I don’t know about you, but I have a not-small collection of photos of my children making messes. I’ve captured Annie as an infant, happily splashing away in the dogs’ water bowl and gleefully spreading flour all over the kitchen tile. I have hundreds of pictures of Catie and Lilly covered in food. I have pictures of colored-on legs and arms – and sofas, and walls…
Perhaps one of the biggest baby mess pictures was captured about 2-and-a-half years ago, when Lilly was newly crawling. I thought I was safe to leave the girls in the kitchen while I went to the bathroom. Including hand-washing that’s what, 60 seconds? 90? Not long.
But thinking gets you in trouble, my friends. Especially when you are mother to a very ornery child like my Catiebug. And besides being ornery, she’s also unlucky. Things just happen to Catie. Her cups spill, her plates break, she falls out of chairs. Sometimes I fear she has a little black cloud following her around.
So yes, as an experienced mother, I certainly should have known better. But alas, I did not.
What I saw when I exited the bathroom was nothing short of shocking. The kind of shocking that rocks you so deeply you can’t even be angry because you’re just too stunned.
Fortunately I had the presence of mind to take pictures.
I also immediately sat down and emailed my husband.
He’s a neat freak. Case in point, he couldn’t sleep last night. You know that saying, ‘If mama’s cold, everyone puts on a sweater’? Well if Daddy wants to clean, everyone has to clean. So at about 1 am, he woke me up to clean.
And I have no more polite words to say about that, so I’ll move on.
So being a neat freak, he is constantly upset by the condition of our home. I truly believe he has a mental image of me sitting on the couch all day, watching daytime TV, playing solitaire online, and maybe even munching on bon-bons while the children run wild.
He has no understanding or appreciation of the fact that I actually spend all day working, picking up right behind them, and this is still as good as it gets. Suzy Homemaker I am not.
I’ll cook rings around 90% of wives, guaranteed. But when it comes to housework, I fall miserably, pathetically short. I readily admit this. But it’s not like I do nothing, I just can’t figure out what to do with all of the ‘stuff’. I can organize a room no problem, but when it comes to the daily mail, school papers, missing pieces from toys sets, broken jewelry, and-and-and, I’m at a loss. As a result, our house isn’t dirty, but it’s perpetually cluttered. One of us has learned to accept this, one of us has not.
So back to the day in question – I finally felt I had good tangible evidence that I do indeed clean up messes before he gets home. My email was this:
I was thinking about you today. Thinking about how different our jobs are. Thinking about what you might be doing at that moment.
In my mind, you decided to go to the bathroom. You have the luxury of doing that whenever you want, you know, and you get to do it all by yourself. I don’t think you fully appreciate that simple luxury. So I imagined you taking a leisurely stroll though the office, maybe stopping for a cup of coffee on the way back to your desk, maybe pausing to chat about last night’s game. Chatting with a grown up, chatting without interruption, without a small child tugging on your leg. And I imagine that when you make it back to your office, your desk probably looks pretty much the same as it did when you left it.
I don’t work from a desk – my office travels with me. I don’t have co-workers to engage in adult conversation. I rarely get to go to the bathroom alone and I never get a hot cup of coffee. And I can’t leave the room unless I’ve properly occupied my subordinates, which I failed to do today.
Which is why, when I returned from approximately 90 seconds of solitude, I was greeted by this:
Don’t worry – it’s already cleaned up. Just enjoy your day. And when you get home, try not to give me any grief. Believe it or not, I’ve had a day too.
My point was made nicely, and lasted for about 3 days. Typical.
However, the picture is the crowning jewel in my kid mess photo collection. And this week it got even more mileage, in the form of a YouTube video. Amanda Tinney of Disney Every Day set a song to photos, and I’m happy to have contributed the perfect match for my line. See for yourself.
So while my evidence might not have swayed my husband, at least it’s entertaining the masses on YouTube. I’ll consider that a day’s work done. And now back to the TV.