I knew becoming a parent would be an adjustment, but I had no idea how much change it would entail.
While it wasn't always the case, as I've grown older, I've become a bit of a neat freak. When I was younger, I didn't particularly care to keep my spaces clean and organized, but that's changed as I've become an adult.
Loose clothing lying around on the floor drives me crazy. I can't go to bed if there is even a single dirty dish left in our sink. Clutter and disorganization make my skin crawl. In the summer, I try to keep our lawn immaculate, while in winter, I clear snow as soon as possible after it hits the ground. Before we leave on a trip, I clean the house top to bottom, so that when we return, it's to a pristine, relaxing space.
At least, that's how it used to be.
Since our son was born in July, our home has become an increasingly cluttered and chaotic place. Now, full laundry baskets sit in precarious towers. In our small house, my wife and I routinely have to step over or around toys that have become permanent fixtures in our living room. Tiny socks, burping clothes, blankets, onesies and soothers rest wherever they're dropped, waiting until they're next needed. I haven't mowed my lawn since August, and I'm a little glad snow has started falling to cover it.
The thing is, our boy simply requires too much attention. If I'm home from work while he's awake, I do my best to play with him, talk to him and keep him occupied so his mom – who stays home with him all day and mostly cares for him at night to let me sleep – can have a bit of a break. When he sleeps, we're both too tired to feel the slightest motivation to tidy up. As a result, chores go undone.
I'm venting a little. In the grand scheme of things, I know a healthy, happy baby is more important than a clean house. I recognize I'm deeply blessed.
I also know – or at least hope – that one day, the changes we're currently making will become habits, and our routine will include a little cleaning and housework. As our boy grows older, I might even be able to teach him the value of cleaning up after himself – although I'm sure more experienced parents are chuckling at that bit of naiveté.
For now, I'm learning to embrace the chaos and treasure these moments. My son has changed so much in just three months, and I want to remember as much as I can from his early days. If that means sacrificing a clean house, I can live with it.