Thursday, March 20, 2014
The Book Cleanse
And it all started with a book.
I was reading to Faye right before bedtime. She had picked out three books, and we were sitting in the doorway of her oh so messy room. I couldn't get into her room any further than the doorway, so there we sat, her on my lap, reading Don't Forget The Oatmeal, a Sesame Street book. When I finished, I sent her to brush her teeth, and in her brief absence, I began picking up some of her toys to make a path to her bed. It was then that I noticed something different.
While playing with her friend today, they had moved her little kitchen to the other side of the room. It made that side of her room incredibly cramped and left a gaping empty spot. I asked her about it, and she explained that it worked better over there, and could I please move her bed? She wanted it going width wise in her room instead of how it was, length wise.
I sent her down to ask her Daddy to come up and help me, and while she was gone, I remembered an article I had read about teaching our girls that they are just as good as boys. One way to teach this is through example. It had specified that mothers should do things on their own that are typically thought of as a "man's job," and I immediately felt guilty for sending her down to get her dad, because I was doing exactly what the article had said not to do. And so I decided to move her bed on my own.
It wasn't as heavy as it looked. It was actually quite easy.
I moved it a bit, and then vacuumed where it had been. Moved it some more and then vacuumed some more. Before she got back up to tell me that Daddy would help with it tomorrow, I had finished.
She looked at it, clapped her hands and squealed with delight, her pigtails bouncing as she did an excited jump. As I began to clean things up, I took down the Princess Canopy that she has over her bed. It didn't work with her bed width wise.
The delight and jumping abruptly stopped.
They were replaced by a sudden burst of tears.
She wanted that Princess Canopy. She didn't care if it meant I had to put her bed back, she just wanted that canopy no matter what!
And so, after vacuuming again to get all the glitter from the Leprechaun trail that was stubbornly sticking to the carpet, we moved the bed back.
And then she wanted her big barbie house moved right next to her bed. To fill the big empty spot
Which I did.
By the time we finished, her whole room had been cleaned and rearranged twice.
We never did get around to reading the other books she had picked out. But she got a clean room out of it.
But you know what? The rearranging of Faye's room, twice, was actually a strange sort of blessing in disguise. Typically I love my job. I love taking care of my family, I don't love the cleaning, but I love a clean house so I do it anyway. I have found that everyone is happier when the place is clean. I play with my kids more, and am a better mother. And so I usually go about my jobs with a positive attitude. Listening to the right sort of music helps, too. But today, music just didn't seem to help. I couldn't figure out what I was in the mood for, and it all felt so...
The cleaning, the taking care of the kids, the cooking, the cleaning again. The homework. Trying to get the kids to do their chores. Keeping them from being hungry all the time. The fights to referee. I was just weary from it all. I didn't feel the passion I usually have. I was tired in my bones, and in my spirit today.
Somehow, however, all that rearranging and fixing of Faye's room, just so, just how she liked it really helped. It seemed to do some spring cleaning to my soul at the same time. Everything I arranged or cleaned in her room seemed to simultaneously be sorting and organizing things in my mind. When I finished, I felt completely reinvigorated.
Once she went to sleep, an hour past her bedtime, I had all that energy that rearranging and deep cleaning give me. So I let it spill over into the cleaning of my bedroom. It always gets messy when I do laundry. I end up with baskets of my clean clothes and baskets of dirty clothes all over my room, and they stay there until I can make time to put them away. Seeing how folding clothes is my most loathed chore, I don't usually get to them quickly. And since I am the only one who knows which are clean and which are dirty, and I am rather particular about how my clothes get folded or hung up, I am the only one who can attend to it. Being picky about a job I don't like is rather frustrating, I telly you what. And since I am the only one I will let do it, and I hate doing it, and it sits in my bedroom until I do it... my room is rarely clean. But with that lovely cathartic cleaning energy I tackled the clothes in my room, and I am happy to report that I got it all done. Which makes me quite happy.
There is no sleep quite as sound as sleeping in a clean room. All the amazing moms who always have a clean room (nearly as rare as a unicorn I think) know what I am talking about.
And it all came about because of a book.