I was out running errands the other day and my husband called me in a panic: "WHERE ARE YOU? ARE YOU OK? WHAT HAPPENED?????" Um, I'm not sure...I know they're out of the kind of bread the kids like at Target and that Jada and Will are breaking up according to People but other than that I'm not sure what happened? Which prompted me to ask "WTF are you talking about?!?!?" Dead silence...long painful pause...."Um hello?" He cleared his throat and informed me that he had just gotten home. He didn't need to say anything else because I knew what the problem was. I had abandoned ship in the middle of the day and the ship was a wreck (pun intended).
He was likely standing in the middle of a war zone. The battle had ensued earlier that morning and there were many, many casualties that had yet to be dealt with. The Cheerios that had dropped from someone's bowl had likely created Cheerio concrete on the kitchen floor, the various lunch fixings were still on the island countertop...but whatever, the youngest was going to need to eat lunch eventually so why NOT leave out the bread, peanut butter (including the pb that was smeared ON the countertop) jelly, cheetos, juice boxes, and baggies; for whatever reason the vacuum was smack in the middle of the front entryway (doesn't EVERYONE keep theirs there? No? No one? Hmmm...weird...) Pajamas were flung over the back of the couch, the arm of the chair, and strewn across the ottoman...and OH SHIT I'm pretty sure the youngest child's Pull Up was left on the floor by the tv...and we can't forget the container of hair accessories that got dumped in the upstairs hallway because the oldest couldn't find the exact one that she was looking for...discarded outfit choices were scattered haphazardly on bedroom floors, of COURSE no one's bed was made, I'm PRETTY sure the dryer was hanging open and half the contents were on the floor of the laundry room, toothbrushes were cemented to the bathroom countertop in a pool of Crest, a REAL battle between Jango Fett, Darth Maul, Anakin Skywalker, and ObeWan Kenobi had taken place earlier that morning as well (when middle child was SUPPOSED to be getting a clean pair of socks...which he never came downstairs with because DUH...Anakin needed some sort of battle cruiser and what better than a pair of Hanes???) so the victims of said battle were strategically placed along the stairs (along with a wide variety of weapons, back-up troops, and vehicles) So traversing the stairs was like battling a Galactic Heroes minefield...good times, good times.
So basically the house was a shit hole. The scene that particular day was not normal (I had to leave immediately after putting the older two on the bus for an appointment and then stayed out to run errands after) but you're not going to find it spit-shined and polished every day before 9 am either. I typically like to keep up with it during the day, I MAINTAIN if you will...dishes are done, meal preparations are cleaned up, kids rooms are tidy enough...but I'm guilty of maintaining a "lived in" home. At any given time you could walk into my house and odds are pretty damn good you'll trip over a pair of shoes, step on a Lego, walk through a patch of mystery stickiness on my kitchen floor, have to move a jacket/backpack/blanket/stuffed animal/barbie to find a spot on the couch...you get the idea. I have three kids and it's damn obvious. It also drives my husband CRAZY. He can't stand the pile of the kids' school paperwork in a certain spot on the kitchen counter. Finding shoes/toys/sippy cups under the couch drives him to the edge. The stack of DVDs that have yet to be returned to his alphabetical orderliness in the basement makes him want to hurt someone. But keeping up with that shit ALL DAY EVERY DAY is akin to keeping the ocean back with a broom. WHY THE FUCK SHOULD I BOTHER???? I clean up one mess, turn around to deal with another and the first mess is all fucked up again! Ocean...broom.
Yet it's been our most consistent battle since we first got married. I grew up in a "lived in" house...there were 8 of us...no freaking way could my mother have kept up with it all day every day. She MAINTAINED. I do the same. My house is clean, it's usually pretty tidy, 90% of the time I would not be embarrassed by unexpected guests. My husband is a little different though. He grew up in a house where his bed was made before he had completely gotten out of it, a discarded tissue was removed from a bathroom garbage can to be placed in the larger kitchen garbage before the snot even had a chance to dry, and dishes were washed, rinsed, dried and IMMEDIATELY put in their proper place, couch pillows were re-fluffed and re-positioned as soon as he had abandoned his spot. So he's had a bit of a difficult time adjusting to the fact that shoes in the front hall and GI Joe guns wedged in the couch cushions don't bother me. Sure they get dealt with eventually but I refuse to deal with every mess the second it happens. I'd go crazy. I'd drive everyone else crazy. THERE.IS.NO.POINT but he doesn't see that. He doesn't understand why the kids backpacks, papers, toys, shoes are still in the family room at 6 pm on a Wednesday. We always do a quick clean up as we head upstairs for bed...everyone grabs their shit and puts it away. It works. Shit gets picked up, everyone is happy.
I've proposed that he stay home for a week straight with the kids day in and day out so HE can get a firsthand look at what a huge pain in the ass even MAINTAINING can be. He doesn't think it's that hard. He CLAIMS that if I'm out for a few hours and he's left in charge the house is kept clean (um...yeah...that'll be reserved for another blog post entitled "My husband can't clean up after the kids for shit when left alone but I should be thankful that our children are still alive upon my return") So in summary, Star Wars, Cheerios, ocean...broom...MAINTAIN my friends, MAINTAIN.