Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping Up with the Jones (es)

Wow, I just fully understood the title for the Kardashians' show... ew.

ANYway, today has been one of those days. I realized while getting ready quickly (Ben asleep in swing for 15 minutes!) that I didn't fully rinse out my conditioner and my hair looks greasy. I discovered flecks of baby poop all over the wipe warmer (and finally cleaned them off), the cat pooped downstairs in a corner. The fan is in the way of me quickly putting away TV trays and I keep forgetting to recycle the coke can that I just rediscovered sitting on a side table as I write this. I did the dishes and wiped down some of the kitchen, but the house still looks like a wreck for some reason. I finally cleaned the toilet in the downstairs bathroom (just squirted some cleaner around the bowl and came back later to flush it down- I almost did it with a baby on one arm, but thought better of it with all the bleachy fumes.) But forget enjoying that effect, as there is a dirty diaper cover sitting on the counter waiting to be washed. Lovely.

I am musing over all of this because I might have some girlfriends come over. Fellow mommies, thank God, who will totally understand my situation, but they both have beautiful homes, that are always clean when I visit them. I love home decorating and design, and I love seeing what other people do with their furniture and spaces. That being said, I don't spend a lot of money or take really any time to sit down and decorate my house. It drives my BF Kelly crazy, as she knows I have had the time in the past, and her home is spectacular. She really enjoys actually doing it- the construction, the painting, the detailing. I just like to buy things, pick out colors and pay other people to do the rest. Which of course costs more. And I am privy to her price tag for that kind of gorgeous shiny perfection and I definitely cannot afford it. I limit my creativity (for now) to scrapbooking. I buy a piece of furniture every couple of years. Finally all my wood furniture is the same color! (after 5 years). I plan on keeping our couches for much longer than they will be pretty for. I like my stuff, and I am happy in my home. But it would incredible if I could sit down and pay the money to design and execute a room from start to finish. And that would be a blast! (If I could pay someone to do the painting and hauling).

I was trying to remind myself of what my reasons are for having a mediocre decorating scheme. And not cleaning more. What is important to me? Why don't I invest the time and money? Well I don't invest the time and money because I don't want to yell at my kids (and especially not someone else's kids) when they inevitably spill red juice on it. I don't want to cringe and hear the cha-ching sound echo in my head when the cats scratch it. When it gets flecks of baby poop on it and the paint comes off when I clean it. In other words, we are entering into a break everything, spill everything, stand on everything phase of life and I think its worth it to slow my roll when it comes to bringing nice stuff into the house. Now, that being said, Kelly and my other friends do a great job of making their houses durable, comfortable and inviting. But I would rather spend the money on the extras when the kids hit high school. I want to do it in a house more permanent, where I know we will be for a good decade plus. I want to get deep in it, and enjoy it. Set aside money and make it really what I want, and enjoy it for years and years.

What is important to me? Well, I've decided that more than I want to be a stylish family, more than I want to be a family with a clean, shiny and organized house... I want to be the kind of family that has fun. I want to take that time and play. I want to go places, take pictures, make memories. I want to laugh it off when stuff breaks, use our flatware as toys, turn our living room into a fort and eat pickles and chicken nuggets when I forget to go grocery shopping. I want to become a good cook! Not a fancy cook, but make healthy, basic meals that taste good, and make them over and over again. I want to have all my time to focus on holidays, birthdays, homework, back to school night and playdates. I want to have enough energy to say "yes" when my kids ask me to drive them to a friend's house, or take them to the local pool. I want to stop and hear my kids, instead of being stressed out about completing my to-do list and trying to give them just a quick fix. Maybe someday I will be skilled at doing all these things and keeping the house clean and beautiful, but I want these things to come first. I want to be it all, have it all, do it all. Isn't that what we are told is possible? What we are told we "should" be doing? I can't clean my house, spend time with my family and be cooking an elaborate meal all at the same time. I have to remind myself often that what I label a "good use" of my time is my decision, and only mine. If it starts to be about what I think other people might think, I will become only a stress case, and not good at anything that I want to do.

This is me reminding myself. I hope you all are taking time to play, too!


  1. Where is the Mother whose house is so shocking?
    She's up in the nursery..blissfully rocking.
    Cooking and cleaning can wait 'til tomorrow,
    but babies grow up, which I've learned to my sorrow.
    So, settle down cobwebs,
    Dust, go to sleep
    I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep

    This is a version of a poem by Ruth Hamilton that my grandmother hung on her kitchen wall. Love Rhonda