Saturday, September 7, 2013

The cost of perfection

The house is officially on the market. And my well-lived-in house needs to look picture perfect given an hour's notice. The odds are against me. Four messer-uppers in the house and two cleaner-uppers. You can see what I'm up against.

Keeping the house completely clean all the time when there are four kids in the house is challenging. Keeping the house completely clean all the time when I want to support my kids in being active, creative and imaginative.....clean up is my full time job right now.

I know I could put them in front of the TV or the computer. It would minimize the mess. And there are desperate times when I have done this and will continue to do this (like when the realtor calls and says we have a showing in an hour and the kids are doing more fighting about who made the mess than they are cleaning up the mess).

But the rest of the time, when there are no showings scheduled but we are just mindful that at any moment we could get the one hour warning, I just want to keep living my beautiful life. So, the play dough is still out, the paints are still out, forts are still being built in my basement, dinners are still being eaten on my screened porch. And at the end of the day, the two cleaner-uppers make the rounds with the vacuum and the glass cleaner and our home will go back to looking like no one really LIVES here.

I have a renewed understanding of what it takes to keep a house so clean. It means my kids are either not around much or they are watching TV instead of building Lego cities or puzzle museums. It means that instead of reading or doing yoga at the end of my day, I'm vacuuming the kids' dinner off the screened porch floor and wiping their finger prints off the glass door. It means that instead of visiting the farm on a Sunday, I'm pulling weeds or moving gravel around the yard. It means that instead of snuggling with my husband and unwinding from the day, we are running around the house to make sure each room is clean before we crash out, exhausted.

There are times when priorities need to shift to accomplish a goal. My hope for us is that our goal will be accomplished soon and we can get back to what makes our lives rich and wonderful. Because when we are so focused on appearance, much of the substance of our lives is missing and we aren't really LIVING the way we like to.


  1. I'm with you, girlfriend. I would rather do just about anything than clean house.

    We gave the boys' room a deep cleaning this weekend and as we were nearing the end I said to Tom, "We should seriously consider video games as their only form on play." No legos, no playmobil, no books, nothing with parts, nothing to pick up.

    Hope you get a buyer soon!!

    1. Ha! Yes! It's easy to enjoy how engaged, quiet and neat they are during video game time. Unfortunately, there is the outrageous behavior on the other side of excessive video game/TV use. It seems like they can somehow store up all the energy they would have otherwise used to run around and play and then let it ALL out at once. Yikes!

  2. Hi Kelley. Hope this goes through. Best of luck with your house sale, especially that it goes quickly and smoothly.

    1. Yes! I figured out how to get the comments working! :) Thanks for reading! The good wishes are much appreciated!