I just took a walk around the perimeter of my house, and it made me a little sick.
In places, it's tough to tell the weeds from the budding plants. Dandelions have infiltrated my grass. The mulch layer is pretty sparse. My deck needs to be power washed and stained. And don't even get me started on my windows.
I used to be so on top of it all. What happened?
When I first became a wife, I read the handbook. I tried to have a decent meal on the table most nights after work. (I said I tried.) The house was tidy, the gardens flourishing, the car sparkling.
When I became a stay-at-home-mom, I apparently became Superwoman. Not only was the above still in check, but I was a playgroup starter, a room mother, a PTC committee chairperson and one of those annoying people who made homemade play-dough for their kids on a regular basis. I had the extra wipes, the stash of band-aids, and the spare pair of clothes in case of an "accident".
I was on it.
But something's happened along the way, and I just can't put my finger on it.
My kids are a bit older now, and I'm a single working mom - a writer, which means I don't keep regular hours. The house isn't quite as clean as it used to be - oh, it's tidy - but I don't polish my light fixtures or dust the cobwebs from the corners like I used to. I honestly can't remember the last time I mopped my floor. (When we got new kitchen tile, I requested the color of dirt.)
I still carry the extra wipes and band-aids, but if any of you have seen my younger son lately you may have noticed that I've plain given up on combing his hair. And though I am still a member of the PTC, I've scaled down quite a bit, using the excuse that it's time to wean the veterans and bring in the rookies. (I've been there for a total of 8 years now.)
Our meals consist of a rotating menu: Make Your Own Sandwich Night, Refrigerator Roundup, Breakfast for Dinner, Takeout, and my favorite, Freezer Fiesta. And we're lucky to eat before 7 pm.
So what's happened? Is this the Mom Metamorphosis? Have I emerged from the confines of Obsessive Compulsive Homemaking and into the Crazy Child-Bearing/Career Chick that I used to swear I'd never become?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not necessarily complaining. It's nice to kind of "be over" the stresses of keeping a perfect house. I have no problem walking away from the dishes to go play catch with my boys. And I'll gladly challenge them to a game of Scrabble before I'll fold the laundry. THAT will never change. I guess when I look back I wonder why I felt the need to do it all, and was it worth it?
I'm hoping the old adage is true - the one on my refrigerator that reminds me to not worry about the messy house, the unkempt yard, or the nine-year old van that says "Wash Me" on the back:
"One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money was in my bank account nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child."
I've emerged from my cocoon and didn't even know it. It feels good to finally stretch my wings.