It has been since March 1st that I have had a “regular weekend”… in all reality, it could have been longer than that; I can’t really remember all the details of February, because, yes, March and April have been that crazy. But I am positive that I have not had a Saturday to myself in the last two months.
Now- I don’t want to sound selfish…I love doing everything that I do for everyone in my life…but I do love a Saturday that is dedicated to cleaning house, laundry and prepping for the next week…time in the yard working…bathing my dogs…changing my sheets…spending time on my porch and at the end of the day having a perfectly cleaned house, laundry done, folded and put away, dinner prepared and not feeling like I am “behind” on anything in the homemaking business. I may be behind in my work at the shop; I may be behind in my Bible reading; I may be behind in almost every other aspect of my life, but for that one little moment- my housework is up to date and in order. So, what I am saying to you is that for nearly two months, my life has not been “in order”; it has not been up to date. It has not been in control. (Mine that is) I feel like I have been treading water and my head is barely above the water enough to breath. (Which is exactly where it would be if I were indeed treading water…if you don’t believe me, you can ask my trainer, Hannah, who told me and my daughter that we were the worst swimmers she had ever seen…)
A wonderful day that I have had all along is “Hump Day with Hudson and Aubrey”. (For those of you that don’t know, that is my 23 month old grandson and my 3 year old granddaughter.)So, on Wednesday I have a “day off,” or another way to say it is, “I get to stay home.” At this point all stay at home moms should be offended…and speaking as a former stay at home mom, this attitude totally infuriates me. However, that being said, I do feel the pressure that I should “get something done” on the Wednesdays when I “stay home to keep my grandkids”. But, I try to keep my focus on my grands and off of my house. However, today, was a little different…I had a household goal and planned for myself: clean my nasty bathrooms! I also had a household goal planned for the grands: clean the “baby room” before nap. Thank God my world is not ruled by timeline goals…
My bathrooms (and I only have two) have been in desperate need of attention. I have only “spot cleaned” (I hope you get my drift…all sorts of spots) for the last 8 weeks. Today, I was sure that while the kids were playing I could really clean my bathrooms…deep clean… get all of the scum off the tubs, get the toothpaste spit out of the sink, wipe down the toilets with bleach and shine them with rubbing alcohol, shine the counters and the mirrors and finish with a shine of the tile and the tub… This is a process that normally takes me 20 minutes for each bathroom, MAX… Today, it took over 2 hours to clean two bathrooms. TWO HOURS!!! And two hundred melt downs… and I am not going to lie… 50 of them were mine. I worked hard to keep my grandmother attitude in sync with my mother mouth…however that did not work…on so many levels.
“Sweetie, don’t come in here or touch that because it has bleach on it, and it can hurt you and ruin your clothes…why don’t you go play or watch “Mickey Mouse Club”?
“DON’T COME IN HERE!! BECAUSE I SAID NO!”
Those are just a couple of examples…
The interruptions in cleaning…oh the interruptions… dealing with jumping on the bed. Tug of war over a toy. Rescuing the dogs from a toddler herding attack. (I have to admit that I toyed with the idea of letting them bully the poor dogs because they were laughing and there was no fighting…or tattling. They were united in this effort.) Realizing that my house is not “baby proof” and I did not realize that the ______ (fill in the blank, because the list is endless) was within reach. (And my grands have a good reach)
And then there is the tattling…oh the tattling… OY VEY!!!! As a former mom myself, I immediately recognize the sing song, whining tone of a sentence being started with my name, such as, “MaAarrrZZZZzz”, as the beginning of a “report.” It is a report on another child’s behavior which in no way has to do with blood, broken bones, life threatening actions, or even the possibility that someone has ran away… It is generally to report over the unfairness in the world. Crayons being hoarded. Dolls taken away. Turn taking not going as planned…that sort of report. After halting the 250th of such reports, I inevitably start to scream, “If either one of you tattle one more time, I am going to poke my eye out!! Seriously, I am going to be forced to poke my eye out… with my finger…” Words that generally cause my grandchildren to look at me as if I have lost it, and then look at each other and start laughing. I think they are mentally high fiving each other because they realize they have pushed me over the edge.
I also spent a good deal of time answering the same question over and over again… “MarZ, when can we go outside and play with the chalk?” My answer? “As soon as I get these two bathrooms clean.”
After two hours and a lot of counting to 10 in my head and constantly reminding myself that they are just babies… I finished my bathroom cleaning- and we headed to the patio for art and entertainment. We drew flowers and houses and wrote “I love you’s”. We drew on the dogs, and the house and pots…we had a melt down over sharing the chalk… and both grands were filthy by the time we went back inside…so guess what? The plan to clean up the kid room before nap time was replaced with bath time… after which, my spotless tub was sporting a chalky soap ring and filled once more with bath toys that had to dry out before being returned to the toy bag. And I was reminded, once again, that precious time with these precious babies is worth more than any clean surface in my house.
I have a poem that is hanging in one of my bathrooms. It says:
“Cleaning and scrubbing
Can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up,
We’ve learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs
Dust go to sleep.
I am rocking my baby,
And babies don’t keep.”
Maybe grandmothers need a house keeper sometimes too!
Additional Note from MarZ: I wrote this blog over a month ago, and have just not taken the time to post it. Today I was blessed with the opportunity to keep not only my grandson, Hudson- but also two of his cousins (and his DeeDee’s grands)…They had a family funeral, and I had volunteered to keep the little ones during the service. So from 10:30 to 1 p.m. I had three under three… a 6 month old, a 31 month old and a 25 month old. As I enjoyed them, I realized that having three babies in diapers is exhausting… and only the smallest and then the “squeaky wheel” (aka: poopie diaper) is the one that gets the attention! While my time with these precious babies was spent with so much laughter and love… it was also exhausting. “Floor time” for the 6 month old quickly changed from precious memories of Hudson loving on “baby” and cooing sweet words to her (causing this MarZ to drift into dream land of how great of a big brother he is going to be) to a war zone when a recovered “swimmer” pull up lead to so much excitement that he forgot the baby was on the floor and almost crushed her (causing this MarZ to remember how tough 2nd babies need to be). Going to the bathroom waited until I almost peed my pants because I was worried about what to do with the baby while I tinkled… I opted for floor time (which she is not a fan of) on the bath rug, with the door locked. Safe zone…(causing this MarZ to think about how difficult it is for a mommy to potty train one kiddo while you have a small one that you have to figure out what to do with every time you hear the words, “Mommy! I have to go potty!”) And forget about referring the fights of the older two… who really wants to put the baby down to make sure that everything is fair during toy time…Until punches are thrown… and then you risk the total meltdown of the baby in order to kiss the wounded and deal with bully. My mom always said, “I have had some stressful jobs in my life, and serving as County Judge has definitely been at the top of the list. However, being a Judge is nothing in comparison to raising children.” Amen, Mother. Amen.
I love all of the young moms in my life who are doing amazing jobs with their children. I am in awe of each of you… and I am honored to be a part of your children’s lives. I see so many of my own parenting flaws by watching all of your parenting successes… you guys are an inspiration to me…(I wonder if I could have a “do over”)
You each deserve a house cleaner!!!