Last week I walked into our guest bathroom and found this on our cabinet:
Let me just say it’s never a good thing to find creamy dark brown fingerprints on a bathroom cabinet in a home where young children toilet. Never.
So, I was this close to yelling, “Who the hell got poop on our cabinets!?” before I remembered that my 4-year-old son had eaten Nutella earlier that morning. You know what? I didn’t clean up those prints for three whole days. Satisfied it wasn’t fecal matter, I guess I just sort of let it slip my mind.
Not counting my life between the ages of 12 and 22, I think my standard of clean hit rock bottom sometime around my first child’s third birthday. That’s the year she got up in a sleepwalking stupor and actually shat in the corner of her carpeted bedroom while sick with a stomach bug. That’s the year her friend carved her name with a preschool shiv (the business end of a broken tea-set spoon) into our dining room table. That’s the year she dragged a crayon across our wall, up one story and around the hallway. There was plenty more. Do you think I gave a hoot those days about those stalactites of goo that build up on the hand soap dispenser over time? Barely. Just like I barely noticed crumbs, fingerprints on our stainless steel fridge, and the fact that we hadn’t built so much as a step from our sliding glass door to the ground two feet below it.
I’ve improved since then, but I’ve got a long way to go. (Obviously, since I left brown Nutella fingerprints on my guest bathroom cabinets for three days.) Sorry, but some days, just getting a clear view of the carpet feels like I won the interstate lottery.
When there are actual gross messes to clean up, it’s hard not to get housekeeping myopia. At least for me, having little kids has made it challenging to see my house the way it probably looks to other people. When the laundry’s folded, the dinner dishes are washed, and the kitchen counter is wiped down, I feel pretty great.
Post-partum housekeeping myopia has its limit. When I know someone outside my immediate family is going to be at the house, suddenly I wake from my hypnotic idiocy and realize that, oh my god, we’re complete freaking pigs. It’s only then that I see my house the way I think an outsider would, poopy-looking fingerprints and all:
I seriously wonder if I’m in good company on this one. Why? Because housekeeping has never been my special skill. I have no middle ground. I’ve always had trouble finding the shades of gray between spring cleaned and pigpen. My nickname as a kid was honestly “Pigpen.” How long would it have taken you to wipe the Nutella off the cabinets? Please say a week. For the love of God, please say a week.