Alert the adventure police! Once every few months I try to live on the edge by cleaning something a tiny bit more thoroughly than I normally would. I might deep clean the fridge, or take the Bissel to my carpets; hell, if it’s a weekend, I might consider scrubbing the baseboards (never once has this actually happened, by the way). You get the point, though: on the rare occasion that an opportunity to deep clean presents, it only feels right to make good.
To make the most of it, I get all hopped up on coffee and podcasts and I let my cleaning momentum take hold. Nothing gets in my way. Seriously, even when my one of my kids inevitably injures himself having slipped on the floor I just mopped, I keep just moving — refusing to allow anything to diminish my productivity. I’m willing to mop up blood, teeth, and/or tears shed all the while non-verbally instructing my husband to nurture our hysterical children.
And maybe it’s the caffeine taking hold, but damn if I’m not struck by the Give-a-Mouse-a-Cookie-syndrome after I start cleaning. Like, I might be doing the dishes when I realize that the cabinet fronts are in desperate need of a wipe down. Of course, a wipe down isn’t enough. I’m working with kid germs. Those cabinets need bleach. And as I’m scrubbing with bleach, I may notice that I can barely see out of the windows that have been licked by my 3-year-old and muddied by my dog’s paws. One thing leads to another, and fifteen minutes later, I’ve not only loaded the dishwasher, I’ve mentally committed myself to an entire main-level home remodel. Cleaning opens a Pandora’s box, and that box is full of commitments.
I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t considered hiring a cleaning person. I could cut out my Starbucks visits, commute to work by bicycle, and stop throwing quite so such money at Target. With these adjustments, surely I could justify a once-per-month cleaning service. And I might honestly consider doing all of this IF it didn’t mean having to pre-clean before the cleaning folks arrived. It makes absolutely no sense to me — the concept of cleaning before cleaning. Pre-wash, what? Chances are my oven would become my impromptu junk drawer in which I would thoughtlessly stash everything that didn’t get properly put away. Truthfully, I don’t want a cleaning person. I want a magician — someone who is able to put our never-ending collection of crap away in their designated places without having to be told where these places are.
And let’s be real honest, no matter when or how the cleaning gets done, nothing is going to stay clean. I can spend hours cleaning after my kids go to bed (though it’s far more likely that you’ll find sitting on my couch binge watching Workin’ Moms or Dead to Me), and within five minutes of the kids waking, our house will have morphed into a war zone. I can’t even pretend to understand how two tiny people — not even 30 pounds per human — are capable of creating such complete disaster in five-minutes max. But time and again they do it. Do they offer to clean up? Of course not. Hell, one of them can’t even talk. The other one begs me to play a cleanup song to which he sings and dances while I clean up.
Knowing what it’s going to lead to, why do I even start? Lord knows I’m not in it for the cookies. Honestly, cleaning gives me a valid reason to take a time out from mom-ing for a minute. So there’s that. Additionally, cleaning the house allows me to prove my capabilities as a caring mom, dedicated wife and all around worthy human. Mostly, I do it because I’m supposed to. Knowing that my clean house will immediately be turned upside down, and knowing that my young kids will only be young for a short while, it makes more sense to get a deep tissue massage once every few months and scrap the cleaning. An occasional act of self-care is bound to prepare me to be more present for family when I’m on duty. Still, I’m required to maintain a minimally clean and sanitary home — enough to prevent the spread of disease. And I’d be lying if I said that a quick load of dishes didn’t tempt me to wipe the dishwasher front…