People ask me all the time how I manage twins and keep
such a lighthearted disposition. No, it's not the nightly glass of wine or the
chats with girlfriends that keep me from going over the edge on a daily basis
(though granted, those things certainly help).
The one secret to maintaining a
cheerful outlook is actually something each and every one of you reading this
can do tonight after your kids go to bed and the results will be astonishing.
Now, everybody cleans from time to time, but that's not
what I'm talking about. I'm talking about an instant transformation in which
you make the kid clutter temporarily disappear from your living space. Think of
it like folding up a Murphy Bed, except instead of dirty sheets, you are going
to make all the crap that clouds your consciousness disappear.
Maybe you're one of those people who lives in a
big house where the kids' stuff is all relegated to a certain room or floor or
wing. Or maybe you live in a small space, but you're a minimalist family with
neat freak kids who can find 80 different uses for three Swedish wooden toys.
If so, stop reading and congratulate yourself.
But if you're like my family,
where space is at a premium and the books and toys seem to multiply in the middle of the night, this is for you.
Within moments of the kids going to sleep, my husband and I pull up
their interlocking foam mats to reveal the rug underneath, stow toys and books
away on the shelf and put all of their sippy cups in the dishwasher. Then we
switch on the lava lamp and stare at it for a while and, like, see shapes and stuff. In truth, we transform what, during the day, looks like a daycare center into a somewhat serene adult living space.
Because the business of parenting never ends, the visual reminder of kid stuff prevents you from taking a break.
Something that's just ours, at least for a few hours.
I don't know about you, but I find it hard to truly
relax when there's a dinosaur tail or a butterfly puzzle piece—or a copy of "Go
Away, Big Green Monster!"—in my sightlines. And that goes double for the bedroom. What is that dancing Elmo doll doing perched atop your dresser, its maniacal plastic eyes starring down at you from above? Does the fact that it could switch on at any moment and burst into a high-pitched seizure really put you in the mood for love—or even sleep??
Because the business of parenting never ends, the visual reminder of kid stuff prevents you from taking a break. While an errant magnetic
letter 'S' may seem harmless, its presence there on the floor will nag at me
like an untreated stained shirt in the laundry bin. Though shoving all their shit away seems overly simplistic, the effect it has on me is profound.