I wake up and go downstairs, head a little foggy. I didn’t get quite enough sleep last night. Entering the kitchen, I see that my husband had left me small “gifts” in the sink – the dishes he had used for his own breakfast but didn’t bother washing. “Darn,” I think to myself. “Do I REALLY need to clean up after him?”
I don’t have to, of course, but I often do. I also don’t have to clean after children who, at ages 10 and 12, are more and more capable of taking care of themselves – and of their mess. But I often do clean up after everyone, mostly because my standards of cleanliness and orderliness are higher than everyone else’s in this household, so I notice – and mind – messes that they don’t even see.
But after a long month without the kids (they stayed with their grandparents part of the summer), and then a week alone as my husband flew to bring them back, I suddenly don’t care about any of it. I love them so much, I am so happy to have everyone back under the same roof again, that I gladly accept the mess it brings and much prefer it to a pristine, empty house.
I still think it’s important that children learn to contribute to the household as soon as they can. A young woman I know wrote in a blog that’s no longer online “I can’t recall even the mere notion of actually doing a chore ever even crossing my mind. Household tasks seemed to magically get done, and I never cared to ponder how my food-coated plate moved from the table to the dishwasher and back into the cupboard, or how the dirty clothes that I threw down the laundry chute reappeared in my dresser drawers, clean and stain-free.” This is NOT how I want my kids to grow up, although I suspect they do, for now.
I also have to admit that even if I often clean up after my husband, he does take on tasks that I much rather delegate, such as house and car maintenance.
But my main point is, that I’m happy. So happy, that I don’t mind cleaning after my family as long as they stay here, with me, forever! I’m not sure how long this blissful state of things is going to last. I suspect I’ll be back to complaining fairly soon. But for now, I SO relate to a friend’s recent posting on Facebook, where she said, “The baby birds are back, each in its own nest with its own jet lag. Mama bird couldn’t be happier.” 🙂