Shortly after our third child was born a sweet neighbor friend called and arranged a visit. She said she’d bring her daughter and they wouldn’t stay long, she just wanted to meet the new baby and give me a chance to do any chores or errands I needed to get done. She even offered to watch the baby so I could take a nap if I needed one.
There was no pressure to impress in her tone, but for someone trying to hold the badge of Super Mom (as I always was back then), I hung up the phone and busted through my house cleaning it better than I had during the previous nine months, heck, probably the previous three years!
I don’t know what I thought I had to prove, but I know the answer was “nothing”.
I was deeply sleep-deprived, and a nap was just about the greatest gift I could’ve received.
Oh, if only I would have accepted it.
I had kid-friendly snacks prepared on our perfectly polished countertops. I had vacuumed nice straight rows across the carpet, and the house smelled of something wonderful coming from the oil diffuser. I think Lemon Eucalyptus was my go-to back then.
The windows were wiped cleaned to let ample light stream in, and remove any fingerprints and dry erase marker scribbles left by my oldest two children.
When my friend and her daughter arrived I greeted them and offered goldfish, apple sauce cups, little clementine oranges, sliced cheese, and crackers.
Hey, it was the best I could come up with on short notice. Mind you these were the days I lived with a 2-inch thick hospital-grade post-partum pad shoved between my legs.
That, combined with nursing a baby every 15-30 minutes meant there was a zero percent chance that I could hit the store even for something prepackaged.
It felt so good to see real people again after an exhausting last two weeks of pregnancy and a short hospital stay. I told myself the cleaning was worth the effort, but I know now that was most likely a lie. ha!
My friend wouldn’t have cared one bit, and with her kind heart, I’m sure she would’ve truly let me nap while she cleaned my home better than it ever had been done before.
Regardless, we sat on the couch and talked for a bit as the kids played on the floor at our feet.
After about 15 minutes she said she’d hold the baby so I could get any cleaning done I needed to do, or rest.
Had she not seen the SPARKLE I scrubbed into every surface? She assured me the house looked great and I was doing a great job, but there must be something I needed to do.
“Perhaps, laundry?” she suggested.
Oh yes, I actually had been meaning to switch over the laundry for a while. It kept popping into my head when I was sitting with the baby, unable to get up and actually do it.
At this time, my husband had still never run a washing machine, so new baby or not, this task was all on me.
As I handed off the baby and rounded the corner to the mudroom/laundry room I was met with a mess the size of TEXAS!
Our laundry room doubled as our mudroom, junk room, and the entry of our home through the garage.
My friend had entered our home through the garage and walked right through there…
How could I forget that little room existed in my efforts to make my home showroom-ready?!
The hamper I kept tucked in the corner of the room seemed to miss all of the clothes as they were scattered across the floor, and there was a certain… odor. Nothing like the fragrant aroma from the oil diffuser, and nothing that even the oil diffuser could mask (if you diffuse oils, you have a good idea of how bad this stench was then, don’t you?)
As I opened the washer to switch over the laundry I realized what I thought had been hours of waiting to move the clothes to the dryer, must have been days.
Oh boy! Have you ever left clothes in an old top-loader for D.A.Y.S.?
I started the load up again with some detergent and the hottest water setting, in hopes, the clothes weren’t ruined.
I scooped the dirty clothes off the floor as fast as I could and piled them into the hamper as tight as possible, stepping down into it, to get as many under britches up off the floor and out of sight as possible. Oh lordy!
The lessons I learned in this season of life?
*When a friend offers help, swallow your damn pride and take it. You don’t need to clean before they show up, really!
*When you put the laundry in the washer, set a timer, make a note, whatever you’ve gotta do, just don’t leave it in there forever. haha
*While you’re trying to be so good at one thing, you might be lacking in another. Give yourself grace, LOTS and LOTS of grace.
*And lastly, when the hospital offers to send you home with some extra military-grade pads that you swear you’ll never use, just take ‘em because I’m telling you, you will. No matter how uncomfortable they are, you can sleep better than your baby without worry of making a bloody mess the size of a giant laundry pile.