Three Times Worse.

Has anyone ever told you that things happen in threes?  Maybe it’s just how Momma raised me, but usually if something went wrong, we’d be on the lookout for two more things to finish the sequence.

Well, Thursday was my day of threes.  First, Brian and I were both in a huff towards one another.  (You know, one of those alarm-didn’t-go-off-whose-fault-is-it? morning dramas.)  Then I had a retail experience that made me suspect that I was being taken for a ride.  (Don’t care to elaborate on that one.)  Naturally, I called Momma to inform her of my suspicions.  But before I could say a peep, I heard something roughly to this effect:

(Btw, X = cabinet/desk/dresser/furniture stuff)

“You know, I was just getting ready to call you!  I bought [x] for Olivia’s room and [x] for Donovan’s room and I wanted to give them a lecture when they got home about how, now that they have these things, they need to keep their stuff picked up better.  Because it’s disrespectful to me if they leave their stuff laying around on the floor because I got them those things.  And then I was thinking… they’re going to be spending the weekend with you and, well, honestly, your bedroom is three times worse than theirs.  And I just don’t know what to tell them now.”

Ahhhhh… So this must be what it feels like to be kicked in the balls.

Now, I’m not vilifying Momma here.  It’s not that I wish she didn’t say it; it’s just that I wish it wasn’t true.  To be fair, Momma and I talked later and she certainly didn’t mean to hurt my feelings.  She understands that I have a job and a baby and that Brian’s working two jobs, so it’s harder to stay on top of the whole house.

That said, the bedroom being messy is just a reflection of that fact that I’m definitely inclined to put myself last.  Would having a bedroom that feels like a sanctuary be wonderful?  Heck, yeah.  But guests don’t dine in my bedroom and Bennett doesn’t sleep in my bedroom.  Being as it usually remains cloaked behind a closed door, my bedroom is on the bottom of my house-cleaning priority list.  But I’ve heard time and time again that moms need to take time for themselves and be good to themselves, etc.  Apparently not living like you’re the caboose at the end of the “important train” is a smart move.

And I don’t want to model sloppiness to Bennett, but I have a hard time knowing how to juggle and multitask.  He’s only going to be a baby once, so I value the chances that I can soak up these fleeting moments.  Does that mean that I’m investing less time in putting things away?  Yes.

Do any of you older and/or wiser readers out there have any good advice on “cleaning as you go” or keeping up after yourself and/or your family a little better?  I’m so full of excuses, but there’s got to be a way!


  1. August 3, 2013

    You’ve seen my house…just your bedroom, I’d say your doing great!

  2. August 3, 2013

    As you know, my perspective on this changed the moment the words came out of my mouth. But, it was too late to take it back. 🙁

    THEY really don’t have an excuse … it’s not at all like YOUR situation …. THEY are not working a job, or two … AND raising a baby … AND cleaning an entire house, not just one room … AND taking care of the yard … AND the garage … and your myriad other responsibilities, like this blog. 🙂

    So, yeah, they’re still getting a lecture … and I’ll be sure to tell them that they can’t let someone else’s room/house be a comparison. :p

    I know I don’t need to remind you of what I said later, but I’ll say it again … you are an AWESOME MOM … one thing I noticed while watching Bennett … he is the most well-rounded infant I have ever come across. I love that you let him explore, even though it might mean a bump or two, and how happy he is … really, really, really happy … he obviously loves both of you. I loved looking into his eyes while he explored and discovered new things, and the way he would look at me and we would smile. 🙂 I love how you exert confidence in your role as a Mom and how much of yourself you have invested in being a Mom, like researching and making his own baby food, pumping your milk at work, finding the best toys for him that are fun and educational, reading to him and taking the time to snuggle him.

    Yes, these moments will pass quickly and before you know it he will be getting his learner’s permit. *sigh* But, do take time for yourself and do take advantage of these two visiting you to get some things done that you don’t otherwise have the time to get done.


  3. August 3, 2013
    Erin McDonald

    After reading what your momma wrote and reading that you call your momma ” momma” i have decided that we could related some how. I totally let my kids try things even if they end up with a bump or a black face from licking my shoe, and well our mothers might be related too because my mother ALWAYS says bad things come in threes!! ALWAYS!! Loveyour style

  4. August 3, 2013

    I was an impeccable (read neurotic) housekeeper prior to having kids, but after trying to maintain that standard for a few weeks after my first was born I read an article about a woman that hosted a playdate at her house and her kids started scolding the visting children about getting fingerprints on the sliding glass door. It was then that she realized that she was not letting them be kids.

