Why I Put My Clean Freak Aside and Leave Handprints on the Mirror

Any and everyone who knows me knows that I’m a total clean freak; like, vacuums three times a day, doesn’t allow shoes in the house, vacuums the garage, can’t leave the house until everything is-in-it’s-place kind of clean. Some might call this a tad OCD, I just call it normal. I love being this way and I’m pretty sure my husband appreciates it, too.

So the other day, after my regular Saturday morning cleaning sesh, my husband came into our bathroom and mentioned {as he always does} how nice and clean our bathroom looked. Then, after a slight head tilt and eye squint, he told me I missed a spot on the bottom of our closet door mirror. Two things popped into my head: 1. How dare you criticize my cleaning abilities, you may as well call me a bad mother or fat; 2. Well, then why don’t you clean it yourself?! But no, I just turned to see what he was referring to and my mood quickly turned to joy as I remembered that I had intentionally left the ‘mess’ on the mirror.

See, the markings my husband saw as a mess were in fact art work left by my 10 month old while playing with his “friend in the mirror.”

Every morning while I get ready, Jakob gives himself kisses, finger paints with his slobber and leaves behind the most perfectly detailed little handprints on the mirror for me {I like to think they’re for me, anyway}. I don’t see a mess like most, but the makings of a sweet boy and future artist. If anything, he keeps himself busy so I can get my teeth brushed and make-up on.

I remember when Heidi and Lukas were Jakob’s age and I would leave behind their handprints on the bathroom mirror. To me, these markings made from spit and slobber and happy babies are a reminder that a baby lives in the house, and that these hands are only so small for so long. And after the birth of Lukas, I struggled with the overwhelming fear that something would happen to him and I wouldn’t have anything of his to hold on to. The mirror art seemed fitting at the time.

I’ve read too many stories of parents losing their babies, of the struggles some women go through to have children, or of babies who are unable to leave behind their handprints for whatever reason. I’m so grateful that I have a baby who wakes up every morning and walks up to the mirror in my bathroom and happily gives himself kisses and leaves behind the most precious handprints for me to cherish.

So where most things in my house need to be in their place or spic and span, I will leave behind a beautiful mess just for me. It may look like a sloppy mess to some *cough or that I’ve missed a spot while cleaning the mirror, but I see so much more and am happy to display it proudly.

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Ashleigh Haslinger
Ashleigh Wright Haslinger lives in Southern California with her husband and three perfectly imperfect children. After working for ten years in Special Education, she is now a stay-at-home mom and writes about everything from living in Europe, to the pluses and minuses of parenthood on her blog SimplyWright. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.