Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Tale of Two Perspectives

What follows are pictures taken Saturday night at my house when it was just "us girls" (minus the presence of 4 year old's Adam and Jackson). Amy, Lisa, Michele and I all slumber partied at my house with our kids while the guys were at Boys' Round-Up. On Saturday, prior to taking a field trip to the pool, we played drill sargeants (Michele and I are especially good at this) and mandated that the kids pick up their messes so that the house looked pretty darn clean before we left. These pictures were taken about 3 hours after we returned..... how quickly things can change-

I was thinking about these pictures while laying in bed Saturday night and I thought about how two different people could come to two totally different conclusions about what the mess represented. Here's what I came up with:

-"How fantastic, look at the beauty and creativity of those pictures"
-"Think how much imagination was expended in pretending and make-believe"
-"What a special opportuniy for five little girls to play together, not argue or fight, and simply be children - Marvelous!"


-"Do these kids have an ounce of respect? Did we not just clean this all up three hours ago?"
-"Nobody (addressed to adults) touch this mess, this will be a great learning experience for the kids when they get to clean this all up first thing in the morning"
-"I guess they'll be learning a lesson when all of their wonderful works of art will be "recycled", because they decided to leave them all out"

Any guesses as to which "Mom" I relate to most? If you said the first mom, you clearly haven't been reading my blog that long. Now, that is not to say I can't "appreciate" the first mom's perspective. Maybe, perhaps, even wish I was her. However, that is not me - and while I won't go as far as to say I'm as extreme as the second mom - thoughts such as those certainly roam my mind when exposed to messes of such a grand scale (particularly after just cleaning).

Lisa and my friend Nancy were chatting and Nancy admitting to being physically and emotionally uneasy when her house is out of order. I found myself nodding vehemently and wanting to shout, "Amen". Ranging from slightly, "off kilter" to "on the edge" my emotions are truly affected by the order of my home. If it is clean - and we're leaving for the day, there is a majestic sense of peace and happiness I have that it is remaining that way and will greet me in that state when I return. When it is dirty, I simply try to compartmentalize (and sometimes avoid coming home for a while).......

Any insights from the rest of you?


Anonymous said...

Amen, Sister! Preach it!

I just finished a series of young adult fiction books (highly recommend) by Hilary McKay, about a family of artists. Mom is the permissive hippy who lets her kids draw all over the walls. Dad is a neat freak who spends most of his time in an office in the City where he can live a more ordered life...I so much want to be like the mom but so much really am the dad!

Jodi said...

Since we've been in pack and move mode I decided not to do any deep cleaning until we move. This weekend I was feeling SOOO grumpy and realized it was because the house is dirty and there are boxes everywhere. I talked to Aaron about it and he moved all the boxes out of the living area of the house and I mopped and finally got things CLEAN. It has improved my mood dramatically. I just know that I don't do clutter and dirt very well. That said, when it comes to my kids, I am the kind of mom that is totally okay with them making a completely mess if it makes them happy and keeps them entertained. I usually clean up immediately after, but I am okay with it in the meantime. Yesterday they were doing beadwork on my bed, meaning I had to clean up tiny bits of wire before we went to bed last night. I kind of questioned myself at that point...but they had fun.

StephieAnne said...

I do agree with that, Jodi. I'm definitely an "experience" person - you can't trade afternoons of shaved ice or playdough for an immaculate house. I am very fine when the kids are "in the process" of the fun, it's just when they abandon it for another project or we have to leave before it's cleaned up that my blood pressure starts to rise.......

HollieHobbie said...

This scene is okay for me. I actually look at it and say "easy clean-up, yadda yadda yadda" BUT what does bug me IS that the clean-up doesn't go always as planned with kids underfoot, undoing etc. That is what bugs me: not being able to remain focused on the task at hand because of many distractions.
Also, lately I have been focusing on "is Mommy/Wifey really the only one who gets to pick this up?" It drives me nuts to pick up after completely capable human beings.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I stare at the mess in my son's room and think, Should I nag him for the 2,658th time or just do it myself?

In the past I would just do it (can you say, Enabler?). Now I split the difference and pick up some things, leaving the rest for him.

What bugs me most is that when he does do *what he should do anyway* he then immediately wants to know if he's going to get paid for it!