Dave Ramsey always says he gives the same advice your grandma gave you, just nicely wrapped up. Puppy Dave, not my grandma.
My grandparents were chronically awful with money. They burned cash like tomorrow would never come. My grandfather died a few years ago, but the money ran out long before that. You’ve lived with my parents for more than a decade because they loved to spend, to spend, to spend. Everything revolved around the bill. My grandmother still lives with my parents and they will be financially responsible for her for the rest of their lives.
You’d think I’d take any advice she gives with a grain of salt.
I work, my husband works, we teach at home, and in all honesty, we struggle to keep our heads above water. Our house is a mess. To be fair, I’m a bit of a decent freak, so it doesn’t take much to refer to my house as “chaos”. The kids and I cleaned the house once a day, but I vacuumed twice a day at once a week. We haven’t cleaned the bathrooms thoroughly in a month. Sure, I’ll pull out a baby wipe and wipe the counters, but the toilets need a thorough scrubbing. Everything is due for a deep peel.
That’s the deal. I can do a thorough cleaning every week. I have the time on the weekend. But I take this 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 week ahead. Then it’s laundry. Errands. I spend a lot of time with my children. Life. My husband works 6 days a week. I will certainly not ask him to help on his day off. My schedule is busy and I have to carefully choose what to drop.
I dropped my perfectly clean house.
My mother and grandmother came by without notice this week. My grandmother came in and I watched her eyes search my house. School books everywhere. Pencils. Papers. My computer. Stack of paperwork. Unfolded laundry. Six people who try so hard to keep 1,200 square feet clean … and fail. I saw what her eyes saw and I was immediately ashamed. She snapped at my children: “Why are you so chaotic?!? To clean up!’
‘You’re fine, Grandma. They are trying to make school. ‘ I have responded.
“Not in my time,” she muttered.
Did i shake it off? Did I say to myself: “Grandma, you’ve never experienced anything like this, so take your opinion and push it”?!?!
No I had a good cry. Then sought out cleaning companies. Because. You know. Grandma’s opinion.
That’s the deal. My house is not a disaster. It’s more chaotic than I would like. It’s not unsafe. The laundry will be ready. The dishes are ready. It’s good. But I (and my grandma) are used to perfection. And that’s a bloody joke right now. We are working hard to make extra money so we can have a really great summer with the kids. This is the snapshot. That’s not the whole movie. Every snapshot won’t be perfect.
When I told my husband I was looking for cleaning companies, he snorted with laughter. “Yeah, let’s work hard to make extra money and pay someone else to impress your grandma.”
We don’t hire a cleaner. I told my mom to let me know at least 30 minutes in advance before she came by the house. I realized that life isn’t perfect right now and that’s fine. For those in the same boat, I feel you. We’ll get through this. Go through. Stop trying to impress Grandma (or whoever the “Grandma” in your life is). Stay on track. You have that.