Thursday, January 17, 2008

Something's Gotta Give... Right?

So today's post about cleaning has really gotten me thinking. It is so interesting how different everyone's take on my plight is. From empathetic allegiance to... I'm sure... frustrated "how many times does she have to go through this!?!" disbelief. But here is the thing. I'll go through it 100 more times, 1000, one freaking million. Because... because.... I don't want to change. Not because our chaotic house doesn't stress me at times. Believe me it does. But because something has got to give. Having a clean house isn't more important than the choices I make inside this house on a daily basis. My mess, Kid's mess, Mr F's mess, and even little Baby's mess signifies how important our other choices are to us. Sometimes I lose sight of this.

But today, right now, I see it clearly and I am SO proud of us, of our strengths, and our convictions, and by God our cluttered shit hole of a living room. Because that pile of books and Kleenexes that are falling of the side table are from the HOURS that Kid sits in that chair and reads to herself and is read to. And the dirty dishes and pans covering our counters and table by the end of the day are because I cook thoughtful healthy meals three times a day... EVERY day. The toys all over the playroom and dragged throughout the house are because the kids were having FUN and entertaining themselves so I could blog about it. The laundry sits clean it it's basket because I only have one hour to myself and I choose to exercise and that means I can clean it but I don't have time to put it away. The bathrooms and kitchen and good God the basement hardly see a bottle of cleaner because on the weekends we are a FAMILY and we choose to spend time together eating Mr F's favorite apple pancakes, and making an even bigger mess, and dancing to inappropriate music.

So those of you who don't understand why we don't just pick up after ourselves... it is because we choose not to. And honestly we will always choose not to. Because one crazy stressful day is a small price to pay for what we get on all those other days filled with meaningful choices. I choose not to let my kids watch TV (for real), and to exercise, and to pay our bills in full on time (not easy), and plan healthy meals and prepare them, and to laugh, and to share it with you. And something has to give. I cannot do all that and be a neat tidy organized person. And if I was.... I wouldn't be me. And Mr F wouldn't be Mr F. And Kid wouldn't be Kid. And even that little crazy baby wouldn't be Baby. But that's not gonna stop me from complaining about it!


Gypsy Family said...

Yay! Oh, how I forget that! It's easy to think of all the ways I'm failing my family, rather than seeing that it is about choices and our priorities are in the right place. I love it!!

Of course, maybe for my family not always perfectly placed priorities. Have I told you about the curse on our home that is Guitar Hero...?

Mrs. Furious said...

No you have not... but I've seen a lot of people around the blogosphere enjoying that. We'll have to come try it out!

Mr Furious said...


Mr Furious said...

I'm going all the way with this! Where do I buy adult diapers?

Seriously? Mrs F is on the money.

Here's an example: Every Friday I set a goal for myself for the weekend—"I'm going to install that storm door!" or "I'm going to clean the basement!" or "I'm going to bathe!"

And come Monday morning when I review the weekend in therapy, I've almost never done any of the stuff (I actually DO bathe...usually) but am I stressed out about it? No. I almost alway say something to the effect of "Saturday afternoon, Kid and I built a huge snowfort and a sledding slope..." or "it was nice, so we went to the zoo..."

In retrospect (or in the big picture) we had a great weekend.

No regrets.

So yeah, the basement a fucking disaster. But who cares? Mrs F only watches tv while on the treadmill, and I never do—so what if the couch is covered with linens?

Every once in a while we need to kick ourselves into shape, do a purge and get shit organized, but Mrs F is right, this IS our natural habitat...

Mrs. Furious said...

Mr F,
aw shit... that is funny stuff.

Indeed we are not called The Hogtown Hogs for nothin'

Julie said...

Great post. I totally get it and agree with it. Mr F, you cracked me up, too. Adult diapers...very funny.

Now, I feel like a loser, though, because I DO have my kids watch way too much TV and egads, video games and I still can't keep up with it all. Granted my boys are older, so the messes are less...well, maybe not less, but more contained than the days when they were babies and their stuff was all over the house, but the adult intervention to big blow-out fights boy style is more. But but but, I have cut out the high fructose corn syrup since once of those posts from a while back!

You spend your time with your children and family. That's way more important. That's what the kids will remember...not that the living room was always spotless.

Also, Mrs F, I finally watched your motivational video about losing the weight...holy crap, I was so loving it. I swear you are going to have some kind of book and/or video out about losing weight the Mrs Furious way...I will get to say "I knew her when" when you are on Oprah.

PS My oldest has that little wolf stuffed animal (looks like a beanie baby thing) that Kid showed you in the video. It's his Mukluk and he sleeps with it every night.

Know what else, I love that you are who you are and you show it all...the good, the crazy, the messy, the breakdown, etc. You have a super sense of humor through it all. It's real and authentic. Makes me feel normal. Makes me laugh. Love the back and forth between Mr F and you. Blah, blah, blah...I better find my kids and get them some dinner.

moley said...

Yeah, I'm so with you on that. Kids should be kids and doing things with them and having fun is so important. Society already pushes them to grow up too early.

