They concluded their work, and I sat on my sofa. I had made it a point to have all the dishes and laundry done prior to them arriving.
(My Turkish and Portuguese housekeepers used to do those things for me, but here in the USA, you only get the basics I have come to be informed.)
I made it a point to get those things done so that when the cleaning crew left, I could sit on my couch and feel ... finished.
The entire house was clean.
The laundry was done.
It was put away.
There was not a single dish in the sink.
The dishwasher was empty.
The dog was outside where he could not leave any hair on anything.
My job was done.
I watched the clock. Eight minutes went by. Eight whole minutes of a feeling of ... completion.
And then Hannah woke up from her nap.
The older three were ready to eat.
An outfit was soiled during lunchtime.
Dishes were stacked in the sink.
Food time ended.
Books were pulled off the shelf.
Scrubs came in and shook his hair into every crevice imaginable.
An apple juice went flying further than I thought juice could travel.
And finished became begin again.
My Blog posts, the real posts that aren't just about our day or our life, usually well up within me for a few days before I finally carve out an hour to sit down and write. That is what I have done today. The girls are asleep. The boys are playing a game on the kitchen table. And I am writing as fast as I can, keenly aware that one of the girls could wake up at any moment and that I still have two other big writing "things" I need to get done.
And this post is all about this picture:
This picture was taken less than 24 hours after the cleaning crew had worked their magic. To be fair, half of that mess is my preparation for our vacation. The other half, however, is my three olders and their mess.
I used to be able to contain their messes. They were little and their messes were little. But suddenly, their messes have:
GOTTEN SO BIG!
They are spilling into hallways and staircases and into closets. Suddenly Abigail's dolls and Sidge's Superheroes are coming together and breeding off of each other and growing and filling rooms that they never coexisted within. They definitely help clean up. And they aren't allowed to move onto another thing before a previous thing is cleaned up. But getting them to help clean up requires time and supervision and there's Hannah who is occupying more of my time than I thought a 1.5 year old child was capable of occupying.
But what do you do with the idea by one of your children to hide all of their animals somewhere in the house and you are finding them in linen closets and underwear drawers for weeks on end?
Creativity is good, right? Innovation. Ideas. Expression. Free spirits. Learning through play.
But, oh the mess! And the list of things to do that grows with their messes.
So I had this idea to write an innovative post. It would be a post like none I had ever written before. I would admit how hard raising four tiny children was and how much I needed to try to appreciate things and not get stressed about the mess and clutter and feeling that I was never done. And I would ask for all of you to encourage me and tell me that this was going to be okay!
I decided to look through and see if I had ever written anything like this before. And, ummm, this post is FAR from innovative. Here is my compilation of past posts I have written which all basically touch on the fact that this job is hard and we need to not compare ourselves and that we should not feel guilty and all that jazz. Here is the list:
- Wannas and Gottas
- The Mom Standard
- Found it in the Couch
- Confession: I locked her out of the kitchen for no reason at all
- Always Letting Someone Down
- The Truth
- For the Days We are Running on Empty
- Are You Ready to Have Kids?
- Give up the Guilt Gals
- Dear Stay-at-Home-Mom
- Always Adjusting
- The Invisible Mom -- Building Cathedrals
- Today I didn't do it
- Mom Lessons
- My Life as a Mom
- Not Enough of Me
- Sometimes it's Hard
And as I re-read some of my old posts, I realized that the advice I was going to request from my readers was sort of something I had already given myself through these old posts. I'd encouraged myself and answered my own concerns with my own words, hand't I?
And yet, despite reading that it's going to be okay and I need to chill out and that I can't get it all done, I can't help but feeling I am doing something wrong? Surely there should be a magic formula to get everything done and not feel behind?
Tell me I'm missing something magical that is going to make this job way easier.
Because today, and if I am being honest I know that PMS is factoring into this feeling, I cannot help but feel like this is too hard for me. Like I am going to feel behind forever. Like I am so incredibly outnumbered.
And I KNOW that this is a season. I KNOW that this will not be like this forever. And I do not WANT this to go too fast. I want to treasure each day with my kiddos.
But I feel like all my magical ideas aren't enough. I am using a meal service and I am getting a housekeeper when I feel behind and I am saying no to as many things as I can and we are staying home and moving at the slowest pace I feel possible.
And I am still feeling so ... very ... behind.
I am not going to end this post with a magical summary of how this is going to be okay. I know it is going to be okay. Instead, I am hoping that some of you out there will just tell me I am not the only one feeling that I am waking up in the morning already two laps behind.