Changing the Definition of Clean


My definition of ‘clean’ has changed over the years. There was a time where I would have thought ‘clean’ meant, well, clean. Now, I define it as: “an area where you can see some carpet and most of the trash is in a can.”

Case in point: this past weekend my kids took a container of sprinkles and a bag of mini chocolate chips and dumped them on the floor in their room. Just ’cause. (Aren’t kids great?)

Day one: I didn’t see it because I never made it out of the kitchen. Feeding six people three meals a day and intermittent snacks is literally a full time job.

Day two: I saw it and made a mental note to clean it up…but, I never made it out of the kitchen (reference previous day).

Day three: I left it there, on purpose, hoping they would eat, I mean, clean it off the floor and I wouldn’t have to vacuum. (It is moments like these where I think about getting a dog.) Apparently, this was the one time they opted out of sugar. Probably because they didn’t want to be mistaken for cleaning their rooms.

Day four: I caved and vacuumed. Mostly because I am afraid of mice. Otherwise, I am pretty sure it would still be there.

I am not necessarily proud of this scenario, but it happened.

I’ve come to realize: a new brand of mommy guilt has been born. Now, when I opt to provide the luxury of eating on clean dishes, I curse myself for not lounging on the couch snuggling my babies.

I love the notion of letting the world pass you by while you breathe in every little bit of your babies. It is also impossible, because, evidently, if you do not pay your bills, they start taking your stuff away. The bitter truth is there is work to be done. And not just housework.

I savor the sound of my babies babbling, soak in the intoxicating smell of their sweet baby breath, memorize the cuteness of their little fingers and toes, record the sounds of their toddler voices in my mind for future replay, pause for snuggles and playtime and listen earnestly to their six- and eight-year-old knock-knock jokes. (Seriously, they are funny.) I am not sure if it is enough. But, it is time to make it enough.

The bottom line is life is fleeting. You can’t grasp it and the more you try the faster it slips through your fingers. Take care of business, whatever that looks like. And then…just enjoy.

This post originally appeared on the Rebel Housewife Blog. It has been reprinted with permission.

Sara Springer is a storyteller, child wrangler, mental health advocate and co-founder of Love Will Foundation, depression and anxiety warrior, yoga enthusiast and a staunch practitioner of sarcasm. She blogs about these things on occasion on The Rebel Housewife, but you are more likely to find her in her Instagram stories because as a writer, she does not find much time to actually write.

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