I have given up on clean floors.
There was a time when I could walk across my floor barefoot without feeling like I was walking on sand. Not real sand, mind you. The kind of sand that is made when a bag of crackers or cereal is spilled all over the floor and then crushed into a sand-like substance by ten little feet.
And when I say “little feet,” what I really mean is feet that are men’s size 13 and women’s size 11…because little feet don’t actually run in our family. Plus, big feet can do a lot more damage to spilled crackers.
I used to be able to get away with only sweeping the floor a few times a week and mopping only once. Sure, I may have had to spot clean when syrup or juice was spilled on the floor, but that was manageable. What happened to those glory days?
Ah, yes…children happened. And what do you know? Most children are not naturally clean creatures. Teenagers are not much better, except they do start to care about how they smell, which does help some. But not when it comes to bedrooms, (Seriously, what is a good air freshener?) and not when it comes to floors.
It does not help that we live in the desert, where there is an abundance of dust. Where else in the world do people think that rocks and gravel create a beautiful landscape?
Dirt anyone? We have plenty. Green things are difficult to find here unless you count cacti, thorny trees without real leaves, and “grass” that feels like needles on your bare feet. There is not a lot to keep the dirt at bay, which means that it is tracked inside in alarming proportions.
I once tried to ban the kids from ever wearing shoes in the house in an attempt to keep some of the dirt under control. That lasted for about one day because one of my teenage sons has a love affair with shoes and it was simply not worth the fight.
Most kids want to shed their shoes as soon as they can. Not him. For as long as I can remember, he has wanted to wear his shoes ALL DAY LONG. Seriously, he would probably sleep in them if he could. There are benefits to that. I don’t ever find his socks lying around the living room. Mind you, there are ALWAYS socks lying around the living room. But not his.
I digress.In addition to the massive amounts of dirt, there is this thing called water that tends to get all over the kitchen. Those little spouts on the refrigerator for water and ice are so convenient, except that my kids do not actually know how to use that nifty ice dispenser without dropping several cubes on the floor. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. But apparently it is too difficult to pick them up, so they just leave them there to melt into nice little puddles, which is understandable since they are probably already developing bad backs at their age.
Then, remember all the dust and dirty shoes that I mentioned? Yep, you guessed it – MUDDY footprints. I’m not talking about tracking thick mud all over the house, but imagine black footprints and smudges all over the kitchen floor…constantly.
Our entire house has tile floors, except the bedrooms and music room, which means that those wonderful black stains are spread all over the house. Add that to the crumbs and spilled substances that nobody can identify, and you have yourself a sensory playground for your feet.
I do sweep daily, so I guess I haven’t completely given up, but I refuse to mop every day. Who has time for that? Plus, the kids “get” to mop on Saturdays, and they LOVE that. They tell me that it builds their character and that they are so grateful I get them out of bed to teach them such important things.
And let me just tell you about how they sing while they work, never complain, and get the floor perfectly clean every time. (“Mom…I didn’t see that big black sticky spot…”) Teaching them how to mop is much more important than clean floors, right?
Sometimes, when it gets awful, I resort to doing the mopping myself because I can’t stand it anymore and want to dry heave every time I walk into my kitchen. But those times are getting fewer and farther between because I am done worrying about clean floors, remember?
Plus, it is bound to be dirty less than five minutes after I am finished because that is just the way things go with a family of seven. Quite honestly, I would rather do other things with my time – like maybe read a book other than the Magic Tree House, write for a few minutes to keep my sanity, or maybe even go to the store to buy something exciting…like groceries, perhaps.
On second thought, nix that last one. I don’t like to shop, especially when we are talking about “exciting” groceries.
So if you come over here to visit me, you will likely see me wearing my flip-flops inside, because there are few things I hate more than stepping on unknown substances with my bare feet. But I guess I don’t hate it enough to actually clean that floor daily. Wearing flip-flops is easier.
I am thinking of getting one of those cute signs to hang in my entry…you know the ones that say “Please Remove Your Shoes.” However, I think I will have it custom made with the words, “Messy Children Live Here. Shoes are Recommended for Your Own Safety and Comfort.”
What do you think? Is that inviting enough?
Children are wonderful, aren’t they? Really, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Some day I will miss these messy floors.
Or maybe not. 🙂