Working Mommy Madness: Accepting the Mess!

By Harmony Hobbs

Neat-freak (neet-freek).
•    A person compulsively obsessed with cleanliness.

There are only a few things in this world that I really believe in. They include (but are not limited to) love, laughter, wine, Spanx, and Paula Deen. The last two items go hand in hand, obviously.

Something I really hold dear to my heart is having a clean and comfortable home. I’ve lived in many spaces of different sizes and comfort levels and no matter how small, dank, or stank it was … if it was clean and had throw pillows in it, it felt like home. My current home contains throw pillows. My husband does not understand them. Note that I did not say that my house is clean, because it’s not. Having a child changed things. Before the baby, I only had my husband to clean up after, and while I sometimes found it annoying, it was certainly manageable. Then my son arrived. And he enjoys making messes, just like his father. Boys and men are funny that way. How do they get handprints everywhere? I see them wash their hands, yet … the handprints continue.

I spent the first 6 months as a new mother frantically cleaning. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I acted like a lunatic. I was a tornado of postpartum rage, whipping through the house barking out orders and picking up dirty bottles. I realize that I should have been napping (sleeping when the baby sleeps is a CROCK, by the way), but there was literally a trail of items marking a path around the house.  My neat freak tendencies plus my husband’s crazy messy habits, combined with a new baby and all that entails, clashed in a big way.

Many arguments, some therapy sessions, and a few rounds of Lexapro later, I have accepted the mess and now I am working on trying to embrace it. I’m still in the awkward stage of my new relationship with messes …. I’m not attracted to them at all – they make me cringe, in fact– but I would like to like them. I would also like to hire someone to clean my house on a weekly basis, but unfortunately the daycare gets most of our expendable income these days.

Since I started working on trying to be okay with messes I have developed a few coping mechanisms that help me get through my day without having to reach for a cocktail:

•    Get up before everyone else. It’s worth it to rise at the crack of dawn if it means quiet time to yourself. See #2.

•    Make time for yourself! Time where you can just BE. No one is bothering you, the phone isn’t ringing and you aren’t rushing to get somewhere. It     can even be in the car. Don’t make phone calls, just drive in silence. It’s refreshing.

•    I do laundry every day. Just one load.

•    “Shallow Clean.” This is what I call the kind of cleaning I have time for. It’s otherwise known as “Half-Assing It.” I vacuum, straighten up a little and call it a day. Just enough to give the overall appearance of cleanliness.

•    I have stopped looking at my baseboards altogether. I recommend you do the same.

•    Teach your family how to clean up after themselves … and good luck to you.

Motherhood is messy. The first step is acceptance. Step Two is to believe a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

Harmony blew into Birmingham after Hurricane Katrina and is a self-proclaimed “never home maker” striving for a balance between her career and family life. Visit her blog at Working Mommy Madness

One thought on “Working Mommy Madness: Accepting the Mess!

  1. Lol! My baby is three weeks today. I do the laundry one load a day and the shallow clean too! I pretend I don’t see the state of my toilet. 🙂

    I love your blog!

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