Our dining room/playroom is littered with toys, the walls are full of kiddy artwork and the carpet is full of dried play doh and glitter, but I wouldn't have it any other way (although I did have a picking play doh out of the carpet session the other day while they were at school).

And while I do sometimes say come on guys we need to pick some of these toys up to make room for the next lot, if we've spent all afternoon building a lego farm, then they want it left till the next day and I agree with that. I think that it stifles their creativity if they can't take pride in and enjoy their achievements.

Mr Mole is slightly more anal and we had a bit of a row about letting the kids take the cushions off the sofas to build dens etc. I was like WTF, they are easily put back on, chill out.

Last saturday we took the kids to the farm where we got the chickens and had lunch and fed all the baby animals. We took a friend and her 3 yr old with us. Hetty took loads of pics with her new camera and then we went back to friend's house and made cakes. Didn't get home till nearly 7pm so needless to say no housework, but so what!

BTW kid's bedroom looks tidy compared with Hetty's.

Heather said...

What a fresh way of looking at it -- really! I'm often Ms. Pessimist, and look at situations like these as WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. So good for you -- nuttin's wrong witcha, you just are prioritizing, which is awesome! God I wish I had another word in my repartee to use besides awesome.

I will say however, that if things are crazy chaotic messy in the house I have trouble enjoying myself and letting go. I couldn't go build a snow fort, cause I'd be all pissed off and tense. Look, I never said I was sane. :)

Feener said...


emmyjw said...

That seriously sounds JUST like us. Something has got to give and I hate cleaning so that is it. The hamper cracks me up,Nolan throws his dirty clothes on the bathroom floor 3 feet from the laundry chute.If I let that bother me I would have killed him long ago...maybe it's the ADD? Nah,just a slob;)I am with you though,when my kids look back I do not want them to say Mom was always cleaning and Dad never did anything with us. So yeah,my house is messy and my yard is not well manicured but my kids are happy,smart,funny and man I have a great time with them (most of the time) I figure if everyone is clean and fed,who cares if you can't tell what color the kitchen floor is? Harvest gold is ugly anyways.BUTT UGLY.

Mrs. Furious said...

You know I love you and I didn't say the TV thing to make anyone feel guilty about that! I'm just saying there are only so many hours in the day and I can't do everything. Shit if I did you all wouldn't relate to me... you'd hate me!

Got to go workout and get cleaning. I'll be back later.
Although I will note that I did the whole upstairs and all the clothes are put away and Kid's room and Guest room are all clean and vacuumed and everything.

Haley said...

You've totally got the right attitude! I grew up in absolute chaos and mayhem (of the happy, messy, cheerful kind) and I'm a better person for it. I have memories of a mom who sometimes forgot the oven was not a refrigeration device and would leave our leftovers in there til the next day, never flipped out over the fact that there was bits of ribbon and crayon and other crafting flotsam and jetsom scattered about, and who actually let me throw paint all over my bedroom walls when the mood struck. Messy = Happy.

Torey said...

You. Are. A. Total. Bad. Ass.

There is no other way around it. You rock the house.

Robin said...

Yay, Mrs. F,
I could not agree more. When the kids are grown up, they are going to remember the reading and playing in the snow. They won't remember the mess. We pretty much live the same way. I can clean the house once both kids are in school.

I love, love, loved your motivational post. Our pregnancy weight gain/weight loss stories (for both babies) are so similar. I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and your post reminded me that I don't have to accept this as my final body. It is tempting to start eating what I want and slack on the exercise because I am back to my normal size, but I really want to know what it is like to have a slimmer, more fit body than I have ever had, and you have inspired me to go for it. Thank you!!

Mrs. Furious said...

I'm going to get back to all of you... but I need to get some vacuuming done before Baby goes to bed.


yay! I love to get the been there done that and it turned out okay feedback :)

angie said...

Awesome post. Amen to that.

Nate doesn't have therapy tomorrow, so if Charlotte would like to come over for a playdate in the a.m. so you can get some cleaning done, just give us a call. It'd be fun....

workout mommy said...

I love this post! I need to print it out and read it to myself over and over because I seriously stress all day and night about how messy my house is and all the stuff that never gets done.

But then again, I let my kid watch TV. (frown) and I don't really ever cook much. (frown again)

I loved Mr F's response too.

Thank you for sharing all of this with us!

Mrs. Furious said...

I'm still avoiding cleaning... need to do that BUT...

I need to reiterate that I did not say NO TV to make those of you who watch TV feel even more guilty... my point is just that having made that choice makes it that much more difficult for me to clean. I am sure you all have things you choose to do that I don't (maybe you don't blog as if it were a full time job!) do.

All that and I am just plain lazy too

Christine said...

It obviously shows that you value your family and spending quality time with them vs. materialistic things and caring what others think of you. This is something that most people cannot say for themselves. I give you mad props!

Shirls said...

well said! I truly believe in living life as being more important myself :0)

katieo said...

Mrs F, (why do I always feel the need to address you? lol)

I agree with you.

