Clarity in Chaos
My life (at least thus far) can be easily divided into four parts:
Living with my grandmother (ages 0-12)
Living with my dad and stepmom (ages 12-18)
Living with my husband (ages 18-25)
Living with my kids (ages 25-now)
Life with my grandmother was easy. I never had to want for much or ask twice if I needed something. That wasn't to say I got everything I asked for, but I got everything I needed. She picked my clothes out, did my hair for me in the mornings, taught me what I needed to know but still did most of it for me anyway. None of this was because she felt like she had to, it was because she wanted to.
When I moved in with my dad and stepmother, my life changed abruptly. Nothing was done for me. I was thrown into cooking, laundry, cleaning and the hole 9 yards. It wouldn't have been so bad, except that while we (my sister and I) did all of that, stepmom napped or shopped or whatever it was she wanted to do to entertain herself. It was like stepping out of the castle and straight into Cinderella's not so glass slippers. We were expected to keep spotless rooms, a spotless kitchen and pretty much a spotless house. It was a pretty intense way to live life as a teenager.
When I got married and moved in with my husband, I brought my now ingrained obsessive compulsive tendencies regarding cleaning with me. It actually worked out pretty well for a while, as my husband was a bit of a neat freak too. We had a routine down pat. When we bought our first house, I didn't think twice about putting in nearly white carpet. It was a non-issue. We didn't allow shoes in our house anyway, so we had nothing to worry about.
Then we got our puppies. Their messes would drive us both up the wall. I nearly lost my mind when one of them chewed a notch out of the baseboard. We moved after a few years, decided to expand our family and, almost two years later, came home with our now 6 year old daughter.
Life for the Hubs didn't change too much, but my world was thrown on its head.
I was so tired, so sleep deprived that I completely forgot to obsess. I'm honestly not sure how long it took before I realized that there were certain things I'd just stopped caring about. I started to notice the difference in messy and dirty, and while our house might be messy, it surely wasn't dirty. I stopped asking people to take their shoes off - even stopped taking my own off if I wasn't coming inside to stay. I stopped caring about the things I'd learned were so important, almost deathly so, as a teenager and started focusing on the things that really mattered: my life, not the stuff.
So, while my 6 year old daughter's room may look like a tornado has come through it sometimes, I'm ok with it. She's a whirling little artist and has a scattered mind to match. Her personality comes through in the chaos of her room. 10 years ago, I would have seem a horrid disaster that needed to be dealt with immediately, but now I see my little girl. I see the drawings stacked a mile high, the crayons scattered from one side of the room to the other, the centers she's built to teach her dolls when she plays school - and all I see is her. I see her living her life, loving her life and the things that are important to her. I see her making time for herself rather than obsessing about putting away the crayons before she moves on to the dolls.
Don't get me wrong, she will eventually have to clean it up. But not today. Today, we're busy making princess crowns and having a grande ball.