Posted on | July 14, 2011 | 14 Comments
Last night I came home from work to a dirty house. There were dishes in the sink because the dishwasher hadn’t been unloaded. The trashcan was at the street and needed to be brought back up. There was dog hair strewn across the hardwood floors, collecting in small little hair bunnies along the baseboards.
And for a moment, as I surveyed the house, I could feel bile rising up in my throat. How could I live like this? How could I not be vacuuming EVERY DAY? How could I not find the time to unload and reload the dishwasher? When, oh when, was the last time I mopped the bathroom floor? All my old anxiety started to brew and fester and I could feel the need for a good cry session coming on.
And then I stopped.
I looked around the house again.
Except for the dishes and, of course, the hair, everything was in its place. Yes, the floors needed to be cleaned, but no one was eating off of them these days. Yes, the bathroom could use some sparkle, but the tub and toilet were clean. Yes, the bedrooms needed vacuuming, but the beds were made and the clothes mostly put away.
J was happily playing on his play mat and waiting on dinner. AJ was curled up on the rug, happily resting. The only member of our little household who was unhappy with the way this house looked… was me.
And what’s the worst that could happen? We are not living in squalor.
What’s the worst case scenario?
Someone drops by unannounced? I can count on one hand the number of times that has happened.
Something happens to me and other people see how dirty the house is? Eh, okay that did stress me out a bit until I realized that it wouldn’t matter then anyway.
Those were the only two things I could think of that should raise any sort of embarrassment about my housekeeping skills. So I made dinner for J and unloaded the dishwasher. I put the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and had my own dinner.
And when J went to bed, sure, I could have vacuumed the floors. I could have mopped or scrubbed or folded clothes. But instead, I watched So You Think You Can Dance and enjoyed a glass of wine. Because what it ultimately boils down to is this: I don’t need to have a perfect house to be a perfect me. I can’t do everything. And when the end of the day rolls around, it’s more important for me to take care of my well-being and J’s well-being than to stress over a collection of dog hair on the floor that will reappear every day, no matter how often I vacuum.
My house is still not perfectly clean.
But my child is happy and my heart is a lot less heavy… and those are so much more important.