Mrs. Doubtfire vs. Martha Stewart

I’m kind of like Mrs. Doubtfire when I clean.

If I dance and sing while I’m cleaning, it makes it a LITTLE better.

Throw on some 80s tunes…and BOOM! Instant cleaning energy!

I’ll let you in on a little secret I like to call “my favorite cleaning songs”….



But when Phil Collins comes on with “In the Air Tonight”, you lose your steam and you’re left pondering “What the crap does that song MEAN anyway?!?!”

I never did figure it out…it’s so creepy. “I was there and I saw what you did. I saw it with my own two eyes…”

AAAAHHHHH!!! Creepster song.

ANYWAY…cleaning is not my favorite.

I do it because I have to, and don’t get me wrong, I ADORE a clean house. And when I deep clean a room, I will walk into it at random times throughout the day just to stand and smile and enjoy the beauty that it is…because it won’t last long. I have three kids and a dog. NOTHING lasts long in this house. Clean things, food, money, peace and quiet, shiny, new breakable things…. Nope. Nothing lasts long around here.

So…I have long struggled with the idea of what it means to keep a clean house. What is “clean enough” and what is “we should probably call the producers of Hoarders”?

Let me take a pause here, and reassure you we do not live in squalor nor do we have piles of poo and dead animals lurking up in here.

We’re more of what you call the ummm…. “ARTISTIC TYPE”.

All of my kids, and my husband and myself, are very…what’s the word?…”free-spirited”? “Impulsive”? “ADHD”?

Whatever it is, we are all a hot mess of it.

All of us, even the five year old, have journals. Just notebooks and notebooks full where we doodle, draw cartoons, write down plans for making that first million, dream, write words that mean stuff…that whole thing.

And I NEVER throw ANY of them away.

There is always noise and music and…just general LOUDNESS that sort of envelops our home.

And we are all very visual people….people who need notes and reminders and signs all over the place or we are going to forget it. Whatever “IT” is, we will lose it, forget it, or accidentally throw it away.

Last night, I had to put a sign on the back of the bathroom door that said, “WAIT! Did you forget to put on your clothes?” You wouldn’t think that a child would need to be reminded of that,would you? But I’m telling you, there are a lot of naked children running through this house on any given day simply because stopping to put on clothes seemed like a hassle…something that could easily be forgotten in their haste to do…well, ANYTHING else.

With the invention of Pinterest and bloggy blogs where cute things happen and everything is organized and labeled and has a chalkboard plaque on the outside of it, so has the increased Mommy-Pressure.

Because, someone please save my kids from me!, I don’t have any matching baskets with adorable signs or chevron prints for anything in this house!

Now…do not get me wrong…I love some chevron and I love some matchy-matchy and I love some seasonal decor and those of you who have their kids clothes for the week pulled out on Sunday night and labeled Monday-Friday with socks and underwear and hair bows to match, I. DIG. THAT.

And if you have a DAILY CLEANING LIST with boxes that you check off, I think YOU. ARE. AMAZING.

And if you NEVER have to frantically throw in a load of clothes at night because if you don’t, everyone will be wearing dirty pants the next day? Well, YOU. ARE…. wait— who ARE you? Hasn’t everyone had to do that at some point?

Anyway, I MIGHT get around to doing a few of those things myself, and I’ll post pictures of it for sure, and I will “like” your super cute and organized pantry/closet/laundry room on Facebook…and I will even MEAN it…but, and this is not the fault of the people who post the super cute things like embroidered underwear or run the super informative blogs that always have posts with titles like, “12 Ways You Can Make Your Bedtime Routine Work Like A Charm Every Night So That Everyone Always Sleeps and No One Has Nightmares or Ends Up in Mom and Dad’s Bed”…no, no…it is THE REST OF US who are putting this pressure on ourselves to be this SUPER PARENT with the SUPER ORGANIZED HOUSE and the NEVER WRINKLED CLOTHES and THE ALWAYS MATCHING SOCKS (geez! who ARE those people?!)

I’m kidding. We USUALLY have matching socks on our feet.

But that’s only because “socks” for kids is like, on the grocery list because I have to buy them so often.

My free-spirit, artsy kids take off their socks in the yard, in the car, in the bathroom, and the dog carries them away for chew toys, they get shoved under couch cushions, the squirrels outside take them to stuff their winter burrows with…You get the picture. We can’t keep up with socks for the life of us.

But that’s not the point.

Well, actually, it KIND of is.

See, God has created each one of us differently. We all have different skills and talents and interests…and that’s SUPER AWESOME! If we were all good at the SAME THINGS and did everything the SAME WAY, life would be kind of boring. I’m not interested in the Stepford Wife approach to anything. There are different strengths and that we all have that we should just embrace instead of always wanting to be THE MOST AWESOME AT EVERYTHING.

For example, don’t ask me to organize or plan anything…but my friend Melissa can plan a get-together like no one’s business. Now, I’ll show up and I’ll bring the cookies and the casserole…but I won’t be scheduling the party.

And let’s not forget that our families also make up our house and our homes and our lives must reflect them as well. For those of us with mini-humans running around, you’ve got to do what works for their little strengths and weaknesses and unique little personalities too.

I mean, I would LOVE to have a pantry that’s organized like Martha Stewart’s with color-coded containers and Bento boxes and stockpiled canned goods in case of—whatever…BUT, I have three little PANTRY DIGGERS–seriously, they could teach a class in how to rummage through a pantry–so it’s not going to happen because it’s not reasonable FOR US.

Instead, I have this….

And yes. That box only contains one sad Little Debbie and a mini-pack of Goldfish. Re-stocking is always an issue around here.

But….and here’s the point I’m TRYING to make…THIS is pretty representative of life around here. THAT PICTURE is Parris-style.

You’re not going to find that on Pinterest (“Can’t wait to try this! A $3 plastic tub and a neon green index card! Soooo adorbs!”)…and that’s okay. Not everything in my life is Pinterest-y.

I would much rather have a home that reflects who WE ACTUALLY ARE rather than WHO WE WISH WE WERE according to the internet.

Now, I DO have a crafty side that I try to explore every now and then…so sometimes you’ll see pictures like this…

That’s a flower pot that I painted and made flower pens and felt pencil topper creations for an end of the year teacher gift.

BUT…just take a peek at the background there.

See??? You can NOT have it all people. It was “create something fun while the kids created a mess” OR “keep picking up the same stuff all over and over again and WISH I had made something”.

I said we’re the “artsy” type. We forget stuff, we are impulsive, we can throw down one unfinished project and pick up another one and not think twice about it, and we can have a dance party every morning.

But it won’t be organized with everything neat as a pin every time, color coded and in alphabetical order.

I can’t base my standards on who I am as a housekeeper, a mom, a wife on pictures in magazines, on the internet, or even by walking into my friends’ houses.

Every one of us have different circumstances, different personalities, different talents and preferences and tastes…and your house may not look like mine and my pantry may not look like yours and you may not use your broom handle as an air guitar and microphone when you clean…and if we can be friends regardless, then I think we’re ALL OKAY.

But seriously, put on some Walk Like An Egyptian or Manic Monday when you’re feeling unmotivated to scrub that toilet and see what happens…

Trust me on this one.