    I am happy to say I read that when my first was a baby and took it to heart. I did not want to be that mom. I wanted to be the mom that let her kids be kids and welcomed their friends. While it has not been easy – the fingerprints and dust and every other thing undone still drive me crazy every time I see them – it has been joyful to spend time with my kids and learn with them the wonders of childhood. I always say my house is always neat but never clean. I try to pick things up and neaten them every few days to keep the piles to a minimum and keep things feeling ‘homey’, but I rarely clean. If you come to my house it will be clean because your arrival is an occasion to clean – but know that the day before you arrived it was not that way! Yes – I do clean the bathrooms and vacuum now and then (read when things start growing in there HA HA) – just not as often as I did before I was a mom. Now my kids are getting old enough to help clean and that is a TRULY joyful thing. 🙂

    You are making the right choice to spend time with your son. The communication and relationships you are establishing now will benefit all of you for your lifetimes. He will turn to you for support, encouragement and love at all times. You will find time to straighten the bedroom once again as he demands less of your time and if not, you can have it neat and tidy once you have launched him out into the world! 🙂 That is our primary job as moms! Not being a good housekeeper!

  5. August 3, 2013
    Becca shaw

    Oh girrrrrl….i stay home and my husband has only one job and our bedroom (and upstairs landing) is always a disaster. Just when i get the gumption to clean it, i have to reorganize clothes, i get a windfall of something i have no place for, i have laundry that needs putting away but dont have the energy for it, etc. when i talk to other moms, i hear a recurring theme “it is just a season.” One day bennett will be old enough to help, feed himself, be left for an hour by himself while you attack a project…but right now the dynamics of our houses are in a unique season. It does not mean it is our lack of attention is why certain parts of our house (or worse, a severe character flaw) but that we only have a certain amount of time in a day with a necessity to prioritize. I think of Mary and Martha and Jesus’ words: “Mary has chosen what is better.” Our dust and cluttered messes we will always have, but our sons’ perpetual attention we will not. One day they will prefer riding bikes with their friends to gurgling at us at all hours of the day. We will have plenty of time to clean our rooms then 🙂

    Oh, and i had a train wreck of a day yesterday too! Except in our family, there is no “rule of three’s” but a profound connection to dreams. I had a nightmare that i lost Carter in a public place and was on edge all day. Turns out we lost Carter’s bear lovey instead (at a dr appt where i was getting Cooper checked out for a tick bite…which also had me anxious). After a frantic hunt on ebay, we have a replacement to arrive next week, but a VERY sad 2 yr old until then! Loooooong day. Sigh.

  6. August 3, 2013
    Laura Stone

    Oh suzy. I have been where you are. I wish someone would have told me this. I had to figure it out on my own. I got myself a nice timer from Anthropologie. (Because pretty times help you be more productive haha.) What I do is for 5 min in the morning I take up all water glasses or plates that are in our bedroom and family room. Then I put all dirty clothes in the laundry room, then I make our bed. At night I will change our sheets once a week or dust. I have only been doing this for two weeks. But by spending 20 min upstairs everyday cleaning and 10min down stairs some how my house has managed to stay clean. It used to take me hours. But little by little it has gotten cleaner. Now I am to the point where my bed room is very close to feeling like a place of peace. You will get there you just need to find 3 min here and 3 min there. Justin and I do this one trick that might help. When ever we are leaving a room if there are extra dishes or laundry or a trashcan is full we fill up all that we can carry and take care of it. taking 30 seconds to get something done is a lot easier than waiting all week and it taking so much more time. It makes me think of that scripture where it mentions little by little it is in proverbs.

  7. August 3, 2013
    Aunt Ethelyn

    You are getting a lot of good advice from friends. I too spent too much time and effort on keeping things clean and not spending time with the kids. Of course, our first years were in a mobile home so I was always in their sight–but it required a lot of effort to keep it clean. BUT I concentrated on keeping it too clean. Who needs to wash down walls more than once a year? Who needs to vaccum carpets EVERY day? Who needs to dust daily? Not me any more. A hundred years from now, whether your bedroom was clean won’t mean a thing, but the life of your son will have left an impression. My quilter friends like to say, “If you won’t see it from a galloping horse, don’t worry.”

  8. August 5, 2013
    Aunt Manny

    um, it’s called O.C.D. Yep. that’s what keeps me keepin this place tidy. However, my bedroom is also always the last. No one sees it so, who cares. 😛

  9. August 5, 2013
    Aunt Manny

    BTW, I laughed my bum off when you said “balls”. LOLOLOLOL

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