Tuesday, June 28, 2011

PYHO: My baby won't keep.

Once again, linking with Shell.

I like cleaning. I like having a clean house. Most days, though, you wouldn't know it.

Since Hannah was born, our chores have taken a hit. Our living room, especially, looks like hell. Our coffee table is covered in a bunch of papers and pieces of whatever I'm working on at the time (this week, it's her baby book). One end table is covered in photos, and has been for months, because her dad and I have been neglecting her photo album.

I don't remember the last time I vacuumed. This week, a few days went by without either of us doing the dishes. And we don't have a dishwasher.

I've been making a weak attempt to keep our bedroom as a "safe place" that's free of useless clutter and looks like a room that a guest would like to stay in. Instead, there's at least one laundry basket full of clothes in there, and I can say without second guessing myself that my bed isn't made.

Our office-library is a sty. There are still boxes of unpacked books up there.

My living room is covered in a fine layer of dust that I "keep meaning to get to" but never seem to find the time for.

And you know what?

I don't care.

Nope. Not one bit.

Sure, there are days when I look around and can't stand it anymore. There have been moments where I just jumped right in and started tackling project after project until I was exhausted. I've had sudden rushes of adrenaline that pushed me to deep deep deep deep clean my bathroom until any remaining drops of Lord knows what--if there are any left--are spic and span. I love the feeling of productivity, and when my house is clean I feel more like a "grownup".

But truth is, with an infant, keeping up with the housework on my own is pretty impossible. I do what I can, but there have been so many days when there are more dishes than I can handle and I can't remember when I last swept the floors. While it bugs me, I really don't care. A dirty house used to really stress me out--and sometimes it still does--but since Hannah arrived, it's easier to overlook the dust.

Two months old
I want to spend more time with my baby. I do dishes or scrub the bathroom when she naps. I don't want to just plop her in the high chair and talk to her while I sweep. Hannah likes to be with us, anyway, and I can't sweep with her on my hips. I can get by with her in the Baby Bjorn, but eventually she tires of hanging on me and she wants to be free so she can stand and lean and roll.

I can't believe I have a six--almost seven--month old. The next six months are going to fly by for us, and then I'll have a toddler making messes and running around. I don't want to miss it because I was so worried about cleaning my living room.

I had an aunt who woke up everyday at 4:30 to clean her house before work. Totally not my style. I wish I had that sort of drive, but it's never going to happen. In 20 years or so, I can be the woman on the block with the super clean house. Today, it doesn't matter that the floor needs to be swept, because she's six months old and before I know it, she'll be sixteen.

Six months old
Sometimes it's embarrassing when someone comes to the door and I know our home looks messy. For the most part, I just deal with it and get back to playing with my baby.

Whenever I start to get frustrated with the state of things and try to multitask, I have to remind myself of the following. I heard it once as a little girl and it's been on my mind a lot lately.

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
-Ruth Hulburt Hamilton


  1. FANTASTIC take on things, chica.

  2. Your daughter is beautiful and so is this post! The house will get clean someday. Enjoy the moment. (And use some of those naptimes to play and rest instead of clean. Because babies want a happy mommy more than a clean house.)

  3. Oh, I love that poem! I got a little misty-eyed at the last verse.

    We gave in and hired a cleaning lady to come once a month. But between cleaning, despite out best efforts, the house gets dirty. And sometimes I don't have a chance to clean it before company comes. I don't care anymore. Having a baby has taught me to let go of the little things. And having a spotless house is among them.

  4. Love that poem! You have a great handle on your priorities!

  5. Love this! My kids aren't going to care that our house was never perfectly kept, but they'll remember the love and time spent with them!

  6. I came across that poem when my son was a month or two old. I totally understood the sentiment - it made me teary because I was already thinking that he was growing so fast (and now he's 3 - ack!). It's so true - if you can just let it be, you'll have memories of you baby instead of your bathroom.

    Stopping by from PYHO.


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