When my husband was away, what little tidiness my home had left with him. Honestly, I am not good about prioritizing cleaning anyway but two weeks with all things home, pets, kids and work in my hands placed my house in a different category of mess.
The thing is, when I am in charge of all of it, it is more than I can do. And I find myself faced with choices every minute of the day. Do I go to the river with my daughters or clean the bathroom? Do I do these dishes right now or do I stop saying in a little bit to my doe-eyed daughter asking for me to play family with her. And, when my kids are occupied or asleep I have to work, heading into my studio at 10pm most nights. After the moon is high and the clock reads single digit hours, I step over the baskets of clean laundry that need to be put away and into the sheets I wanted to wash the day before, with my girls. I lie there and think about cleaning the chicken coop, talking my dog for a run, bathing, mopping the kitchen, unpacking boxes, returning emails, hydrating, catching up on sewing orders…
And then I sleep. With two small, perfect bodies pressing into mine, urging me to let go of the to dos and rest in that quiet, comfortable moment. In the dark, where dog hair piles and half-full coffee mugs are invisible and unimportant.
The day before Andy returned, I moaned about the overwhelming state of my home to a friend over dinner. She knocked on my door the next morning, ready to clean. This woman who has her own family and pets and home and life. It was Saturday. And, as she dug into my stovetop, she smiled and snapped, “Don’t say a word. You aren’t the boss of me.” Caroline spent over two hours cleaning my entire house while cheerfully reporting how my kids will remember digging worms with their mama and will not remember the dark brown mop water. The best friend: happily sweeping my entry and also encouraging me to see the beauty in my mess; lying on her belly to fetch rogue socks from under the bed while reminding me what I am good at.
A few things: 1. My friends teach me how to be better. 2. Life is full of choices. Big and small, easy and heavy. We make the choices that feel good, a healthy balance of chore and fun. It’s all necessary. 3. I need more help than I sometimes admit. I will ask for it more often. It feels good to everyone involved. 4. I am learning to be gentle with myself. 5. I am budgeting for a house cleaner.