I occasionally think of Jim and his (I'm sure) well intended words. I tell you, those haunted words of advice somehow find their way sneaking into my psyche. Today was one of those days. Let me tell you why.
I got carried away trying to do a project for my husband on the computer, before I had picked up the house sufficiently from the morning rush, before I had emptied the dishes from the sink, and before I had even showered for the day. To accommodate my boys while I worked on this frustrating task, I threw food in the general direction of my two boys while one vrrmed trucks and trailers at my feet and the other rode Woody around on a toy horse. The television was on in the background, and dvd cases, and remotes provided a natural obstacle course. In a quick rush to finish the stupid project, and bribe the boys to keep playing for just a while longer, I got out a container of Fisher Price toys without cleaning up the toys that were originally keeping them occupied. In the midst of all this, I realized the piano tuner was due any minute. It was mid-day, I was still dressed in stinky exercise clothes, but I could hardly go shower then and leave my children unattended with the piano tuner. So I decided to stick close by, and began the task of organizing my spice cupboard. While spices scattered the counter tops, I realized I should hurry and unload the dishwasher first so I didn't have to deal with the dirty dishes spilling onto the counter. By this time, the three year old left the house to go find a neighbor to play with, and the toddler was walking around the house eating from a bag of potato chips.
So, let's make sure you've got this clear:
A toddler walking around the house eating a bag of potato chips.
Fisher Price toys (the vintage ones no less!) strewn all over the family room floor.
The toy cupboard door open wide exposing the empty toy cupboard, that should be housing the trucks and trailers that are instead intermixed with Fisher Price toys on the carpet.
A couple of jackets and sweatshirts on the tile floor, that were given second thoughts during the morning rush.
Dishes piled on one side of the sink.
Spice cupboard contents atop the counters.
School papers from last minute emptied backpacks on the kitchen table.
And there was me. The mom, still in her exercise clothes and unshowered at 11:45am, praying that the piano tuner would not leave the tidy front room, and hearing clearly good 'ole Jim's advice from long ago run through my mind.
Years ago, when I had ONE CHILD, Jim came to town and unexpectedly showed up to visit. As I invited him in to have a seat in our (obviously clean at that time) family room he said with a big smile,
"See? It can be done! Mormon women with children can keep a clean house. Keep this up, Tiffany. Don't ever become one of those Mormon mothers who can't keep their house clean or their children looking nice."
And so today, as I looked around my house, I thought of Jim. I was glad he wouldn't be coming to visit. And then I thought, Actually, I wish he were coming to visit! I would be able to ask him a few questions that have wandered through my mind over the years.
1. What does being a Mormon have to do with keeping a house clean?
2. Have you ever really lived in a house with children?
3. Have you really never had more urgent things to do than wash dried egg off of a three year old's face?
4. Have you never been in such a hurry that it was easier and quicker to leave the wet pee-ed on onesie on the toddler and hope it would dry before you had to put the child's pants back on?
5. Have you never had to do more important tasks than dishes, and clean-up?
And finally I would ask him,
6. Jim, what world do you live in exactly? Because you certainly don't live in mine?!?