Dave Ramsey always says he gives the same advice your grandma gave you, just packaged prettier. Whelp Dave, not my grandma.
My grandparents were chronically terrible with money. They burned through cash like tomorrow would never come. My grandfather passed away a few years ago but the money ran out long before that. They have lived with my parents for more than a decade because they loved to spend, spend, spend. Everything revolved around appearances. My grandmother still lives with my parents and they will be financially responsible for her for the rest of her life.
You’d think I would take any advice she gives with a grain of salt.
I’m working, my husband is working, we’re homeschooling, and quite honestly, we’re struggling to keep our heads above water. Our house is a mess. To be fair, I’m a bit of a neat freak so it doesn’t take much to call my house a ‘mess’. The kids and I tidy the house once each day but I went from vacuuming 2x daily to once per week. We haven’t deep cleaned the bathrooms in a month. Sure, I’ll pull a baby wipe and wipe down the counters but the toilets are due for a deep scrub. Everything is due for a deep scrub.
Here’s the deal. I can do a deep clean weekly. I have the time on weekends. But, I take that time for mental health. I’ll run for over an hour or hike for miles because it gives me the mental and physical break I need to tackle the upcoming week. Then it’s laundry. Errands. Spending quality time with my kids. Life. My husband works 6 days a week. I certainly won’t ask him to help on his one day off. My schedule is packed and I have to carefully choose what to drop.
I dropped my perfectly clean house.
My mom and grandmother dropped by without notice this week. My grandmother walked in and I watched as her eyes scanned my home. School books everywhere. Pencils. Papers. My computer. Stacks of paperwork. Unfolded laundry. Six people trying so hard to keep 1200 square feet tidy… and failing. I saw what her eyes saw and I felt immediate shame. She snapped at my kids, ‘Why are you so messy!?!? Clean up!’
‘They’re fine, grandma. They’re trying to do school.’ I responded.
‘Not in my day’ she muttered.
Did I shrug it off? Did I say to myself, ‘Well granny, you’ve never lived through something like this so take your opinion and shove it’?!?!
Nope. I had a good cry. Then looked up cleaning service companies. Because. You know. Grandma’s opinion.
Here’s the deal. My house isn’t a disaster. It’s messier than I would like. It’s not unsafe. The laundry will get done, the dishes as well. It’s fine. But I (and granny) am used to perfection. And that’s a freaking joke right now. We’re working hard to earn extra cash so we can spend a really great summer with the kids. This is the snapshot. This isn’t the whole movie. Every snapshot won’t be perfect.
When I told my husband I had looked up cleaning companies, he snorted with laughter. ‘Yeah, let’s work hard to earn extra money to pay someone else to impress your grandma.’
We aren’t hiring a cleaner. I told my mom to give me at least 30 minutes’ notice before dropping by the house. I realized that right now, life isn’t perfect and that’s OK. For those who are in the same boat, I feel ya. We’ll get through this. Power through. Stop trying to impress grandma (or whoever is the ‘grandma’ in your life). Stay the course. You’ve got this.