I cleaned my house last week. When I say cleaned, I mean I spent the better part of a Sunday and Tuesday cleaning out closets and filling trash bags with old toys for Goodwill. I hate to clean, in fact it usually infuriates me. I'll admit, there were times on those days that I wanted to throw up my hands and quit, but I'm glad I made it to the end. The girls' rooms look so much better, their little play area in our hallway looks so much better, and we all feel so much better. I did however make the announcement that is was it for the year. The one time I would be cleaning. I'll be honest, I wasn't joking at all.
I've never understood that feeling. I have friends and a husband that love to have a clean house. Don't get me wrong I love a clean house too, but not when I have to clean it. I just enjoy so many other things than cleaning a toilet or mopping a floor. I'd rather read or watch my favorite show. This summer however I've had extra time on my hands and it's been a much welcomed blessing. I've tried to apply my time and myself to things that I'm not used to doing. Like cooking dinner that isn't grilled cheese and chicken nuggets. I've taken to straightening up the living room because then I'm not so embarrassed when my neighbors come over. I've done a much better job at making sure the girls pitch in too.
Yesterday Caitlin brought me one of her "princess" cookbooks and showed me a recipe for Monkey Bread. This brought forth a challenge because she is gluten free, so we have to experiment a little. When we went shopping yesterday I bought what we needed, and this morning we set to work. This time I let her get her hands dirty. I let her knead the dough, and shape them into little balls, then roll them in cinnamon. This morning I let go of the burden of "doing it myself", to make sure it was being done right. I just let it be. I just let us go forth into the experience of baking, together. It was messy, and I realized that it would have been just as messy either way, with or without the help of an eight year old.
They didn't come out so great. In fact they were a little dry, even with a nice smear of butter. So we are going to try again, with a different baking mix, with more butter, and with some of the same patience we used today. I'll be honest, I really surprised myself this morning. I'm usually not this kind of mom, but I like her. I'm usually more uptight and type A in the kitchen, mostly because I'm not the best baker or chef. This however was fun, and a little lesson in letting it go, and letting myself breathe.
There is still laundry to do. There are still dishes to be put away. Are my floors as clean as they were last Tuesday? No, not even close. Yet, I have the desire to mop them again, and that is a good thing. I blame these new feelings on my dear friend and neighbor, who recently got me to start running again. She tricked me a few weeks ago by inviting me for a walk, then a few minutes into the walk she said, "You're ready for some couch to 5k, right?". I was already there and couldn't say no, peer pressure and all. The thing is, I felt great afterward, even with the side stitch and gasps for air. I woke up the next day sore, but stronger in mind, if not yet in body. On one of our jogs, she spoke about her "90 day" plans. Simple goals that she has committed to doing for ninety days, because after ninety days it becomes a habit. That got me thinking about some of my simple but attainable goals. Like running again, three times a week. Sweeping and mopping the floor more often than not. Cleaning the bathroom while the kids are in the tub. Not saving the laundry until Sundays. Little things that make you relax a little more, and breathe a little easier.
Little changes that have big payoffs later down the road.
No one is perfect, and I'm not even close. Still, I'm looking forward to more "Couch to 5k", cleaner floors, and clean laundry for all. Will there still be grilled cheese and chicken nugget dinners? Absolutely. Will my bathroom counters sparkle every day? Fat chance. But I can try to make small changes. The kids have requested "Taco Tuesday" after seeing it on the Lego Movie, so that's what we are going to do tonight. I'm going to make the best effort to put the laundry away and start a new load, by then end of the day. I'm looking forward to making small changes, easy and attainable goals, so we can be a little more organized as we roll into the new school year. Even when it's not my favorite thing to do. Like clean my house. Even if I really like a clean house, but I hate to be the one to clean it.