Fire Alarms

So I don’t know about how the rest of you are, but personally I like a clean and orderly house. This is by no means saying that that is what I have, but it is what I like. I work for it, daily sweeping what must be pounds of debris off of my floors, struggling with an unearthly amount of unmatched socks, and surveying under beds for ancient sippy cup/ bottle carnage. Sometimes we go for almost a whole week with a pretty clean house! But occasionally something happens and everything collapses - like the stomach virus, or Christmas (remarkably similar effects on the house when you think about it!). Or, as happened in my case, you get laid up for a week, while the children press on with regular to abnormally high energy levels. There is a substantial part of me that gets wound up looking at a dirty house, and another part that thinks it is justified to do so. After all, it is o.k. to want a clean house, right? It is important for the children, right? It is foul and depraved to have crumbs sticking to your socks and not take action, right? These are all good instincts, right? Right. They are. We do in fact care about cleanliness. We also love clean clothes. Furthermore, everyone does in fact appreciate a clean bathroom. This is all very true.

Now stay with me for a moment as I leap into an uncharted metaphor. We have fire alarms, and we keep them around to awaken us if there is a fire in the middle of the night, and we need to  run out of the house only grabbing our children.  That is what my cleaning instincts are like – they are in place to keep the house from going up in dustbunny flames. But here is the problem: sometimes it was not the house burning down so much as it was just a burnt piece of toast. And we all know from experience that fire alarms are not to be trusted for perspective in these situations.  Neither are your instincts. There are times when the only thing to do is remove the batteries. Turn it off. Stop panicking about the long term effects of yucky fridge shelves. Let it go!

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21 thoughts on “Fire Alarms

  1. I love this post. Thanks for the good reminder. I’m going to make myself a fire alarm note for the kitchen to remind me to settle down 9 times a day about all the counter clutter.

  2. My fire alarm sounds like this…”Hey honey we are flying down to see our grandkids next week! Can’t wait to see your new house!”


  3. I’ve had to remind myself recently that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. 🙂 We’re in the middle of renovations, the holiday mess is still being sorted and you can write your name on the dust on my bookshelf (granted, that is kind of next to where the renovations are being done). Sometimes the mess and the sheer amount of work that needs to be done can be overwhelming, so thanks for the reminder!

  4. wow rachel. this post is very funny to me right now. thanks for posting, i certainly needed the perspective!

  5. Great timing for me – #6 is 10 days old, and everything is getting to me, but I’m taking the batteries out for a little while!

  6. I actually have been thinking about this for awhile! The only difference is I often feel that pit in my gut because “I can’t get anything done” around the house…The laundry is never completed, the floors are always dirty (because once I clean one set everyone has to move and dirty the others while the clean set dries) etc. Then one day when I was doing endless dishes I realized just like my kiddos, my house is a work in progress. We have not completed the task of raising them…we work at it every day and have a long way to go…same with the house. Some day when we don’t have 4 small children running around to love on, and train Brant and I will have endless time to clean, tidy and organize…then I will be calling on the grandkids to come over and make things dirty!

  7. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m pregnant, exhausted, and have had a cold for THREE WEEKS. The messes are just barely contained. I’m thinking about destroying the evidence of our dirty floors and buying all of us new socks.
    I needed that!

  8. Very timely… then again, when would it *not* be? 🙂 Thank you for the encouragement and challenge.

  9. “Foul and depraved”, “crumbs sticking to your socks”…Hilarious! Loved the post. You gals are so funny while you’re being wise.

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