A Messy House

I have a new math equation for you: Kids on vacation X toys = A messy house.

At one point today there were Legos on the floor, all over the couch and on the coffee table. They were strewn across the mini kid-sized pool table and there were even a few in the bathroom and kitchen.

"We're building an airplane/spaceship/rocket/light saber/house."

Hmm... whatever it was that my sons were building seemed to change every few seconds. But what wasn't changing was the number of Legos all over the place.

I wouldn't have really cared about the mess if it was just me at home with them, but company was coming over. You just can't have a zillion Legos all over the place when people come over. If you do, no matter how nice the people are, they will talk about you the minute they leave your house. Heck, they might send each other text messages while they're sitting on your couch:

Text A: "Girl, what is with all the Legos on Los Angelista's living room floor?"

Text B: "MESSY! If it was my house, the first time these kids dared to drag their toys outta their room, I'd throw 'em all in the trash!"

Text A: Who knew her house was so dirty! Gross!

With this in mind, I announced my official Lego cleanup policy: "The vacuum cleaner will be turned on in 10 minutes. Any Legos still on the living room floor will be sucked into oblivion."

The moment I said this, my six year-old brought the drama as only he knows how. "Please! We beg you! Spare our lowly Legos from their doom!"

Um, they'll only be spared if you pick them off the floor!

As I watched the boys chuck the Legos into plastic storage bins, I thought about how my house is perpetually not 100% neat. There's always some sort of experiment going on, or there's Legos all over the place, or a never ending supply of laundry needs to be folded. I wonder what goes through people's minds when they come over and see the mess.

With the way our society is, I know the blame for a messy house still falls on a mom's shoulders even though everyone in the house contributes to the mess. The mom is still expected to clean it up. If it's not clean, that means you're a bad mom.

That's not how it works in my house. Everyone is expected to clean, including my kids. However, their sense of what's neat or messy differs from mine quite considerably.

I could probably spend every waking moment cleaning up after them, but I don't want to do that. That's not fun to me. Mere minutes after the house is spotless, my family is busy living and so things eventually get messy all over again.

Anyway, if you come over anytime during the next couple of weeks while we're on vacation, I'm sorry if it's not 100% spotless. I'm doing my best to keep the bathroom and the kitchen clean, but beyond that, I'm not worrying about it. I'm not going to go completely trifling on you, but if things look a little messier than usual, you know why.


nick said…
I think as long as a house is vaguely presentable and visitors can find somewhere to sit, that's enough. Only clean freaks are bothered by a few messes and dust bunnies on the margins. As you say, if you have kids who're playing and scattering things everywhere, of course the house will never be 100% tidy.

But women seem to be very critical of other women's housekeeping skills, even if there are other people in the household, and even if their own house is just as bad. I think most men couldn't care less as long as there's a warm welcome and a bit of alcohol.
1969 said…
You know I can relate. I see your Lego's and raise you ten hot wheels and a bunch of bakugans and bionicles.
Remnants of U said…
I have my neat freak friend. And she has her grandson quite often & it seems like she is constantly yelling at him to pick up toys. Too much energy yelling.

Although legos under a bare foot used to make me scream & yell too. LOL!

But if I live in the room, there's going to be reading material, my laptop or somethings out. The only way a room is going to look magazine picture ready is if I never cross the threshold.
Anonymous said…
I still love Legos. I just don't like stepping on them in the dark on my way to the bathroom at 3 a.m. Happy New Year to you and your family, Liz.
Sometimes I just stepped back and considered what was actually more important to me, my kids' enjoyment or what visitors might think of my cleaning skills. Within reason, of course. Clean is important; neat, not so much. So let the Legos fly. No matter what they think they're making, they're building memories.

Happy New Year to you and all those guys you clean up after, Liz.
Jen said…
Okay... I'm going to be really sexist here... the joy of having boys? They love their mom and the teen years will be SO much easier! The um... other things? You will never have the level of cleanliness in that house that you might wish for. D cleans; C cleans; I clean. And yes, our ideas of "clean" really vary. ;-) I figure, though, that anyone who knows us knows that we will always have a warm welcome for them, even if there's a sock or two visible somewhere.
Call Family said…
This is one of my favorites on this topic: "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." ~Phyllis Diller, Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, 1966
If I ever come over (lol) don't worry about me. I will just be relieved that I'm not the only one.

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