Logistical Nightmare

29 Apr

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?

5 Responses to “Logistical Nightmare”

  1. elise April 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    remember your house really only looks bad to you! and if you ever randomly stop in and visit anyone and really look around you’ll see that they leave their underwear on the living room floor (or couch), so you’re one step up from them!

    actually, really what it took for me is to decide my priorities for real. i hate having a dirty house, but i really hate feeling stressed about it and cleaning constantly. so instead, i let things lapse a bit, i get one room clean every day (and by ‘clean’ i mean, ‘not embarrasing’), and for those last minute playdates, i try to suggest a park! it’s all about finding a balance what mess can you handle, what stress can you handle, and what can you let pass by… (these things can change from day to day too)

    ps, we also have ‘chore time’ every day, it starts a half hour before my kids’ favorite show, and if they don’t take care of their own mess in that time, they don’t get to watch. it’s definately important to get the littles involved! it is also important if you do, to designate exactly what they have to do, i usually push everything into a pile on the rug in the LR and they have to do the pile, so if i miss something, it’s my fault and doesn’t inturrupt their show, and so on.

  2. Smldada April 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    I read a really great blurb somewhere about a mom who spent ours and days cleaning so everything would be perfect for her first playmate with a new mom friend. New mom friend was so overwhelmed at not having that clean of a house and it being able to ever have this perfectionist mom over to her house that their friendship ended before it could start.

    Honestly, I have friends that don’t judge. When J calls me to come to her house and watch her 3 big kids because she is leaving with her 4 th in an ambulance and the neighbor cant stay, the state of her floors or windows is the last thing on my mind. When I call my mom friend and explain that I need to come play at her house because we have been cooped up for too many days and everyone, including me, is crying, she volunteers to make lunch not scrub floors.

    More often then not, there are multiple laundry bakers waiting to be folded and put away in the living room. I keep the dirty laundry in the kitchen because it reminds me to do it if I hav to see it. There are is dishes in my sink. We don’t make our beds. And the playroom might have carpet under all the spilled toys.

    But we cook, we go on nature walks, we chase bubbles in the yard, and we try to cherish these fleeting moments. Life is too short and too precious to waste on people who can’t accept that w are doing the best we can.

    • learnedhappiness April 30, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      I think part of my problem which I failed to write about because I hadn’t yet figured it out is that *I* feel better when my house is picked up. A tidy house lets me breathe. So part of my struggle is letting it go so I have time to enjoy my time, and not going crazy from the mess.

      • tranquilamama May 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

        Susan, I pick times of the day to spend 15 minutes cleaning something. If we have too much unopened mail or receipts everywhere, it makes me anxious. I try and tackle one room at a time.

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