Today I engaged in a little of what I like to call "moving day cleaning." You know, that kind of cleaning you only do on the day you move into or out of a house, and then wonder why you hadn't done that at all in the years you'd been there. Like "why did I let that coffee splatter stay behind the coffee maker for three years? It looks so much better now!"
I am well aware that there are many people for whom this type of cleaning does not exist, either because they really are that on top of their immaculate homes or because they don't actually live in their homes. Or maybe because they've never moved, have never in their adult lives had to fully empty out a space they've lived in for years, and haven't a clue how dirty it really is underneath their stoves.
I was relieved to find that there was nothing scary (or living) underneath my oven when I pulled it from its cozy little nook in the counterspace. Some dustbunnies and a long-lost baking dish, and a toy that had to have belonged to a prior inhabitant.
The same cannot be said for the furnace duct that emerges next to the "pantry" (=large L-shaped shelving unit that holds all our dry goods/non-refrigerated foodstuffs). There were formerly-edible things in there that our family has never purchased so I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who slacks when it comes to removing vent covers and cleaning the scary gaping tunnel that eventually leads to the furnace.
Unfortunately, while I now FEEL cleaner just standing in my kitchen, you can't really tell that big a difference. Except maybe for the front of the dishwasher, which will be dirty again next week I'm sure.
A couple of days ago we did the kids' bathroom in a similarly thorough way. That was downright scary, but luckily I had the messy-bathroom perpetrators to do the behind-the-toilet scrubbing. At one point they knew how to clean the bathroom really well, and would do it when I assigned it once a week or so, but standards had slipped to the point where I saw the same piece of unclaimed missed-the-can trash behind the toilet for four weeks running, and it became obvious that I had to take things into my own hands again. Which in this case mostly meant sitting cross-legged outside their bathroom and directing the Boyness cleaning army-of-one.
Also this week, I went into the garage and found all the boxes of outgrown kid clothes, and sorted them by size. You'd think they would already be sorted, but no...I tend to go through the kids' clothes on the same (or close to the same) day, and during the midwifery school adventure I didn't ever have time to do anything but stick the resulting pile in a box and slap a label on it, so I'd have three sizes in each box.
I have 9 large rubbermaid containers of outgrown kid clothes. Yikes. At least I know where/what it all is. And there is a piece of my decluttering-loving heart that is LOVING the idea of not having boxes of outgrown clothes lying around after this child; this is as-close-as-you-get-to-100% surely going to be our last.
Also since my last update, we completed Boyness' room. He loves it. I am very happy that he loves it and is so proud of his room. The girls, miraculously, cleaned their room very thoroughly and have kept it that way for a week; I had told them I wouldn't even consider rearranging their room until they'd kept it clean for 2 weeks straight, which I thought they would find impossible. I might be stuck rearranging their room.
This leaves the dining area, den, and laundry room to deep clean. And there are bits of the garage left to reorganize, too, but it's gratifyingly easy to walk through and Boyness has plenty of room to use his heavy boxing bag now (vs having to walk through a box maze to get to his mats etc before).
The really interesting thing here (and yes, I consider all of the above highly boring) is that none of that stuff HAD to be done. And indeed, if this was last year, I would not have done it, and nobody would have suffered. Funny how different things become important, how we fill our time. My life came to a screeching halt in early September when I simultaneously ended my midwifery school/apprenticeship obligations and got horrifically morning-sick. And it feels full again right now. I know we're descending into dangerous mommy-wars ground here...but for me it is a truth that this is less fulfilling and satisfying work. Nevertheless, it is where I find myself, unable to realistically work call or do midwifery work of pretty much any sort until a good chunk of time after this baby arrives. So I fill my time with the smaller joys of clean furnace vents and dust-bunny-free zones under the oven. What I was doing when my life was so hectic and crazy was Atlas-important for the women and families I was helping, and this feels...less. Even if it does still feel "full."
I realize I am glossing over the main mommy-war point - that joy I'm supposed to be feeling about spending time with my kids - because truth be told I'm not sure I'm spending that much more good one-on-one time with them (I'm not talking about one me with one child, I'm talking about one me paying 100% attention to any or all three). The kids have been simultaneously enjoying the stability of knowing mom is around almost 100% of the time and missing the chaotic fun of the days that they used to spend at friends' houses. I have been happily allowing them to do projects of various sorts virtually all day (everything from making and racing boats a couple of days ago to identifying birds to doing "art" projects that essentially amount to little more than scribbling on various media) with little input necessary from the mama gallery. I've found the internet to once again be a vital social lifeline when I would otherwise be mostly cooped up at home doing that depressing stay-at-home-mom no-adult-interaction thing (AGAIN no slap-down on the mamas who do and enjoy this. I just don't).
A little over a month until the baby-in-arms part. Probably a couple of months until I get restless enough to start up my midwifery business, and a few months beyond that until things get really interesting when I start attending births.
I feel stalled.