Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hearing Without Listening by Sophie Patten

It has taken me a long time to realize that the surfaces in my home will just be perpetually sticky for the next few years.  I can clean them everyday and they will still end up being sticky. My carpet is stained. I describe it as being "thrashed".  I could steam my carpet once a month and it would still look awful most of the time. And quite frankly who in the world has time to steam clean their carpets once a month? I am a spot cleaner. I can make time for that when the kids (and by that I mean Annie) spills her dinner. 

The living room gets my full attention because that is where our friends hang out with us, and I don’t want to be judged.  Wait a minute isn’t that what this blog is all about?  I have wonderful friends, looking at them and knowing them I can’t believe they would judge me.  But I still want to represent my best self as often as I can... in public.

 My friend Susie has a wonderful blog (Recovering Church Lady) and she said months ago that mothers of young children shouldn’t be ashamed that our homes look ‘lived-in’ and I like to think of my house in those terms now.  After all this IS my life and I don’t want to erase my actual existence in favor of one that I deem more worthy. 

Wow, did I just get all serious on you?  I guess so, just a little bit.

I am all for people having a genuine experience that makes them realize a simple truth.  I could hear someone say to me (my husband for example) ‘no one cares if all the toys are picked up every single day’ and ‘if they give you a hard time about not having a perfectly immaculate home, they’re a jerk!’  He’s right of course.  My sweet guy has told me this for years and years.  I hear him. But I’m not listening. To be honest I’m thinking ‘yeah well what do you know.’  He’s being all sweet and in my mind I am thinking some sarcastic response about how he never cleans.  It’s not true of course, he pitches in for sure and shares the load.  He just doesn’t let himself feel the responsibility of caring for our home like a noose around his neck, like I do.  He is chilled out about it.

Nope, it goes in one ear and out the other with me, but when someone puts their advice to me in more relatable terms suddenly I connect with it.  Since I read Susie's blog post about homes looking ‘lived-in’ and introducing the idea that that isn’t a dirty word, I have actually found myself letting go a little.  Unclenching.

Now if the kids will want to play with me while I’m in the middle of something else like cleaning or tidying instead of ‘I’ll come play after I finish this’, I stop what I’m doing and say ‘sure’.    I mean I can’t do this EVERY TIME of course.  Then we’d live in a crumb infested toy pit, where no dishes are ever clean and dinner is never made etc.  But it’s given me a new thought and a new way of looking at my home and being able to be happy even in the chaos. 


Anonymous said...

HaHa! I am exactly the same. Having a clean house is my biggest anxiety. I panic that someone may turn up without notice and my toilet won't have bleach in it. I'm sure these people don't really care and understand I have 2 children and a life but I do it anyway. It
can be the difference between a good day and a moody day!

Recovering Church Lady said...

Hey thanx for the two mentions! That was fun to be surprised by!
Re: Lived in look- I wish I had let go more when I was a young mom. I stressed about unexpected company which we had a lot of at that time.
But I certainly never had one of those pristine white living rooms that were off-limits to everyone! My boys had action figure guys every where! Even in the freezer for some reason! Ha!
Great blog site Sophie!