Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cookie Therapy

We live in a ridiculously small house for 5 people. Two bedrooms and about 850 sq feet. The girls share a room and Wyatt is in a crib in our room. The "rest" of the house is a free for all of common space. The living room flows into the dining room which flows into the kitchen. And every room is always a mess. Not dirty - but cluttered. I know it's a function of too much stuff in too little space, but that's just our life right now. I feel like I am continuously picking up. And the ages of our children mean they are continuously getting down - toys, clothes, snacks. It's a circular cycle that can get me frustrated and overwhelmed on a daily basis.

I have learned, however, that my kids don't care if the house is cluttered. They really don't even notice. So I try to be good at letting it go and focus my energy on them. Playing dress up instead of doing the breakfast dishes (no dishwasher!) pushing them on the swings instead of folding the laundry, and sitting down to read books instead of vacuuming. When I am cleaning and they ask me for help with something, I make an effort to pause in the middle of the task and do it right then, rather than tell them (a hundred times a day!) "Just a Minute!"

I haven't really decided if this is the best route to take however. Because I CARE when our house is cluttered. And I REALLY DO notice. My patience is thinner, my mood grumpier, and my anxiety higher. I just feel better when everything is in it's place. But I can't remember the last time that was?! Right now our sofa is being taken over by laundry that needs to be folded. The ironing board hasn't been put away in over a week - but not because I'm ironing! Because it's "holding" three different sewing projects I keep thinking I will get to. The sewing machine has traveled from dinner table to counter top countless times in the past week for the same reason. The girls room looks like a toy bomb exploded inside - and I just put every stinkin' toy in it's place last night!

SO - rather than fight a losing battle, I decided to give up. Believe me - it will all still be there when I decide to try wage war again! But one day last week, when the house looked like this:
Instead of cleaning it all up, the girls and I (Molly & I still in our PJ's) decided to do this:

We had a giggly great time licking beaters and bowls and drinking milk straight out of the carton! I think my children thought I had lost my noodle. I decided I need to do things like this more often. Not AFTER the chores are done. But INSTEAD of the chores. 20 years from now, my kids will not care if the house they grew up in was clean or cluttered. And guess what? Neither will I! What they will remember is that our house was fun and happy. And that is what matters most. To them and to me.


Libby said...

Such a hard thing to let go of though, isn't it? Kuddos to you for trying, and doing it!

Erin said...

It is SO TRUE!!! Kids don't care and won't remember, they WILL remember how much we played with them :) Kudos to you, I would love some cookies right now!

I can't believe we have the same birthday!

Aubs said...

Good for you Erin!! I struggle daily with the same internal battle as we too live in a tiny house....truly not much bigger than yours....and I feel I lose the battle more days than I win but the days I am able to look away and spend that time with the boys are days I cherish and I know they will too! Hang in there!! And the cookie dough looks YUMMO!

LACY said...

You are too funny! I love that you made cookies. Cleaning is a constant battle!

Tonya said...

Cookies was a way better option...the memories and the bond of quality time is so much better than a temp. clean house!

Thank you for the perspective...I am feeling the need to slow myself down big time lately...

your kids are so adorable...those girls are just heaven-sent!


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