This is a re-running of a guest post I wrote for Studio 30+ yesterday.
I am of the belief that all women are granted an invisible pair of blinders upon the birth of a child. I’ve surmised that these blinders are affixed to the mother’s head by a delivery room angel, and they forever change the perspective of even the neatest of neat freaks by making the messes that their offspring create virtually nonexistent. The size of the blinders is directly proportional to the number of years the woman has been a mother as well as to the number of children running amok in her home.
Let me be clear. These blinders are not an impediment. They are a blessing. They make living amidst childhood grime more or less tolerable.
Diapers? Fingerprints? Spilled milk? Meh. All in a day’s work. Merely a backdrop for the setting of life with kids.
It’s a well-documented fact, friends.
Now. It is also widely known that the effects of these blinders can be instantaneously negated by the anticipation of houseguests.
Fellow parents do not count. They have been fitted with Grime Blinders as well and are as impervious to your grime as they are to their own.
I’m talking child-free friends. *cue ominous organ music*
The type of well-meaning friends that don’t mean to judge. They just do. I used to do it myself, until the birth of The Twins eleven years ago. I’d walk into the homes of my friends with small children, size up the dishevelment, and smugly think, “What on earth happened to these people? They used to keep such a clean home. When I have kids? This is so not happening.”
And yet it did. By way of example, I cite last Wednesday. My Hip Single Friend from the City called to inform me that she would be visiting her parents out in my neck of suburbia, and that she would love to pop in before returning to The City. Being the gracious, go-with-the-flow kind of gal that I am, I responded that I would love nothing more than a pop-in from my dear friend.
As I hung up the telephone, I suddenly felt the Grime Blinders being lifted from my face.
And in their absence? I was acutely aware of my big old stinking mess of a house that, just moments before, had gone undetected.
I glanced around the kitchen and took note of the Lucky Charms marbits squashed to a powdery pulp beneath the barstools along my kitchen island.
I winced at the dog snot on the windows and doors.
My gaze followed the length of the hallway and settled upon a doorframe in the mud room. Child-sized footprints dotted the moulding, commemorating Twin B’s dabbling in ninja feats of agility.
While I did not actually witness the dabbling in real time…
…the boy left his Flip Camera lying on the kitchen counter, cued up to the evidence.
But I digress. It was of no consequence to me who had committed the crimes against cleanliness. All that mattered is that there was mess. And I had Company coming.
Child-Free Company. *again with the organ music*
What’s a homeowner to do?
I’ll tell you what I do.
I prioritize, friends. There is only so much that can be accomplished on short notice. I determine the greatest area of need and act. Quickly. And the Mess Makers help me.
I have Twin A and the Small One execute the Swoop and Dump Maneuver, leaving piles of clutter in the seldom-used guest bedroom before locking the door and refusing all entry for the evening.
I enlist the help of my geriatric Weimaraner in removing the crumbs under the kitchen table. Her sight may be failing as well as her bladder control, but she can still smell a stray Lucky Charms marbit from three rooms away.
I spray Twin B with Endust and have him tear through the house with his ninja-like speed, karate-chopping cobwebs at every turn.
I do what I can and pray that the judgement will not be too harsh.
And I smile to myself, comforted by the knowledge that one day, God willing, my Hip Single Friend from the City will be blessed with children and fitted with her very own pair of Grime Blinders.