Yesterday, I read an article by my blogging friend Brie Gowen. She actually contributes here at ForEveryMom fairly regularly and I adore her writing. And, this particular article was very, very good: short, sweet, and to the fantastic point. It is called
Go ahead and click over and read it, I’ll wait. She even includes a real life photo of what said house looked like before it became a spotless house:
Thank you, Brie, for keeping it real!
Ok, did you read her article yet? I hope you did. (But for the sake of making MY article make sense, I will quote her a bit.) Now, I should also tell you that Brie is a mom to three littles –THAT she HOMESCHOOLS– and she also runs a Rodan + Fields business and a blog AND she’s a nurse by trade, no longer full time but at least part-time/PRN. So she’s a LITTLE BUSY, yet she still makes time to rock a spotless house before her husband comes home from work. Why, you ask? I will let her tell you.
I didn’t keep things orderly because he worked out of the home more than me. We both knew that our collective days were long and hard. No, I did it just because it was something I could do. I couldn’t control how his day went away from home, but when he entered that door I could offer him love, peace, and happiness. Heck, even with a messy house (which did happen much of the time) I could offer him those things! But if there was something I could do to make his end of day a bit more enjoyable, I went for it. Not because he expected it or because I had to. It was simply a language of love.
Brie also mentions earlier in the article that when SHE was coming home from a long nursing shift, finding the house in order helped her be more relaxed and happy when she walked in. So, she strives to do the same for her husband. And I love that.
Obviously, there’s a “but” coming. Sooooo, this is the part where I admit here, that the title of Brie’s article made me cringe.
And that had nothing to do with Brie, and everything to do with me.
I have never been a good housekeeper. I have been more messy than neat my entire life! My husband is MUCH more neat and orderly than I am, but when it comes to the house, I have brought him down more than he has raised me up.
Oops. Because I am a woman, I feel totally guilty and shameful about my lack of housekeeping acumen (LOL, totally stereotyping here but I have found that most women I know feel guilty for ALL THE THINGS and most men feel guilty for VERY FEW OF THE THINGS). I have to constantly remind myself that I am doing my best in motherhood, marriage, work, and housekeeping and that I AM good at OTHER THINGS. Lots of other things! And yet, there have been seasons in our lives when I was able to keep the house looking pretty good. Sadly, NOW is not one of those seasons.
This is what my living room looks like now:
It will probably look slightly messier than this when my husband gets home, because by then the kids will have been home from school for 2.5 hours. And, I will be ok with that. And, so will he. Because:
Here’s why I don’t make sure to have a spotless house when my husbands gets home:
1. I work full time from home. Because I collect a paycheck, I need to be working during the day, not doing chores. Sometimes I will do chores on my lunch break, but more often that not I don’t take a lunch break so I can be done with work a little earlier to help and be with my kids sooner after school. Which leads me to point #2…
2. Our 7-year-old has some social challenges and classroom challenges that we are working to overcome. (Actually I just wrote an article about how having a messy house HELPS him with this.) So, three days a week I push PAUSE on my workday, pick him up from school, and hit un-pause and finish my last hour of work from a therapy waiting room. The other two work days, as soon as I am done working we dive STRAIGHT into 20 to 30 minute work/exercise session on school work and therapy homework. I get no down time.
3. I move straight from work or therapy with my 7-year-old to making dinner. I may not have the house spotless before my husband gets home, but I DO have dinner ready when he gets home. That’s a BIG win in my book. Both my 7-year-old and I have special dietary needs so cooking at home is necessary for now even on days I’d give my life to order pizza. All this to say, I MAYBE have a few minutes to myself while dinner is in the oven (yesterday I had about 30 minutes because it was a crock pot meal, HOLLA!) but usually don’t sit down to chill until after dinner. Either my husband or I will clean up after our daughter fits whatever else she can into the dishwasher once dinner is over. (But typically, my husband is finishing up the daily exercises I started with our 7-year old.)
So, those are my big reasons for not having a spotless house when my sweetie gets home from work. I would LOVE to do that for both of us one day, but that day is unlikely to be within the next six months. And yes, my older two kids CAN and DO help me with housework, but they do homework first, then one unloads and one re-loads the dishwasher. That’s about all that all of us can accomplish before 6 p.m. on a workday.
And I’ll be honest, these days? I’m inclined to feel nothing but pretty ok about all of it.
So, if you’re in Brie’s season of life where a spotless house by 6 p.m. is something you can achieve on the reg, I say GO FOR IT and BE PROUD! And if you’re like me, and you’ve got other goals usurping that household gleam for now, then GO FOR THOSE and be proud, too.