The problem is I live in a house of hoarders. So maybe that is exaggerating just a bit, yet if you know me you know I like my space clean! My husband likes to acquire things that he sees for free. He is also a pro at making up the excuse that a purchase was a "good deal". We all know that if it was at a garage sale or had a red clearance sign on it then it has to be a steal right! (Insert sarcasm)
Let's talk about my four year old who is always bringing home pocket fulls of rocks, sticks or acorns. I can find these all over my house and in my dryer. Both my toddlers are awesome at making it look like a tornado has gone through the house. On top of the natural disasters in the house is the constant crumbs from both my children and husband. Really? Is it so hard to get your food in your mouth?! Just this weekend I vacuumed under the couch cushions and I found enough crumbs and granola that I could have thrown it back in a bag and offered it as a snack at a later time. I can be mean...but not that mean.
I do hold onto some things myself. I am a sentimental person. I have my children's outfits they came home in. I have tucked away an item or two that I thought maybe they would want later on when they have children of their own. I keep certain cards from friends and family so I can read years later. I keep each bib from the races I do with my times logged on the back. I may have even kept my pregnancy tests from both kids...maybe...
My "treasures" I choose to hold onto fit within my cedar chest that my grandmother gave to me. This is special to me and filling it with sentimental belongings seems appropriate. Everything is tucked away in it's own space. Some things even in boxes. There is order, neatness, and it makes sense to me!
What does not make sense to me is the man down the street who is an obvious hoarder. His yard is cluttered with miscellaneous belongings. Cars, trailers, extra garbage cans and rusty rakes. I have seen him mid day sleeping in his truck. It makes me wonder if his house it too cluttered to sleep comfortably in and his truck is his own "clean" space. It even makes me want to get a Hazmat suit and go in there and start cleaning for him.
Then there are our previous neighbors who moved down the street. If you walk by their house you cannot see anything in their front porch since they have junk piled to the ceiling. No joke! They can't even enjoy a porch because they have so many things piled everywhere. It's not hidden, they are not ashamed. Maybe they don't give a shit and maybe I shouldn't either.
I need to have my place clean. Cleaning gives me a sense of control as well as accomplishment. I feel satisfaction to be able to sit down without a pretend fork going up my ass or stepping on a matchbox car for the tenth time in one day. My children are allowed to play, explore and have fun. I just prefer it if they do it in their own space and not in mine. If my husband has his room, and the children have theirs, is it so much to ask to give me the rest of the house?! Seeing the place in utter dismay makes me feel crazy. By the way, I am “that” mother at birthday parties scurrying around picking up after the children. NO, I don’t need you to help me nor do I want you to. See, I know where everything goes and am just as happy to do it myself so when my kid is crying for his ninja turtle I can retrieve it from the correct place. Yes, each toy should have it’s own special home as well.
Looking at crumbs on the floor, toys scattered throughout the house, or my husband's hairs from shaving that have been left all over the sink (can you say gross and lazy), those things make me feel batty. I cannot just let it go. I try, believe me, I would love to be one of those mothers who just let’s it go. I would like to be you, the one who says it is more important to sit down and play with their children. The one who can come home and say it can wait another day. I am not like you and I high five you for not being as neurotic as I am. I admire that you can be relaxed enough to look past the dishes in the sink and piles of laundry. To me they are taunting my name as I walk past them and I have to just get rid of them immediately. They are whispering for me to take care of them because no one else in this house will!
A person's hoarding can evolve from a traumatic event that has happened in a person's life. Some people are trying to replace something, fill a void. Others have difficulty letting go of things. Then we have those hoarders who actually think they are doing something good, such as animal hoarders. They believe they are "saving" an animal and it gets way over their head. Soon they have fifty cats living in their house and they can't even feed themselves.
My husband and children are not one of these people. There has not been any traumatic event that would cause them to collect these things and drive me crazy. There may be a traumatic event that comes from all this junk being brought in my house if Mama has to pick up after any more of it! I love my husband. He is a wonderful man. He is an incredible father and provider for our family. Blah, blah, Blah...(I know that is what you are thinking) Yet he is not what I would call a tidy person. They say opposites attract right?! Apparently so because even though I grumble over the crumbs and paper towels he leaves crumpled in balls all over the damn house I will not be demanding that the three of them leave any time soon. For now they and their sloppy little selves can stay here. Talk to me in eleven years when I have two teenage boys and a messy husband all living under the same roof with me then I might just have to move out!
I hope that one of my son’s, fingers crossed for both, grasp some of my habits. Being a little neurotic can be a good thing. I am sure my future daughter in laws would appreciate a man who can keep things clean and pick up after themselves. One can hope right?!
As Chase says: "Chase makes a mess, Wesley makes a mess, and daddy makes a mess and Mommy cleans it every time!"