Mom is coming over to watch the boys as a last-minute favor to me (What would I do without her?). I’ve only got 45 minutes until she arrives. How do I get the house in good-enough shape for the woman who stores bottles of bleach in every one of her rooms, vacuums daily, and whose house smells like an over-sized Country Apple candle?
And just the big stuff.
I’ll start with the laundry, because that is where the odor is coming from. I’ve noticed it for the last day or so, thought it was the garbage, but realized that even after I emptied the garbage, the house still smelled like a soiled diaper that someone forgot at the bottom of the Diaper Jeanie. I guess my scented candle “Summer’s Day” has stopped working.
The over-flowing hamper. I don’t dare reach my hands down in there, but what choice do I have? She’s on her way!! The deeper I get, the stronger the smell.
“That’s where my leggings were!?!? I’ve been looking for them for a week”.
After pulling out the endless stream of inside-out, damp and cruddy clothes, I sort them and realize there is one piece left at the bottom. But, it’s stuck. It’s stuck to the bottom of the damn hamper. Dear God. I tear it from the bottom and notice that it is the shirt my older son got yogurt all over 4 days ago and that it’s stuck together:
“What the fu………Mold. Awesome. There is mold on my dirty laundry. Could there be anything more indicative of a lazy and neglectful mother than finding MOLD on the dirty clothes!?!?!?”.
Am I the only mother who has ever let the laundry go so long that I found mold????
Don’t answer that.
“Whatever. Mom doesn’t need to know this. Here, let’s just throw the white load in the washer first and…….what the fu……why are there clothes in the washer? And why are they dry!?!?”
After sifting through the mysteriously dry and stuck together clothes in the washer, I realize that it is the load I threw in three nights ago just before the 2-hour premier episode of Downton Abbey and forgot about. And for what??? The premier sucked anyway!!! I’m sick to death of watching Lord Grantham pace the castle floors about the fate of his estate!!! And I wish Lady Edith would just grow a pair already.
So now, I have to re-wash the load of colors, and wait to put in the moldy clothes later (what’s another hour anyway. They’re moldy).
Laundry Room: In Process.
Next, the dishes. I stop and take a really good look at the condition of the kitchen. Sippy cups and water bottles are strewn all over the counters, half-full of a variety of different liquids. Why the hell are they still using sippy cups for Christs’ Sake??? I’ve got to get on that.
Plastic bowls with half-eaten granola bars and orange rinds litter the kitchen bar, dirty spoons stick to the counter, a loaf of bread is sitting there open, and there are odds and ends just scattered here and there among it all: a stapler, some rubber bands, used gum, glitter, a screwdriver, and the newspaper which is half-soaked in orange juice.
And that doesn’t even begin to explain the sink. It’s almost as if someone made a game out of how many dishes they could compactly shove into each side of the kitchen sink. A veritable game of Tetris made of cutlery, plates and coffee mugs, each garnished with coffee grounds and squishy macaroni.
Just throw them in the dishwasher, I think. But no, the dishwasher is full. of clean dishes. Why is the dishwasher full of clean dishes? Because no one likes to empty it. There is just something so insane about perpetually emptying and filling the dishwasher over and over and over. I’d rather wash dishes by hand than empty the damn dishwasher just to load it back up again day in and day out.
So, I do what everyone does when they’re being lazy: I take all of the dirty dishes out of the sink, and then put them back in the sink, except in a really organized way, so that it looks like I sort of did the dishes. Plates on the bottom; then bowls on top of the plates; all of the silverware stashed in one large cup; glasses of varying sizes condensed into a four-story glass tower; etc. I’ll wash the counters, shove everything else in the Junk Drawer and Voila! Mom won’t even notice.
Now, it’s time to tackle those toilets. Contrary to mine, I could literally lick my mother’s toilet bowls. I really could. If someone ever Triple Dog Dared me to, it would be no big deal and I’d do it in a second. That’s how clean they are.
Not mine though. Mine have varying colors of yellow underneath every toilet seat, behind every toilet seat and usually running down the toilet itself, dried.
When do boys learn to aim???
Am I the only mother who has ever sat down to pee, only to get the backs of her legs wet because no one else in her house can aim?
Don’t answer that.
No matter. I’ve got only 20 minutes left and I’m still in my pajamas. I grab some of the wipes on the back of the toilet and get to town scrubbing. Then, I grab some clothes detergent, dump a little in the toilet and hope that the detergent, plus the toilet scrubber will get the toilet clean enough in case mom has to pee. On the bright side, I notice that the breeze-way doesn’t smell like urine anymore.
By this time, the laundry that I am washing for the second time is finished and in the dryer, and the moldy and smellier load is in. I’ll just shove the rest of the dirty clothes into the hamper and spray some Febreeze in there. She’ll hear the washer and dryer going and think I’m so on top of your game. I’ve only got to make sure to remember to vacuum up all of the stray raisins that are in the couch cushions and behind the recliner.
But it won’t matter. All this work I do? It’s child’s play in my mother’s world. It’s all in vain. My definition of “clean” is her definition of “disgusting”. Because, when I get home a mere two hours later:
There are PILES of clean laundry on my kitchen counter. Folded. In some fancy way that I don’t know how to duplicate.
The dishwasher is empty, the sink is empty and there isn’t a dish in sight, except my mom’s glass of Ginger Ale with ice sitting next to her laptop as she plays around on Facebook.
The boys’ lunch boxes have been scrubbed inside and out and are air-drying on a towel she set on top of the stove. I thought their Spider-Man lunch boxes were a Tawny color, but I guess they’re actually Light Blue. And later, when I take the towel off, I realize that she scrubbed my stove. I can see my reflection staring back at me in disbelief.
All of our beds are made; any and all dirty clothes that had been strewn all over the upstairs have disappeared and are waiting for me on the counter, folded and fresh-smelling; my kitchen floors have a smooth feel to them under my feet as opposed to the sticky and somewhat bumpy feel they had before, and she gives me some pointers on how I can keep my wash cloths from looking like each and every one of them is covered in snot stains.
I don’t know about you all, but my mom is from that “other” generation of moms. A generation where they were……well, crazy clean. She’s insanely efficient and organized and……just incredibly clean. And she doesn’t clean my house because she’s disgusted by me. She just wants to help. And she does help. And it feels so nice to have her helping me, even though I’m 37 years old and my laundry grows mold.
I’m lucky to have a mom who wants so much to help me out. She’s there for me when I’m in a pickle, spoils my boys and basically cleans the shit out of my house. And I appreciate it so much.
Even if I can’t find the colander later that evening. Or the Peanut Butter the next morning. Or my cutting boards. Or figure out where she put my favorite sweater that she has hated for years and years……
Seriously, does YOUR mom put you to shame too????