There are those who look forward to the “loot” on a gift-giving holiday (they hope to clean up), and the rest of us who wearily scrub counter tops (and bathrooms), pack away clutter (anywhere we can), resort to last minute maneuvers (piles pushed under beds), and an assortment of small house emergency organizing tactics – in anticipation of entertaining company.
For a few hours, it’s gorgeous! And in the cooking commotion we splatter and splash, stir and stain, and then we serve, we eat, we laugh, we enjoy – and by nightfall we’re cleaning up again: platters to scrape, leftovers to pack into the fridge, boxes to break down and store, wrapping to discard, dishes to rinse and load in the washer.
‘Twas the night of Christmas, and we’re content with anything we can do – to make the morning after less onerous.
We’re grateful when the exercise of responsibilities and expectations – for children and adults – has lessened. And in the wake of holiday commotion, simple pleasures may be shared: a quiet coffee, time with a journal, an unhurried conversation.
And we hope that we had the common sense (and energy) to tend to most of the clean up before heading to bed!
Small House Organizing, Kids Who Clean
My small house has never benefited from proper organization and I take full ownership of that sorry state. Then again, I have the usual small space storage problems, which hasn’t affected my personal capacity for, well, everything!
While my boys may like to tease that I’m a hoarder – um, I’ve watched the show, I can still see my floors, I do not qualify – it is however undeniable that my young men have been raised amid stacks of books, papers, crazy art and languishing loads of laundry. They nonetheless have turned out okay (perhaps even better than okay?), and while I would have loved to follow the guidelines of “a place for everything and everything in its place,” let’s just say it hasn’t been high on the Single Mother Priority List. (And possibly on the Any Parent Priority List in our tumultuous times.)
Still, when called upon to assist (with reaching, lifting, and old-fashioned elbow grease), it is possible to teach children to clean. Toilets?
Not so easy.
Dirty socks anywhere but wherever removed and dropped?
Likewise. But it’s possible all the same, and I confess it still astonishes me when teenagers take up arms against mess – and help! Might we say it’s the eighth wonder of the world – teens who clean?
Entertaining is about People
My children are older and they certainly love to eat – well. I was a whirlwind of cleaning activity through much of yesterday, and last evening’s meal took far longer to cook than I planned. But entertaining is about people; my company was helpful and gracious, my kids were relaxed; the former didn’t notice the clutter I couldn’t hide, and the latter (my sons) were shocked to see the table cleared of every paper and book that normally covers it.
Yes indeed. That’s been a considerable chunk of my past days and nights. And my sons pitched in when asked, and jumped in to handle the dishes, late last night.
In the light of the day after, and with a steaming cup of strong coffee, I cannot help but find myself relieved that we have passed the stage of the young child’s chaos and commotion. The festivities were pretty wild at one point this weekend, yet they’ve given way to calm and consideration. For a few hours, at least.
Entertaining across multiple generations can be delightful and enriching. The preparation and the aftermath? Yes, it’s work – but worth it.
Morning After Musing
My kitchen is in reasonable shape. My mood is relaxed. My children – yes – are still sleeping.
It was a good weekend.
Now I ponder the piles pushed under my bed, the boxes teetering in a single storage closet, and though I’m itching to make more progress, as usual – “real life” will take precedence and I’ll focus on other priorities instead.
- Was your holiday what you hoped for?
- Did you or your little ones “clean up?”
- How crazy and chaotic are the holidays in your home?
- Dishes left in the sink, or did you clean up?