A Spotless House Isn't My Biggest Goal or Desire

by ParentCo. March 30, 2016

One day last summer, I mentioned to a friend and a fellow mother of young children that my son would soon start kindergarten, and my daughter would be in preschool for a couple of mornings a week. I let out an audible sigh, I'm sure.

My friend's genuine and automatic response was, “Now you can have a clean house!” She grinned, clearly excited for me, expecting me to share in all her clean-house glee. I was tongue-tied, not sure how to proceed. Is having a clean home what I miss most as a mother, and what I hope to achieve in the few hours to myself for the first time in over five years? No. Not at all. I chuckled politely and nodded my head, not wanting to make her feel bad, but her initial knee-jerk reaction caused my brain and heart to kind of malfunction. Because, no, an immaculate house is not why I was looking forward to a bit of alone time. A spotless house is not my biggest goal or desire. It's certainly not what I miss most about my pre-child life. To me, a clean house is something like a home-cooked meal (prepared by someone else) or a shiny new car with a working CD player-- sure, it would be nice, but I don't need it. What I miss about my pre-motherhood days is more global, harder to pinpoint. I miss being able to walk into a quiet house with no one needing me the second I enter the door. I miss being able to sleep in guilt-free on Saturday morning and sip my first mug of coffee in bed. I even miss not having to worry about other people so much and so wholeheartedly. There's nothing wrong with a clean house. If anyone wants to help me out with that situation, I would gladly say have at it. The kids bathroom could especially use some TLC. And a bit of bleach. But no, I refuse to let the never-ending chore of cleaning take center-stage in my life this year, or any year. A perfect house is impossible, unattainable. While I wouldn't mind a crumb-free microwave, I think when the day arrives that a pile of stuffed animals hasn't been tossed next to dozens of scattered Hot Wheels in the center of our family room, I'll miss it a little. Maybe a lot. Last fall, when the first day of simultaneous school and preschool finally arrived, I had my two hours of uninterrupted alone time. If you had peeked inside a (kind of dirty) window, you would have seen me with a large cup of coffee, feet up on the couch, with my beloved laptop. Toys were surely strewn across the floor, and breakfast dishes were stacked in the sink; I was typing, reading, snacking, and enjoying every second of it.


ParentCo.

Author



Also in Conversations

How to Prepare your Toddler for a Parent’s Trip Away
How to Prepare your Toddler for a Parent’s Trip Away

by Yelena Shuster

Before you spend weeks creating endless to-do lists to help your toddler while you’re away, take a step back and prep yourself first. Here's a simple guide.

Continue Reading

women holding pride flag
4 Ways to Support Your LGBTQ Teen

by ParentCo.

As parents, we have to be ready to have all sorts of big conversations. When it comes to coming out, there are a few simple things to remember.

Continue Reading

 little boy playing with colorful modeling clay
Raising a Financially Savvy Kid

by Angela Pruess

These are some straightforward ways parents can take the ‘money bull’ by the horns and help their children start out on solid monetary ground.

Continue Reading