The New Meaning of Dirty

So I’m sitting here in my bumming around hoodie, which I am sure I just got out of the dryer yesterday and all I can smell is rank, old, dried up, bona fide, breast milk spit up.  There is nothing that smells quite like it. The question I pose now is…

Where is it coming from?

…my hoodie, the couch, the pink blanket, the muslin blanket, her bib, her outfit?!

I spend the next 4.5 minutes sniffing around like a dog, to decipher the whereabouts of this stench. This has become my life.

And I’m not just talking about spit up… or even baby poop… or even dog hair. I am talking about the whole business, the business of being a parent, the everything about my life that gives “my house is dirty” a whole new meaning. A more life-stage appropriate phrase might read “my life is dirty”.

Before my husband and I had a child, we were pretty tidy people. I mean, we weren’t neat freaks or super clean by any means, but we were sanitary and regular everyday twenty-somethings, who could get their crap together pretty quickly when company was coming.

When I said “oh, sorry my house is dirty its been a busy week”, I actually meant “it’s kind of dusty in here, and the way the light reflects on my floor shows that I didn’t sweep up the dog hair today”. Really though, my house was what I now would call pretty close to perfect.

If you are a mom you get it, more than non-moms (or non child caring people) could ever possibly understand. At any given moment, or on any given day your body parts could have come into contact with puke, milk, poop, spilled milk, sprayed breast milk, sprayed poop (NOTE: this is entirely different than regular poop), sneeze juice, snot, drool, soup, coffee, or really any combination of liquids which might be found in ones modern day home.

Earlier today my elbow was wet. I figured I must have just brazed by a damp counter, or spilled some of one of my 76 glasses of water which I gulped back to make sure my milk supply doesn’t dry up or I don’t dehydrate. My baby is a milk drunk, and a very very hungry gal.  Anyway, as I went to wipe it off I followed the trail up all the way to my finger, which my daughter had so fondly been gnawing on for no more than 1 minute. How can this much saliva really come out of someone so small, so quickly?

Years ago….Heck, months ago, if I chose not to wear my brown sweater because it was dirty, all that meant was that I had worn it a few times and it would be weird to wear it again without washing it. At the worst, I may have sweat in it…a little. If we’re being perfectly honest here I could wear the same sweater for days before thinking it was a good idea to give it a wash. No.Big.Deal.

Today I wore 4 sweaters. Four, sweaters. NOT AT THE SAME TIME. Consecutively. And I can’t just throw them in the hamper and wash them in a week like in the good old days. No, that would be disgusting, because the various bodily fluids would soak in, dry up, and start to stink. The problem is that life is so wonderfully busy and not busy these days that I likely won’t get to the laundry for at least 3 days and my room in fact WILL start to stink.

 It’s interesting because I never used to care that much about disinfectants. I mean, I was clean but I didn’t get stressed if I ate a stray Ritz cracker off of a plain old washcloth-wiped counter. Now that I have a little one, I care a whole lot about sanitation, and cleanliness, and her not getting dog hair in her mouth, and her not licking things that aren’t clean (which by the way isn’t possible because SHE LICKS EVERYTHING), and generally disinfecting most items that may come into contact with her in any way. The irony is abounding… because now that she’s around, everything is SO much dirtier than it used to be. Gah!

Sometimes I get excited about how awesome I am. I get excited for 10 minutes every 2 days (or so) right after I have vacuumed, and swiffered when there is almost no dog hair on the floor and all of the random baby accessories have been shoved into a corner, or box, or the counter in the laundry room, and I’ve wiped down the kitchen counters. I get really, really inappropriately excited. I almost want someone to just show up for a drop in visit, just so they can see how ‘awesome’ my house looks without me even trying. Goodness forbid they actually looks closely, or worse-look in any room other than the living room.

Oh, and I am only excited for 10 minutes because I am lucky if it all lasts for that long before someone launches curdled breast milk out of their mouth and across the room, or I decide to sanitize toys, bottles and nipples galore, then let them air dry all over the island, or my baby poops through 3 layers of clothing and it soaks into the fabric of the swing. You get it.

All I am trying to say here, is that dirty doesn’t always mean dirty, and dirty doesn’t always mean dirty either. It all just depends on who you are talking to and what their life situation is. Let’s just all come together and stop pretending our houses are ever REALLY clean anymore. If you come over and my house looks ‘great’, it’s either superficially clean, or my father-in-law did it. Let’s be honest here.


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