The Balancing Act

Clean House / Sanity / Kids

If you’re a friend or family member of mine, you’ve probably been annoyed at one time or another by my urge to keep things clean.  After a good day of house cleaning, I turn into a monster who follows my husband around with the vacuum and gets annoyed when he goes to the kitchen to make himself a sandwich…because I know he’s getting crumbs on the counter.  I’ve changed the password on our laptop to ‘cleanhands?’ so that Jeff can’t claim he forgot to wash up before surfing the web (which usually results in his brown fingerprints all over the pretty white keys).

Now, I’m not sure if  spotting stray drips of water on the floor from across the room is a trait I was born with, or if it is a learned skill, but I’m mature enough to admit that I’ve taken the act of maintaining a clean home to the next level.  At one point I’ve threatened to buy Jeff a pair of Crocs to wear as ‘house shoes,’ on account of the fact that his overly sweaty bare feet leave footprints on our shiny laminate flooring — we’re kind of getting to be like kids who pretend that the floor is hot lava and we’ll get burned if we step on it.

I was sure that once our daughter was born, I’d get over the compulsion to clean my house.  Wrong!  If anything, I’ve gotten a little bit worse.  I’ve recently started hanging plants around the house…to clean the air.   We can’t be breathing dirty air!  You get the picture.

In a recent conversation I had with a friend, she expressed the same frustration over keeping her house clean.  She also has a little one to run around after, and can certainly do without the stress that goes along with constant housekeeping.  She filled me in on a concept I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Here it is:

Clean houseSanityKids

Now, you can only have 2!  

Forget about trying to keep your home clean, while also spending meaningful time with your children and still having time to invest on any sort of personal development — whether you’re into yoga, book club, or Bravo TV : ).

As it stands, I’m still wrestling between keeping a clean house and hanging onto my sanity.  Maybe when Annabel learns how to walk I’ll look into a pair of Crocs for her, too…


Breeding creativity

I’m admittedly hooked on anything Bravo TV has to offer.  The ladies of the Real Housewives franchise regularly come up in my daily conversations, and I sometimes learn important pieces of news on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (real news, like when Osama bin Laden was killed, for instance).

That being said, I don’t necessarily find my affection for the television a real problem in and of itself.  Enter my iPhone.  I consider myself sort of a late adopter of the iPhone.  When my husband finally presented me with this slick looking piece of technology for Christmas, I got started downloading apps.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, the list goes on.  I’m still getting used to navigating some of these social media sites (I can’t stop referring to hash-tags as pound signs, and even though I promised myself (and everyone else) I wouldn’t only post pictures of my kid all of the time, I challenge you to find a picture that doesn’t revolve around Annabel).

Taking all of this into consideration, I’ve found that I suddenly have the attention span of a goldfish.  The other night I caught myself browsing my Facebook newsfeed while simultaneously fast-forwarding through commercials on one of the shows I recorded on our DVR.  Am I really so constantly in need of stimulation that I can’t even fast-forward through a commercial without getting bored?  If the saying “boredom breeds creativity” rings true – I’m in trouble.

Now that I have a little one to think of, I’m going to need to start taking some steps to make our home a more fertile breeding ground for creativity.  There is no need to start Annabel down the same path on which I’ve found myself.  After doing some light research (during commercial breaks…when I’d run out of lives on Candy Crush), I found that the American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that exposure to TV before the age of 2 can have lasting harmful effects on our little ones’ development.  Even leaving the television on in the background can negatively impact a child’s reading skills, language development and short-term memory.

Things aren’t so bad around here that Annabel and I are in the habit of watching Top Chef together, but there is always room for improvement.  I’ll be trading in the background noise of the TV for the sounds of the ‘children’s indie’ station on Pandora (which, as it turns out, is now my husband’s new favorite).  Instead of getting lost in the depths of Pinterest to kill time while nursing, I’ll read a children’s book aloud.

Annabel already has a little personality all her own, and with all of the reality video footage I’m collecting these days, I’ll have enough material to start my own network soon!