Who Am I Trying to Impress?

I Give Up!

It’s not that we want to be messy people, it’s just how our life goes…

I have a book addiction. It’s a serious problem. My literary narcotics take up two walls in our living room, are stacked on our coffee table, dining table, the side table next to my reading chair, my desk, and there’s always one (or two) hanging out on my nightstand. Two years ago, my mom gave me a Free Little Library to put in the yard, so this helps to move some books out when I’ve decided I can let go. This also doesn’t help when someone leaves one of interest in the library for me to find.

My littlest one’s toys outnumber the books! And no matter how many boxes I carry to Goodwill or send with my mother-in-law for her to take to kids in Cuba, his corner of the living room remains a rainbow-colored minefield of legos and superhero characters. I think his grandmothers (including his step-abuela) are competing for the title of most doting through how many toys they can buy him. Plus, he’s like Andy from Toy Story–he gets them all out and acts out elaborate plays in his mind. They all have a special place in his heart, and he’d notice right away if someone was gone.

With two (sometimes three) snakes and two (sometimes three) boys sharing one small room, I can’t even begin to describe that smell. So I won’t try. If you’ve ever been to the zoo or a locker room or a locker room at a zoo… I think you can imagine.

And any woman anywhere who shares a bathroom with three (sometimes four) members of the male sex, can attest that no matter how much bleach you dump in the toilet, no matter how often you wipe the bowl or clean the floors or spray air freshener, the bathroom will always smell like a porta potty. Which is fine. For them. Because apparently the male sense of smell is deadened.

But I can’t lay all the blame on the kids and their personal hygiene habits (or lack thereof) or their stuff. Because it’s not all their stuff. On top of the books, my husband and I are the couple everyone calls when they’re getting rid of a couch or end tables or dishware or coffee pot or books or snakes (well, that’s actually my step-son who gets those calls) and ask us if we want to take them off their hands. We’re the couple who always says, “Sure,” as we’re jumping in the truck to pick it up and haul it away for them free of charge.

“It’s not normally like this,” is what I say to almost every person who crosses the threshold of my house after apologizing for the mess. But the truth is, yes, it is normally like this. My husband and I love a clean house, and we’re a good team of housekeepers who at least sweep through on a regular basis, but the record for our house remaining clean is one day. One. Day. So when I’m telling people how they’re finding our humble abode isn’t the norm, what I actually mean is I don’t want this to be how my house looks and I’d really appreciate you not judging me for the usual state of affairs around here.

But you know what? We have kids. And we’re a hot mess. And we live in a tiny converted garage apartment. And I work from home in that tiny garage apartment. And we’re people who don’t like to throw the things people give us away. And all the stuff and all the bodies and the lack of space makes for one messy house. And I hate the idea of people thinking we’re pigs.

But, who am I trying to impress? If the people in my life love me, they won’t care my house is a mess, because they know I’m busy cooking for my kids and taking them to school and packing lunches and driving across town to pick up the rats to feed the snakes and taking them to soccer practices and birthday parties and the skate park.

So that’s it. I give up. I’m not working to impress anyone anymore. I will clean my house when I want to clean my house because I want it clean. Not to appease the perfectionist expectation of trying to do it all and look like we have our sh*t together to the outside world.

My ZenMamaMantra from this is: love the mess. Because when it’s gone, you’ll miss the people making it.

Want a tour of the mess?

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