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Getting My Sh!t Together: The Toxic Romance of Weekend Cleaning

The art of achieving goals takes practice. Like a fat kid at football camp I hate practicing when it comes to housework. I often get bogged down in worry or thinking about the laundry list of items I need to manage.

Actually, sometimes I lose precious sleep over the literal baskets of laundry stacked in my bedroom.

The struggle is real!!!

Every weekend, like clockwork, the same internal dialogue takes place:"Today I will fold the clothes and wash the dishes. Today is the day or ELSE!"

I can't really tell you what "or else" means but I seem to operate best under the threat.

I write it down. I purchase a pretty planner and get that shit on paper. I actualize the completion of laundry by visualizing it first. Baskets with neatly folded clothes eager to join their comrades in drawers. The vacuum calls me from the corner of living room beckoning me to take it for a spin. My broom whispers sweet sonnets for sweeping reminding me of the glory days before kids (One mine, two blending that I love like mine in case you were wondering).

The anticipation of cleaning overtakes my need to nap or go for a drive to the mountains. I tell myself the “sheer joy of tidying” will enfold me like a lover on a beach somewhere in Caribbean. I will spend all of Sunday meal prepping fresh food into beautiful salads, gluten free casseroles, and snacks for the week. Who knows I might even bake?! The romance of all me.

Ahhhh but first I better research best practices because, you know, science. Youtube and Pinterest host the experts. Marie Kondo has a show now. I better tune in to some episodes in the spirit of finding a good mentor.

Romance takes work and I am committed partner. It’s the Virgo in me.

Hours, nay, possibly days later:

Youtube organizing hacks rob me of my time. I watched every episode of Marie Kondo's show. Pinterest provided more ideas I can handle in one tiny weekend.

  • I need to go buy bins.

  • I need to flit over to the grocery store to buy all the gorgeous ingredients for healthy living.

  • I need to get my shit together. I'll be the envy of the town. I'll even wear pants with a button for my errands. Moms will want to be me. (Ok that's excessive).

Wait. Why am I still on freakin’ YouTube? How is it noon already? How did I start this journey on Saturday and it's FUCKING SUNDAY! Where’s my damn inner peace?

I throw on a hat, leggings, and a coat of mascara. I wrangle children in the van with promises of donuts or dollar cars. I panic. My list won't pull up on my phone (damn internet app) and we can't seem to get through the aisles without tears or crashing into little old ladies.

There has to a better way. I am achieving this weekend! I'm in OR ELSE mode!

The fruit and vegetables now lay lost under boxes of cereal, juice boxes and Little Debbies. I went about this in all the wrong way. Anxiety attack times a million. How do normal people do this?

Kids have started snacking on my purchases. Someone wants soda. NOOOOOO!

Literal grocery store tears start streaming down my fat adult cheeks. “Everyone. Just calm the flip down!”

I haul all the groceries in, lament on my lack of bins, turn on Marie Kondo again and start putting food in the fridge. I throw away food that doesn't give me joy thanks to mold and expiration dates.

The dishes pile in the sink, my son begs to play Guess Who and I'm the best opponent, and the laundry needs folded. No matter what hacks I find and no matter how many times I will myself to complete a weekend of tasks I find myself prioritizing laying on the couch after all this.

It’s hard to find motivation when there IS SO MUCH TO DO. My relationship with cleaning lost it's spark. The romance faded while I hauled trash bags to the outdoor cans. I need an intervention Pinterest cannot provide.

Bins or no bins, love or no love, I'm determined. I can't take selfies in this situation or everyone will know just how long I've neglected the mail residing on the TV stand. (Why do I even keep it there? It's a pointless space for mail).


It's Wednesday I started writing on Saturday.

Here's what housework I accomplished between Saturday to today:

  • Kitchen. A small eat-in kitchen with no forgiveness for messes mocks me daily with dishes. I swept, mopped, and hand-washed five loads of dishes on Sunday alone. Please God send me a dishwasher.

  • Put all groceries away and organized the fridge contents so meal ingredients "live together" to help kids know what foods have a plan for later in the week. This keeps hands off so I won't need to shop again mid-week for unexpected items I purchased just days ago. Kid food for snacks is grouped, cheese lives in the correct drawer, and fruit is in front where all eyes can see.

  • Living room. A tiny living room turns into a living nightmare in seconds if you turn your back with three boy tornadoes. I vacuumed, made the couch look pretty (a fleeting moment), and gathered up items needing a better home. I thought about dusting and forgot to finish thus I still live in a massive allergen sanctuary. But it's a tidy sanctuary nonetheless.

  • Laundry. Four dudes and a lady create more laundry than I care to admit. The two littles serve as the worst offenders changing into costumes and outfits throughout the day. I washed, folded, and put away 4 loads of laundry and spent 15 minutes folding socks. I'll tackle more this week.

  • Bathroom. The tub grossed me out. So I scrubbed the sides and cleaned the walls. The Bear helped gather dirty clothes to take downstairs. I'm avoiding this space.

  • Bedroom. I completely ghosted my room after dedicating about 45 minutes to hanging up clothes I piled on my chair (rejected outfits) and picking up my make-up area. I need to stop neglecting this space so I can actually enjoy it again.

  • Meal planning. I prepped meals by listing out a dinner plan for the week and grocery shopping for items on the list. (Side note I hardly eat actual dinner with my family. I hate pork and can't have gluten. They love meat and delicious wheat so I cook it most nights to avoid complaining. I typically work on dishes, bring peeps BBQ sauce, drinks, or sneak in some time to watch a show while they eat. I stay close but use this time as a brief chance to unwind after coming straight home to cook. It’s sanity saving. Don’t judge).

Cleaning and household chores bog this mama down. It's a relationship I either love or hate. I feel it every single week and whenever I go into my messy bedroom. I get it. I can’t seem to hack my way into a more organized existence.

And I’m done thinking I lack the skills of a good mother and potential wife because of it. I‘m good material regardless of the cleanliness of my home.

As long as it keeps a certain sense of order I can manage. I can keep myself from crying in the chaos. But if my home steers a bit too far into the crazy I just need to call in the recruits. They are old enough to help anyway.

We can't Marie Kondo our lives by neglecting that life is happening right now. And if Marie taught me anything in a single Saturday Netflix Entire Season Session it's that I need to thank my home and cherish what I have in it, especially my family. If I stick too close to my ideal weekly chore binge I'm missing out on a weekend of quality time with people who miss me. As a mom with three jobs I can't afford to miss that time with them.

So in the spirit of balance I'm here to say I commit to re-igniting the spark of tidiness in my room between today and Saturday. I will wash the dishes and switch the laundry for my sanity. And I will snuggle and watch Southern Justice with my boys. I might even throw in a couple rounds of Uno. Each night I can dedicate several five minute chunks of time to tackle a task.

And I can allow myself to enjoy that success without guilt of what went undone. Building new patterns takes practice. A loyal Virgo to my core I can commit to this effort for change. And I will permit myself to let go.

Here‘s a tiny look into the mess.


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