I’m not sure when I became a neat freak. I remember the days when Mom had to practically bribe me to pick up the clothes strewn across my room, but oh man, sometime between middle school and marriage, I changed. I like the house to be clean. Tidy. No mess in the kitchen and no clothes on the floor. My husband called me Monica Geller the other day because I told him I couldn’t rest until I took care of the dirty dishes in the sink. Yep, being an adult is weird sometimes. Beds made and floors cleaned—I’m a happy girl.
No one told me I couldn’t have that and a child too, but it wasn’t long before I realized I would stress myself into a heart attack if I continued in my neat freak ways. My daughter, Annie, is only five months old, but she is a messy little princess. She drools, knocks things over, poops on everything, and grabs everything in her reach—and she’s not even crawling yet. Her latest obsession is laughing at herself in the mirror and then kissing herself, and whoever is holding her, by kissing the mirror. I cannot express to you how much joy she gets out of doing this, and how magical it is to be a part of this experience.
The other day, Annie was playing in the living room with my husband, so I was busy trying to fold the massive mound of laundry on the twin bed in her nursery. I was furiously folding tiny onesies and towels, noting the next item I would tackle on my tidy to-do list before she needed to eat again, when I noticed the mirror. It’s an antique mirror that hangs above the rocker, and it’s her favorite to laugh at and kiss while I’m holding her. We start most every day singing songs and giving kisses in the mirror, and I noticed every square inch was smudged. Smudged with the remnants of sweet, drooly, baby kisses.
That’s when I realized that maybe I can’t have both right now. I can either spend time doing laundry and making sure all the mirrors are sparkling, or I can dance around the kitchen like a lunatic to make my baby girl belly laugh. I can either embrace the mess, or miss this sweet season that goes by too fast.
I choose drooly kisses and smudgy mirrors.
Everything else can wait.
QUESTION: Is there something you can overlook in order to promote more quality time with your family?
CHALLENGE: It is always a challenge to strike a balance between getting things done and spending quality time with your family. Take an honest look at how things have been going in your home lately and make the needed adjustments to bring it back to what balance means to you in your phase of life.
Edited by Kimberly Price and Sarah Monson.
Image provided by the author; graphics added by Anna Jenkins.