Friday, July 8, 2011

Women At Work

People often come into my house and ask, "Is it always this clean?"
I kind of shrug and nod my head.
But the truth is that my house will never be the pristine abode it was B.B. (Before Baby).
For the first year of Mackenzie's life I managed to keep things looking much the same.  Aside from the daunting task of cleaning projectile poop off the nursery carpet and walls, I had it pretty easy.  There were times when I thought I would never stop wiping spit up off the couch, but much like the butt blowouts, the spitting up subsided after the first several months. 

I didn't know what was in store come toddlerhood.
These days it seems like every major appliance in my kitchen is plastered with slimy little fingerprints. Ditto for the flatscreen TV, which Mackenzie knows is off limits.
Despite my valiant efforts to keep the hardwood floors clean certain spots always appear to be sticky, crusty, or dusty.
Spilled milk has seeped into my carpets, my bed linens, and every crevice in my couch.
The shower door is clouded with dried saliva.
Even my stroller has shown symptoms of Toddleritis: the remnants of spilled sippy cups, the dust of Cheerios gone but not forgotten, pieces of twigs, leaves, and wood chips that Mackenzie managed to smuggle from the park.
And for those of you who know how extraordinarily OCD I am about these things you'll understand how much it drives me crazy that I JUST. CAN'T. KEEP. UP.
The role of a SAHM is twofold.
You're a nurturer, provider, and teacher for your child. And you're a housewife whose responsibilities include cleaning the home, doing laundry, and feeding your family.  The term "housewife" sounds SO 1950's but Merriam-Webster defines it as such: "a married woman in charge of a household".  
But I'm not "in charge" at all! 
Mackenzie seems to be the one running the place these days. 
My workload as a news producer consisted of taking a story and turning it into something that was viewer-friendly and had all the facts.  There were always fires to put out and messes to clean up.  But at the end of the day my hard work played out on live television in a nice, neat little package.  The work I do now never seems to culminate into something that represents order.  It involves a whole lot of cleaning that translates into more and more cleaning.    
What's the point? Until Mackenzie can understand enough to know that you're not supposed to lick your hands and smear them across the refrigerator I just don't know how I'm supposed to keep things perfectly tidy and free of grease and grime. 
Fortunately I have a loving husband who constantly reminds me that I'm doing a great job, that the house always looks great, that dinner was delicious, and that I should just relax and roll with the punches.  
He's also the one who, the other day, told me it was "fine" that Mackenzie was splashing around in the toilet.  THE TOILET!!! 
Here I was, ready to hose her down with a bucket of bleach but Doug insisted that "the toilet water is clean". 
While it may be true that "clean" toilet water is safer than pre-flush toilet water, it's STILL TOILET WATER! And since I don't scrub the bowl after every use (I may be crazy, but I'm not THAT crazy!) I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that the toilet isn't 100% free of bacteria.  
So what's an OCD SAHM to do? 
There aren't enough wet wipes in the world to save me from Toddleritis (I've even had all of my vaccinations). 
And following Mackenzie around the house with a sponge worked for awhile, until she discovered how yummy those suckers can be.  
Do you know how much grossness can be found in a single kitchen sponge? A 1996 study by Arizona researchers found that one out of five sponges contains salmonella.  Two thirds of all sponges tested contained enough bacteria to make a person ill. And in some kitchen sinks researches discovered more bacteria than in flushed toilets.  I'm glad I gave Mackenzie all those infant baths in the kitchen sink.  Maybe Doug is on to something with his toilet water theory. 
But I digress.. 
The point here is that our little babies evolve into little people.  People who explore their environment to reach developmental milestones.  So while my house may suffer the consequences of Mackenzie's escapades, I'll just have to surrender the Soft Scrub and evolve right along with her.  

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