Happy Holidays! Can you even believe Christmas is right around the corner? I still have gifts to buy, decorations to put up, and (before I can even start decorating) an unbelievably messy house to clean. Yes, I hate to admit it, but my house is a DISASTER. I’m not quite ready to land on reality TV, but it’s still overwhelming.
Now, I should clarify: my house isn’t DIRTY. There’s no mold, or rotting food, or piles of trash. We don’t have mice, or cockroaches (one of the benefits of living in Colorado). The house doesn’t stink, and I even scrub the toilets on a pretty regular basis. But good lord, do we have clutter! Piles of shoes and mittens by the door, stuffed animals and books and Legos in the living room, and so much mail and homework on the kitchen table that it’s hard to find a place to eat. The hallway is filled with baskets of clean laundry nobody wants to put away, half the kitchen counter is covered with stuff my husband promised to take to the garage, and the pantry is becoming a game of Tetris. Even my bathtub is littered with toys.
Yeah. It’s that bad. I’m a friggin’ hot mess. And here’s the thing: our entire family will be coming HERE for Christmas.
I’ll be honest: I’m beginning to panic. The thing is, DH and I both come from cluttered homes. We’ve come by our slipshod ways honestly. My father tends to hoard mail, newspapers, and magazines, my mother hoards crafting stuff, and DH’s mother hoards… well, just about everything. So on the bright side, our parents don’t judge us when they drop by and have to face an obstacle course to reach the family room, but still, that’s not an excuse to leave it messy. After all, this is Christmas. We’ll be cooking food and eating and drinking, then opening presents, all of which will make an even bigger mess. And better to put that mess in a clean space instead of on top of the existing mess, right? RIGHT?
How does that even make any sense?
That’s the thing about cleaning: it never lasts. You pick everything up just so you have an empty canvas to fill with clutter again. It’s like shoveling while it’s still snowing – you just can’t win, and the only thing you really succeed in doing is making yourself a bit more frazzled. So why bother? No matter how clean the house is when all those guests arrive Christmas morning, it’ll still be a mess – filled with torn paper, new toys, and empty wine glasses – by the time they all leave at the end of the day.
So where does that leave me? Well, still panicking. Still sure I have to clean. And (having confessed all that publicly), feeling a bit like I do in those dreams where I’m giving a lecture only to look down and realize I forgot to put on a shirt and bra. But in the end, whatever happens, we’ll have fun. We’ll enjoy each other’s company. We’ll open presents, and ooh and aah, and take turns playing with my daughter’s new toys. We’ll eat too much and drink too much and doze on couches and in chairs as well as we can. We’ll watch football on one TV, and Firefly on the other, and laugh frequently. We’ll be a family.
And I’ll live to clean the mess another day.