It’s taken all day but the study is finally clean and tidy.
The door to the art cupboard closes, I can actually see the desk top, and I’ve even thrown out a pile of things I saved ‘just in case’.
It feels so good.
It feels like a fresh start, like anything is possible.
I wonder how amazing it would feel if the whole house was like this!
What would it feel like to have an entirely clean and tidy home?
Everything put away in it’s place.
No excess stuff anyway (oh to be brave to give up that ‘I might need it one day’ mentality).
To have clean floors, all of them.
No dirty laundry in the basket, no clean laundry waiting to be put away, no laundry anywhere!
To have it all, clean, and tidy and done, all at the same time. Imagine how that would feel!
I sit and contemplate the possibility, but I’m interrupted by my 7 year old who comes rushing in with muddy boots on, asking me to come outside and see what he found at the dam.
I take a breath and try and hold in my anger over the muddy foot prints, my exasperation over the fact that no one ever seems to think about keeping this house clean except me, and my frustration at the never ending cycle of cleaning I find myself trapped in.
On the way to the back door I see the piles of dirty dishes on the kitchen bench and feel my anger rise again. Why can’t they just put them in the freaking dishwasher?
I see a basket full of wet laundry I have forgotten to hang out. Why does tacking one big job mean that I get behind on everything else?
I step in something sticky on the floor by the table. Why didn’t they just wipe whatever this is up when they spilled it??
The anger is getting the better of me.
As if I could ever manage to have my whole house clean and tidy. That particular treasure is never going to be mine.
As I step outside into the sunshine I’m feeling cranky and deflated.
“Look at the treasure we found at the dam Mum!” he says holding out a handful of stinky yabby claws. “Can I keep them?”
“No!” I tell him.
“No! They stink and you already have a room full of junk that you never keep clean, and none of you ever clean up any of the messes you make or put anything away… and now you are all filthy and wet! ”
All four kids stand there, wet and muddy, looking at the ground. The big kids mumble a ‘sorry Mum’ and start taking off muddy boots, but the little one is still clutching the yabby claws in his hand looking devastated, and I know I have over reacted.
When did I let a clean house become more of a treasure than exploring down at the damn in the sunshine?
When did I start expecting my kids to magically be clean and tidy when I am neither of those things myself?
“I’m sorry guys” I tell them.
“Maybe if we boil the yabby claws that will get rid of the stink and you can keep them” I tell my smallest child. “But I need you to get rid of some of the other stuff in your bedroom so you’ll have somewhere to put them.”
“And I need you all to help me put away the laundry and get the kitchen cleaned up, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all.”
My house will never be entirely clean and tidy.
I have four kids who like to bring home treasures from the dam, and I am just not that kind of person.
And sometimes I need to be reminded that the elusive treasure of an entirely clean house is just not worth it.
Do you ever dream of having an entirely clean house?
Is it possible?
Is it worth it?