Keeping a clean house has never been my forté. If I’m honest, I struggled with the motivation to do it even before I had kids. If I’m BRUTALLY honest, I’ve found it somewhat defeating after having kids. I’ve been through many stages in my 13 years of parenting, from trying really HARD to keep the house clean, to barely caring, to putting cleaning on a schedule, and the results always end up the same: messy 5 minutes after I’m done cleaning.
Like I said, defeating.
In the past couple of years, as my oldest has gotten, well…OLD (he’s a teen now!), I’ve tried to really not put pressure on myself as far as house work goes. As I sit here and write. my dining room table is littered with the signs that five people live in this house…and that’s ok with me. So, when I read this Facebook post by mom of five Diane Redlegs just a few minutes ago, I knew I had to share it with you. It was like a huge truth bomb went off right in front of me as I read her words. They were a gift from God to me, and hammered home such an important point! Diane’s words are so sweet, they don’t need any more explanation. She posted a picture of her perfectly vacuumed floor and said:
Photo: Diane Redlegs on Facebook
19 years ago, Scott, all 5 kids and I took a trip to Omaha. Kenny was 10, Todd was 8, Kevin 5, Ryan 2, and Lisa was 6 months old. We took a day and went over to visit Scott’s Aunt and Uncle who lived in Omaha, in their beautiful new home. When we pulled up, the exterior said to me, “this is what dreams are made of”. As his Aunt gave us a tour of their home, I just remember thinking how amazing it would be to have such a beautiful home, full of rooms and bathrooms and a huge kitchen that screamed to be full of family and fun, but what stuck out the most in my mind and sparked a completely different envy than just the size of the house, was the vacuum lines that remained in the carpet in the formal dining room. As we strolled into the dining room, I remember thinking to myself, “oh my gosh! Her vacuum lines are still in her carpet probably a week or more after she vacuumed!! What I wouldn’t give to clean my house and have it stay magazine perfect for more than 5 minutes!!” I couldn’t wait for the day that I would be able to do that and not have it messed up by sticky little finger prints on the perfectly waxed dining table, or Legos hiding under the table, or walking in to discover Ryan’s latest art creation had so carefully been designed on the wall with crayons.
Here’s what I didn’t know at that time, (and somewhere my mind couldn’t even go), that to have all of this picture perfect cleanliness, the kids would have to be gone. You see, I wanted those things because the everyday struggles of 5 loads of laundry, toys everywhere, mouths to feed, meals to prepare, beds to make were overwhelming to me, and the beauty of a pristine home was something only dreams were made of. Hell it took me 20 minutes in each room just to find the floor before I could vacuum it. I never grasped (no matter how bad I wanted vacuum lines to stay in my carpet) that my kids would one day grow up and leave. That thought doesn’t exist in a young mothers mind, it’s just the things that old ladies talked about, and the endless reminders they tried to give me that “it all goes by so fast”.
Then one day I woke up, went to clean my house, carefully placed vacuum lines in my carpet, looked at my beautiful dinning table with a perfect wax coating and zero finger prints and realized it would stay that way for days…..and that’s when I realized that vacuum lines are lonely. That Legos and dirty clothes and mouths to feed and backpacks to get ready are sometimes very overwhelming, but they’re never, ever lonely and that what the old ladies had been telling me was true! That the Legos slowly disappeared without me ever noticing. They were replaced by video games, and then football gear and then by empty bedrooms waiting for a visit home from college or life. That the loads of laundry gradually got smaller, the dirty dishes were less and the endless treasures of Pokemon cards, or rock collections all disappeared. Everything sits magazine ready in my home now and I appreciate and love this time of my life, I only wish I had known the cost of vacuum lines, because then I surly wouldn’t have wanted this day to come as fast as it did.
Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere. To the mothers with vacuum lines who miss their children everyday, and to the young mothers who struggle through the mountains of laundry and responsibility. Cherish your children, their messes and stresses and the hell they put you through as teenagers, and trust me, vacuum lines are overrated 😉 ❤️