My six year old had a friend over the other day for a playdate. I will never understand playdates - they see each other at school every day, for six hours a day and then they want to set up "playdates" afterschool so they can spend more time together? But I digress. So my daughter's friend, a sweet little girl, whose family I suspect must have more in the way of household help than I do, looked around the house and asked, "Do you have a cat?" When I asked her why, she said, "Because you have so many dust bunnies on the floor." She was right. The dust bunnies were multiplying at an alarming rate and the very nice woman who comes in and helps me keep them at bay every two weeks (when I can swing it) had been off over the holidays.
But since Monday, when I went back to work, I had decided to ignore the dust, dishes, laundry and other things and hope that no one noticed. But she did. I felt bad about it for a moment. I bit my tongue and tried not to respond with some smartmouthed comment which showed my crankiness about having to let some things fall by the wayside in favor of focusing on spending time with my family and concentrating on my work. She was after all, six years old. But it made me realize my own feelings - conflict about what to spend my time on - cleaning vs. cuddling vs. paycheck, a small amount of jealousy that she was growing up in a dust bunny free zone while my children did not, and finally, a sense of relief in accepting that I can't have the three C's (cleanliness, cuddling and cash) and if I have to let go of something, it is not going to be time with my children or effort put into my work. So, let the dust bunnies run wild, at least for the time being.