April 7th, 2021 is National No Housework Day. According to the people who make this stuff up, it’s the day to put down the broom, laundry, or whatever else you’ve got in your hand to make that house sparkling clean and give yourself a break. Obviously, this holiday was created by someone who did not have kids.
I don’t know about you, but when I was in the midst of raising four kids, along with family pets, I wanted every day to be No Housework Day. No matter how hard I worked at it (okay, full disclosure, I probably didn’t work at it as hard as I could of) I couldn’t keep up with it. I remember doing anywhere from one to four loads of laundry a day. A Day. When I think back on all the housework I did, it’s a miracle I even had time to feed and bathe my kids. Or myself for that matter.
From the moment kids wake up to the time they go to bed there is a mess that needs to be cleaned up. Spills on their clothes. Spills on the floor. Toys scattered all over the place. Video games left out. And let’s not forget those dreaded Legos that manage to find their way under your bare feet even though you swore you picked every last one of them up. Add all that to the never-ending tumbleweeds of dog fur gently blowing across the hardwood floor and you can easily feel overwhelmed.
But it gets better as they get older, right?
Here’s a spoiler alert for all you moms out there with toddlers who think the messes will get better once the kids get older. I’m sorry to say that it actually gets worse. Their messes become mobile. When the kids were little, I could at least control the area of mess, and usually, it was confined to the kitchen or family room, but as they got older, their messes followed them throughout the house.
Clothes and shoes were scattered throughout every room—except the laundry room, for some reason, the kids never threw them there. Glasses and dishes ended up in their bedrooms, on their nightstands, and even in their nightstands. I tried to enter my teenagers’ rooms as little as possible, but when you start to notice that you’re down to two forks, three dishes and one glass, you have no choice but to go on a scavenger hunt for the rest of your twelve-place setting.
Us moms have it hard.
Really hard. Not only do we have to take care of the kids, but we’re also expected to take care of our homes. For us, there’s no such thing as No Housework Day because there’s always something to do. So, I’ve decided to rename this holiday. I’m calling it Mom, Cut Yourself Some Slack Day. As long as there are people living in your house, your house will look lived in.
Unless you’ve got full-time help to take care of the housework, things are going to get backed up a bit from time to time. And that’s okay, mom. Stop worrying about it. Remember, you’re not a maid, you’re a mom. The kids won’t remember the inch of dust on the furniture, but they will remember the time you spent with them. Spend less time worrying about living in a HGTV picture-perfect house and more time living in a house filled with laughter. Trust me, that housework isn’t going anywhere, but those kids eventually will.
Some messes you’ll even miss.
When my son, Justin, was a teenager, he used to drink a glass of milk every night before going to bed. Every morning I would walk into the kitchen and find that empty glass of milk sitting on the kitchen table and wonder why he couldn’t just put it in the dishwasher. I’m going to be honest. I miss seeing that empty glass of milk every morning.
Now that the kids are grown, and out of the house, National No Housework Day takes on a different meaning for me because the only messes I have are the ones I create—well, me and the dogs. I remember walking into the bedroom a few weeks ago and looking into my mirror. Of course, the first thing I noticed was all the dust that had accumulated on it. I started to feel bad. Like, geez, Karen, you don’t have kids living with you anymore and yet you still can’t keep on top of things. But then I reminded myself that my attention to housework doesn’t define me as a person. It simply says that I’ve got more important (and fun) stuff to do.
I can guarantee that when I’m on my deathbed I won’t give a rat’s ass about that mirror or the dust on it, but I will enjoy the memories I had of love and laughter throughout the course of my life. So, I’m embracing that dusty mirror and the message I decided to write to myself on it…
You are a success.
What awesome thing will your dusty mirror say to you?