Parenthood is often perceived as this glamorous, perpetually joyful time full of rainbows and sunshine on TV, social media and Pinterest. Seeing my friends post all of these awesome pictures of their kids having fun in their adorable outfits with their perfectly clean house in the background makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong. My house is always messy, my kids rarely have matching or unstained outfits on, and I feel like I stress so much because my home life doesn’t seem to be glamorous.
I have a Boxer dog, an infant and a 3-year-old daughter. The three of them are messy, rambunctious and hard to keep up with, but they bring so much joy to my life.
I often take pictures of my kids and dog that are angled just right so that only the cleanest portion of my house is showing in the background. I try to take pictures when their clothes are fresh, unwrinkled and unstained from the day (typically in the mornings). Maybe that’s what my friends are doing, too? Maybe that’s what the celebrities I follow on Facebook are doing, too? Maybe parenthood isn’t always full of rainbows and sunshine?
Since having baby Kendall in October, I’ve struggled to find a balance between cleaning, blogging, cooking, walking the dog, playing with my kids, diaper changes, etc. Okay, who am I trying to kid? I’ve never been able to find a good balance. Here’s an accurate description of about an hour of my day, particularly evenings on a weekday:
Charlotte – “Mom, I want a snack.”
Me – “Okay, just a minute.”
changing the baby’s diaper
Charlotte – “Mom, can I have something healthy? Like fruit snacks?”
Me – “Charlotte, fruit snacks aren’t healthy. Whatever, just grab some.”
…still changing the diaper
Baby Kendall – “Blah, blah blah blah, a goo!”
Me (talking to the baby) – “Oh, really? You’re a talkative girl today!”
Dog – (playing with the kids toys, pacifiers, old milk cups)
husband comes home from work
Husband (a cyclist) – “I’m going to go get my ride in. Be back in an hour.”
Me – “What? The house is a mess, dinner is almost ready, the baby needs another a diaper.”
Husband – “Well, I have to get my training ride in. You know this.”
Me – (silence and stress)
husband leaves on bike ride
Charlotte – “Mom, the dog just puked on the floor.”
Me – “I’m changing the baby. Can you grab a towel and try to clean it?”
Charlotte – “Okay, mom!”
Me – “No, that’s my white bathroom towel!”
I’m telling you, it’s chaotic around here. The dog is more work than the kids sometimes. Tuesdays and Thursdays are preschool days for Charlotte and we always forget to put her milk sippy cups in the sink before we jet out the door. Laila, the dog, finds the sippy cups, opens them up and licks the milk out. And, if we’ve left out our breakfast plates with eggs on them, she eats those too, then she pukes them up. She also loves to pull apart the baby snot suckers and lick the fresh snot out. Are you cringing yet?
I literally have to make a sink full of bleach water multiple times per week to sanitize everything that the dog has gotten a hold of. I mix 1 or 2 TBSP of Clorox Bleach with 1 gallon of water and let the sippy cups, nose suckers, pacifiers and any other toys sit in there to sanitize for about two minutes. I just let them air dry when I’m done. And, thank goodness I use white towels and white sheets. I usually have to run a white load of laundry with more bleach about once a week to sanitize the poop, spittup and dog puke-stained towels and sheets. I also discovered that the Comet brand spray cleaner works wonders on tile floors covered in spilled makeup and skincare products and is amazing and getting bubble bath grime off of the bathtub.
Side note: Try to use gloves when bleaching the house to avoid drying out your hands. If you’re looking for a quality pair of cleaning gloves, I recommend Clean Ones. Not only are they comfortably and protective, they are super cute, too. My favorites are the Pure Comfort pink gloves. Clean Ones have been around since before I was born and their gloves make the cleaning process so much safer and easier.
When I lay down for bed each night around 9pm and turn on the TV to watch my shows, or when I’m hiding in the bathroom for a moment of peace and quite, my mind often drifts as I reflect on the day. I’m learning to look beyond the messes of motherhood and I’m learning to see the joy and memories that were made, even if was the joy of cleaning up poop or puke or old sippy cups. This is time that I’m bonding with my daughters and I’m really trying to learn to enjoy these moments because they do go by fast.
Life is messy. Life is stressful. Life is fun.
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