"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cleaning Fail? Parenting Fail? You're both right.

Not even two weeks ago, I blogged about how much I needed a break. I was exhausted, I was stressed out, and I was panicking about getting read for our upcoming trip. I took exactly two days off from blogging, missed it terribly, and jumped right back in.

Yesterday, I was back in panic mode. We leave for our trip in 12 days, and it still feels like there are mountains to climb before we do. Making matters worse is the fact that I'm the only one who feels that way. Mike simply doesn't stress out about much of anything, and the kids are just looking forward to a fun vacation (as they should be)

Sunday night was a rough night. I wasn't feeling well; Everett had a nightmare very early on, and was in our bed the rest of the night; Tegan was tossing and turning and kicking even more than usual; I ended up sleeping in a ball on the end of our bed. The big boys were up past 2:00 (which is not unusual for them) but were woken by Tegan far too early in the morning. Everyone was tired and grumpy, and what I should have done was given us all a free day... a no obligation, lounge around, rest and recoup kind of Monday.

But, oh no. We had 13 days left. We had to CLEAN!

I started with my own desk, and instead of leaving well enough alone, I then decided it was imperative that I tackle the computer room.

This is the 'after' picture, but the girl had already dumped something out again.
This room has been a thorn in my side since we moved in to this house nearly 5 years ago. It looked like it was originally a formal dining room (judging partly from the big chandalier that once hung in the middle of the ceiling), but the previous owners didn't seem to know what to do with it either. When we first toured the house, it was mostly empty, save for a little couch in the corner. For us, it has always served as a computer room slash project room slash collector of random, miscellaneous stuff. It's always a mess, and yesterday I was going to clean it.

I asked the kids to help me, but they were too tired. (Of course they were too tired; No one got any sleep). I asked them again. Spencer was half asleep on the couch, Paxton was engrossed in a computer game, and Tegan and Everett were chasing each other around the house. No one really answered me.

And again, I should have taken the hint, followed their lead - and my own level of exhaustion - and rested. Instead, as if possessed by some mop-wielding inner demon, I became that mom. The stomping, huffing, sighing, "fine, I'll do it myself", martyr of a mom. For the next hour, I was noisily moving chairs and bookshelves, digging stuff out from beneath the desks, flinging sweeping wayward toys and papers and books and tools to the center of the room to sort through. Spencer had fallen asleep by then, Paxton was calmly moving out of my way as I cleaned around him, and the little ones had wisely moved their play to another room, lest they accidentally witness the embarrassment of their mom in the throes of her tantrum.

It really wasn't my finest moment.

I was tired, I was irritated, and I couldn't even enjoy the fruits of my labor once I'd finished.  Who can enjoy something they'd done with the wrong attitude in the first place?

I do still want to get the house clean before we go.  But not like that.  Today, I will get a grip and remember what's important.  I'll listen to my kids, listen to my own body, and save the cleaning for another dang day if need be.

And if all else fails, I'll stick to the kitchen side of the house, and avoid the computer room completely. 

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