I'm kind of wigging out. This week I will be looking after a three-year-old boy while his parents, who are artists, teach classes at The Seasons Performance Hall. Fun? You betcha! I'm absolutely looking forward to the experience with nothing but excited anticipation. No no, the reason I'm wigging out is that the parents, these highly successful, detail-oriented strangers are going to see my house. And it is a mess.
What is it with me? This is a continual battle I fight: anxiety over what others will think of my home maintenance skills. The weird thing is, I am not a fastidious person. I like things clean-- as in, scum-free-- and I like things to have a place, but when it's just me and the Girlie I am generally satisfied with a state of controlled chaos. Without anyone watching I think I strike a healthy balance between extremes. I do not spend all of my time whisking away evidence of human habitation, nor do I actively create a pig-sty environment (which, by the way, was my teenage rebellion form of choice. You're welcome, Mom. Seriously. It could have been so much worse). But oh, when visitors arrive on the doorstep... Sigh. I am suddenly caught in the iron grip of this crushing fear that-- that-- honestly, I don't know what I think is going to happen. Maybe that they'll take pictures of my laundry room and report me to CPS or something.
With a one-year-old in the house it's kind of ridiculous anyway. Children accelerate the process of entropy: it's a scientific fact. Look it up. Toys become one with the floor. Food becomes one with the tablecloth. The organizational structures of your drawers disintegrate and decay and fall apart until you find yourself looking for the can opener in the refrigerator. Who can conquer the forces of domestic collapse? Some people. Not me. But domestic collapse and I have an understanding. We're cool.
So you know what, highly successful, detail-oriented strangers? Come on over! I'll invite you in and say, in the words of Roseanne, "Pardon the mess, but we live here." I'll assume that you're not judging me, and you can assume that I mop occasionally. Just don't report me to CPS. And don't look in the laundry room.