BUT I also agree with heather, when the house gets out of hand (and it's lived in and messy ALL the time, I mean when it gets whoa-don't-call-CPS-on-our-butts messy) we just don't function as well and I get easily frustrated with the husband and the kids.

For us, cleaning is on the bottom of our list, but not off it completely. I really try to involve the kids because I think it's good for them. They've got *little* chores, (brushing teeth, throwing dirty diapers away etc.) that actually do help me. Even though it's sometimes harder to "help" them do it, I think it's important for them to learn to take care of their stuff. I also get satisfaction out of seeing them have some pride in completing a task, that also happens to help me. win-win.

We also instituted a 5 minute cleanup time before bed. All of us just pick up the house for 5 minutes. That's it. Doesn't even matter if it's just a corner of a room that gets picked up. We are just trying to get in the habit of everyone being (at least partially) responsible for keeping up the house. I've noticed if I walk downstairs in the morning and the house is at least picked up (not clean. please. If you could see under our microwave right now...) it helps my attitude for the day. I'm just sharing our experience. I'm with you on the priorities. I don't think our kids will ever remember a clean house, but I do hope (besides the fun and learning and cooking and playing) they'll also remember pitching in.

(ok. I just read back through my comment. 1) CPS. wasn't that you? lol 2) I hope you don't feel like I'm lecturing or even giving advice. I really do get it - I feel different from a lot of my friends because their houses are always clean.)

katieo said...

me again.
just watched your video, it was great. And I couldn't help but notice you own a lot of chunky turtleneck sweaters.

Mrs. Furious said...

Oh Katieo,
I don't feel lectured. We pretty much do the same stuff around here. Our house is actually *clean* as in picked up at the start of everyday... but you know how it goes 2 hours later it looks like a cyclone hit. We aren't dirty messy people just sloppy messy or lazy... I'm not sure which. We definitely don't do bathrooms, stove, microwave, kitchen floors, etc very much... we do it when we NEED to or when someone comes and stays. I'm with you on the picking up at night and Kid does help with that if I come down to the disaster I'm in a foul mood myself. I vacuum every few days... but *real* cleaning?!? I don't know how I could fit that in seriously.. I don't know how people do it without sacrificing something else... say.... like the blog... and that is NOT going to happen ;)

Mrs. Furious said...

LOL I almost made a comment about that in the last video... hey it is freezing cold!

Mrs. Furious said...


Thanks for all the nice comments :) Sorry I didn't return all of them individually!
I did appreciate them all. You guys are all great thanks a lot.

I must say though that I'm really not "rocking the house" or anything just thinking and trying to accept and appreciate our nature versus fight it. You know save my energy for fighting the good fight and not always nit-picking or obsessing on the fact that we are a family of lazy pack rats living in an old house with inadequate storage. Oh and did I mention we are lazy?!?

Anyway it is now 12:15 and you knew we could do it... right?... well we did. The kids might not of gone to bed until 11... but... I even scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom floors (yes on my hands and knees... believe it!)

Good Night Everybody see you all in the morning :)

Cara said...

i know exactly what you mean. I always tell myself I need to grow up and just put the laundry away and clean, but the choices I make to do other things are generally much more important than a clean house.

And then after awhile the mess gets too much and I clean like a mad woman and then go through the same cycle of telling myself to grow up. haha.

You are awesome and no one would want you to not be you in place of a tidy house. :-)

Gigs said...

I hear you! I think it's that way for the majority of us. My new problem is my oldest son who says he can't invite friends over when the house looks like a bomb went off in it. Oh the pressure! Could I actually be limiting my kid's popularity with my slovenly housekeeping?! (And really, we're not natural-disaster-messy at our house... though it goes in waves...I'm not sure we're recovered from the holiday crap yet). Of course it is oldest son's job to put the laundry away. So I say, get crackin', kid!

eurydice said...

there is a big difference between being messy and dirty - so long as the bathroom and kitchen get disinfected who really cares about the mess? that's my opinion anyway. and having a family... or even a boyfriend who comes over just for the weekend... is like a tornado tearing through the room!

P.O.M. said...

"Inappropriate music?" Like "I like big butts, and I cannot lie?" ha ha

Mrs.F - you have such a cool family. If something's gotta give, let it be the freakin' laundry. Who cares? When Kid and Baby grow up and remember all the fun they had dancing with mom and eating great food, they won't even think about the darn messy living room :)

I personally can't deal with clutter, but then again - I am a lonely single woman living a lonely boring existence. Whoa is me- Pathetic PMSing. ha ha.

Deb said...

Amen, sister.

My mom used to say, "My gosh, I think I need to clean my kitchen floor. It's starting to feel sticky."

STICKY!! OMG... I would DIE if my kitchen floor got so bad it was sticky. But she made other choices, and that's my big lesson from her, and it's the one I use to make me feel good about my own slobbery.

Now the adult diapers... those are really uncomfortable, just so ya know, Mr. F. Don't ask how I know that.

etbroderick said...

Love this post. Such a good way to look at this! I stress about mess pretty much all the time. Feel like I can barely keep up. But there are so many other things competing for my time, and , like you said--something's gotta give! Bravo.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin