Burning question of the day: Why wasn’t my house always spotless before I had kids? Seriously, there was, in hindsight, no legitimate reason why it couldn’t have been clean all the time. I guess I was just really lazy. And happy. I was lazy, and happy, and I played video games and worked a lot. Now, when I talk about what I’ve been doing all day, or better yet, what I got DONE, I find that I’m … fudging it a little? What I say…doesn’t seem to mean what I used to think it meant.
“I cleaned the floor.”
Used to mean: I picked up every single thing and vacuumed and mopped the entire house.
Now: I picked up most of the things, and kicked the others around the carpet so I could vacuum. Then I squinted my eyes to simulate an older person who doesn’t see well, and paper towel spot-cleaned anything on the laminate that was glowing green or creating texture.
“I cooked dinner.”
Used to mean: I spent at least 45 minutes cooking some spicy, complicated creation from scratch, using every pan and spoon I owned.
Now: We are eating anything besides take and bake pizza.
“I did laundry.”
Used to mean: I spent all day Sunday washing and drying all the things, so that I could spend my time watching X-Files, folding the laundry, and putting it away during commercial breaks. Voila! All the clothes clean for Monday morning.
Now: I washed and dried some clothes, many of which are small and annoying to fold. They are sitting on the bed RIGHT NOW. If I can sneak off after dinner, I will fold a few of them, then the rest will get smashed into the giant pile of wrinkles in our bedroom. Sorry, dear.
“I cleaned the bathroom.”
Used to mean: The bathroom was ready for a picnic. You could eat off any surface you desired. Everything was sanitized, shiny, and the end of the toilet paper was folded into a little triangle just to make you feel fancy on the john.
Now: Visible signs of the small people have been hurriedly scrubbed off with a disinfecting wipe, and a flushable brush has been swished around the toilet to remove whatever it will remove. Notice I didn’t mention the tub. That’s what shower curtains are for. If you look, it is your problem—why are you looking in my shower? Weirdo.
“I’m ready to go.”
Used to mean: I’m ready to go, except I need one more thing that I forgot. There, now I’m ready.
Now: I might be ready to go in about 15 minutes, after I get the other 17 things the children *need* to be happy, find the other shoe, tie them into the carseats and then run upstairs and “fix” my hair. That is conditional. If anyone needs to use the potty, flips out over a sibling saying the wrong thing, or comes down with a flash virus, all guarantees, implied or otherwise, are forever cancelled.
“I did the dishes.”
Used to mean: Who are we kidding? I never kept up with the damn dishes. It pretty much means the same exact thing now as it always did: We’re expecting company.