Although the Not So Zen Mom can sometimes border being an uptight asshole about her house cleaning, she is damn good at keeping a clean house. The problem is, once you have kids, trying to keep your home clean is truly fighting an uphill battle. Every time your kids have a meal or a snack (which seems to be every hour and a half), most of the food will end up in a million little pieces on the floor beneath them. Every time you put away the hundreds of toys sitting in a heap in the middle of the floor, within minutes they end up right back where they started.
My solution: when you have little kids, only clean up when people are coming over and only clean exactly which parts of the house you think they will see. I call this the “Smoke & Mirrors” approach to cleaning. It may make you twitch to think what your kid’s playroom looks like downstairs, but if your dinner guests are only going to be upstairs, why bother cleaning it? Instead of cleaning all the bathrooms, just clean the bathroom that your guests will use. This will cut down dramatically on the revolving door of cleaning you are usually stuck in. Sure, your house won’t be as clean as it used to be, but think of all that energy you will be saving on something that isn’t even effective in the first place. Why not spend that extra energy doing something else productive for yourself, like taking a shower, sitting down or relaxing. A novel idea, I know! If you’re nodding as you read the list below, you’ll know you are an over-the-top, anal retentive Not So Zen Mom and it may be time for an intervention!
1. While at a play date at your girlfriend’s house, you notice her sloppy painting project and insist on finishing the job yourself. Every Mom needs an over-the-top, anal retentive NSW friend!
2. You hate dogs, but you got one just to lick up your kid’s food after they eat. You didn’t take into account the massive amounts of fur and poop your dog would leave in their path. You may not be a NSZM after all?!
3. You shop for bleach spray bottles and hand sanitizer in bulk at Costco. They come in sets of two 350 ounce bottles.
4. You schlep around high chair covers, disposable place mats and shopping cart covers everywhere you go. You’ve got so much kid gear, it looks like you’re living out of your car. Not to mention the size of your carbon footprint is that of a dinosaur.
5. You use no less than 97 anti-bacterial wipes on your kitchen counter daily. There are so many chemicals floating around the house, your entire family has a chronic cough whenever they’re home.
6. Every mom has threatened, “No more snacking in my car!” This is usually preceded by your kid spilling an entire bag of Goldfish on the floor of the back seat and crushing them into a million little pieces when they get out. Very few moms actually carry out this threat and if they do, it usually only lasts a couple of days. If your kids legitimately are not allowed to eat in your car, you just got yourself the title of over-the-top, anal retentive NSZM…Congratulations!
7. Your son actually puts one of his socks neatly into each of his shoes when at fast food play structures (You know who you are!). Seriously, I’ve never heard such a thing. If I hadn’t witnessed it with my own two eyes, I would not have believed it. I’m lucky if my kids don’t walk out of the restaurant barefoot! Disclaimer: Yes, my children have eaten fast food before.
8. You clean your toilets and sinks with a toothbrush. I wish I was as thorough as you, but I’m just too damn tired.
9. Your kid actually freaks out when they make a mess. The kid of a non-anal mom will spill 32 ounce of pickle juice inside the fridge, watch it spill, not call for help, leave the fridge open and walk away. True story…I watched my very own kid do just that. The child of an over-the-top, anal retentive NSZM will spill one ounce of milk and start crying.
10. You make your kid wear a belt to school everyday so you can attach a bottle of hand sanitizer to it. Again, I wouldn’t believe this one either if I hadn’t witnessed it myself. No need to make your kid a social reject just because you’re a germaphobe!