Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Awkward Mom vs. Mess

Wait. You mean to tell me that children are messy? You're serious? OK. Well then, how do I get off this train? Why are you laughing?

I have kinda a Jekyll and Hyde thing going with mess. Except my Jekyll isn't exactly a doctor and my Hyde is more awkwardly annoyed than rage-filled, but you get the point. Here is the thing: I was raised by messy people. Don't get the wrong idea; we weren't living with 18 cats or dirty dishes everywhere. My parents just aren't that hung up about dust, dirt, or disgusting things growing in their fridge. They hold to the philosophy that things are just things, but people are friends. Even people with dirty shoes and a sweating bottle of beer. They won't even notice, they'll be so busy gossiping and fixing you something to eat. Me: I might have to hold back the request to take off your shoes and that mad dash to find you a coaster.

It is embarrassing. My parents raised me to be a loving person who doesn't judge on appearances, who enjoys the moment, who fosters goodwill and joy everywhere. I think they were mostly successful; I am a tad awkward, but I am usually on the superhero end of things. OK...maybe sidekick end, but I am no henchman. (Henchman sounds weird; is it always plural? Henchmen. Yes, that sounds better. To tell the truth, aren't there always at least 2 of them guarding the big bad boss anyway? I don't know that I have every seen a lone henchman. Don't get me started on how weird henchwoman sounds.)

Where was I? Oh yes, I was telling you about how my parents raised me to follow strange paths and go off in tangential directions in order to grow as a person....they really did, that is the funny part. I know that I have told you about my rockin' childhood and how I will never write a bestselling novel as a result (darn you, good parents!); I am not lying, they kinda knew what they were doing. Which is why my hang-up about mess is so embarrassing. Here is my theory: they gave me nothing else to rebel against. A teen has to rebel. I did it by having the cleanest room in the house.

So, I took my clean-Hyde to college and annoyed roommate after roommate. Then, I got married and annoyed Awkward Dad. They mostly heeded me in the picking up of pants and socks. The dishes, vacuuming, and organizing I just did myself. Reveled in it, if I am being honest. A whole house, all mine; all mine to have perfectly neat and clean. Changing my mind and method so often that Awkward Dad used to swear....and then swear that it was my hobby to hide his shoes from him. He might have a point. Inventing organizational plans for the closet, the pantry, or my brain became the highlight of my life for awhile. Sounds really scary and boring now. I think I was still rebelling from that haven of chaos I grew up in. Still playing house. Still trying to make it my own. Trying to recreate that warmth and welcome that only my parents' home had. Couldn't quite get it.

Well, faithful Readers, I am sure you all know what did it, what came next. You are so right: Along came Super Preschooler and a little part of my clean-Hyde abandoned ship. Oh, not the whole Hyde. Not yet. You see, Super Preschooler has enough of me in him to be a bit of a neat-nick. He likes to line up cars. He likes the cabinets doors closed. He has very specific ideas about how his crowns should be stored. Nope; clean-Hyde and Inner Planner hung around for awhile. That is, until this guy made his appearance:

He sent clean-Hyde running in terror. Haven't seen her since. Inner Planner proceeds to poke her projects and plans at me, but this princess, with her pertinacity for poses as precious as this, keeps her at bay:

These days my Clean-Hyde is pretty much gone; she does like the medicine cabinet to be just so and has a slight obsession with Ikea. I let her; it isn't a lot to ask.

I don't regret my time with Clean-Hyde. My parents couldn't have told me anyway. I had to go on that journey myself. They couldn't have told me that one day I would love 3 little people so much that I wouldn't care that my windows are full of fingerprints, that "artwork" covers every available space of the fridge and routinely falls inside of it, that I would have to unstick my feet from the kitchen floor if I stand there too long, or that one day I would even come to terms with sand. (Still working on that one, if I am being honest.) I wouldn't have believed them. I would have rolled my eyes and gone back to dusting. Being the good parents that they were, they just smiled knowingly and went back to making a mess. Darn it, I really wanted to write that best seller too.

Well, we are off to Ikea! Tune in next time for Awkward Mom's story about pickle making with Super Preschooler; she let Super Preschooler document it with the camera. Oh, get ready for stuff like this:

Oh boy. Well, there might be some pictures of the pickles....somewhere. Until then, keep on making messes, Readers!


  1. :) Clean house...what is a clean house??

    1. I really don't know, I haven't seen one in years! :)

  2. Oh, I hope that Katie has an awesome childhood and chooses to rebel against me by becoming a neat-nick! That sounds like the best outcome I could possibly imagine. Far better than her following in my footsteps and being messy.

    You must love those little ones a whole lot, to be able to let go of your Clean-Hyde. Same goes for me, letting go of some of my messiness and vacuuming the kitchen floor every single day. (Never in my worst nightmares would I do that, and yet...here we are.) Love those little cuties! :)

    1. It really is the best rebellion one could ask for. :)

      Rock on with the vacuuming over there! I usually stick to the kitchen floor when I go in there....