We are very fortunate to live in a generously sized downtown Chicago apartment. When we first moved in two years ago we thought two bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, a dining room and in-unit laundry all spaced on two floors would be more than enough room for our young family.
Oh, how foolish we were…
Christmas came and so did plenty of new toys…Mack is walking now and getting into everything…Evie’s new favorite pastime involves throwing toys clear across the room…in sum, we are overrun by toys and kids and the mess those two combine to create.
The bane of my existence has become picking up the mess…every night. I recruit 2 1/2 year old Evelyn to help out as best as she can, but sometimes getting a toddler to cooperate at bedtime requires more effort than its worth. So, every night after the kids go to sleep I spend 10-20 minutes putting the toys back in their proper places. And every night I hate doing it.
Why do I insist on cleaning up a mess knowing that less than 12 hours later it will return? Why drive myself to the brink of madness on a never-ending quest for baseline tidiness?
1. Because I believe every day offers all of us the chance at a fresh start. If Evie and Mack wake up to the same mess they left behind the day before there is nothing new to explore and no new toy combinations to create. They greet their tidy toy area with genuine enthusiasm every morning, and they take delight in tearing it apart throughout the day. Quite frankly, turning a clean space into a mess keeps them busy!
2. Because I value my time with my husband. When the kids go to bed around 8, Chris and I really appreciate a few quiet hours together. We have a drink, watch a movie, surf the internet…all in a relative grown-up atmosphere that doesn’t involve tripping over toys.
3. Because I never know what I might find when tidying the toys. On more than one occasion I’ve stumbled upon a half eaten bagel or milk in a sippy cup. If I didn’t clean up the mess, I’d be welcoming creepy-crawlers. Ick!
4. Because it matters. To me. I sleep better knowing that the house is clean, and I appreciate the fresh start every morning.
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