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 -Â 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 Â run out of the house only grabbing our children. Â 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. Â 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!