My oldest daughter will be 5 this fall. And in the last few months, it’s become more and more obvious that she’s a little girl now and not my baby. Along with her fashion sense and her ability to manipulate and lie, has come the desire to “hang out with friends.” What used to be a play-date, arranged so mothers could escape the solitary confinement that is life with a toddler (or two) has morphed into a social life for my preschooler.
Other moms? Are ready at a whim to have neighborhood friends over and after-school visits. Daily. Until now, I haven’t felt any pressure to join in. But I can tell the days of play-dates arranged days or weeks in advance are fading.
Which leaves me with one question:
If my house needs to be ready for company at a moment’s notice, when will I have time to relax in my pajamas with three-day hair and no makeup?
By “relax,” I mean chase my children around the house, refereeing their constant bickering and cleaning up the tornado they leave behind. And by “ready for company,” I mean clean enough that I don’t end up on an episode of hoarders.
I’m not hoping to invite my daughter’s friends into a cover from House and Home Magazine. I’d just like it if playmates and their parents were exempt from seeing my underwear on the bathroom floor and dried yogurt painted onto the kitchen table. Currently, if we’ve scheduled a play-date, I probably made sure I would have time to wipe the boogers off my clothes and sweep the cheerios under a rug. With two kids under 5, any attempts at picking up are merely exercises in futility, so tidying the house requires a nap time or the strategic sacrifice of one room while I clean another. It’s a logistical nightmare.
So what I really want to know is: How do they do it, those families with tidy houses? Just the idea of being “on” 24-7 leaves me feeling exhausted. But I also can’t stomach the idea of friends (and even family) coming over to the disaster that is my house (and me) on a regular basis. I need a few days a week when I can focus on my kids and taking care of myself. Sometimes that means a shower and a trip to the library. Many times it means crafts in our pajamas at 2:30p p.m.
I’m seriously looking for wisdom here. Do you keep a tidy house? What is your secret? Or are you like me, hiding in your messy house?