Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The other night I was telling the girls that Tuesday afternoon, which is today, would be our "clean up" day. We usually designate one day per week where we really pick up toys and clean....the bathrooms, the floors, etc. We often have to "pick up" throughout the week, because....well....with 7 people in our home....5 of them being children; we can make quite a mess! We have gotten a little behind on our "cleaning day" for no better reason than it's summer, and we have been busy and having fun. After we were talking about all the cleaning we were going to accomplish, Drew said...."Hey mommy, remember when I last saw my friend XXXXX at *****'s bday party?....Well she asked me if our house was still messy." I immediately got defensive and started thinking to myself, not out loud although I might have murmured a few choice words under my breath, who does this kid think she is? Why in the world would an 8 year old ask that? She should know better. I always did think XXXXX needed to learn better manners. I even remember trying to remember what her house looked like last time I was there, and of course.....it was immaculately clean. Our house isn't messy.....well um most of the time! Then I started rationalizing to myself why XXXXX would ask that....maybe it was on a day when she wanted to come over, but our house really was messy; so I told her she could come another time when the girls had cleaned up their messes....maybe it was a time when XXXXX knocked on the door unannounced and came in for a moment to view a messy house....maybe it was.....then I started thinking to myself....who cares why she asked if it was messy. It's not that important, and I certainly need to stop obsessing over what an 8 year old thinks of my house cleaning abilities.
I did ask Drew how she answered that question, and she said...."I told her it wasn't that much messy, because we had just cleaned it." I could tell that Drew was a little embarassed that XXXXX had asked that question at *****'s bday party in front of a handful of her friends. I told Drew that our house does get messy, and that although XXXXX's house may never get messy; the majority of people in existence do have a messy house from time to time. I also told her not to worry about it....which was completely hypocritical, since I was completely obsessing over it....at the time....but I'm so over it NOW....honest I am....mostly anyway.
If you have read my blog in the past, you already know that Drew is very tidy and organized. She enjoys a clean room, bathroom, and she has a place for everything; so unfortunately I think that comment from XXXXX really bothered her. Now if that same comment had been made to a couple of my other children.....I won't name them by name.....but you know who they are (A and B), they would have probably answered something like this...."Yes it's still a mess, wanna come over?" OR "No it's perfectly clean, wanna come over?", because you see their idea of clean and Drew's idea of clean are COMPLETELY OPPOSITE. Drew is a little on the OCD side of clean, and they are a little on the DNC....which stands for DO NOT CARE....side of clean. Once I realized how silly it was to obsess over this comment, I started thinking about some things.....yes I like my house to be clean and yes I like it to be uncluttered and yes I have a place for everything and yes I get frustrated when the above things are not going the way I want; BUT.....I also don't expect my children to spend all of their free time cleaning, I don't expect to spend all of my free time cleaning, I don't expect our house to never be messy. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and be brutally honest....I love cleanliness, absolutely LOVE it, BUT....I DO NOT LIKE to clean! This is why I trained my children to pick up after themselves at an early age, why they each have a night where they do the dishes, they each have a week where they clean their bathroom, and why Addi has been responsible for her own laundry for a few years now and Drew is about to get the task of her own laundry. I'm not a drill sargeant about it....by any means....but to me, it's important that they learn how to do these things; so they can be responsible people. This is OUR house....not MY house....we all take care of it together. On that note, I will say that we are the kind of family that sometimes leaves books and toys in the living room floor while we spontaneously and quickly accept an invitation to go swimming. There are dishes in our sink, as I type this, because I chose to write this post before doing them. Although our clothes get washed efficiently....they may sit folded in a laundry basket for a few days while we play outside, take a nap, bake some cookies, or go to the library, or because I just don't feel like putting them away. Each night there are at least 4 (usually more) pairs of shoes sitting at the bottom of my stairs waiting to be put away. We often choose dinner with friends over mowing the lawn. We may go on a bike ride and leave our bikes on the front porch or in the front yard for a few days. All in all, I like to think of us....The Payne Train....as choosing life over obsessing about how messy or not messy our house is. Sure we have chores, responsibilities, "clean up" day; and we do clean our house, mow our lawn, put our bikes and laundry away....but we don't let these things lead how we live our life. Don't get me wrong.....there have been and there will be....days when I have had to decline an invitation to swim or go to the park or resist the urge to take a nap....in order to get some "tasks" accomplished, because having 7 people in our house can lead to things getting chaotic, messy and cluttered up really quickly....and we do have to stay on top of it. I will admit that we don't decline invitations too often, and I rarely resist the urge to take a nap.....as a matter of fact, I think I will take one now! Night Night! I'll do the dishes when I wake up....HONEST I will :)!

1 comment:

Following Him said...

I have issues with "getting over" whatever it may be. My defenses go up and I get mad. So I would get MAD if someone said my house is messy.

I believe what Cindy said in Church is that our's is messy since the time of year and all the activities planned. I love our schedule full of messy events. I believe a house full of chaos and love is just fine even on the messy side.
So jealous you got a nap though!