Last Thursday, my husband asked me what was on the agenda for the weekend. I reluctantly opened my calendar app, bracing myself for whatever fresh hell awaited us. Nothing. We had nothing planned. How could that be? We had been operating on a minimum of three events per weekend since before Christmas. It must be a mistake. I scoured my texts and emails, reread school newsletters, and searched the house for old birthday party invitations. There was nothing going on this weekend.
We both did our version of a seated happy dance and went back to watching tv. The celebration didn’t last long in my mind though. If there were no obligations, then I would have to…CLEAN THE HOUSE.
There wouldn’t be any excuse for letting the pink slime in the shower live on for another week or looking the other way as the dust bunnies in the corners continue to grow their army. How was I going to relax this weekend with that grape glaring at me from under the recliner with its accusing one-eyed stare? Yes, I see you. No, I’m not picking you up even though I walk past you one hundred times a day.
I vowed to ignore the urge to clean, no matter how intense the grape’s stare became. Even though I had the time to clean, it didn’t mean I had to. Right?
Friday night was a breeze. I was tired, and it was dark. I only noticed that old grape once.
The next day wasn’t too bad either. I’m not a morning person, so I easily ignored everything in my peripheral vision as I tried to come to terms with the fact that I was awake. Then, we packed up the crew and headed to the park. I hate outside almost as much as I hate mornings, but the weather was that perfect, breezy temperature with fluffy cloud coverage that makes you feel guilty for not being outside. Besides, cooped up kids are way worse than being out in daylight. Once they had sufficiently touched/licked every square inch of the park while eating all of the snacks and refusing to get off the swings, we took them to lunch.
Matt and I had vowed to never take our kids out to eat again a few months ago and have continued to break that vow multiple times since. Why did we bring these maniacs out in public? Oh, right. So that I wouldn’t have to clean. I’m sorry fellow restaurant patrons, but this is bigger than your desire to have a quiet lunch with a long lost friend. I’m fighting the urge to clean over here.
Eventually, we had to head back to the house, because the only thing worse than hanging out in a dirty house is watching the look on my husband’s face as we wear out our welcome in public. That’s what marriage is all about, seesawing back and forth between your pet peeves and your spouse’s.
After bathtime (oh, hi, pink slime!) and endless snack requests that resulted in uneaten dinners, I finally sank into my spot on the couch. As I snuggled with one kid and scanned the room to admire my other two adorable children and loving husband, I thought to myself, “I’m one luck– ugh, that f-ing grape!”
It had become more shrivelled since this morning, and I swear it was winking at me. I rolled over into a deeper snuggle and closed my eyes. Even being taunted by a winking grape couldn’t make me get up from the perfect cuddle and start cleaning. After the kids went to bed, we were able to binge watch our latest obsession, so I was too preoccupied to care what the house looked like.
The next day, it was supposed to rain, and I was looking forward to a dark, cold day inside, complete with a family Harry Potter marathon. After waking up, it looked like I would get my wish. Most of the morning consisted of blankets and lounging. It was exactly what I needed.
Then, all of a sudden, the sun was shining. Before I could close the curtains, I saw the destruction. Toys were all over the floor, the plates from breakfast and lunch were still in the living room, and the scattering of crumbs made that shrivelled grape look like thoughtfully placed home decor.
I knew I wouldn’t last much longer. I tried to focus on my girls’ lip sync performance of “Shake It Off,” but I couldn’t just shake it off, Taylor. You have obviously never had to exist in this pig stye.
I needed to hide out in my bedroom for a few minutes to collect myself. On my way to the back of the house, I stepped on a Shopkins and lost it. “That’s it! Everybody up!” The next 45 minutes are a blur. It plays back in my mind like a disjointed battle memory in a movie. I remember a lot of yelling and crying. The whipping open of trash bags can be heard in the background while my kids stare up at me with “why are you doing this to me” expressions on their face.
I felt awful after it was all over. Why was I doing this? Why couldn’t I just relax? I don’t even like cleaning.
I do have a couple theories. Moms have so much going on all the time that we need to control some part of our environment so that we don’t flip out. Or maybe, it’s that our lives are so chaotic that we need to create order in our homes to find some peace. I really don’t know. What I do know is that if I could pick my mom-related superpower, it would be the inability to see a dirty house.
Unfortunately, that superpower is only available for dads, and I can’t imagine they will want to trade it for our ability to breastfeed any time soon.