Sunday, January 28, 2007

"THIS is How We Do It!" (or, "Things That Fall Through the Cracks")

There are two things colliding here in this post... First, lately Braydon and I have been talking a lot about what our blog says (and does not say) about us; about what we do (and do not) write about and make "public" about our family's "private" life; about what people's representations of themselves (in blogs, in photo albums, in scrapbooks, etc.) --ourselves included-- really represent; etc. One thing you rarely see in blogs (or photo albums, scrapbooks, etc.) are revelations of the 'dark side' of people's lives-- and here I'm not talking about their innermost personal battles or journeys (in fact that kind of stuff is often made very public) -- rather, I'm talking simply about stuff like people's dirty laundry, their messy bedrooms, their not-so-pretty-realities of day-to-day living. We've been talking a lot about what Kyle and Owen will think of their childhood lives if they look at this blog years and years from now and rely on it even to some extent to piece together their own understandings of how we lived our lives. Will it really portray our family's reality at all? Or is it just some glossed up version of non-reality?

Second, lately Braydon and I have been talking a lot about this question we get asked so often... people seem to say stuff to us all the time along the lines of: "How do you do it?!" What they mean by "it" is, how do you manage this whole thing --- this whole two super-active twin boys, two super-active individual careers, super-active family life, seemingly-all-holding-together-nicely-household, ETC. But while to the outside world 'it' (our life/lives) might seem nicely-held-together, to us it all often feels unweildy and out-of-control. One thing is for certain though, whatever it is that we are doing -- we know exactly how we're doing it!! In December I wrote a post about one of the ways we're "doing it" (click here). Today I'm going to post about another one of the ways we're "doing it."

The other night we were heading upstairs to bed at about 11:30. It was a normal typical night like most others-- Since 8:30 when we had gotten the boys to sleep, we had cleaned up supper, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, made our lunches for the next day, neatened up the playroom and family room, sorted through the mail, checked the voicemail, thrown in some laundry, put all the toys into the garage from the driveway, fed the cats, checked email and finished up work, posted to the blog, had a drink together to catch up on the past 24-hours of our lives... and we were exhausted and ready to crash before getting up at 6:30am to start it all again. After checking on the boys and kissing them in their sleep, as we entered our bedroom, this is what we saw:

And Braydon said: "THIS is how we do it!" And we both started laughing loudly. I said, "Yeah, THIS is something we should take a photo of for the blog -- because you're right, THIS is how we do it!!!" We were too tired to get the camera that night -- but I did take the photo tonight (and believe me, the scene in our room has not changed much at all in the past few days!!!).

This is how we do it! We hardly ever make our bed, our clothes are always lying all over the place, and our room is almost always a disaster! The boys' rooms are always neat and clean -- honestly, much of the house is -- but our room is a pit - always! It is just one of the things that falls through the cracks.

So, tonight I want to air our dirty laundry -- no pun intended. I want to do this in part because I think it is important to be honest about how this all works since people just really aren't honest about it (and this is important: growing up nobody ever told us that "having it all" -- i.e., having a two-career-family-life -- would require letting a lot of stuff fall through the cracks). It is important to fess up. I also want to do this so that if K & O ever do read this some day they'll see that we weren't afraid to reveal the 'dark side' of our lives (at least, we weren't afraid to reveal a little bit of it!!! -- trust me, there's a lot more dark where this dark comes from!!!).

So, right now, in this phase of our life/lives -- THIS is (at least in part) how we do it -- THIS is (in part) what falls through the cracks ... at least the cracks of homefront/household management.

Our kitchen sink is almost always filled with dirty dishes:

Our laundry room is almost always overflowing with laundry-in-process:

We order take-out, or eat out, at least once a week:

And... drumroll please... (Mom, you're gonna have a heart attack when you read this:)

... We just took down our Christmas Tree TODAY!!!!!!!!

You know what though? WE'RE SO, SO, SO HAPPY! And... our life is SO INCREDIBLY RICH AND FULL. So rich and so full. And so, so good.

I think that people generally presume that Braydon and I (and people like us) are very "Type-A" high-strung control-freak type personalities. And in some respects there's some truth to that I'm sure... but honestly, we'd never be able to do all this if that were too true... because to do it, you have to be able to let a lot go, you have to be able to relinquish a lot of control to other people, and you have to be able to let a lot of stuff fall through the cracks. We are no experts. We are a work in progress. We still have a lot to learn. But, as of now, THIS is how we do it.


Anonymous said...

Whew, Heather, I feel better now! I don't work outside the home, but our bedroom is always the last thing to be cleaned, and our laundry room is piled high. I get the "what do you do all day" comments every once in a while, but for those who've stayed home all day with an ACTIVE 3 year old, as well as chauffeuring my 3 others, I find plenty to keep me busy!! We love reading your posts!


Bek said...

I love this post!!

Troy & Tara Livesay said...


Troy and I have a horrific bedroom ... I keep most everything clean, but our bedroom is where I shove anything I cannot deal with. Stacks of clothes everywhere --- odds and ends, etc.

Making the bed is overrated.

Amanda/MayhemMama said...

I am just catching up on your blog, which I have not read (and have missed!) for a little while.

And I love this post.

Photos on our blog have often been, ummm..., "screened" to avoid showing my nasty floor, the laundry partially folded, and that kind of stuff.

You're right though-- to "do it all" you have to be able to ignore some things you feel like you should do. Because, really, you cannot possibly do it all.

Thanks for this post (and for your many wonderful posts). When I get back to blogging, I'd like to copy your idea of revealing the dark side!

Inci, mom to Alex 15.5 months, from Boston, MA said...

I love this post and the photos! The post made me cry and laugh at the same time! Your bed seems exactly the same as our bed, and we only have one kid!

I know all about the piles that live with us, and the laundry loads that are always 'in process'. Once done, nothing gets ironed (I grew up in a house where even the underwear got ironed!). In fact, I haven't seen my iron in a year. It comes out only on special occasions these days. Both husband and I have invested in some non-iron shirts (check Brooks Brothers and Land's End, it's awesome).

I'll add one more to that: bags of old clothes and house items that are always going to the non-profit donation center or to the tailor/dry cleaner. On average they spend three months by our door, waiting to be taken out, then they spend another three months in the trunk of the car to actually be dropped off. Some day the drop off actuall happens, yeey! Great. But by then, guess what, there is another bag of recycling/donations old clothes etc ready and waiting by the door...

Thanks a ton for sharing. Relieved to know that we're not alone.