We’ve got family coming to visit and I’m pretty excited. The funny thing about visitors coming to stay – it always pushes me to do the things I’ve promised to do a million times. Like the door that is so smudged with fingerprints and dirt I would have a hard time convincing anyone that the door was once white, I finally wiped it down. (pat on the back) Or the picture frame that has hung with a temporary picture in it for almost two years, finally got that taken care of. (pat on the back) Or the silverware that has been disappearing for a while now, to the point that we only have 7 spoons left and we cannot find the rest anywhere; we are now the proud owners of a 24 setting set of silverware. Steve actually gave me a pat on the back for that one since I’ve promised to go buys a new set for months.
See, visitors kick me into gear…for the most part. There’s also the downside of visitors coming: cleaning. I don’t think I could put into words my disdain for cleaning. Really. I am great at organizing and picking up and making the house look generally good. But I can’t stand the cleaning aspect – bathrooms, floors, baseboards, light fixtures, blinds…I call it the boring cleaning. Because you could spend hours doing any of those items and people visiting your house may or may not ever notice!
On a day-to-day basis I’m okay with a B-level clean, but with visitors we kicked it up a notch. Today we were in clean mode. The kids had their set of chores, I had mine and we went to work. The morning went by quickly and we got a lot done. As the afternoon wore on I could see our efforts from earlier this morning start to unravel. The newly cleaned kitchen floors had fresh crumbs from lunch and then Mr. B decided to dump out the entire container of Perler (melty) beads on the floor. The freshly cleaned windows were covered with what appeared to be licking marks – reminder, we don’t have any animals. I had to leave the room. I ran up to change sheets in Hunter’s room; the room he had worked all morning to clean and he had legos everywhere and torn up pieces of paper on the floor (which was part of his lego creations…money, I believe). The towels that were once so nicely folded had been jumped on a couple times and now resembled a dirty pile of towels. Seriously?
I started to get frustrated seeing wasted hours. The kids could see I was quickly losing patience. I decided I needed a time-out and walked outside to pull some weeds. The chances were slim that my kids would actually go back and plant the weeds so I found this be rather productive time. And then I came to the realization. This is why I’m okay with B-level clean. The effort it takes to get to A is significant, it inevitably makes me lose patience with my children and it never stays at A for very long.
So the next time you come over and notice the window fingerprints, food stuck to the side of the dining room chair or the dust just remember I’ve surrendered to a life with young children and B-level cleanliness. And I’m totally happy with that!