Saturday, October 18, 2014

Confession: I locked her out of the kitchen for no reason at all

I did.

I admit it.

I had just cleaned my kitchen, and I decided, for no particular reason, that I wasn't going to allow my one year old to come in.

So I closed that little gate in-between the kitchen and the living room and told her big brothers and sister to keep it closed and not let Hannah in.

I had no real reason to do this other than the fact that I had just cleaned my kitchen.

That's it.

That's the reason.

I've locked her out before for many real reasons. Like trying to empty the dishwasher without her grabbing steak knives. Or having hot water on the stove. Or pulling dinner out of the oven.

But today? Well ...

I had just cleaned my kitchen, and I decided that I just wanted it to stay clean for more than six seconds.

That was my reason.

I wanted, for the love of all things not dirty, to enjoy the feeling of clean for a few moments, maybe even an hour.

Is that too much to ask?

Now that I think about it, clean is a very broad word.

What actually constitutes clean?

I am sure that there would be many people who might see the job I did on my kitchen that day and think that it looked like their kitchen on a bad day. I recognize that the standard of clean varies greatly from person to person.

For two years in Turkey and two years in the Azores, I had a housekeeper.

Oh the love I felt for Hatice and Hita. 

And to be honest, for four years of my life, I never had to think about cleaning. Oh sure I did lots of picking up and wiping down counters and emptying dishwashers and doing laundry.

But I didn't have to do the deep cleaning required of living in a home.

But those days are behind me now. I may return to them, but during this season of our life, when we are busy saving money to buy our farm, we have decided to cut some frivolous things out.

And a housekeeper was voted as frivolous.

(But oh the joy of that frivolity!)

Back to reality.

I don't have a housekeeper.

And so I must manage to clean without the help of those lovely ladies.

And so I decided that because I had just cleaned my kitchen I would lock my one-year-old out for as long as possible.

Hannah is a HUMAN TORNADO. I have had four children. But none of those children can destroy a room in as little a time as Hannah can. I really believe that dust settles in her wake. I sometimes think she has super human powers to just snap her chubby little fingers and cause toys to jump out of boxes and books to fall out of shelves and kitchens to fall to their knees and beg me to please lock that gate so that they can enjoy solitude for just one minute longer!

And so I decided to write a blog post about it. I'm very big on keeping it real. I'm constantly striving to present my real life so that no one thinks that I am something I am not. And I wanted all of you moms out there attempting to keep your house clean with dozens of little fingers and little toes on your heels, to do what you need to do to relish the accomplishment.

Motherhood, I have discovered, is a series of accomplishments that are never really accomplished.

"I did the laundry," is followed by, "Put those poopy pants directly into the washing machine."
"The dishes are done," is quickly trailed by, "Put your dirty dishes in the sink."
"All the kids have had baths," often hears, "Get back in the tub so I can wash that off of you."

So do yourself a favor. Lock your kids out of a room now and then just so that a room stays clean for the sake of staying clean. Get a good book, plop down on the couch, ignore the screaming and pleading around you, and just bask in the feeling of accomplishment.

Because whether you believe it or not, you did it!

And even if it lasts only moments, that deserves a few minutes to bask in your glory.


constance said...

Your comments remind me of when I first read Penelope Leach. She was having a terrible day and decided to bundle her children up to play out side and refused reentry until she was able to cope. It wasn't for any extended period of time, but she made me realize early on that we all need a moment without those wee faces to regroup or appreciate something accomplished.

Papa Coach said...

I am laughing at the part about "snapping her chubby little fingers!" There was a vivid image of Mary Poppins, Jane, and Michael snapping THEIR fingers and everything put itself away; with Hannah, it's the opposite, huh?


Anonymous said...

I'm chuckling at your comments about how everybody's "clean" is different. So true, I have "company" clean, and "everyday" clean. On a normal day, if the dishes are done, the floor is swept and I can see the top of the kitchen table, I can be blind to all the rest. Company coming? I suddenly see crumbs in the corners, fridge needing cleaning, and if it's family? I think about the dusty shelves only tall people can see. :) Aunt Linda