Go Clean Your Room (or why am I frantically tidying the house before a playdate)

Living Room

Did you all have a nice weekend? We had a Superbowl Party. I won’t lie. It did turn in to a bit of a Bacchanalian fracas.

It was supposed to be a nice chill, laid back afternoon. Jon invited a couple friends over; I did the same. Jon set about preparing mozzarella meatball sliders, I focused on the important course of the meal – carrot cake and peanut butter brownies. It was a gluten-free bonanza, yo! (Lookitmee, all domestic-like.)

And then we put the boys down for a nap. Before bum-rushing the living room to frantically try and make the house look presentable.

About two feet deep into a pile of Lego’s, Jon looked up at me. “We ALL have kids. Why are we desperately trying to clean the place before a playdate? Why can’t we just say, ‘Yeah, our house is a disaster zone. This is what it looks like.’”

Because sometimes, while the kids are playing with their imaginary friends, I like to indulge in my own imaginary fantasies of still having some semblance of control over my life.

And you know damn well every other parent does the same.

The 1950s had the Man of the House. The 60s were hot on its heels with the era of the woman. (Burn those bras!)* Today is the time of the toddler.

Let us hold no delusions on who rules the roost. And the parents work to send them to daycare and pay for gymnastics class. (To be clear – there is no price to pay for a padded rubber room that burns excess tiny-person energy.)

As I stacked trucks, sorted balls, re-shelved books, searched for corresponding puzzle pieces, compiled kitchen accouterments, parked Hot Wheels, put away stuffed animals, hid brooms and ball-popper lawn mowers, all while warily eying Lucky the Possessed Pony, the walls of futility closed around me.

Note: The irony of the obsessive desire my children have for sweeping and vacuuming (often leading me to question their maternity) is not lost on me.

Sunday’s used to be the pinnacle of lazy relaxation. Now it’s considered relaxing if no one is screaming or bleeding. (Mother. Of. The. Year. Vote now.)

Heeeeeyyyy – did you know we have carpeting on our living room floor? It’s blue. Strike that – did you know we have a living room floor?

Who knew?!

I basked in the glory of my neat and tidy abode. We welcomed guests – they were awed. (SUPERMOM!)

And then the muppets woke up. Clearly sensing a disturbance in the force.

Silently using their tiny Jedi powers** (or at least refusing to talk), the boys silently made their way down the stairs – coerced only by bribery with crackers. (Crackers. The gateway carb to SUGAR AND PASTRIES!) With four Ritz clutched firmly in their little hands, they stealthily made their way into the living room.

All the adult heads turned with the first crash. Search and Destroy visibly relaxed with that initial cascade of Duplo Legos. From there they moved on to gears, guys and every other small plastic object found asunder.

It took an hour to make the living room look presentable. (Please note – I do not claim to have actually “cleaned” it.) It took less than 2 minutes for it to be returned to its typical toy-strewn state.

This made it much more appealing an environment when, drunk on cupcakes and apple juice, the clothes started coming off. The father of the now de-pantsed girl simply shrugged, clearly admitting defeat.

I do not think he noticed the transformation of serene well-kept house to the aftermath of Hurricane Sugar-Amped Toddler.

I laughed as our well-meaning guests attempted to help clean up after the game. (At this point I no longer know if I am referring to the Big Game of football that was on the television or the tag-teaming of parents to ensure no small person met an untimely demise – or ate that last one-too-many cracker, which would result in the untimely demise of a parent.)

“I know,” they sympathized. “This is what our house looks like daily. Just with more high-pitched squealing since we have girls.”

“RAWRRRR!” thundered Destroy as a whirlwind of arms, legs, crumbs and toys swirled past.

Parents. I move to wave the white flag. Let us put aside such foolish notions of “having it all.” By which I of course mean that we have any control over our house.

Take pride in the laundry pile! It means clothes have been washed; you can put them away when you’re done with the loads (which is never). Feel accomplished when you find a clean plate! It means you’re making progress in the now 2-hour chore of unloading the dishwasher.

Choose naps and showers over scrubbing the tile floor with baking soda and vinegar. Those rugrats are exhausting. And, as it turns out, they track a lot more dirt than the dogs. (“Put the marker down and slowly back away, young man…”)

Wear parenthood with pride.


(Except Lucky the Possessed Pony – that furry demon is never getting batteries back.)

*I have boobs. Girls need support. Therefore I do not support bra burning. Thank you Beyoncé for once again making curves hot.

**I have totally seen the Star Wars movies. Granted it took until 2005, when Jon sat me down and was all, “This is ridiculous, we’re watching these” – but I’ve seen them now.


Filed under Home, Parenting, Toys

3 Responses to Go Clean Your Room (or why am I frantically tidying the house before a playdate)

  1. Nancy Welker Caracciolo

    Gluten free bonanza? If you have good GF recipes for carrot cake and brownies – do share. Anything I’ve ever eaten tastes like paste or cardboard.

    As for the cleaning, I leave the “Get Well Cards” out so people will know I’ve been too wiped out to clean.

  2. Joanne Hamann

    Putting all those damn Legos away? Ah, I remember it well. Useless. And, when the child (ren) takes over the office and you need an appointment time to get on your own computer, you admit defeat to the teenager – I guess it never ends 🙂

  3. Pingback: Generational Friendships | Stream of the Conscious

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