Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I often measure how together I feel by the status of my floors. If I'm walking around on dirty floors, hopping over toys to get to the ringing phone, in a ridiculous game of hopscotch, then I've probably said to myself several times that day "man, I've got to pull it together". When my floors are clean and clutter free I feel like a good and honest person, a thorough and caring parent and a talented and consistent homemaker.

When I've got it 'together' we do a toy pick up twice a day: before lunch and before dinner. On 'together' days I do a big, thorough, end to end sweep each evening and several spot-sweepings after meals. On days I don't have it 'together' we only pick up at the end of the day and we don't care if we get it all. I only sweep the truly offensive messes and leave the small stuff for another day.

I usually mop on Mondays. And here it is Wednesday and there are already spots-of-an-unknown-substance on the floor around Isaac's chair. My kitchen floor has a light dusting of flour from my cookie project and there are colorforms stuck here and there in odd locations.

It is hard work to keep things clean around here. Really, really hard work. And work that only I seem to care about. Everyone else seems to remain healthy and happy whether or not craisans are stuck to their socks. Craisans on my socks drive me mad.

And so I do the work for me. I try to keep the floors relatively clean. Keeping things tidy has become a form of mama care. Keeping up with the endless cycle of cleaning, instead of driving me mad, (which repetitive behavior that has no lasting effect is suppose to do), makes me feel like I am closer and closer to staying level headed.

What do you use to gauge whether or not you have it together?


Danielle said...

Piles of clothes everywhere. Clothes where Brice decided to undress. Clothes at the bottom of stairs, piled in closets, etc. If I can consolidate them, sort them, get them in the washer or folded into a basket, then I feel on top of it. I rarely am on top of it.

Susan said...

Oh man, Robyn. You can't come over today.


Susan said...

The floors drive me nuts, too, but I think I'm with Danielle on clothes because that is what really gets to the rest of my family, too.

Plume said...

Hmm...I'd say my living room carpet. Although that can get messy fast. So the floors do it for me too, most often. Sweeping the floors, every other day; mopping, maybe twice a week, unless otherwise needed. We do a toy/book sweep at least three times a day. But there are the lazy days where I just leave everything there until bedtime. Thankfully my husband doesn't mind those rare days, and the kid, of course, loves it.

I used to be a clean freak, until I had my son. After that, I've learned (forcefully) to just let it go.

Ruth said...

How much dog hair is on every bit of carpet I can see! I'm a neat freak and still struggling, after nearly 4 years of being a mum, with the fact that sometimes it's okay to let things slide ...

kate o. said...

i can handle random contained piles of boy creations. but if single random toys start finding their way over the whole of the house i freak.

and i love clean floors, too. counters and tables can be a mess but if floors are freshly mopped, who cares?!

and i love how you say that keeping things tidy is a form of mama care. love that! i had a single guy friend visit once when i had just elisha, was pregnant, and lived in a small apartment. he noted to me, "do you have a thing with tidying?" ha! he is now married with a kid so i'd love to revisit the scene now.

Kirsten said...

Hmm, good question. The floors are important for me. I definitely notice that I feel better when they are clean and clear. But I think the biggest annoyance personally is the kitchen. (I almost typed "my kitchen." I'm starting to feel very possessive of the space.

When I got back from our week away, I didn't feel good until I knew the fridge was clean, I knew what food was in it, I knew what food was in the cupboards, and things were organized enough for me to cook. That makes me feel on top of my game. When I can walk into the kitchen and improvise.

Susan said...

I really cannot cook in a messy kitchen. It drives my husband nuts that I'll spend the first twenty minutes of "dinner prep" cleaning. It drives me equally nuts that he can walk into a totally chaotic and even, sometimes, dirty kitchen and dive right into preparing a four-course meal.

Mama V said...

Aw, my sweet boys made it into one of Robyn's scrapbook pages!

The floor is also a gauge for me, but mostly the kitchen floor, not so much the wood floors or bathroom floor. Not sure why that is! The bathroom sink too (though not the toilet - that's a never-ending battle)... and our couch. No matter how isolated we keep the food and eating moments, the couch always ends up grubby somehow. And then after we wash the cushion covers (which are now wearing down from so many washings), they seem to get grubby the next day, which drives me batty. I'm on the hunt for a new slipcover that won't look so frumpy and cutesy because we're not ready to invest in a new couch just yet (at least not while our grubby-handed kids are so young!)

I've also never been able to go to bed with a sink full of dishes. Kirsten reminded me that before I leave town, I tend to want to have the place in order so that I can come home to a clean apartment (my poor husband has to experience the wrath of my OCD ways come packing time). Feels SO good after time away.

Unlike you, though, the never-ending cycle day in and day out can really get to me. When that happens, I make sure to do other things that count as mama care for me and get the huz to step it up a bit more. It's good to know what one's needs are, right?

firefly said...

Horizontal surfaces in the kitchen. But not the floor so much (maybe because the dogs sneak in after us and clear away loose crumbs...). I can handle the floor being a little dirty, but I feel anxious if the counters, table, chopping block, stove top, and shelves aren't really clean.

We have a cart with a teakettle and salt and pepper shakes and knife block that sits by the door to the kitchen. If it accrues crumbs on a day when I'm stressed, the sight of it will sometimes make me feel like a forlorn orphan girl inside. And the moment when I can take everything off and thoroughly clean that surface is like my inner superhero has swept in to save the day.

So funny which straws will make or break the camel's back! :)

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

for me it's the kitchen counters & floors. DH does the dishes so I've learned to ignore the state of the sink but I feel so behind on everything & out of sorts if my counters & floors are dirty.

Plus the balled up sock issue. But that is other people failing to clean their mess which is another set of issues all together