What if someone told you that yesterday afternoon they baked cookies and listened to Christmas carols while their children painted long swaths of brown packing paper, turning it into one-of-a-kind hand painted wrapping paper? What would you imagine? What are you picturing in your mind right now?
If you're like me, you're probably imagining a woman dressed well, properly accessorized, hair in place, probably wearing an apron, bustling around a clean kitchen humming along to peaceful music. The children you're imagining are all wearing proper painting smocks over their matching outfits. They're chatting with each other amicably. There are no dirty dishes, the laundry is finished. The bathroom is scrubbed and ready for company. The carpets have been vacuumed and all the beds made. People have finished their poetry recitations and are waiting eagerly for craft time to be over so they can dive right into their history projects. Yes, that's what you'd be imagining if you were me.
But guess what? IT WAS NOT AT ALL LIKE THAT.
Yes, cookies were baked, yes there was music, and yes there was painting. But all that other stuff? No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Y'all- I was still wearing Monday's clothes that I had also slept in the previous night (as per usual when pregnant). The hair: unwashed. The earlobes and feet: bare. There was no humming to music because my mouth was busy hollering at people to quit wasting paint and making a huge mess and why doesn't anyone else care about all these crumbs on the counter and BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP! The oven timer is going off! But wait....there's nowhere to put the hot cookie sheets because this kitchen is such a freaking messsweetbabyjeezusgivemestrength.
Seriously you guys, there were not only the dishes from preparing the cookies (which I didn't even do. Lizzy did it), there were dishes from breakfast, lunch, AND the previous night's dinner. Don't even ask when the last time I mopped the floor is. Really. Don't ask. Two of the kids threw old t-shirts on over the old t-shirts they were already wearing and then proceeded to use said shirts as giant napkins. There were (still are) toys strewn all over the play room floor. There were piles of both clean and dirty laundry in the laundry room- some of it in a basket, some of it on the table, some of it spilling out of the dryer. Not a single bed in the house was made.
Katie Rhodes, who you should be reading if you are not already reading). It's all true. But the magical world where I've somehow figured out how to do all the good things at the exact same time and have nothing undone and no loose ends prior to commencing? Yeah, I haven't found a way into that world yet.
I know I couldv'e just told you about the day and shown you the pictures and told you how lovely it was (and in the end, it was lovely that we did it all. In RETROSPECT it was lovely), but the truth is that if anyone had shown up at our house during those shenanigans, they would've run screaming in terror. It was a straight up disaster 'round here, y'all.
Anyway, I think that maybe some people are really good at the managing of all the things and maybe their houses really are pristine before they breeze happily through the fun parts of their kids' lives, but I'm totally not. And maybe you're not either. Maybe you're like me and you're waiting for everything to be clean and organized before you start on the fun things and then every night you bemoan the fact that there is never time to do the fun things. And if you ARE like me, take heart. You really can do the fun things. You might just have to take a deep breath, push the squalor to the side for a couple of hours, and do something fun, dammit!
It's way better than it sounds, especially in retrospect. Promise.