Monday, January 31, 2011

Clean Up Your Act

For most people this wouldn't be newsworthy, but for me it is :-)

For most of my adult life, I have been a very (very... very) messy person. At times, I have even lived in places that were not only untidy, but were dirty... because I never, ever, hardly ever cleaned. In recent history, I have managed to upgrade that to moderately messy, but clean... because we hired a bi-weekly housekeeper. The challenge for me has been the shift in thinking from 'set this down and walk off - maybe it will put itself away' to 'put it where it belongs'. I understand that most folks make this shift in their twenties when they get a career or start having babies and put down roots. I guess we just never did that. I spent my twenties in unsatisfying retail and restaurant jobs while pretending to go to college or supporting my husband through law school. We moved a lot and always rented. We never found a place that was home or that we cared enough about to take care of.

A couple of years ago, our marriage almost ended. When we decided to try to save our family, we decided that putting down roots was going to be a big part of that. After successfully avoiding home ownership and parenthood for over 13 years, we bought a house and had a baby within 13 months. Oddly enough, this didn't magically turn me into a domestic goddess. The mess just followed us like the cloud around Pigpen.

As my Mama has been hinting, suggesting and outright telling me for a very long time now, it makes a big difference in your mental state when you are surrounded by mess versus tidy. I just never made it priority... until this tiny person showed up. Not only do I want to show her how to grow up healthy, she runs her fingers, toes, lips and tongue over everything she can reach. Messes are no longer just unsightly, they have the potential to be disgusting and/or dangerous. It's way past time for a change.

So, as part of my recent effort to recommit myself to my job as stay-at-home mama, I have committed myself to keeping our home looking like a place that we want to be. Toward that end, I spent all of last week (with the exception of a sorry bit of time on Sunday) in a tidy home. We could have had drop-in guests at any time, and I would not have been embarrassed :-) It feels so nice to live in a place that looks this good.

Wait, am I turning into an adult? Will I start marking pages in the Pottery Barn catalogue or stalking the IKEA website for sales? Will we finally put some effort into finishing the house? Only time will tell, my friends. Only time will tell.

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