NEVER HAVE KIDS.*
*Unless you are financially equipped to hire a full-time maid and/or ship the child off to boarding school so that he or she can mess up someone else's stuff.
Like, seriously. Rethink the whole "becoming a parent" thing. Because if you're a person who likes everything tidy and sparkling, all the time, you will live for the rest of your life (or, you know, the next eighteen years or so) in constant psychological torture at the state of your carpet, your mini-blinds, your ... everything.
I keep this photo of my laundry room floor in my phone to prove that it was actually clean once.
It's bad enough that you can literally never have all your rooms clean at one time. You're cleaning one room while the kids are trashing another in that special, destructive way that only kids can. You finish vacuuming and when you come back two minutes later it's like the Goldfish Cracker Fairy has deposited a magic sprinkling of crumbs. It's a miracle! (Either that or a mental breakdown waiting to happen.) While it is a necessary evil, cleaning the house while there are children in it is like building a sandcastle and letting the waves wash it away ... every day.*
*Or if you're me, then a couple of times a week, maybe.
But what's worse is that in addition to the things everybody has to clean - floors, counters, toilets, etc. - there are things you have to clean when you have kids that you rarely - or never - had to clean before. Things that would never have been touched except during an annual deep-cleaning or something. For example:
Your chairs. Eating is not a difficult activity: utensil to food, utensil to mouth, repeat. But when you throw in talking with your mouth full, gesturing so wildly that you spill your drink or tip your bowl, picking out the "squishy" mushrooms or the "gross" peas, and grabbing everything within a two-foot radius with sticky/greasy/saucy fingers, it's a recipe for a mess. Most people can just wipe down the table after dinner and be fine - but when you've got kids, you've got to wipe down the chairs, too. And not just the seats: I don't know how many times I've scrubbed dried milk-splatters off the chair legs.
Also, if your kids run around naked, this goes for every other chair in the house too. Because little naked butts may be cute but have you ever seen how well kids wipe? Ick.
Your computer. I don't even let my kids eat or drink near the computer, but for whatever reason, my laptop's keyboard is perpetually crusty. Or I'll be scrolling through Facebook and freak out that a girl I went to school with has a mustache ... and then realize it's just some dried-up gunk on the screen. I'm not sure what gets all over the laptop, but I've seen where my kids' fingers end up sometimes, so I keep a lot of Clorox wipes on hand.
Your trash can lid. Throwing crap away: again, not a difficult process. Unless you're a kid. Because then it's like, "Let's not throw this half-eaten container of yogurt away without dribbling it all over the lid first and then walking away to let it dry."
Your appliances. When there's nobody touching, say, the front of your dishwasher, it remains pretty pristine. But when children are around, appliances - all of them, even ones you have no idea why your kids are touching - gather smudges, smears, and spots faster than you can say, "How is there a footprint on the refrigerator door?" And speaking of ...
Your doors. Kids don't just grab the knobs. They somehow dirty up the area around the knob, too. Oh, and the side of the door. Oh, and the bottom, because apparently once they've wiped both their grimy hands on the knob and surrounding areas, they use their feet to push the door open or closed. Or something.
Your light switches. This is the orange pseudo-cheese from either Cheetos or Doritos ... who knows which, but it's crusted all over the bathroom switch. Of all places.
Your walls. Prior to having children, I never would have thought about cleaning my walls. But now I have to clean them on a regular basis. And I don't mean a couple of times a year: I mean, like, weekly. I almost never see anything being actively smeared onto my walls (except for boogers, occasionally, because I have boys and boys like to do that), yet it looks like ground zero of an epic food fight in here. (Or toothpaste, depending on the room.) Add in the random handprints and the scribbles courtesy of toddlers with ill-gotten crayons, and your walls are like a big blank canvas to paint with kid-yuck. Sometimes it's mysterious drips of an unknown substance in an area that's taller than any of your children ...
... and sometimes it's far more sinister.
Yes. That's exactly what you think it is. How it got there - or how it adhered so remarkably - is anybody's guess.
So you see? If you value a clean house, and have obligations outside of scrubbing and wiping and sweeping and sanitizing for approximately twenty hours per day, you may want to put serious thought into becoming a parent. Because under the clutter will be dirt - and not just standard dirt, but dirt in places you never thought would be dirty. And you will look at your carpet and you will cry.
(PS - Don't forget to click on the "Giveaways & Reviews" tab at the top of the page - I've got a giveaway going on!)