Saturday was a wonderful, glorious day because I mopped the entire first floor of our house. That means the first floor also got picked up. And I didn't go into labor doing it. I can't even find the words to express how happy my mood has remained for the rest of the weekend as a result. Is that weird?
The time and ability to clean has never made me so happy as it has in the last 6 years.
I've never been a terribly clean or neat person. As a matter of fact, my first year in grad school (I was 27), I lived in a dorm room, without a roommate (= benefit of grad school dorms!) Things got messy there because I was really busy, you know? And it was only me. And grad school is stressful! One day, the campus fire department gave me a notice that my dorm room was a fire hazard. They taped the notice to the outside of my door. I think my response was to brush it off. Please! That building was made of concrete and concrete blocks and bricks. It wasn't burning down no matter how many books and papers were stacked on my floor. But, how embarrassing! To make it worse, Fritz was visiting at the time and he thought it was hilarious. He saved that violation for me right along with the diploma I received 2ish years later.
Strangely, the mess I allowed to exist in my earlier life never bothered me. In my twenties, I told myself I was busy, I would clean it up AFTER whatever looming deadline I was working on. The difference between the mess in my early life (without kids) and the mess in my thirties (with kids), is control. That mess back then? I controlled it. I controlled when it happened, IF it happened, and even if it would get cleaned up sooner or later. No matter if the campus fire department didn't like it, I felt like I had control.
The mess today? I can only attempt to control it. Mess with little kids comes from all sides. The kids are in a destructive mood. Or the kids are sick and at home more than usual. Or the kids are clingy handfuls and I have to clean in 2 minute intervals. Or there's a snow day and we spend too much time inside. Or papa is working especially long hours and I'm exhausted. Or the kids are playing so, so well together that I can't bring myself to stop them and make them pick up. Or one kid refuses to nap throwing a wrench in cleaning plans. Or who knows what? The point is, since having kids, I have very minimal control over both the mess and over my time to clean the mess.
On the plus side, I think I'm actually neater and cleaner than I was in my twenties. Because now, I really feel like picking up the mess is my only weapon for combatting the chaos of life with kids. I've gotten much better (but not perfect) at grabbing opportunities to clean when I have them. Putting off cleaning has nothing to do with control anymore; putting off the cleaning is about allowing the chaos to rein.
Admittedly, my younger perspective on cleaning might have been a little wrapped.
If you have a messy child / young adult (as I was), you could take comfort in this information. Perhaps someday your child will change, too! Perhaps when your child has children!
Anyways. I suspect this will be the last time the floor is mopped before Trixie arrives.* That's okay. I'm fine with that. Just getting it done one last time was a major relief. And did I mention how happy it made me to clean?
* A few suggested that I get a one time cleaning crew to come in before Trixie arrives. I thought it was a great idea. I told Fritz that I was planning to do this, and you know what he said?
"Why? Trixie will be near-sighted for the several months after she's born. She won't SEE whether it's messy or clean."
Which made me laugh, even though I gave him an exasperated look. Sometimes, I just have no idea what he will do or say. Which is one of many reasons I love him. That and the fact that he moved the crib upstairs today. Hurray!