April Jeppson: You may wish for the tiny fingerprints later

Published 9:22 pm Thursday, August 9, 2018

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


As I walk through my living room, I can’t believe all the stuff everywhere. Who just leaves a string cheese wrapper on the ground? Why is there underwear in the entryway? Oh my gosh, what did I just step in? Is that — jelly? Ugh!

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I wipe the jelly off my foot and then walk to the kitchen. More stuff out of place, more randomness to step over. How did my house get like this? Didn’t I just clean it?! Yes, yes I did. I remember. My whole family pitched in. We spent the better part of two hours taking turns choosing our favorite songs on the Alexa and rotating through various rooms and chores. It was actually kind of fun. But alas, here I am just a few days later with a sticky foot.

Come to my house any day of the week and you will be greeted by some level of chaos. I’ve come to the place in my life where if you don’t like my mess, you don’t have to come to my house. I even have a sign in my kitchen that clearly states “This house was clean yesterday, sorry you missed it.” So although I’m cool with the fact that I have small kids and it just is what it is — I know I can do better.

I surround myself with friends who are natural housekeepers. They are in constant motion — wiping off a table, sweeping the floor, loading the dishwasher, folding clothes, wiping the toothpaste out of the sink, sorting mail, putting clothes away, putting dishes away, putting another load in the washing machine. I’m always amazed at their productivity. As I’m chatting on the phone with one of my friends, she rambles off the list of things she’s accomplished since we started talking 30 minutes prior. You know what I’ve accomplished? I’ve talked to my friend for a half an hour. That’s what I’ve accomplished. I was either pacing through my kitchen or sitting in a chair, but I was not cleaning up my house.

I attributed my messiness to just not having the housecleaning gene. I wasn’t blessed with the desire to clean. Especially mundane tedious cleaning that has to be repeated every day. Ugh, that’s the worst. Like, I just did laundry! Why do I have to do it again?! How many people actually live in this house? Are people sneaking into my house, dirtying up my children’s clothes and then leaving them under couches and tables and draped over kitchen chairs? I don’t get it. How can such little things create such continual chaos?

So, I’m talking to my friend about how much I loathe these tasks, and she says, “Oh I know — they’re the worst.” It caught me off guard. I thought she loved cleaning. I mean, she did it every day, multiple times. So she obviously enjoyed it. Or so was my logic. Cause why on earth would you do something you hate? It had never occurred to me that sometimes when you’re an adult, you do things you don’t like — cause well, that’s what being an adult is.

I mean, I have to adult all the time. I make the hard choices with my children, I’ve done the boring or difficult tasks at my jobs, I’ve just never transferred this knowledge to the world of house cleaning. It was kind of a paradigm shift moment for me. I realized that few people actually enjoy cleaning, but they do it because they love their families, they have pride in their homes and because they are the adults and that’s just what adults have to do.

I’m trying to see all this housework as a blessing, because I find that changing a habit usually works best if you also change the mindset. I realize that not everyone has a family to clean up after, or even a home to maintain. Instead of repeating “I hate this” while sweeping the kitchen, I’m reminded of this beautiful quote by Thomas S. Monson that helps put everything into perspective. “If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will, to your surprise, miss them profoundly.”

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.