The dinner dishes are piled high. The floor is in desperate need of vacuuming. Laundry is sitting in my bedroom (miraculously folded) waiting to be put away. Toys are strewn across the living room.
What am I doing?
Sitting here writing.
It’s not that I don’t do housework. I do. A lot. I can scrub a mean toilet if I do say so myself. In fact, I’m a better housekeeper now than I ever was before I had a kid – although you wouldn’t know by looking at my home.
The truth is, I don’t make it my top priority. When I’m not spending time with my kid, I would rather be writing or reading. I often have to make a choice between writing the next blog or refolding and putting away the kid’s clothes for the 1000th time after she’s pulled them all out of her dresser. Nine times out of ten, the blog wins.
Even on that one time out of ten that housecleaning takes precedence, my mind is still on that next idea. When I’m doing the dishes, I’m brainstorming a post idea. The socks I’m sorting become characters and develop their own tragic tale of estrangement and miraculous reunification – except one whose mate was lost forever. It’s all very Steinbeck-y.
Inevitably, I have to stop what I’m doing at some point to write down these ideas so I don’t forget in the hustle and bustle of dusting the tops of picture frames. (Just kidding – Who actually does that?)
I find solace in the fact that my house is generally a complete disaster by reassuring myself that no writer has a clean house. (Except maybe J.K. Rowling, but she’s magic, so that’s not fair.)
I want to believe that I’m not alone in taking advantage of these rare moments of silence to tune into my thoughts and write rather than vacuuming cheerios off the floor for the third time that day.
I don’t know about you, but as a work at home mom, I feel a lot of pressure to do it all. I mean, I’m already home all day. Why shouldn’t the house be clean? So, at first, I tried to juggle the chores, the writing, and the child care. Sometimes, I actually did get it all done. But those were the days that I didn’t shower and got only a few hours of sleep.
After a few weeks of doing that (I showered in that time, I promise!), I realized that it was either scale back and choose my priorities or crash and burn. Obviously, child care is the first priority. So second priority became writing.
My family doesn’t live in squalor, and we do eat hot meals (most nights – KFC counts, right?) I don’t neglect my family and home in favor of typing on my computer. I’ve simply realized that I’m never going to achieve perfection. The best I can hope for is a workable balance by prioritizing the things that are most important to me.
So there you have it. That’s why my house is never clean.
Keep your eyes peeled for my next bestseller: “A Tale of Two Feet: The Perils of Laundered Separates.”