I am not the world's best housekeeper. I openly admit this. I am capable of cleaning and making my home look lovely. I do actually clean my home on a regular basis... daily in most cases.
But I have 3 kids and a husband who works from home and a blog that I MUCH prefer to work on. Those things often keep me from my housecleaning chores. And most of the time I am ok with that.
Except when people "drop by" for a visit.
Then I sincerely regret my decision to procrastinate on the whole cleaning thing.
My husband is a minister. A minister who has his office in our basement. Which means people drop by. A lot.
You would think that knowing this would cause me to turn into one of those Super Moms who have perfect homes all the time. But alas, it seems I am incapable of accomplishing such a feat.
The thing that drives me crazy though is that no one EVER drops by when I have just cleaned my home and it is all sparkly and pretty and not humiliating in the least. Nope. They wait to drop by until there are laundry piles (both clean AND dirty) scattered everywhere, until the dirty dishes are stacked high on the counters, until my floor is covered with crumbs and miscellaneous kid-stuff, and until I look like I just woke up... no matter what time of day it is.
Why do they do that?
One time in particular stands out. My oldest son was 17 months old and my younger son was a mere 3 weeks old at the time. I had post partum depression and a massive thyroid malfunction going on. My husband had an office away from home back then so he was gone for the day. I had become a hermit.
We lived in a HUGE apartment building that required us to buzz visitors up. I dreaded hearing that stupid buzzer but took comfort in the fact that it gave me a 3 minute warning. I can do a lot in 3 minutes.
On this particular day every single thing in my entire home was dirty or scattered or in a pile or on the floor. Nothing was as it should be. Not one square inch of my home was presentable. I was most certainly not presentable. I wasn't even emotionally presentable. There could not have been a worse day for an unexpected guest.
When that stupid buzzer rang my heart stopped as I looked around the chaos of my home. I quickly realized that NO ONE must EVER see what I had become. So I ignored that stupid buzzer and prayed earnestly that whoever it was would just go away. I started chanting lines from Forrest Gump "please God make me a bird so that I can fly far far away" and promising to be a better homemaker if only God would spare me the humiliation just this one time.
But no. My pleas were ignored and some
I wouldn't even invite her in I was so horrified. I rushed to the door and tried to block the way into my home. I'm sure she thought I was the rudest pastor's wife alive. But don't worry, from our front entrance she could see all the way into the living room disaster area and into the hallway filled with piles of dirty laundry and into the kitchen that had clearly been taken over by messy aliens.
She took a look around and a look at me and then stammered an apology and said something about the gift and dropped in my hands and hightailed it out of there. When she left I broke down and wept and cursed God for not saving me from the humiliation and my husband for not warning me about my impending doom and the universe in general for making my life one big cosmic joke. I felt very sorry for myself. And oh I was embarrassed. I just KNEW the whole church would know that I was the worst housekeeper in the whole world by sundown. I completely avoided that woman for months even though she was very nice and it was most certainly not her fault that I was a walking disaster area. She didn't even rat me out to the rest of the church but it didn't matter...the humiliation had worked its way deep into my soul.
Over the years I have come to accept my inadequacies and I try valiantly not to care about appearances when someone drops by. Everyone always says that people come to see me not my home. But there is always that part of me that just wants to sink into the floor every time the doorbell rings.
I desperately want a magic wand and an invisibility cloak like in Harry Potter. Or a maid.
I must admit now that my children are slightly older (7, 6, and almost 3) and two of them are in full time school it is a bit easier to keep up. But I am still no super mom. And my stomache still clenches every single time someone drops by... even when I really honestly like them and am genuinely happy to see them!
Nothing like a good dose of mortification to keep one humble I guess. On the up side I have found that people really are very forgiving and that I am certainly not alone in my housekeeping challenges. But every once in awhile I wonder if the organized cleaning machine that I once was before marriage and parenthood will ever return. I miss her.