After all these years sitting in living rooms, it finally occurred to me this morning why they’re called “throw pillows.” It’s because every single time a child encounters one, he or she feels an uncontrollable urge to throw them on the floor.
Why is this? Why is it that every time I go into my living room. all six pillows have been moved from the sofa onto the floor? Whether anyone is in the room at present or not, there they are: a friendly greeting to let me know a child has passed through.
The other signal of “child presence” is the handy clue that those little slipcovers that go on the arms of the sofa are either wildly askew, tossed on the floor, or partially tucked down between the couch cushion and the arm of the couch.
Some people (who don’t have little children) have the luxury of avoiding this by inserting those little screw-shaped curly thumbtack thingies that will keep a armrest slipcover in place. But not me. As a mother, those are just waiting to be removed, thrown on the floor, and gouging up into a person’s bare foot. That, or else get sucked up by the vacuum where they can tear up the inside of the machine. Just their very presence on the arm of the couch begs for this occurrence. They couldn’t possibly be left in place for a full twelve hours. Or three. Not during hours when a child is awake.
And let’s not forget or overlook the dish towel hanging over a cupboard door near the kitchen sink. The one I strategically place so I can dry my hands. Why, oh why, is it always on the linoleum? And why don’t I notice until after I step on it? Then I feel highly uncomfortable drying my hands on that towel. What makes that such a good target for tossing? Only the child knows. But it’s irresistible, apparently.
I often admit that I’m a poor-to-average housekeeper. But this is by choice. At the beginning of my phase as a mother of children, I tried to keep everything in order and clean. But it didn’t take many years to realize what a colossal waste of crazy-making time that was. (Because doing the same thing over and over, like putting on the slipcovers, and expecting them to stay is a manifestation of insanity.)
Now, I do things like wad up the armrest slipcovers and stick them in the top of the coat closet.
Bad housekeeping is a form of survival for me. Luckily, I married someone absolutely great. He’s great for many reasons, but one of them is that he’s basically oblivious to detail. This means I can skip cleaning the bathroom for three weeks and he’ll not notice. Or … a lot of other things. It’s nice to be married to a smart man, as my friend Naomi says, because he’s so busy thinking I can get away with almost anything and he won’t notice.
So I skip a lot of cleaning projects I might do. And I survive (even if I do complain about the stupidity of throwing pillows.) Which keeps me happy. And saner. And that makes my husband happy. And my kids. Plus, it gives me time to do things like write. Everybody wins when the house is unkempt!