Loving My Dirty Roots

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Today please welcome Leigh Hewett, author of the blog Leigh vs Laundry,
which documents her misadventures as a stay-at-home mom. Readers follow along as she juggles housework, motherhood, creativity, and delusions of grandeur. She also writes a weekly column called Moms Talk for Athens Patch, where she talks to moms (and dads) about the triumphs and trials of parenthood. All the while her ignored laundry pile grows by leaps and bounds.

I have always been a writer because the words demand that I set them free from my mind. When I think back to my writer roots, I can’t help but hear the words of my 7th grade creative writing teacher who once told me “Write what you know.” When I find myself feeling blocked, I look around and feel inspired by what I see. Being a stay-at- home mom, my vision often falls on my children, my messy house, and simple moments. Every scene that unfolds in my crazy home may seem ordinary, but they actually create a beautiful and hilarious story-my story.

10 Tips for an Insane Home

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Sometimes I feel like I’m at war with my home. Life seems to be scattered all over my messy living
room. I recently found this list compiled by the ever thoughtful Karen Maezen Miller. As I read the tips,
it became obvious why I wage a huge battle with my mindless home. Here is my own list of how I’m doing it all wrong.

I don’t wake with the sun, I wake before the sun. There’s no pure
light spilling into my room. Darkness envelops me as my bossy two-year-
old calls out to me, early in the morning. I step out of bed and stub
my toe on a toy truck.

It would be such a luxury to simply sit. I’ll be honest with you, I
haven’t sat down once since 2004, when my first son was born. I’ve
plopped onto the couch in a stupor a million times, but I don’t recall
actually sitting.

If the state of my bed is the state of my head then my brain is
covered in cookie crumbs.

My laundry room is a den of resentment. The dirty clothes pile laughs
at me while the clean unfolded clothes give me the stink eye from the
corner.

All of my bowls are sticky and feel very superior to me.

The only timer that gets set in my home is the “time out” timer for my
naughty children or the timer that barely keeps me from burning
whatever slop I happen to throw in the oven.

I have no idea where my broom is. I think that I saw my two year old
taking it in the other room to construct an unsound tower.

I eat when I’m hungry and I eat when I’m not hungry. Sometimes I wake
up to realize that I’ve eaten half a tub of icing, over the sink, with
a dirty spoon. True story.

The darkness comes after I tuck the children into bed and my
television beckons my to spend some quality time on the couch.
Mindless chatter fills the room and my mind.

If I were to sleep when I was tired, you would find me face down and
passed out in a pile of mismatched socks,in the middle of the
afternoon, while my children used the lost broom to knock the cookie
jar off the shelf.

Although my life is full of madness and my home is far from mindful, I
wouldn’t trade these years for anything. I could fool myself into
believing that I could achieve Nirvana in an organized home and a tidy
mind, but I treasure our mess. If there are dirty dishes in the sink,
it’s because I’m playing with my children. If there are clothes to be
folded, that means that I am building a fort with blankets in the
living room. There will be plenty of time to sit when they don’t need
Mama any more. I’ll take a house full of love over a clean house, any
day.

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  • http://janasthinkingplace.com/ Jana A (@jana0926)

    “There will be plenty of time to sit when they don’t need
    Mama any more. I’ll take a house full of love over a clean house, any
    day.” 

    ^^ I love this so very much. Great post. Thank you for sharing your roots. 

    • Leighvslaundry

       It was fun to expose my dirty roots! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • Gooddayregularpeople

    I have ALWAYS loved her words and her style. I remember finding her over two years ago, and am impressed with her freshness of perspective now as I was then.

    • Leighvslaundry

       What a huge compliment! Thank you so much!

  • Kaitlynn

    I needed this today… even knowing that childhood goes by too quickly and all those other things can wait, I still struggle with voices inside that prompt me to believe my house needs to be orderly. Although it does make me feel better to make my bed each day the rest of the stuff can wait, does wait, and will be there tomorrow… my little one will won’t be for long. Thanks :-)

    • Leighvslaundry

       I have mastered the art of silencing my nagging inner voice. Unless it is telling me to eat chocolate.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My own is obviously mindless based on that list. Right now I have multiple thrones to laundry and dishes. So glad to know I’m not alone because yesterday was a really bad day.

    I needed this smile. :-)
    Traci

    • Leighvslaundry

       We all need to laugh at our lives sometimes. It’s either laugh or cry, right?

  • Anonymous

    I already adore Leigh and her pictures make me smile. While I understand the woman’s list I also know that in reality it is unattainable for so many of us and I think I would rather have it Leigh’s way anyday. 

    • Leighvslaundry

       Awww…love you, Angel!

  • http://twonormalmoms.blogspot.com/ Ally

    “I’ll take a house full of love over a clean house, any day.” These are words I need to remind myself of – especially on days when PMS takes over my brain, placing ridiculously high standards on my life that are completely unattainable. That might be happening today, so I’m glad I clicked over and read :)

    • Leighvslaundry

       I’m so glad that my post resonated with you. I was having PMS when I wrote it, so we’re in good company.

  • Lindsay @Lilloveandluck

    Leigh doesn’t know it yet, but we are going to be friends.

    • Leighvslaundry

       I’m always looking for new friends, especially if their house is as messy as mine.

  • http://www.herbaldiet.com/herbalife/herbalife-herbal-tea-concentrate/81.aspx Herbalife herbal tea concentra

    Great post! Thanks for posting this and sharing this with
    us. I also know that in reality it is unattainable for so many of us and I
    think I would rather have it Leigh’s way any day. 
     

    • Leighvslaundry

       Thanks for reading…unattainable is a great way to describe the quest for a perfect home.

  • http://twitter.com/jlweinberg jlweinberg

    Thank you so much for this totally honest and funny post! I can totally relate to pretty much every word you wrote. YES: “There will be plenty of time to sit when they don’t need
    Mama any more. I’ll take a house full of love over a clean house, any
    day.” 

    • Leighvslaundry

       It’s so nice to know that I’m not alone.

  • Lindalabbo

    Hilarious! Full of love and wisdom! You brightened my day!

    • Leighvslaundry

       Thanks for hopping over to Erin’s lovely blog to read it.

  • http://grannysuesnews.blogspot.com/ Sue

    Hear, hear! My kids are grown and gone now, but I still remember this little poem we all shared with each other back in the day. (True, it’s a little corny, but the message is right on!) 

    “Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
    for children grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.
    So quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep.I’m enjoying my children and children don’t keep.”=)

    • leighvslaundry

       I love that poem, Sue! So true!

  • CarolineU

    I LOVED this honest post! You always keep it real, Leigh. A completely tidy home is totally over-rated. I’d rather enjoy the kids (and in our case some messy crafts) than be cleaning and cranky all day. You’ve got it, girl. xo