I am a Suburban Slumlord

“If I dropped a dollar bill on the floor in our house I wouldn’t even pick it up,” my husband said only halfway joking. He says the floors are too dirty to warrant the risk of retrieving the dollar. And it’s probably half true. With three small (feral) children and three dogs I am basically a suburban slumlord.

I was raised in a pristine house. Everything had it’s place and by God everything was in it’s place. The countertops and floors sparkled and there was no question that it was safe to eat off the floor. My house always looked like a magazine shoot for Southern Living. Even when we had kids in the house. Of course since I was raised that way that’s what I envision as home. Not this what-is-that-smell-why-is-this-sticky-when-did-the-dogs-last-go-out hovel. It’s not that we don’t clean the house in fact I have an awesome lady that comes every other thursday to do a deep clean. It’s just overwhelming. The clutter, the stuff, the toys, the animals. At some point I just threw my hands up in the air in defeat.

My husband has been “working on” the house for-oh I don’t know-3 years now which led to some exposed pipes in my living room for a little over two years. The past year he managed to get the unfinished drywall up but he only painted and trimmed it out about 2 weeks ago. I was thrilled to finally have a living room that no longer looked condemned. Of course then that led to him deciding to fix the nail pops in the stairwell. So now I have no less than 55 white putty filled spots leading up the stairs.

When my daughter was 2 she wrote her name in the carpet upstairs with a permanent marker. I was so excited that she could write her name so young that I never bothered to try and clean it. To this day it makes me smile every time I walk past it. My youngest “made me a firetruck” a few weeks ago while I was preoccupied on a webcast for work. He used a red ink pad that he found in his sister’s things for his creation. Again, I’m too sentimental to even touch it.

“Firetruck” by Miny

I started cleaning out the kids closets in preparation for the upcoming neighborhood garage sale (which I may have even missed by this point) and I’m pretty sure that somewhere underneath all those clothes and toys there is still a guest bed. At least I think so.

My daughter is truly becoming a little woman and is beginning to take up every spare inch of space in the house. She has expanded beyond the confines of her room and has bled into the playroom. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there. Now the floors and walls of “my” office are covered in her toys and dolls and craft projects.

My end tables are covered with so many Smurf houses from Happy Meals that I am seriously having to reevaluate our “eating out” budget.

And this brings me to the dogs. The terrible horrible no good very bad dogs. One of them is actually pretty good beside the fact that she steals food off the kids plates. But the other two? They are simply wretched. For starters one has developed an autoimmune skin disorder which has led her to be on meds for the past 3 years which makes her pee…..all the time. Everywhere. Thank God we have hard wood floors. But at this point I’m replacing area rugs about every 3 months- which is quite an expensive habit. She’s also gone completely deaf and I’m pretty sure she has cataracts too. 

Getting a new rug is always fun!

I do realize (don’t think for a second that I don’t) that one day my house will be silent and pristine. The toys will have long been sold in garage sales and the dogs long buried. Their closets will be emptied and packed away and instead of one completely buried guest bed I will have four perfectly made up empty ones just waiting for the next time they return home.

For now I will just have to learn to lessen the expectations on myself and be a little more accepting of circumstances. I need to learn to love the mismatched shoes scattered throughout the living room and the dirty clothes pile right next to the hamper.

So for now I will [try to] embrace my title as Suburban Slumlord.



If you liked this post you’ll love Meet the Teacher AKA the Night From Hell and The House Where Animals Go to Die

3 thoughts on “I am a Suburban Slumlord

  1. You captured my life(minus the three dogs) to a T!!! I like you need to find peace in the disaster that I call home and embrace it. As you put, soon we will have four empty rooms in perfect condition, but where is the fun in that? 🙁 They grow up WAY too fast!!!

  2. I completely relate to this. I grew up in a pristine home, as well- and my house- yeah, not so much. Some days it drives me absolutely batty, and other days I realize that in a blink of an eye, my kids will be grown, and I’ll yearn for these days. Every single empty-nester or grandparent I’ve talked to has told me to cherish every single minute of my life right now, as it is- messy house and all. So, I lift my glass and send a virtual toast to you- because I recognize the craziness in it all!

  3. This warmed the little tiny dark corners of my heart. Most of us have experienced the trials of loving and living with our husbands children and dogs and not having that photo perfect house.

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