When I clean my house, like big time, hard core, deep cleaning… I have a saying… it gets worse before it gets better. I empty closets, throw out old papers and unnecessary items cluttering drawers. I move furniture and clean underneath and stir up dust bunnies that roll like tumbleweed across the hardwood floors. I accumulate bags of trash and donation items for charity. During the process, my house is a virtual train wreck, but there is a purpose- a clean house at the end of the tunnel.
I am living in a metaphorically messy house. I’m trying like hell to clean and organize it. Every time I feel like I see a little bit of clean floor, however, it seems like someone comes and takes a shit on it. I try to keep telling myself it gets worse before it gets better. But it’s hard when it’s more than just a dirty house. When five kids are counting on you and you know you are fighting the good fight and being kicked in the dirt over and over again for playing by the rules.
My kids and I are living with my mom, going on three months now. I have become a pro at scraping dried up cheese off of travertine, scrubbing milk off of wrought iron spindles, and retrieving coasters, flip flops and fruit snacks from VCR slots (to which, I, too, wonder, who even uses VCRs anymore?)
I have become accustomed to broken sleep on a sofa and muffling my tears quietly in an extra bathroom. I have become fluent in trying to convince employers in interview after interview that I am meritorious and deserving when I have a hard time believing it myself. I have been brokenhearted watching my kids adjust to the same kind of transient lifestyle of air mattresses and their belongings in bags.
While my mom’s house is lovely, albeit not childproof, and I will never be able to express my gratitude and huge amounts of guilt that the burden of my family has caused on their day to day life, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I don’t see a clean house in sight.
But in the end, I am doing what’s best for me, my kids and our future. They deserve a mom that feels she has a self worth, is surrounded by people that feel the same and is willing to prove it.