I don’t like cleaning on a deadline. I prefer to spend my days putting the children first and cleaning second. If Evan wants to be held, I want to sit and hold him for as long as he needs. If Amy wants me to build a fort in the living room or read her a story, I want to drag out every blanket and make a giant fort with her. A few weeks ago, Noah had strings tied all over his room and ceiling with army men, bionicles and assorted action figures climbing, parachuting and doing I don’t know what. Until he got sick, he had every single toy in his room set up in an elaborate ‘War of the Worlds’. With the exception of elaborate toy setups that are too important to put away, I put everything upstairs in its’ place every night before I go to bed. It is rare that every room is scrubbed at the same time. I do what I can with each day and start over fresh the next day. Most people who visit us, know how we live and understand that we are a happy family. Some people are much more interested with how things look than how they really are. For my own sanity, I am creating a manifesto. It is really just guidelines for myself so that I can be prepared and react appropriately instead of ending up crying in the bathroom, again.
Let it be known to all that this home shelters a family with children. It is their refuge and safe place. I will not allow other people to make my children feel uncomfortable and unhappy. Children make crumbs when they eat. I will sweep them up later. You may not order my children to eat standing over the sink. Children dawdle, play and take their own sweet time. You may not snatch things away from them and put them away because they are taking too long. This is also my home. You do not have the right to tell me how “disgusting” it is or make backhanded insults like “at least it’s cleaner than the last time we were here”. I will not reply to those statements. I will walk away from you. If you choose to refuse to sit or eat any food that we prepare, you are only acting childish and punishing yourself. If you make blatant verbal attacks against me, I will develop a sudden headache and go to my room until you leave. I will eat cookies and watch movies in bed and encourage the children to join my private party. You do not get to control me or the children like you control everyone and everything else. We are wild and happy and full of life. I would love for you to relax, laugh and enjoy the children just as they are along with me. Just looking at them fills me with happiness. Try it. You might just like it.