On Thursday night, some friends stopped by "unexpectedly" (my hubby knew they were coming, but I didn't). Not only was I in my pajamas, but the house smelled like curry, (which is not exactly a bad smell if you know what it is. If you don't know that the smell is curry, perhaps it smells a little like garbage...) and Cara's toys, a few weeks worth of mail, and all manner of crap were strewn around the living room.
I freely admit that I am not a meticulous housekeeper. In fact, I outsource/delegate/hire someone else to do the down-and-dirty stuff. A little background on this: PJ was laid off a few months before Cara was born. It actually worked out okay for us because he stayed home with Cara for four months and then returned to the workforce. For about a month, I was the working parent, and I was very stressed. The condition of the house only added to my stress, so I begged for housecleaners when PJ got a job,(if everything was this messy with only one working parent, how much worse would it be with two??) and he agreed. I guess he realized that I really was about to lose my mind. We love the housecleaners. They are wonderful.
But, when the friends left, I decided that the mess had reached a dangerous level and something had to be done. Fortunately, I was furloughed on Friday, so I devoted a few hours to picking up the crap. When I do this, I am always amazed at just HOW MUCH CRAP we have, and it's not all Cara's. We are terrible about recycling the junk mail, putting away laundry and clean dishes, keeping shoes in closets, picking up toddler toys, etc. Somehow, I managed to get every room in the house picked up. I know that doesn't sound very impressive, but it gave me such a feeling of calm that I asked PJ to take pictures each room to document the occaision.
He didn't, but I really wish he had because now the house is wrecked again, and it's only SATURDAY! So, here's my problem: I need some kind of system for keeping the house picked up (notice I didn't say "clean;" I'm really talking about the accumulation of junk that builds up on EVERY SURFACE IN EVERY ROOM!). Suggestions? How do other parents manage to have a house that looks acceptable? What class did I miss in mommy school?