I’ve been patting myself on the back lately. Mainly, for talking myself out of my own head.
See, I’m kind of a Type-A person. More like a B+, but close enough. I like order. I like organization (mmm bins and drawers). I like structure, schedules, goals set and achieved, checklists. That’s just how I am. Before I had kids, I used to line my clothes up in my closet by type of shirt. My fridge was clean and my shoes were stacked perfectly. I rotated Yankee Candles like it was my job. I knew when I had kids that these things that help make my world go ’round might disappear, but in the back of my mind, I hoped that I would still be able to get myself “together” – at least for appearances. I don’t know, for some reason I feel like everyone who has kids besides me shows up to appearances dressed to the nines (or at least they brushed their teeth). When I go to their houses, they display gorgeous, clean tabletops that you can actually see the top of. Candles are lit, cookies are baking, and it looks like a page right out of Pinterest. Dogs lie on the floor by the fireplace without disturbing me, and somehow, there aren’t toys strewn about like a tornado touched down. Yes, I really have been to these types of houses in the last few months and yes, I am envious.
I was raised to put myself together for appearances as well – both emotionally and physically. Look clean, smile, be assertive, professional and polite, and for goodness’ sake – clean the rooms that people will see the most first.
So for all these reasons, I have battled against myself since the twins were born 16 months ago. What was actually happening versus what I expected of myself was a never-ending nagging issue. I played the “I just had twins” card for oh, like a year. That got me out of house-cleaning, exercise, hygiene and nutrition. Somehow, it is assumed that once you get USED to having children in your house, you’ll get it together.
For whatever reason (and I do have a hunch it has to do with the two toddlers that are destroying my house), I can’t keep “it” together. I manage some things, but not all. If we go out in public, I make sure the babies look adorable first: hair brushed, pigtails in for C, cute shoes, clean faces. But I may or may not still be in my sweatpants, dirty “fuzzy” socks and fancy earrings, because I only got half-dressed. If someone comes over, I may have straightened up the kitchen and a candle might be lit (after I blow the dust off it – for brownie points). But you’ll barely be able to get in the door because my two 20 pound starved-for-attention dogs jump all over you, scratching your legs and shedding white AND black fur. Even if I’m on the ground with a baby in one arm tugging at my dogs to stop jumping, yeah, no – they won’t. We don’t tend to “entertain” at our house, for one thing because it’s a small house, but mostly because I don’t feel I would have it together enough for people to spend more than 10 minutes in. And if someone does stop by, I’m nothing but an endless stream of apologies because it’s polite and I’m full of guilt and embarrassment: I’m sorry my house is a mess, I’m sorry the dogs are jumping on you, I’m sorry there’s fur and toys and crap everywhere. The guests follow suit with the standard, “Oh, it’s okay. My house is worse” line but in most cases, I know it’s not true. SO.
I read this article last week, and I felt better. I laughed and related (yes, I have an unusable bathroom). Maybe, just maybe, there are others out there who can’t keep “it” together, and they have clutter and disorganization in their lives as well. Even people who naturally want things clean and organized – not just the natural messies out there. Maybe they have secret closets where they shove their mail and their shoes and their kids toys. Maybe they just finished having a mini-meltdown over the state of their houses before getting the chance to quick clean and open the door with a smile. Maybe it’s not just me!
So now – even though I still apologize for the state of my house when people walk in – I’m trying to let it go more. To worry less. Because honestly, worrying more doesn’t magically give me more time to clean myself and clean my house. It does not change the fact that my day-to-day life is completely insane. I’m still going to rush out of the house in two different slippers. But I’m going to hope people don’t judge me as much as I judge myself.
On this Thanksgiving, a day as good as any to be thankful, I’m especially thankful FOR the crazy that is my life. Something I’ve never once taken for granted since these babies came along – but yet, I’ve wished away stages. I like every new stage that the twins enter, and then I wish it away. The tantrums, the biting, the meltdowns, the MESS, the neediness, the “eh, eh, EH, EH, EH”….I used to wish it away. Until I remembered that with those things came kisses and hugs, “I love you’s”, the snuggles, calling for Mommy, learning “please and thank you”, the cheesy grins, the dance parties. This kind of crazy IS the life I wanted. I can’t be waiting for whatever it is I envision to come along because I’m actually in it right now. This right now, this is living. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!