What's your reality? Mine is often the photo above. I should be honest; I have a husband who is a neat freak. More than a neat freak; too much disorder makes him a little anxious. When he's on his work rotation, however, this is life. 

I follow a lot of photographers on Instagram. I swoon at the light in their homes, and the white furniture and clean everything. Their children always look happy and clean and tidy, always dressed in outfits that match and hair neatly styled. I wonder, is this their life? Where is the chaos and socks on the floor?

I bet it's all there, piled in the corner of the room that's just outside the photo. Shoved under the bed that the child is whimsically jumping on and hidden behind the curtain in the tub. I firmly believe that before these magical photos were taken, there was a meltdown because little Jimmy wanted his snack in the blue bowl, and mom had just had a shot of Bailey's in her coffee.

The photo above is my kitchen after my daughter and I get home. I leave work a few minutes early so that I can get her at the sitter's on time, and then rush to make supper because if you wait too long to feed your child after a full day of school and the sitter's, it sounds like there is a Tyrannosaurs Rex in your living room.

Note the plastic packing bags on the floor; those came from the boxes of coffee that my husband ordered from Amazon, which my daughter NEEDED me to open. Behind the boxes of coffee to the right, you don't see the little plate of leftover pancakes that I'd forgotten in the microwave and took out so that I could heat up a batch of frozen spaghetti sauce. You can see Sophie behind the cardboard box, which she decided needed to be made into a home for her LOL dolls. On the floor next to the bags are her hat and one mitten; don't ask me where the other one is. 

That big bag of chips? That's what I decided would make a good healthy snack while I made supper. Not for her, she doesn't like chips (is she even my child?). No, those are for me.   

You can see the pot on the stove, the water not yet boiling for the spaghetti we were having. You can also see a pan peeking out beside it. Today's meal did not require more than one pot (sometimes one of my biggest goals when making supper is to use as few pots and pans as possible); the one on the left is from yesterday's supper. As I type this, it's still there on the stove, though I did put the cover on it.   

There's a paper plate on the island next to the box. I don't know, does it matter?

You can see part of our porch. The hockey bag from yesterday still in there, her boot two inches from the bench with the shelf on the bottom for shoes and boots.                                               

Welcome to our weekday living room.

The floor is apparently where the clothes go after they're done being worn. It's also where empty cups and toys and games go. There's an empty plastic bowl on the couch, and an empty saucer on the end table. I'm guilty for those two sins, because mama needs snacks, too.

Yes, that's a balloon.

We gave up on keeping the coffee table in the center of the room. As Chris likes to say, if there's a flat surface in the house, Sophie thinks she needs to fill it.

If you were to go down the hall to our bedroom, you'd find a laundry basket full of clean clothes that will more than likely stay there for the next few days; I like to make sure they get good and wrinkled before I put them away. Adds character. 

Head on into the bathroom, and you'll find a pair of her underwear on the floor, and a naked mermaid by the sink. Let's not look in the bathtub.

I'm pretty sure  that posting these photos on Instagram wouldn't have anyone wondering how I manage to do it all. No one would question why the house is so tidy and neat when there's a child living inside. 

I know it would be much worse if it wasn't for my husband and his need to clean. I tidy after supper is all finished and make it somewhat presentable,  then he comes home and cleans things that I didn't even realize were messy. As he organized our daughter's room on Sunday, I came in and said, "You know, there are mothers that would pay for this?" God bless him and his neatness. 

Sometimes, that little time you have between after work and bedtime isn't meant for cleaning.  Sometimes you choose your sanity over cleanliness. Sometimes, that short window of time is meant for ice cream.


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