This I Believe

Lisa - Yankton, South Dakota
Entered on November 24, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

This I Believe…

I believe that housework can wait. It has taken me many years to come to the realization that the most important things in life have nothing to do with how clean your house is.

When my first child was born twelve years ago, I remember spending hours every day vacuuming, dusting, and straightening. I would put my daughter in the baby backpack, strap her in and together we would spend our days cleaning and dusting.

As each child came along there was more laundry to wash, more dishes to clean, and endless toys to pick up. There was so much that needed to be done that I would schedule certain days for certain tasks. Oftentimes I would turn down friends, phone calls, and activities because I was cleaning the house.

Once the kids were old enough for play dates, my cleaning obsession was reaching its peak. I had to stay up late the night before scrubbing toilets and floors, ensuring the house was immaculate for the parents and kids arriving for a two hour visit.

Holidays also became an obsession filled cleaning frenzy. Everyone in the house would scramble around doing their part to whip the house in tiptop shape for company who only visited once or twice a year.

In September 2005 I had to have a hysterectomy and was off my feet for several weeks. It was during this time that I learned that housework can wait. I opened my eyes to the great kids I had that spent more time cleaning their rooms than playing outside. I realized I had wasted many years obsessing over my house and neglecting the people inside.

My house today is no longer immaculate. There are dust bunnies under the beds and at times on the shelves. I don’t obsess over the toys or the shine on the countertops. I don’t vacuum the floors every day anymore, and yes there’s laundry I need to wash right now.

Now when the kids ask to play a game, I know I can put down the dishtowel and play. Housework is something that has to be done, but not always right now. When people are coming over, I no longer run around like a madwoman scrubbing and cleaning. I straighten up if needed and realize they are coming to see us, not the gleam of my sinks.

If you stop by for a visit you may have to drop your shoes on the pile of sneakers by the door. You might also have to step over the toys we are playing with. You may have to overlook the fingerprints on the window. However, you will have my attention, and the coffee is always ready for sipping over great conversation. Don’t worry, my house isn’t always this messy, it’s just that right now I have more important things to do.