Someday My Alice Will Come

I’m so glad you can’t see the inside of my house. It’s gross.

I’ve never been the greatest housekeeper, but I was getting better. The main floor of my house was clean on a regular basis for almost an entire year! Then I started writing. A lot. For me, it takes a lot of time to write, and it also takes a lot of time to maintain a house. One had to go, and housekeeping is by far less favorite.

I’m not a big one for Mom Guilt. You’ve heard of it: the guilt moms inevitably have over not packing their kid some insane bento box lunch with all the Mane Six My Little Ponies depicted in salami and string cheese (because, according to Pinterest, all the other moms are doing it and you are BAD MOM if you don’t). I know a few women who have serious issues with this stuff. I am not one of them. In my mind, if kids are fed, kids are dressed, kids are not playing in the street (without supervision), then epic mom win!

So imagine my surprise when, about a month after I started writing, I looked around my house and went, “Ew.” For the first time, I had Mom Guilt. How could my babies thrive in a house so messy you had to slog through a foot of toys to get anywhere?

I cleaned. The house looked great for about five seconds, then my three-year-old dumped out one of the toy boxes looking for Twilight Sparkle and my five-year-old snuck a Pop Tart into the living room and smashed it into the carpet. It made me want to cry. With three small children, there is nothing more frustrating and impossible than trying to keep a house clean. What is the point when it’s only going to get messy again?! I have other things going on. I have people I love that I want to spend time with, other life-maintaining things that need to be done (like grocery shopping and cooking), as well as friends I’d like to maintain contact with and church service that I need to do. Oh yeah, and I want to be an author. Something had to go. That something was spending hours a day on housework.

Before you get too grossed out, I do clean the bathrooms and do the dishes and all that stuff. My house doesn’t smell, but it’s a mess. Off and on I manage to keep the main floor in a non-embarrassing state, but no one is allowed upstairs.

The point is, I’m not supermom. I don’t have it all together. I ignore things I shouldn’t because, perhaps selfishly, my dream of getting published is more important to me than maintaining a spotless home. I hope my kids will understand, and I hope they don’t think I’m a BAD MOM (you guys can tell me I am or I’m not all you want, but all that matters is what those three little blonde devils think). Someday I secretly hope to hire Alice from the Brady Bunch, so she can clean and cook and I can spend my time doing what I want: spend time with my family and write.

In the meantime, be careful where you step if you come visit. I can’t pay your hospital bills if twist your ankle on that Rupunzel doll and fall in the pile of Legos.

About Caitlyn McFarland

Mom of three girls, writer of fantasy novels.
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2 Responses to Someday My Alice Will Come

  1. I honestly have no idea how my mom kept such a clean house when we were kids. She worked part time until I was in third grade and then full time so it’s hard for me to imagine how she got it all done. I do remember however that Saturday was “everyone cleans” day and I am hopeful I can do the same when baby is old enough. We spent the morning cleaning together and then did something fun in the evening or did things with friends, just something to think about if you want the girls to start doing chores soon 🙂

  2. Julie says:

    A clean house is highly overrated. I used to cringe when my kids friends came over (especially as they became teenagers), but I”ve learned that kids, even other people’s kids, can recognize a home that is filled with love–and they don’t care much about whether or not it’s been vacuumed. I had friends in high school who had really fancy houses where you were afraid to sit down because you might mess up the furniture or perfectly place pillows. I don’t want that kind of house. I want one where everyone is comfortable and can sit back and relax. Yeah, my carpet is stained and gross, but if you spill on it, I don’t care!
    (And, I always feel comfortable in your house.)

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