When I left my job to stay home with our oldest son I had a picture of what that would entail in my head. I would cook and clean and try out the whole June Cleaver look. I’d organize the cupboards finally and maybe invest in some nice throw pillows. You know, homey shit. Babies sleep all day, right? Simple! (Don’t mind me while I pause here to laugh at my blissful ignorance of things like croup, witching hours or the fact that babies soon become toddlers.)
Sure, there are people out there who have children and still manage to keep their home “guest ready.” Buuuut I found out quickly that I am SO not one of these people. I puttered along alright for the first year or so of motherhood but when my youngest was born and I was thrown into the 2 under 2 club I lost all semblance of control over my home. I remember a phase of a few months where our large dining table became the official, “mail and Costco purchases” holding receptacle. Laundry piled up. Dishes piled up. There were smells coming from all corners of my home and all corners of my body. Is that yogurt or spit up in my hair? Don’t know, don’t care, throw it in a bun. I distinctly remember the panic that would ensue when I’d hear my doorbell ring. No one was supposed to know I was living like this. But despite being painfully aware of how unpresentable our home was and how many days it had been since I got a shower that didn’t consist of spit up I was also so painfully exhausted – other than those fleeting moments of shame brought on by uninvited guests (Google Search: is it possible to shove all of the rooms in my house into the closet?) I just didn’t give a flying f*ck. Let’s be real here – when it comes down to day planning:
Sleep > Cleaning
Eating > Cleaning
Cuddling Baby > Cleaning
Teen Mom on Demand > Cleaning
Slowly over time I started to feel a little more in control but it ain’t perfect. For the most part I keep the house tidy. My table is a table again and you’ll all be relieved to know that I am back to a regular shower schedule. But it’s far from ideal. To borrow from the timeless classic, Clueless, I have a house that has that Monet level of cleanliness.
These days I am back to getting a descent amount of sleep and my children no longer need to be in my arms 24/7 so I am doing better at keeping my house not terribly awful ( I like to keep that bar reeeeeaaaal low.) Even so, some household chores have been retired until further notice and some rooms never seem clean no matter what I do. As I prepare for houseguests I am reminded of all of the things that may be noticed by said guest. I still promise clean sheets and clean towels….But I also promise a few other things – and since I like to keep it real I decided it was time to work on a welcome note:
Dear House Guest – We are so glad to have you with us. That you are willing to stay in our home despite the fact that your room shares a wall with our 5 year old who wakes no later than 630 and enjoys playing a nice heavy bass beat with his feet every morning is not being overlooked. To make your stay more comfortable with us I have typed up a few helpful notes about what you can expect during your time with us.
The bathroom pretty much ALWAYS smells like pee. I promise I clean it but my newly potty trained 3 year old uses the bathroom like it’s a carnival game and on that “Everyone Loves a Carnival” note, it’s also likely you’ll find a collection of stuffed animals right outside the bathroom door because apparently everyone also needs an audience.
Yes we have a bathroom in our room but we will be using the hall bathroom too because…. Last week our aforementioned 3 year decided to shove a load of toys into the pocket door and now the door is stuck in the wall meaning there is zero privacy. So yeah, until we have time to cut the wall open to retrieve the toys we will ALL be utilizing the one bathroom with a working door.
Never EVER look in the microwave. Don’t worry – there’s nothing dead in there. But it’s on a high shelf and I’m on the shorter side so I pretend it isn’t dirty and I want you all to go ahead and pretend with me now, ok? Thanks!
Cleaning under couches is for overachievers – I gladly will accept my 3.0 grade point average here. Please do me a favor and keep your eyes at eye level.
I don’t do windows or stainless steel. There is nothing more inviting than a freshly de-smudged glass door or a shiny stainless steel refrigerator. This is why when I clean those areas I purposefully half ass it. Consider that half handprint and that swab of jelly, “toddler camouflage.”
And while we are talking about jelly – Every surface at and around 24 inches from the ground is sticky. Deal with it.
Also my dogs bark, yes most of my “fresh” flowers are dead but maybe that one little blossom that still has some color may have a chance so lay off me and while I promised you I’d have a stock of snacks on hand I’m most likely going to make you accompany me to the store after your arrival because I was too busy getting the house from no par to subpar right up until the minute of your arrival to actually go shop. If I do have a fridge full of food I will be acting like it’s no big deal on the outside but on the inside I’ll be giving myself no less than 10 pats on the back for how in control and grown up I appear in the moment.
Now who’s ready to visit?