She was very relieved!
I'm not going to lie, I am a total clean freak and I do like my house to look magazine photo worthy all the time, but that is just not realistic. I have kids, a husband, other interests and responsibilities, all of which add up to a rather messy existence sometimes...lately, more times than I would prefer.
When the kids were young, it was so much easier to spend time with them. I taught nursery school where they went and when we came home, they ate lunch and watched a little tv to relax, while I whipped around the house to clean up. Then we left the space, all tidy, to go to the park or a friend's house. After dinner and baths, I would stay up late and clean some more, so everything would be pretty for the next morning. It was simple, routine, they were small and easy to contain.
However, my kids are not babies anymore. They are on the brink of adulthood and will, most likely, be leaving home in a few short years and the life I know and adore now, will be gone forever. As it is, their extracurricular and social schedules leave little room for family time. So when they are home, eating, making a big mess, I want to be with them, engaged, chatting. I don't want to be cleaning. When they need a ride, I am happy to drop what I am doing (more cleaning) to carpool them around, get to meet their friends and casually "overhear" those valuable conversations with peers.
When my daughter asks me to watch a favorite show with her at 10pm, I do. I used to multitask, fold laundry or pay bills during this time, but not anymore. I want to be fully present. We laugh together, I get to hear the details of her day during commercials and we share inside jokes and comments about it long after.
So there may be a few dishes in my sink or a kitchen table full of bills strewn about some nights when I go to bed and you know what, that's ok. I have stopped being a slave to my house. My priorities are different now. I would rather spend my time with the people I love than miss out on precious moments, so my house looks perfect every minute of every day.
I still love it when my home is at its best and most days it's pretty close, but a clean kitchen will not laugh at my jokes, the laundry is not going to hug me and ask me to watch a movie and that never ending pile of papers is never going shoe shopping with me.
My mom used to tell me that as you get older the house becomes less important, you will come to value other things more, she'd say. I used to laugh. She just didn't get my love of design, the joy I derived from feathering my nest, the sense of peace I felt inside when I looked around my pristine home before bed. We were different, she and I. I would never feel that way.
My mother is in a nursing home now and you know what, clean clothes still get dirty, mail is delivered and needs to be attended to each and every day, dust accumulates on the dressers and shoes pile up at the back door...and they will continue to do so long after my mom is gone and my kids have moved out.
Chores are infinite, what I hold most dear, is not.
Well, enough of the heavy stuff, I am off to make my beds now...I mean after all, I haven't totally lost my sense of priorities.
Update: Here's my kitchen this morning, in case that first shot was making you nervous! ;)
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