Saturday, September 22, 2012

I'm waving the white flag (and it looks like a dirty pillow case)

I've pulled my kids away from the front of bumpers and off bridge railings, so you'd think that the little things wouldn't stress me out. You know what's got me worked up right now? The fact that a friend with a brand new home who never has even a speck of lint on the rug wants to visit. Help!

People think your home is a reflection of your personality, your tastes, and style. Let's be clear: my home is a reflection of my income and energy level! If I had the money and time, my cabinets would be white maple with silver handles, my eating area would be surrounded by (always sparkling) bay windows, and my closet would fit all my clean clothes at once!

Some say painting your cupboards or replacing the hardware can go a long way. Not if your cupboard doors are peeling beige melamine with wood finger pulls! And without knocking out the back wall, there will never be a comfy way to seat more than four around my eat-in-kitchen table.

Come out with your gloves up!

T and I met with our school psychologist Miss Congeniality this week and I mentioned my feelings of home-sickness. She responded, "You can either change what's embarrassing you, or decide to stop feeling embarrassed." In other words: get a second and third job to pay for a new kitchen, and give up all your hobbies and family time to keep it perpetually clean, OR, if you like your well-balanced, love-filled life, stop worrying about it! Don't get stuck!

(She also suggested, whenever someone comes over, putting on rubber gloves and answering the door with, "I was just cleaning the bathroom," in case they go into the bathroom. After they leave, pack away the gloves, and return to life as usual. :) I love her.)

Yes, Master!

I do want to get the kids more involved in cleaning up, and Miss Congeniality had a great idea for making cleaning fun: the slave/master game. Set a timer, and for 5 minutes, one family member gets to boss the other around: "put the Lego in the box, stack those papers neatly, dust that shelf," and then switch. Even if the kids each spend only 5 minutes cleaning, it's amazing how much can get done! And who doesn't like bossing their parent or sibling around?

Well okay, G doesn't. When we tried this today, she couldn't get her head around the fact that we were breaking the social rules and being big bad bullies to each other. Even when I compared the game to light sabre battles to the death (which would be really mean in real life, but which she pretends all the time), she didn't get it.

But K and I had a great time. While G went to dump Barbie clothes in her room, K told me where to file the drawings all over his floor, table, bed, and dresser, and in 5 minutes, we got them all sorted. And he picked all the Nerf guns and plastic lizards off the rec room carpet. Done!

Qualico, I'm ready for ya!

I'll be K's slave any day, but I don't want to stay a slave to my embarrassment. I'll probably never shut-up the style-conscious, clean-freak in my head, but until I publish my bestseller and make big bucks (ha!), this is the home I've got. So I'm going to go to the Parade of Homes this week and look at all the uncluttered granite counters and the ensuite baths that are bigger than my living room, smile, and then come home to write poetry and kiss my kids goodnight.

In the battle of Angeline versus the teeny, tacky (Is that syrup?) home, I surrender! I choose sanity!