Holy Moly Motherhood by Alana Smith
Laps Around the House
It’s 7:35 am. My children are off to school, and the house has been left in its usual state of disarray. If someone were to describe the scene on any given morning, they might say, “It appears they all left in quite a hurry.” Muffin wrappers and half-full glasses of milk, throw pillows up-ended, and bathroom lights left on—all evidence of a house full of boys and a rushed exit. I happen to have the day off today, and I envision all that I would love to be doing. Basking in the sun, actually watching a whole movie, reading a few chapters of a book—but none of those things can begin until I straighten this house up. I start in the living room and put the pillows in their place, open the blinds, and gather rouge shoes. I pass through the kitchen and empty the cups and see that the dishwasher is clean and will have to be unloaded, again. I pick up two juice box wrappers, and curse them both as I take them to the trash. I feed our dog and then glance at the clothes on the dining room table, waiting to be put away. I make several more laps and reset the house for the day. Bending and picking up, sweeping and gathering. This routine isn’t even considered cleaning, it’s just daily maintenance. I feel my house is like a shaken up snow globe, and I can’t relax until all the little bits settle where they belong. Like every mom, I need to maintain our home, but I also need to spring clean, purge, and organize. I need to ready our house for better weather and longer days. I’m tempted to get overwhelmed with all of the tasks at hand. If I were to express this to my husband, he would say, “Well, just don’t do it today.” His brain works differently than mine. I know all of these things can actually wait. I know there is no company that will see the mess today, so maybe I should just let it go. But I don’t. It seems my mind will not settle when there is chaos all around. I also know that the moment my boys return, the house will ease back into it’s natural state of disorder, and I will start this routine over again. But for the moment, when I get things finally in their place, and the counters smell nice and the sink is shiny, I feel a since of peace and rightness come over me. My brain has space to work properly again. This probably means I need to spend some time with a therapist, or maybe it just means that I like a clean home. Tidy house, tidy mind, right? I did a little research to see if I was an obsessive crazy lady, or if a clean house really did have some impact on mental well-being. And apparently it does. Having a clean home has a direct impact on mental health—visual clutter is shown to leave individuals with a feeling of unfinished business and anxiety. Ah ha! Well, that explains it. I have friends that are not this way. I sometimes wish I was more like them—chill and carefree. Just know that you aren’t alone if you feel like I do about your space at home. Embrace whatever brings you peace, whether it’s picking everything up or letting it be. Whether it’s clean, messy, or somewhere in between, as long as it’s filled with love, your home is exactly what it’s meant to be.