I live with slobs. Tiny, unhelpful, destructive slobs.
Alright, to be fair, my kids are four and six years old, so they are still learning to not be slobs. I’m married to a man who is not a total slob, but our ideas of clean differ in that I can’t live for endless days with a sticky patch of jelly on the kitchen counter, and he can.
As life stands, I clean on the weekends. I try to keep up on the dishes throughout the week, but I work outside the home, and I can’t spend my evenings straightening throw pillows, picking up building blocks, and folding laundry. I’ve tried, but it makes me ragey, and nobody wants to live with a ragey women. So, I limit my rage-cleaning to the weekends. I say rage-cleaning, because it’s nearly impossible to not be ragey when you find an empty juice box behind the sofa for the third week in a row. Or countless pairs of dirty underwear on the hall floor, three feet from the laundry basket. This is just pure laziness.
Damage control happens every Saturday morning, and the whole family is involved, because I’m not picking up your dirty underwear, when you know better than to leave it on the floor in the first place. I provide them with a list of chores, and they groan and complain while they poorly execute them. It’s exhausting to do this every weekend, but I’m nobody’s maid, and they need to learn to live like civilized people.
OK, so back to spring cleaning—it needs to happen, at least in my house. Who even knows the last time I mopped the floors, or cleaned under the furniture. Toys and clothes have been outgrown over the winter, and clutter in general is at an all-time high. I can handle a lot of things, but clutter gives me anxiety, so purging seemed like the right place to start.
I was feeling good about my spring cleaning efforts when I finished purging the first closet, but then I walked into my living room and realized my kids had taken full advantage of my preoccupation. In the 20 minutes it took me to clean out one closet, they had completely destroyed the living room. It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill kid mess either; it was a full-blown, category-five shit-storm. Every sheet and blanket from the linen closet had been piled on the floor, along with every stuffed animal in the house. A large toy basket had been overturned at the base of Blanket Mountain, and both kids were perched at the top of the massive plush heap, eating Cheetos, straight out of the bag.
I had to step outside and take a minute, because WTAF?
This is why it’s impossible to spring clean when you live with slobs. While you are busy cleaning up one mess, three more are being created in another room. It wasn’t an impossible mess to clean up, but it took time, which is rare commodity in my life as a mom who works outside the home five days a week. My kids can’t fold the blankets they unfolded without my help, or run the vacuum to clean up Cheetos crumbs.
My husband and I are doing our best to teach our kids to respect our home and their belongings. We ask them to pick up their toys when they are done playing with them, and to eat at the table so our furniture doesn’t become one giant Cheetos stain. But if I’m honest, if feels like they are never going to get it. It feels like they are never going to learn to pick up after themselves.
How many times does a person need to be reminded to put their laundry in the hamper, or throw their trash in the trash can before it sticks? I’m here to tell you, the answer is far beyond what I would have guessed before I became a mother.
So, if you visit me this spring, and my baseboards are dusty, my floors are sticky, and the clutter makes you want to run from my home the minute you come through the door, I apologize. I’m planning to spring clean, but it will probably be a spring season several years from now, when my kids are grown, and no-longer slobs.