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Without Order, There is Chaos

Let’s talk about the horrors of having someone without kids drop by unexpectedly and getting an uncensored look at your house in all its unclean, unorganized, unkept glory.

Recently a friend stopped by to pick me up for a highly-anticipated and too-rare lunch date, sans child. Now, I must admit, while it wasn’t an unexpected visit, I was not planning on her actually stepping foot inside the residence.

When she texted me on her way over and mentioned that she wanted to see some updates we had made to our home (interior painting, refurbished fireplace), I broke out into panic sweats. My first thought was, nope. No way. She can’t come in. Not gonna happen.

But then I realized that’s ridiculous. So, I texted her back something along the lines of: “OK, you can come in, but the house looks like Hiroshima and once you see it you may never look at me the same.”

She laughed it off and said I was being crazy, and that she didn’t care what the house looked like.

Cute, I thought. That’s what she says now…

A little while later she was walking up the stairs, dodging Lego pieces and rogue slippers and Crocs. We got to the living room, where the fireplace is. It’s also where a lot of the destruction occurs.

I tried to steer my friend’s attention toward the new wooden mantle and painted brick, and not toward the throw blankets hanging haphazardly off of the couch, the decorative pillows strewn on the floor (they are used as “islands” when the floor is lava), the Avengers dangling from the lamp on the end table, the Batman Cave that was tipped over on its side, or the red plastic cups and ping-pong balls every few steps.

We went straight through the kitchen/dining area without stopping, and I’m really hoping my nonstop chatter prevented her from noticing the Oreo crumbs on the floor, or the dried soap drips down the front cabinets under the sink, above the step-stool that Mikey pushes over when he wants to wash his hands in the kitchen.

Then we got to the “playroom,” which is actually an area that most humans would use as a sunroom or extra “sitting room” or living space, but we have designated it as the child’s play area until… Well, until I don’t know when.

And here’s the thing: As a form of self-preservation, I have simply cut that room of the house right out of my brain. In my mind, I have drawn a line across the floor where the chaos starts and closed it off. There is yellow caution tape in my head that cordons it off. I don’t even consider it when I’m cleaning and organizing. It’s just too far gone.

But, standing there with a guest, trying to show her the new trim, I just wanted to curl in on myself and implode.

You see, there is a level of chaos that exists in a house with a child/children that must be so completely foreign to a home without kids. I know that is a bold statement, and it’s not meant to alienate anyone, but I feel in my bones it is true.

And I only have the one child.

We continued the tour of the bomb shelter… I mean house. Mikey’s room was much of the same, and – to my absolute horror – my friend used the bathroom. (We have a 5-year-old boy, need I say more?)

Then, apparently I had a mini-stroke, because I said I would drive.

So, out we went to the garage, tripping over basketballs and soccer balls and baseballs, and made our way to my SUV. I opened up a back door to throw something back there and quickly realized it was a no-go.

Between the stale French fries littering the floor mats and the lollipop stuck to the console, and the red sticky substance on the seat (99.8 percent sure it’s not blood), I quickly shut the door and swiveled around, and told my friend we would be taking her car.

And then I enjoyed a 10-minute drive in a vehicle that didn’t smell like fast food, didn’t leave me sticky, had adult music coming through the speakers and – I kid you not – actually shined.

And the real kicker? She’s still talking to me.

Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mother of an almost-6-year-old. She can be reached at


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